Hello and welcome to RUSEPRC,

It is my pleasure to be serving as the president of the Rutgers University Seeing Eye Puppy Raising Club (RUSEPRC) for the 2017-2018 year! Our club raises puppies for The Seeing Eye, the oldest guide dog school in the world located in Morristown, NJ. We train four breeds of dogs: German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and Lab/Golden crosses. The purpose of our club is to stimulate an interest in The Seeing Eye, Inc. and educate the public about the Seeing Eye Puppy Raising Program, advance the mission of our mother organization, The Seeing Eye: to enhance the independence, dignity, and self-confidence of blind people through the use of Seeing Eye dogs, and raise puppies for the Seeing Eye in a nurturing family environment, in order to give them a firm foundation of love and trust, and to expose them to different daily stimuli, such as traffic, stores, people, and animals. Our club receives puppies when they are 7 weeks old and return to The Seeing Eye for formal training with a professional instructor at 14-16 months of age. During their time at Rutgers, our puppies grow up alongside their primary puppy raiser, our dedicated club members, and all of the Rutgers community.

When I first accepted my admission to Rutgers University I did not know that RUSEPRC even existed, let alone what a big role it would play in my college career. I did not officially join until the second semester of my freshmen year and even then I hesitated. I wasn’t sure if I would have the time I needed to commit to being a sitter, but looking back now I am so glad that I did! Like everyone else I was first drawn to this club by the all the cute puppies, it is hard being away from your pets the first year of college. I loved being a sitter and really bonded with all the dogs I got to know that first year. The best part however, came after those dogs returned to the Seeing Eye, when I found out that they had been matched with their person and were now helping to keep them safe and give them independence. After I started seeing these puppies that I had watched grow up become guide dogs I decided that I wanted to become more involved in the club. I was named a raiser at the very end of my sophomore year and received my first Seeing Eye puppy that summer, a male German shepherd named Wyatt. My junior year I served on eboard as one of the club’s activities coordinators and got to plan all of our events and exposure trips. I am beyond thrilled to be RUSEPRC’s president my senior year and I can’t wait to see what it brings.

Our club is dedicated to our puppies and community service. All the members in our club can tell you that it is very rewarding knowing you changed someone’s life through puppy raising. They can also tell you that through this club they have made friends, became involved on campus, and became passionate about guide dogs and the mission of The Seeing Eye. I look forward to the upcoming school year and hope that you can get involved with our club.

Hala Essenmacher
RUSEPRC President, 2017-2018

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