The Highlands Current
8th May 2017
Friends for Life
New Putnam County facility trains service dogs
By Alison Rooney
As a volunteer puppy raiser for Guiding Eyes for the Blind, Nancy Teague felt enriched by the experience but frustrated by the oversupply of dogs. Although by one estimate only 2 percent of blind people use a guide dog, there are 13 accredited facilities around the country that train them.
Meanwhile, another national organization Teague was familiar with, Canine Companions, which places service dogs with people with physical disabilities, such as mobility or hearing difficulties, has a waiting list.
To fill this unmet need, Teague last fall founded a nonprofit, Putnam Service Dogs, to provide free animals to people with disabilities other than blindness. The group has just received its first three puppies for training, all rescues from high-kill shelters in the South.
“Put an incredible dog with a person who can benefit from it and that person becomes better and stronger,” Teague says. “There’s nothing more rewarding.”