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Alyssa Tarleton serving as 'puppy raiser' for 2017

Agriculture students at South Effingham High School found a new classmate amongst them this week as Simon, a black labrador retriever, joined their ranks.

Veterinary Science teacher, Alyssa Tarleton, recently picked up Simon, a Guide Dog in Training, from Southeastern Guide Dogs in Palmetto, FL.

“I picked up Simon on Saturday, Jan. 7 from Palmetto, Florida and South Effingham High School’s FFA Members and the other Savannah Puppy Raisers celebrated the arrival of Simon with a “Puppy Shower” on Tuesday, Jan.”

Tarleton will be serving as a puppy raiser for Southeastern Guide Dogs over the next year and will be teaching veterinary skills such as teeth brushing, dog restraints, and bandaging to students enrolled in the Veterinary Science Pathway.

Many of these students will go on to work as animal scientists, vet technicians, and veterinarians after high school.

Simon not only allows these students to gain hands-on, real-world experience while in high school, but also allows the students to give back to the community by assisting with the training of a guide dog puppy.

Southeastern Guide Dog’s Savannah Area Coordinator, Kerstin Ramus, is also excited about the prospect of the program at South Effingham High School and hopes to see student puppy raisers at SEHS in the near future.

One thing is for certain - the influence of a puppy in a high school is incredible.

From the smile of students to the prospect of one day serving as a guide dog or in an alternative career, Simon is working hard to change lives for the better, one paw at a time.

For more information on Southeastern Guide Dogs, visit