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Story by Susan Erwin Photography by Christine Cunningham Being greeted by dozens of dazzling puppies inside a playroom at Southeastern Guide Dogs’ scenic 33- acre campus in Palmetto, Fla. is inspiration enough to become a volunteer for such a remarkable nonprofit organization. The golden retriever and Labrador puppies are born and trained there, and the humans who will become their new owners live and learn there. The offspring of a very selective group of mothers, the puppies are matched up with the person who raises them when they are about 8 weeks old. The two work as a team for about 12 to 14 months, then the dog is brought back to the facility to be matched with a “student” (a visually impaired adult). Since its inception more than 30 years ago, Southeastern Guide Dogs has put together more than 2,800 31


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