Supporting Causes is Part of Our DNA
At Midwest Eye Consultants, we believe it’s important to give back. We have been partnered with Leader Dogs for the Blind since 2017 and have raised over $104,000 for the organization. Leader Dogs for the Blind believes that everyone deserves a life of independence and mobility. All of their services are provided free of charge to clients, including travel in the U.S. and Canada, room and board, equipment and training.
There are currently about 90 guide dog clients from Leader Dog living in Indiana, the second highest number for a state. Patrick Blake, corporate relations manager from Leaders for the Blind, says this is no coincidence.
“We have noticed recently we are getting more applications from Indiana and it rises every year. We believe it has everything to do with our partnership with Midwest Eye.”
Our own Dr. Lindsay Culver has been a champion for the cause ever since being exposed to the mission at work.
“The more I learned, the more I loved the idea,” she says. “It really stuck with me. I thought this is something I could do, and something my family could do together. It’s awesome that Leader Dogs for the Blind can provide these amazing animals to their clients at no charge.”
Dr. Culver & Joining the Puppy Raising Program
Dr. Culver is what the organization refers to as a “puppy raiser.” Following an application and training process, she was matched with her puppy Daisy, and has enjoyed being part of the community.
“We also get together once a month with other puppy raisers,” she explains. “The counselor organizes this at various public places. Last month we met at Glenbrook mall, next month we are going to a restaurant.”
Additionally, a manual on the Leader Dog website is a valuable resource. As she explains, “a lot of the training is teaching the puppy good manners such as not getting on furniture or begging for table scraps. There’s lots of sample training exercises to do in the manual that help teach the puppy to walk properly on a leash, go through doors, relax on a mat, ignore distractions, and many more!”
This training will set Daisy up for success in the long run, although Dr. Culver and her family have encountered a few challenges. For one, Daisy is a Leader Dog in training, which means she doesn’t yet have rights to enter public places. Yet Dr. Culver is optimistic the experience will prove to be a worthwhile endeavor.
As she puts it, “planning ahead and asking permission before she is with me has been the most difficult. Some places around town have been so accepting already and given us permission. Others have declined, which is their right. I’m hoping to raise awareness so more places will allow Daisy to enter. Socialization is such an important part of her training!”
Promoting Awareness to Her Patients
Speaking of awareness, Dr. Culver said it’s her hope that patients facing a vision-threatening diagnosis can find comfort through a Leader Dog. “I’ve already told patients about Leader Dog,” she says. “A diagnosis like that can lead to depression and feelings of isolation. A Leader Dog can help a person regain their independence and confidence.”
The experience is just as gratifying for the volunteer puppy raisers. She acknowledges that it can be a bit of an adventure having a puppy at times, but it’s really a gift that keeps on giving for a visually impaired person.
As for Daisy, she will remain with the Culver family until she’s 14 months old. She will then spend 4-6 months at the Leader Dog campus doing more intense Leader Dog training in hopes that she will graduate and be placed with a client. If she completes the Leader Dog program, she will spend time at the campus training with her client and then she will go home with them.
We wish Dr. Culver (and Daisy) all the best as they prepare for what’s next! Keep an eye on social media for updates on their journey!