The charity St. Peter’s chose for its school fundraiser was the Guide Dog Foundation. We started this fundraiser in January 2016, with a goal of raising $6,000 within three years. That is the amount needed for our school to sponsor and name a guide dog. In the first year, we raised $3,500. We did it through raffles, bake sales, carnation sales, collections at Mass and private donations.

We contacted Kerri Regan, a guide dog user, to see what her experience was like. Kerri got her guide dog at age 17. She felt the most positive thing about using one is that you can walk faster and feel safer and more confident that the dog can see for you and help you navigate around different obstacles.

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We also talked with Lois Weston, a Guide Dog Foundation puppy raiser. She raised four dogs from puppyhood. Her role is to teach the puppies basic commands: to sit, to stay, to come, to “get busy!” (to pee/poop on the cement). She takes the puppies to public places to help them become comfortable in loud/busy environments.

Lois said that it is always hard to give up a puppy that she has raised but it makes it easier knowing she’s doing it for a good cause.

The Guide Dog Foundation’s mission is to improve the quality of life for those who are blind, visually impaired, or with special needs. It was founded in 1946 and is based out of 371 Jericho Tpke., Smithtown. You can learn more about the foundation at guidedog.org.

If you would like to help us reach our goal, you can make a donation on our school’s website: stpeterspw.org, and click on the Guide Dog Foundation link.