Peconic Landing is hosting the nonprofit Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind and its sister organization America’s VetDogs for an educational presentation and demonstration at 2 p.m. on October 27 to help spread awareness of their cause.
For more than 65 years, the Guide Dog Foundation has trained and placed guide and service dogs to provide independence, enhanced mobility and companionship for people who are blind, have low vision or have other special needs. The foundation created America’s VetDogs in 2003 to train and place a wide variety of assistance dogs to veterans with disabilities, no matter when or where they served. In 2015, VetDogs opened its programs to first responders, including fire, police, and emergency medical personnel.
The event will be open to the public and participants will have the opportunity to meet graduates of the program, as well as some extraordinary puppies that are on their way to becoming guide and service dogs.
“We are extremely grateful to Peconic Landing for their support and for giving us this opportunity to raise awareness about assistance dogs and the services we offer,” said Andrew Rubenstein, the director of marketing for the Guide Dog Foundation and America’s VetDogs. “During our presentation, we’ll be joined by assistance dog graduates, instructors and other Foundation representatives. They will talk about how these special dogs change lives, the growing demand for assistance dogs, the training involved and how the generosity of our donors supports our mission.”
Participants will also see a live guide dog training demonstration and learn about the organization’s volunteer puppy raising program. Puppy raisers take a future assistance dog puppy into their home and raise it for its first year until it is old enough to enter the formal training programs as a guide or service dog. It costs the organizations—which run on private donations—about $50,000 to train and place one assistance dog with the right candidate; however, the organizations provide their services completely free of charge to the individual.
For the past two years, Peconic Landing has collaborated with the Foundation through its “Art Without Barriers” initiative, a program designed to ensure people with vision loss have the opportunity to enjoy art.
“We are happy to host an organization that is in the service of helping others,” said Robert J. Syron, the president and CEO of Peconic Landing. “I have seen firsthand the sense of security, independence and purpose a guide dog can bring to someone’s life. We invite you to come and see it for yourself.”