PALMETTO (FOX 13) - Saturday was a very big morning for 31 dogs at the Southeastern Guide Dogs facility in Palmetto.
They're all part of the new freshman class - training to become service dogs - after spending the first year of their lives with volunteer puppy raisers around the country. At "Guide Dog U," they will now begin their serious evaluation and training.
It's always an emotional day for the puppy raisers saying goodbye. One of the dogs was being raised by Circuit Court Judge Linda Allan. She says it's tough to part with her puppy Lumen, but she believes the dog is ready for the next big step.
"I had a trip that I took her on last week, and I saw how much she responded to learning new things, and it showed me how she really needs to go on to do that," said Judge Allan.
The training will last about six months. Some of the dogs will eventually guide the blind, while others might become service dogs for a veteran or public service K9s for a fire or police department.
To find out more about Southeastern Guide Dogs or become a volunteer, visit their web site at GuideDogs.org.