A Great Opportunity

Mary stands holding a black labrador's leash in a hallway in front of double doors. She is smiling at the camera and surrounded on both sides by young boys wearing Boy Scouts shirts and hats. A Scout leader is also standing with them

Mary St. Clair is a highly involved volunteer at Leader Dogs. She is client driver, a dog driver, a puppy raiser, and so much more! She is currently raising her sixth Future Leader Dog, Westley, a Labrador and golden retriever cross. She began volunteering after driving by the Leader Dog campus and seeing an advertisement for puppy raisers. “I made the decision instantly. It was one of those ‘Why not?’ things,” says Mary. “I had dogs and loved dogs my whole life. Plus, I knew that this would be a great opportunity to help someone.”

Like many of our volunteers, Mary first connected with Leader Dog because of the dogs but has continued helping because of the people we serve. “My favorite part is meeting the clients. Seeing the joy and freedom on their faces is the best feeling in the world.”

Driving the clients to and from the airport, taking them shopping, and helping them become orientated on campus gives her a chance to get to know them. Mary enjoys meeting all the clients, not just the ones who receive the puppies she raised.  “It’s nice to meet people from other parts of the country and the world,” says Mary.

Although she loves her volunteer work, Mary recognizes that the job can be challenging. “My advice to someone considering puppy raising is to contact a puppy raiser and ask to shadow them for a day to see how things fall together. Hopefully, that will give them a better understanding of the commitments required to makes things possible,” she says. “I really love the work I do for Leader Dog. What I expected to be a good experience turned out to be a great experience.”

Pictured above is Mary St. Clair with Future Leader Dog Jaeger, one of the puppies she has raised, visiting a Boy Scout group.

RECOMMENDED BLOGS & VIDEOS

A young yellow lab puppy sits in the snow, looking up toward the camera and wearing a blue Future Leader Dog bandanna.

A Love Letter to Puppy Raisers

By Guide Dog Mobility Instructor Ashley Nunnelly Some of you ...
Anu stands outside in a dark colored t-shirt. She is smiling and holding a young German shepherd in her arms.

Voice of the Leader Dog Community: Anu Joshi

Hey Everyone! My name is Anu, I’m from Southeast Michigan ...
Ashley is taking out a selfie with Uni, whose head is resting over her shoulder. Uni's face is white and his nose is close to the camera. Ashley is smiling.

The Discomfort of Learning

By Guide Dog Mobility Instructor Ashley Nunnelly We all want ...
Blue background with text on top in light green reading Voices of the Leader Dog Community.

Voices of the Leader Dog Community: the LDB Team

For this month’s installment of Voices of the Leader Dog ...
Cerr is seated next to black lab Iris. She is smiling at the camera and wearing a floral yellow top. Iris is in her Leader Dog harness. Behind them is a light gray photo backdrop.

Voice of the Leader Dog Community: Cerr

Hello Everyone! My name is Cerr and I am from ...
Audrey sits in front of a light gray photo backdrop. She is smiling at the camera and wearing a pink button up shirt. Next to her is a golden retriever in Leader Dog harness.

A Life on Hold

By Client Audrey Demmitt This pandemic lifestyle takes me back ...
Never miss a post

We've got cool stories from clients and volunteers, dog training tips, news about Leader Dog and much more coming out on our blog all the time. Stay in the loop!