From the day he arrived as an 8 week-old puppy at Atlantic Shores Retirement Community in Virginia Beach, Virginia, black lab Godrick has profoundly touched hundreds of lives. More than three years later, this special dog has found his path, and is making a monumental impact on the family he was destined to be with.
Along with fellow canine pal Joanie, Godrick was part of the “Atlantic Shores/Guiding Eyes for the Blind Puppy Love Program” one of the first programs in the nation bringing puppies, schoolchildren, and seniors together in a multi-generational partnership to provide service dogs matched to deserving individuals.
This unique program was created with Guiding Eyes For The Blind (GEB), an accredited, nonprofit guide dog school that provides the blind and visually impaired with free guide dogs and lifetime support services. GEB relies on volunteers for the critical first step of basic obedience training and socialization for their puppies.
Godrick was matched with Atlantic Shores residents and staff, who opened their homes and hearts to raise him during a critical time in his life.
Partnerships were also formed with local elementary schools, where the puppies made socialization field trips, and special curriculum helped students understand the dogs’ invaluable services.
When training was complete, Godrick returned to GEB for finishing training. With his special disposition and love of children, Godrick was chosen for Guiding Eyes’ Healing Autism Program, where select dogs are trained to provide safety, companionship, independence, and social acceptance for children with autism.
At his recent graduation ceremony at GEB in New York, Godrick was placed with his new family, who live in New Jersey. He instantly bonded with their son, Ari, and has already made an amazing impact on the family—including giving them the freedom to take their first-ever family vacation.
To honor Godrick’s new path, Atlantic Shores’ ROMEO men’s social group is committing time to supporting autism initiatives in the Virginia Beach area. Updates on Godrick’s progress are also posted at http://www.facebook.com/atlanticshoresliving
The time and love showered on Godrick has also earned national attention, with the Puppy Love Program awarded the Silver “Stevie Award” as Public Relations Campaign of The Year at the 10th Annual American Business Awards.
To learn more, visit: http://www.atlanticshoresliving.com/category/puppy-love-program/