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Natural Awakenings Sarasota / Manatee / Charlotte

Florida Dog Guides Training Center

Dec 03, 2014 02:24PM

Florida Dog Guides for the Disabled is a unique, nationally recognized, non-profit organization, teaching the residents of Florida – with their own dogs – to meet the special needs created by a physical, mental or emotional challenge. Most of the dogs in the program, in fact 95%, have been rescued from shelters throughout Florida.

     According to Executive Director Arleen Dickenson, the dogs are evaluated for their temperament and sensitivity to hearing, balance and emotional issues. “We make our connections between people in need and dogs through our website and word-of-mouth.”

     She continues, “We screen. We ask questions, including ‘What kind of a dog do you want? Do you want a Golden Retriever or a mix?’, and then we interview and fully qualify the potential owner before we relinquish the dog.”

     The dogs get 24 weeks of intensive training and become AK certified before placement. Then, they are trained again in their new human’s home.

     “We place dogs that are good at hearing, for the phone or door bell ringing, as well as service dogs, who can help with many functions, and dogs who can be a ‘step support’ with a harness that will free the owner from a cane or walker. We have therapy dogs, part of a certified program, for people in Manatee County,” she says.


Location: 2016 27th St. E., Bradenton. For additional information, contact Florida Dog Guides at 941-748-8245 or visit

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