Youth Forward Scholarship Summer 2018 – Guiding a Guide Dog

Name: Alyssa Nicole Lincoln
From: Savannah, GA
Grade: Junior
School: Islands High School
Votes: 110

I have volunteered for the past three years with the Southeastern guide
dogs as a puppy raiser. I joined the world of puppy raising through a
high school program based on studying vet science, and I wanted to
delve more into animal production and care. The best option for me
was to become a puppy raiser. In this role, I take care of dogs 24
hours a day for one year, and then return them for official training
to help them become a working dog. I have volunteered a total of
19,000 hours through raising, training, caring for, and watching
guide dogs. Some responsibilities I hold as a raiser are maintaining
animal health, providing basic training for the dogs, and going to
twice monthly classes to see how training is progressing and fix any
issues, along with trade tips for problems faced by other raisers

The biggest challenge I have faced as a raiser was the return of my first
dog. I was fifteen at the time, and was heading to a major
competition two days later. As I raised, I knew her day was coming
too go back, she had a destiny to help others, and my work too help
her reach that goal was almost done. While it didn’t make the return
any easier, it helped afterwards. Not knowing the fate of a dog I
cared for over a year was terrifying, and something uncharted. At the
same time, this return was the most satisfying thing of raising. Me
helping the dogs along on their journey help others to lead happy and
fulfilling lives, and to regain their independence, which is
something that, while hard to explain, is the best feeling to give

Through my position, i have learned just how much one small act helps others.
When I take my dogs too dinner, teach them a new command, or just go
on walks, I teach them for the future to help others, and those small
acts change lives. Raising dogs has helped me decide that while I go
into law enforcement, I would like to work with K-9 units, and to
gain my own partner to work with, which I believe will allow me
understanding of how my work benefited others.

`I believe that my activities were forward looking in helping to see the
future, whether short or long term, and how they helped others. For
me, forward looking is not looking back on past regrets, but letting
yourself look towards the future, and what can arise from past
actions. I seek to foster change in the way people view those with
disabilities, visible and invisible. They do not deserve to be
discriminated against for no reason other than being “different”,
and I hope that through my actions I can help too break down this
barrier. I believe that in years to come, my volunteering will have
helped to change the lives of those my dogs helped to become more
independent in their everyday lives.

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