Guide Dogs For The Blind
As an avid dog lover, Lorrie has been a Guide Dogs for the Blind volunteer for over 20 years. She first became involved with the organization as a way to give back to the community, but it has become much more than that for Lorrie. In an effort to keep the breeding dogs from living out their lives in a kennel, Guide Dogs places these dogs with volunteer families with what are known as Breeder Custodians. In 2000 they became "custodians" to Lorrie's beloved Twinkle, an adorable and energetic yellow lab.
Once the Sullenbergers' two daughters were old enough, the family also undertook the task of raising two Guide Dog puppies, Misty and Fran, in order to more directly involve the girls in the organization. When their Twinkle passed away in August of 2009 (after four litters of Guide Dog puppies), the Sullenbergers’ again opened their home to a breeder dog, welcoming golden retriever Fame (No we did not name her. Guide Dogs did... the year before the Hudson River landing) in September of 2009.
Lorrie maintains that, as with all of the volunteering they do, they have gotten far more out of the experience than they have given. Guide Dogs for the Blind has reminded the entire family of the importance of giving back and contributing to their community, and has made such a positive impression on both their girls that their older daughter is pursuing a career in veterinary medicine. Additionally, spending time with people who are visually impaired has made the girls more compassionate of all people with disabilities. And in an unexpected benefit, having a breeder dog has also helped teach useful life lessons about sex ed!
"What Guide Dogs for the Blind teaches their guide dogs to do inspires us every single day. A lot of people have called my husband courageous for what he did on January 15, 2009, but when I think of a blind person stepping off the curb in a busy city – that is what I call courage. I know they are able to do this with confidence because of their Guide Dog partner, and I'm so proud to play even a small role in this special relationship." ~ Lorrie Sullenberger