Paws for Patriots is a program that provides a guide dog and training to a blind or visually impaired veteran. Barbara Makant, the Florida State Regent for Daughters of the American Revolution selected this cause as part of her two-year office. She hopes to raise $60,000 for one veteran to receive a guide dog.

I had the pleasure of hearing Barbara speak yesterday at my DAR meeting. Southeastern Guide Dogs is located in Palmetto, Florida. Their emphasis is on Paws for Independence, Paws for Patriots and Gifted Canines.

In 2003 a board member learned of Marine Corporal Michael Jernigan who was blinded by a roadside bomb in Iraq. The Veterans Administration does not provide guide dogs to soldiers, so Southeastern Guide Dogs worked with top military leaders to make them aware of the medical and therapeutic effects of the dogs. Today therapy dogs can be found at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center to help soldiers during recovery.

The Paws for Patriots veteran and guide dog receive 26 days of individualized instruction in Palmetto where they bond and train together. Southeastern Guide Dogs provides the dog, equipment, lodging, meals, instructions and post-graduation support free of charge–thanks to the generosity of contributors.

“Brittani has been an essential part of my recovery process. She is not only a guide, but she’s also a great companion when the world gets too difficult,” says Retired Marine Corporal Michael Jernigan and Paws for Patriot Graduate.

Truly a worthwhile program! For further information, visit Paws for Patriots.

Bountiful Blessings!

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