Palmetto, Florida (PRWEB) March 31, 2014
Southeastern Guide Dogs, an internationally accredited and one of the most respected guide dog schools in the United States, is the only guide dog school in the U.S. to open its doors to the public for puppy hugging. Five days per week, the public is invited—and needed—to help socialize future guide dogs by hugging puppies. The charity expects to welcome more than 10,000 puppy huggers in the next 12 months.
The organization’s adorable golden retriever, Labrador, and goldador puppies are born on campus, and people are needed to sit and cuddle, pet, hug, and play with puppies ages six to ten weeks old.
The professional trainers and veterinary staff at the school have created an early education program for puppies, giving them a broad range of exposures to better prepare them for guide dog training, and early socialization includes regular puppy hugging.
“Our puppies need to hear many different voices, and become comfortable with all kinds of people,” said Titus Herman, CEO of Southeastern Guide Dogs. “We welcome preschoolers to senior citizens and everyone in between.”
At ten weeks old, these puppies will go home to volunteer puppy raisers who provide loving homes and early obedience training. At about 18 months, puppies return to campus for formal harness training to prepare for their careers.
Puppy huggers can’t help but relax, laugh, and enjoy the experience as a litter of soft and energetic puppies bound onto the playing surface and into the laps of visitors. Peanuts author Charles M. Schulz coined it first when he said, “Happiness is a warm puppy,” and the puppy huggers agree.
Puppy hugging sessions are available Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at the nonprofit organization’s campus at 4210 77th Street East in Palmetto, Florida. Individuals and groups can register online for puppy hugging sessions from 9:00–9:30 a.m. or 10:00–10:30 a.m., and can visit http://www.GuideDogs.org to register. A $5.00 per person reservation fee guarantees a spot. Southeastern offers a no-cost reservation option on the first Monday of each month.
About Southeastern Guide Dogs: Located near Florida's Gulf Coast between Tampa and Sarasota, Southeastern Guide Dogs is internationally accredited and one of the most respected guide dog schools in the United States. Established in 1982, Southeastern Guide Dogs’ mission is to create and nurture a partnership between a visually impaired individual and a guide dog, facilitating life’s journey with mobility, independence and dignity. Through their programs Paws for Independence™, Paws for Patriots™, and Gifted Canines™, Southeastern has more than 400 active guide dog teams across the nation and continues to place more than 100 dogs annually into guiding and other careers, all at no charge to the recipients, thanks to the generous support of donors and volunteers. Visit http://www.guidedogs.org for more information.