“Since day one he has stayed right by my side.”
Weise has had Labs as pets for years, and just lost her most recent dog about a year ago. Raising a
Southeastern Guide Dogs puppy for a year is a suitable transition for her as she’s currently on a list to get
another pet from a Lab breeder.
“I wasn’t sure if I was ready to commit to getting another dog, so once I found out about this organization
I decided to volunteer,” she said. “I know it will be difficult when our time together comes to an end, but
I just felt very compelled to do this because I know he will be serving someone special in the future.”
Weise is a familiar face on the island as she worked at Grande Aire for years. She plans on bringing
Nemo to visit Boca Grande and socialize with him here in the coming months.
She and her husband enjoy boating in the area and Nemo was a natural fit to their lifestyle.
“He jumped right in the boat the first day and put his paws up on the bow,” she said.
Nemo also enjoys playing in the water at the beach and she’s currently teaching him how to swim.
Part of her job as a puppy raiser is introducing him to different scents and different social situations and
watching how the dog reacts.
“... He has a lot
January/February 2018 GASPARILLA ISLAND 27
and he’s a very
She’s taken him to restaurants,
stores and other places during her
“He behaves very well,” she said.
“He has a lot of energy, but he
knows how to remain calm.”
Leslie Shepard is the director of
puppy raising services at Southeastern
Guide Dogs. She not only
runs the department, but also
raises puppies herself.
Shepard has been with the
organization since 2010.
“I started out as a volunteer and
now I’m raising my sixth puppy – a
black Lab named Mabel,” Shepard
said. “She has taught me so much
… she has a great personality and
she’s super smart.”
Shepard was a drama teacher