Tammy Mutasa, NBC 5 Garland Reporter
Lone Star Guide Dog Raisers relies on volunteers as they get new guide dogs ready for service.
Some Good Samaritans in Garland who helped a guide dog find her way back home are now volunteering with a club that raises guide dogs.
The Lone Star Guide Dog Raiser Club, an organization training puppies for their blind owners, says Dallas is one of the fastest growing areas for clubs that raise guide dogs, and they just signed up two new volunteers who already have a special connection with one guide pup.
Richard and Vernetta Fletcher are giving back to the organization by volunteering as puppy sitters.
"You get to interact with them [dogs] and once you have your fun you can send them home," said Richard Fletcher. "It would be like having grandchildren.”
"Being able to puppy sit, we'd be able to give back to the community," said Vernetta Fletcher.
The Fletchers fell in love with the organization a few weeks ago when they reunited a 5-year-old guide dog, Anka, with her blind owner, after she went missing for days.
The Lone Star Guide Dog Raiser Club helped with Anka's search.
"Anka was such a sweet dog with a really sweet disposition,” said Richard Fletcher. “We fell in love with her and decided that we, we would like to be guide dog sitters."
The club, founded in 2010, has been training puppies for a California-based organization called Guide Dogs for the Blind which started after World War II, pairing blinded veterans with dogs.
"To have that sense of independence stripped from you, I can't even imagine going through that and the fear that your dog is out there and alone and maybe hurt and someone helps reunite them is wonderful," said Jennifer Riley with the Lone Star Guide Dog Raiser Club.
Presently, anyone can be paired and the program is expanding around Texas, where organizers are also expanding in San Antonio and Austin.
"If something were to ever happen to my vision and I needed an animal, I would be so thankful that someone was willing to give of themselves to help me get my independence back," said Riley.
The club is looking for more volunteers. Anyone interested should contact the Lone Star Guide Dog Raiser Club at 949-637-9821.