Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Policies and Dog Food!

Good morning from Breeder Land!

In the last few days you should have recieved two emails from our school regarding some important changes at the school! The first, to outline some exciting changes designed to provide our newborn puppies and dams with exceptional post-natal care and the second to clarify the dog food plan Southeastern Guide Dogs has adopted as an organization. In the interest of communication, I have outlined the highlights below!

Please note: the Dog Food Recommendations below are different than email that was released to you on Tuesday. We mistakingly listed the puppy versions of our food recommendations rather than our adult dog options... Please take a moment to review!

Kennel Visitation Policy
This policy went into effect on Wednesday, July 15th. Full versions of this policy are available for your review.
  • To reduce nervousness and kennel anxiety, we will not permit breeder host families to visit breeders in the period between drop-off and successful whelp completion.
  • In the interst of providing our newborn puppies and dams with the greatest possible care, we do not permit visitors for the first 72hrs of life.
  • No children under the age of five will be permitted in our nursery area at any time.
  • If you would like to visit a breeder after the 72hr wait-period:

    1. Visitation must be scheduled at least 24hrs in advance by contacting Nancy Lathrop, Kennel Manager. You may reach her during regular business hours at 941.729.5665 x129 or by emailing her at
    2. Appointments are available during the following times only: Monday through Friday from 9am to 2pm; Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 12pm.
  • Absolutely no visitors will be permitted without an appointment and visitation is limited to 3 times weekly for 30 minutes.
  • Puppies under two weeks of age are not permitted to be handled by visitors.
  • No more than two people may enter our nursery area at a time.

Food Options
You may have already heard that there are some exciting changes to our on-campus feeding protocol! I wanted to take a moment to give you all some clarification on the changes in dog food and how it may affect our breeder hosts.

In 2008 Southeastern Guide Dogs established an organization-wide priority to identify dog foods and feeding protocols that maximize the overall health of our dogs from puppyhood through retirement.

After consulting with our Veterinary Advisory Council and animal nutritionists at Cornell University and University of Florida; conducting exhaustive research regarding dog food quality, cost and availability; evaluating presentations made by several dog food companies; and conducting on-campus feeding trials, we have developed a new SEGD Dog Food Plan. Effective immediately, Southeastern Guide Dogs will feed Royal Canin’s line of dog foods to all of the dogs in our kennels and recommending Royal Canin brands for our Breeders.

Here are highlights of the new SEGD Dog Food Plan as it relates to Breeder Hosts:

  • Hosts are encouraged, but not required, to feed Breeders Royal Canin MAXI Large Breed Adult.
  • Should hosts elect, for any reason, that Royal Canin is not a viable solution, Southeastern Guide Dogs encourages families to consider one of the following options:

    Royal Canin MAXI Large Breed Adult 25
    Innova Large Breed Adult
    Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Adult
    Science Diet Large Breed Adult
    Iams Large Breed Adult
    Natural Balance Lamb Meal and Brown Rice
    Natural Balance Organic
  • Female breeders which have been confirmed as pregnant will be given a supply of Royal Canin Baby Dog by the school. We ask that host families transition expectant mothers to the Baby Dog formula over a two week period.
  • When boarding your Breeder at the school, for any reason, we ask that you provide the school with a supply of food ample enough to last for the duration of the Breeder’s stay at the school if the Breeder’s diet is a food other than Royal Canin. We ask this in the interest of the Breeder’s digestion as a sudden change in diet leads to moderate to severe digestive discomfort. If your dog is already enjoying Royal Canin at home, we will happily feed them Royal Canin from our own supply.

To learn more about Royal Canin you can visit their website at

At Southeastern Guide Dogs, we so appreciate your ongoing commitment to our mission and dedication to our wonderful breeders. We want you to know that these changes came as the result of careful consideration. We strongly believe that continuous improvement will serve to give our Breeders (and their treasured litters) the best care available and make their stay with us as stress-free as possible!

I am, as always, available if you have any questions – and I look forward to seeing you soon!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Last week we talked about the ambulance dogs of World War I and their incredible commitment to wounded soldiers in the field.

This week we will focus on Fleet Footed Messenger Dogs.

The battles of WWI consisted of trench warfare and extensive stays in fixed locations. Communication between camps came by way if telephone or by soldiers running with messages. But when communication broke down or when the trek was too treacherous for human messengers, fleet footed messengers were sent instead.

These dogs, donated to the United States from our French and British allies, were trained to run in a zigzag pattern to evade gunfire or capture. Armed with a small metal canister containing the message and, in some cases, specially designed saddlebags carrying messenger pigeons, these messengers were four to five times faster than the average soldier on foot. In some cases the messenger’s swift delivery saved entire battalions.

One of the most famous examples was a mixed-breed named “Satan”. Credited with saving was later became known as “The Lost Battalion”, the French were holding a small village near Verdun but quickly became trapped by the Germans. The Germans cut their telephone lines and killed carrier pigeons released by the battalion as they moved in heavy artillery to a nearby hill. Amid heavy gunfire and smoke appeared an unusual figure. Soldiers described this creature as “winged” with “an unusually large head”. The apparition was, in fact, “Satan” – outfitted with a pigeon carrier strapped to his back and a gas mask over his head. A few hundred yards from the safety of French lines, the Germans realized he was a messenger dog and opened fire. “Satan” took a bullet and fell to the ground – regained his footing and resumed his zigzag pattern at a slower trot. He took another bullet to the shoulder and fell just a few yards short of safety.

But “Satan” persevered – mustering up the strength to rise once again to the waiting arms of French soldiers where medics attended to his wounds. These soldiers released the first carrier pigeon which was quickly shot down by the Germans. The second pigeon – the Battalion’s last hope – was released carrying a message of their predicament. Fire rang out as the pigeon climbed the sky above battle lines. Only time would tell if this pigeon was successful in its mission to reach French reinforcements.

Within an hour, France’s long range guns opened fire on the German’s position. The allied forces were able to defeat the Germans and save the village – all thanks to the incredible dedication of one courageous messenger dog.

Tune in next week to learn about Stubby: American Mascot Hero.

Dear Mom and Dad-

I am having a great time with my Puppy Raiser Family. We go on lots of fun outings to places like the mall, the library, and my favorite, the grocery store. I am learning lots of great things too! I am really good at my “sit – stay” and I am working on “finding the door”. Most of all I love meeting new people – especially children!

I hope you both are doing well.

Much Love,

Miss Fay is a very loving dog who likes to relax by the pool and visit all of her friends at Southeastern Guide Dogs.

Please e-mail photo's of your Breeder to for our Breeder Photo of the Week Contest.

Meet Tony. He is the son of Joey and Lucy. Tony was born on November 7, 2007. Tony was raised by Pat Stone. Tony is a very confident dog and has quite a way with the ladies. Tony enjoys long walks and playing with his friends. He is being hosted by his puppy raiser, Pat Stone. We look forward to seeing his puppies in the future.

Meet Libby. She is a yellow Labrador born on November 7, 2007. She is the daughter of Joey and Lucy. Libby was raised by Theresa and Keith Maisel. Libby is an energetic, intelligent dog who is eager to please. While here at Southeastern Guide Dogs for training, Libby stole the heart of her trainer, Marisa Gerlach. When asked about Libby, Marisa commented, " Libby was the "Track Star". She loved to pogo beside you in the field, as you are running.
We are very excited to have this rising star in our breeding coloney.

Meet Sunny! She was born on August 8, 2007. Sunny was donated to Southeastern Guide Dogs by Barbara Ladner, a breeder in Perkinston, MS. Sunny is the daughter of Twinponds Second to None and Sumo's Jazz'd Up at Riverchase. Sunny is a very sweet girl. She likes to take slow walks and receive lots of love and attention from her human companions. She was raised by Kim Gilchrist who will also be her Host Family. Sunny will make a great addition to all of our loving "moms" here at Southeastern Guide Dogs.