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Southeastern Guide Dogs New and Unique Sculpture Campaign

Palmetto, FL based Southeastern Guide Dogs recently announced they’ve launched a new fundraising campaign. The first 9 (of 50) one-of-a-kind, hand-painted dog sculptures will be featured in the “Superheroes on Parade” fundraising event, scheduled to last through October 9th this year. Southeastern Guide Dogs say they take the training of these burgeoning champions very seriously and begin as early as when the pups are just three days old. The organization is assisted by many volunteers who help these canine become exposed to every type of sensory experience they can muster on their 33-acre campus. They’re constantly working, diligently preparing the furry future sidekicks in engaging ways so they’ll be ready to meet the needs of whatever companion they’re assigned to.

The After...group shot of nine painted dogs at dimmitt event

Here’s more about it.

This unique campaign is aimed at raising funds and awareness for the nonprofit organization whose extraordinary dogs transform the lives of inspirational people every day, providing them with independence, freedom and dignity. “Sponsored by generous individuals, businesses and media organizations, created by a local sculptor, and hand painted by talented artists, these Superheroes on Parade sculptures are part of an exciting community event that will benefit our programs,” said CEO Titus Herman. “Southeastern Guide Dogs celebrates the superhero qualities of our dogs that make a profound impact on people with visual impairments and veterans.”

The Before...First Hero Dog

Each life-like, 80-pound dog sculpture is 62” long and 42” tall with a 58” base. They are constructed of a material called Forton that combines the best features of plaster casting, epoxy and fiberglass, resulting in a piece of art that is ultra-strong, weatherproof, odorless and nontoxic. Scott Joseph Moore, owner, creative director and artist at Moore Art Expressions, sculpted, molded, and cast each caped superhero dog, modeling the figures on the Labrador retriever, one of three breeds of extraordinary dogs born, raised and trained at Southeastern Guide Dogs. (The other two breeds are golden retrievers and a unique blend called goldador.)

The first nine dogs that will be placed around the Sarasota area were introduced last night, along with their enthusiastic artists and sponsors. An eclectic group of accomplished local and international artists are painting and personalizing the sculptures, no two of which will be alike. One special painter is Cheryl Kinderknecht, a visually impaired multi-media artist from Village of the Arts in Bradenton. Cheryl graduated from Southeastern Guide Dogs with her guide, a black Lab named Kennesaw. Her dog “Daily” is sponsored by the Herald-Tribune Media Group and will be on view in their lobby.

The public will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite sculptures in an online contest beginning May 2, culminating in a VIP Red Carpet Awards event at the Sarasota Opera House on September 24th. A fun social media photo campaign/contest called “Superheroes on the Street” will also invite public participation via “selfie” photo submissions. Finally, all 50 sculptures will “parade” on Palm Avenue in downtown Sarasota on October 8th and 9th.

Guide Dog in Training

For a complete list of the sculptures, artists, and painters, you can visit the dedicated website, under construction, but available by May 2nd.

Southeastern Guide Dogs was founded in 1982. It is a non-profit organization accredited in rearing up these four-legged superstars towards affluent canine career success. They provide all of their services free of charge and receive no government funding. They also offer a wide range of programs for veterans called Paws for Patriots, which serves both active and retired servicemen and women. To learn more about this organization, click here. Feel free to volunteer your time to ‘hug a puppy’ for a fantastic cause.

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