From puppy to patron: Raising a guide dog
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The Lions Club has it’s own history rooted in serving the blind. According to past president John Kraft, the service organization has wanted to help the blind ever since inviting Helen Keller to speak at an event of theirs when they were just starting up. She challenged them to be the “knights of the blind” and in the 20s, they took up her challenge.
Like the Lions Club and Runyon’s, a lot of clubs and organizations raise money to sponsor a guide dog, according to Jamie McGread of the Guide Dog Foundation. While the price to sponsor a guide dog is $6,000, the full price of raising the dog is $55,000. The foundation covers the difference, which goes towards food, medical needs, breeding, etc.
While sponsors do not raise the dogs, they do get to choose a name, breed and are updated on the puppy’s progress when it’s transferred to a home.
“You must love the animal and idea enough to let it go,” McGinley said.
Those interested in helping can reach the Guide Dog Foundation at 631-930-9000.