Bob Klein, Volunteer

An older man wearing a yellow waterproof apron stands in front of stainless steel bathing area with a wet golden retriever in it. Next to them stands a women also wearing an apron. They are smiling

Bob Klein was born and raised in the greater Chicago area. He started his professional career working in sales at Ford, which eventually led him to relocate to the Detroit area. After retiring from Ford Motor Company at 65, Bob was tired of an office environment and decided to give his time to something more meaningful and important to him. That’s when he looked for a volunteer opportunity at Leader Dog. He has now been volunteering at Leader Dog for 23 years. “Leader Dog tried to talk me into working in administration, but I told them I wanted to work hands on with the dogs.”

A self-described dog lover, Bob volunteers at Leader Dogs every Tuesday for a few hours in the morning in our canine care department. He works with his friend and co-volunteer, Joline Clark, in the grooming and bathing area. “I’ve been working with Joline for 20 years. She is a friendly and wonderful coworker, a true joy to work with.”

Knowing that his volunteer hours are a service to others gives him great joy. He doesn’t even feel like he is working because the amount of joy he receives is greater than he could ever give. “It is so rewarding and fun to be give my love to these adorable dogs every week,” he says.

Grooming and bathing is an important part of enriching the lives of our future guide dogs. Not only is it healthy for them physically, but the human contact provides mental stimulation and another source of interaction. Bob describes the experience as fun and wholesome, as the dogs are so young and sweet. He works with our puppies and our dogs in training. His favorite part? “When the dogs snuggle up against you and put their noses on your chest, seeing the joy in their eyes, and every now and then they slobber you with the occasional long tongue.” He notes that some dogs are more receptive to bath time than others. “The labs and retrievers are water dogs, but the shepherds take some persuading and lots of petting.” Luckily, he has Mike Johnson, a canine care attendant, there to help. “[Mike] is so knowledgeable about each of the dogs and their personal needs. He is a pleasure to work with.”

Bob loved working with the dogs so much that he decided to become a puppy raiser. He and his wife raised a yellow lab, Megan, who successfully went on to become a guide dog. He says puppy raising was his most rewarding experience, even though his wife isn’t a “dog person.” When he’s not giving a helping hand here at Leader Dog, Bob spends his time volunteering in hospitals and working at his church, St. Regis Catholic, in Bloomfield Hills. Bob also spends his free time golfing, bowling and playing ping-pong. “I try to stay active and fit, despite being a such an old man,” he jokes.

RECOMMENDED BLOGS & VIDEOS

A yellow lab/golden wearing a green canine ambassador vest

Meet the Ambassador Dogs

Did you know Leader Dog has a dedicated group of ...
A man stands at a crosswalk on a busy street with a yellow lab in harness on his left

How Guide Dogs are Trained

When Future Leader Dogs are 12 to 15 months old, ...
Black lab puppy wearing blue Future Leader Dog bandana looks up toward the camera

Raising a Future Leader Dog in School

By Puppy Raiser Becky Wynn I am a retired speech/language ...
Close-up of a hand holding the Victor Reader Trek GPS device. In the background is snow and a golden retriever is visible, looking up at the person with the GPS

Webinar: You’re Going Where? GPS Training at Leader Dog

In the fourth installment of our webinar series, staff members ...
A black lab lies on a blanket in a whelping box with several newborn black lab puppies nursing

Looking Back on Hosting a Breeding Mom

By Gary Lewandowski On April 24, 2019, Leader Dog Mom ...
A man walks down a sidewalk on a sunny day. He is using a white cane and smiling

Webinar: The Wonderful White Cane

Orientation & Mobility Training Options at Leader Dog Leader Dogs ...
Get Leader Dog updates straight to your inbox.