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Southeastern Guide Dogs Alumni Receive Free Dog Care

Donations are making possible premium dog food, monthly preventatives, vaccinations and yearly wellness visits.

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Rachel Weeks with her guide dog Plum at Southeastern Guide Dogs in Palmetto, Florida. Rachel Weeks with her guide dog Plum at Southeastern Guide Dogs in Palmetto, Florida.

(PRESS RELEASE) PALMETTO, FL — For over 35 years, Southeastern Guide Dogs has provided extraordinary guide and service dogs free of charge to people with visual impairments and veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and other disabilities, thanks to the generosity of private donations.

Now, in addition to providing these superbly trained dogs, Southeastern Guide Dogs can say that long-term canine care is no longer a financial concern for its graduates.

Thanks to Fromm Family Pet Food, Elanco, many generous veterinary practices, and individual donors, Southeastern Guide Dogs is now the only guide dog school in North America to ensure that guide dog and service dog graduates across the U.S. can receive premium dog food, monthly preventatives, vaccinations and yearly wellness visits free of charge. This one-of-a-kind program is saving guide and service dog handlers an estimated $1,000-plus out-of-pocket per year.

“We are deeply grateful to Fromm, Elanco, the veterinarians and private donors who are making it possible to offer these benefits to nearly 600 alumni,” says Southeastern Guide Dogs CEO Titus Herman.

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“The people we serve tend to experience a high level of unemployment and limited, fixed incomes, so these benefits are making a significant difference in the quality of their lives.”

Bryan Nieman, one of the family members of Fromm Family Pet Food, notes that the company is impressed with – and deeply respectful of – the work of Southeastern Guide Dogs and the impact the organization has on the lives of graduates. “As a fifth generation family-owned-and-operated company, we appreciate the joy, freedom, and companionship these dogs provide their caregivers,” says Nieman. “Our commitment to excellence and unsurpassed quality is mirrored in the Southeastern Guide Dogs Organization, and we are proud to partner with them in the Alumni Support Program.”

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Eric Lane, senior district manager for Elanco, shares that Elanco Animal Health is a purpose-driven company, “dedicated to giving back to our customers, causes and communities.” Their purpose, along with decades of scientific innovation, enables the company to help improve the lives of people, animals and the planet. Lane adds, “I have worked in the animal health industry for 37 years and representing our purpose by supporting the Alumni Support Program at a world class organization like Southeastern Guide Dogs brings us pride.”

Guide dog graduate Rachel Weeks has first-hand experience caring for her guide dog, Plum, and a personal understanding of the value and impact of this new set of alumni benefits. She is applying her knowledge to overseeing the administration of the program at Southeastern Guide Dogs.

“This is an amazing gift,” Weeks says. “I know exactly what it is like to walk into the vet office hoping the bill will not derail my budget. It is important to put food on the table for a family and also imperative for Plum and other dogs like her to receive top-of-the-line care. Our graduates can now go forward confidently to the highest level of independence and freedom.”

Find more information about the Alumni Support Program here.

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