Guide Dogs For Veterans on "Talking Animals"
My guests on "Talking Animals" Feb. 13 will be Judy Bordignon and Michael Jernigan, members of the staff at Southeastern Guide Dogs with a connection to the organizationâ€™s Paws for Patriots programs that serve veterans with guide dogs, veteran service dogs, and facility therapy dogs.
Bordignon is the trainer for veteran service dogs and facility therapy dogs at Southeastern Guide Dogs, based in Palmetto, FL, where the primary focus remains providing guide dogs for individuals with visual impairments.
But the facility has learned over the years that not every dog is cut out for the precise demands of that job, or may not make it all the way through the rigorous guide dog training. So called â€œcareer-changedâ€ dogs may end up being trained as veteran service dogs.
These dogs provide veterans contending with PTSD a calm, steady influence and help the veterans navigate through crowded settings and other stressful circumstances. Jernigan was the first recipient of a guide dog through Paws For Patriots, and works at Southeastern as community outreach coordinator.
Once trained at Southeastern, facility dogs are placed at a variety of military facilitiesâ€”including Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, the VA in West Palm Beach and Quantico--to greet, console, encourage, and love soldiers who have been wounded in the course of duty.
Judy Bordignon and Michael Jernigan (& his guide dog Brittani) will join us live in studio on "Talking Animals" on Feb. 13 at 9am, and listeners are invited to participate in the conversation by calling (813-239-9663) or e-mailing (DJ@wmnf.org).