Saturday, January 24, 2015

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What It Means to Sponsor a Puppy

Southeastern Guide Dogs' primary mission is to provide dog who blaze a trail of freedom for their visually impaired partners. A secondary and lesser know mission is the one the dogs have embedded in their brains: their name. For each dog is named for someone special and he or she carries the hopes and dreams of that person's legacy with them. 


The naming process is a very special process.  A person or a family or group will come together and make a decision to honor someone.  At Berkeley, we decided to honor our retiring headmaster, Joseph A. Merluzzi: JAM.

Joseph A. Merluzzi holding puppy Jam upside down in his arms.

One year, we had one particular student, Austin Iglehart, who raised all the money himself and wanted to recognize and honor his football coach for being such a role model and mentor.  That was Coach. Our sponsor was shy.

Austin Iglehart with Coach on the football field.

And sometimes the honoree touches everyone's heart.  

Christie Bassett

This January, 16 year old Christie Bassett lost her life in a  tragic automobile accident.  In addition to being a competitive swimmer, she was a vivacious young lady with a zest for life and a love for dogs.

Christie with her Uncle Chris's career changed guide dog Johnny.
Christie is a little girl in this photo.
And I know that while you all may be thinking that this is very sad, but I don't know why this matters to the McLeans and why it should matter you.

Christie with Wally, Chip and Chris's current guide dog in training.
Wally is asleep on her lap. Christie is smiling.
When Jam went in for training, he had a problem: he had bad separation anxiety.  Perhaps you have seen the Jam Cam or remember the posts about all the problems we have been working with him on about separation anxiety.  Well, at some point, Southeastern felt that for Jam's mental health that he needed a break and he needed to go to someone who would help him not only with his anxiety but would help him complete his training and allow him to come back, eventually.

They sent him to Chip and Chris.

Chris with Jam.
Chip and Chris got him through.  Chris is Christie's Uncle.  Chris has also been volunteering with Southeastern since 1997. Both he and Chip have been our friends since we got Jam back.  

Sponsorships are a way to let that loved one live on in memory.  We were thrilled that we had an opportunity to be a part of helping to name a puppy after such a sweet girl. Our hope is that you feel that same way.  Will you be a part of helping her name to live on in the spirit of a lab, golden or goldadore puppy?  Just click on Walkathon and go to our walkathon page to make a donation.

Any donation is acceptable!  However, if your donation is $50 or over, I will personally handknit you a scarf like the one Jam is wearing.  Just tell me your favorite color.

Here's a video of Christie.

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