Humans of BluePath: Jeannie Fleming-Gifford, Puppy Raiser

How it All Began: I love animals and I love the idea of helping raise an animal for a purpose. Puppy raising combines both of these interests while also allowing me to bring my family closer together and help people who would benefit from having a service dog. I’m hopeful that my volunteer work will inspire others to try raising a puppy, too.

Favorite Part of Volunteering for BluePath: As a parent, working with BluePath is great because it’s a volunteer opportunity the whole family can get involved with. It takes a village to raise a puppy, and my “village” consists of both the wonderful people at BluePath and the wonderful people within my own home. I love spending time with my daughter and husband as we raise a puppy for a cause we all believe in.

Favorite Part of Puppy Raising: Puppies are a lot of fun to have around and bring so much joy to wherever they go. I’ve been lucky enough to meet people whose lives have been changed after getting a service dog and it’s such an amazing feeling. It\’s also incredibly rewarding to see your dog progress from the early stages of puppyhood to being a really polished dog able to navigate crowds and stay focused in all kinds of situations.

Words of Wisdom for Prospective Puppy Raisers: Raising a puppy is a learning process. I was really nervous that I would do something wrong when I first started but, as I went on, I became more patient with the process and with myself as well. It\’s a lot of hard work, but it’s so worthwhile. And when you consider what a dog can do for an individual’s sense of comfort and freedom, it’s a no brainer. Enjoy it.

Fast Facts:

About Jeannie:

  • Where She Lives: Willoughby, Ohio
  • Dream Vacation Spot: All U.S. national parks
  • Music Preferences: Artists who are good advocates for humanity (e.g., U2 and Brandi Carlile) and show-tunes

About Izzy:

  • Newest Skill: Navigating large crowds of people
  • Unique Talent: Handles all surfaces like a pro
  • Social Media Presence: Izzy is a social media star! Visit “Busy Izzy” on Facebook to follow Izzy’s day-to-day adventures and explore her adorable pictures! Click here to check out her page.
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