Southeastern Guide Dogs greet Health Expo attendees

Dogs greeted expo visitors, group looking for volunteers


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – What a weekend it was at Channel 4's Health and Lifestyle Expo at the Avenues Mall with dozens of vendors, including a guide dog company.

Many faces of Channel 4 were at the Expo, as well as the hundreds of viewers who stopped by to have some fun. But most importantly, people learned about staying healthy.

Members of Studio Jear were sweating it out. They're a fitness organization who showed off their moves at the two day event. They were one of many gyms in attendance and one of dozens of vendors who offered free services, products and information to the hundreds who stopped by.

One of those great vendors involved Zakai, a yellow lab who is part of the Southeastern Guide Dogs Program. Thresa Shaver has been a trainer for 24 years and says it's so rewarding.

"The biggest question is how can you give the dog back?" Shaver said. "Because this dog is going on to enhance someone else's life and so then I turn around and get another puppy and love on it for a while."

Shaver says not all dogs are meant to be guide dogs, but adds that if they aren't suitable for that program, there are other ways these dogs can make a person's life better.

"We also have a K9 connection program," Shaver said. "They give the kind, gentle dogs, easy to handle, to a blind child that may want a guide dog in older life and this gives them the responsibility of taking care of a dog and having to do everything themselves."

Southeastern Guide Dogs is always looking for dog trainers. If you're interested in becoming a volunteer OR applying for a guide dog, you can visit their website by clicking here.