PALMETTO, Fla. -- Suzy Wilburn's voice cracked and tears welled up in her eyes when we asked her what her specially trained guide dog Carson means to her. Wilburn says, "I'm allowed to live again. I'm allowed to be in my community and be part of my community and I'm not sitting at home. He saved my marriage. He saved my life."
Wilburn's dog was trained at Southeastern Guide Dogs which is located in Palmetto where she also works. Spokeswoman Ruth Lando says they provide all of their dogs and services free of charge and receive no government funding.
Wilburn adds, "I'm visually impaired. One of the biggest things we do here at Southeastern is we train guide dogs for the visually impaired and we have our service dog program for veterans that have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Our dogs are specially trained to mitigate the symptoms of PTSD."
Wilburn adds, "Our service dogs -- they have special training under their belt -- special commands that the veteran would need to know how to use them safely as well. We don't charge for any of our services. If it came with a price tag I wouldn't have been able to do it. I can live my life freely, independently, and with dignity which is a huge thing for me."
Click here for more information about Southeastern Guide Dogs.