Doggone: Leader Dogs for Blind puppies say 'thank you' to law firm


– Photos courtesy of Jaffe, Raitt, Heuer, & Weiss

By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News
Employees at Jaffe, Raitt, Heuer, & Weiss in Southfield enjoyed a recent visit from a couple of puppies from Leader Dogs for the Blind.

The two black Labs, “Alloy” and “Ruby”—both in the Leader Dogs training program—visited the office with their puppy raisers, as a ‘thank you’ for the firm’s support, after Jaffe employees raised more than $750 for the cause in April.

“Jaffe has supported Leader Dogs many times before. It’s a cause near and dear to a lot of the employees at the firm,” says Jaffe CEO William Sider.

The firm supports a local charitable organization each month through its community outreach “Giving Back” program. Jaffe attorneys and staff are involved with local, regional and
national organizations and charities, providing leadership, volunteer and financial resources to a variety of non-for-profit professional and trade organizations and impactful causes, including Leader Dogs for the Blind, Winning Futures, Care House of Oakland County, Gleaners Food Bank, American Cancer Society, Gift of Adoption, Turning Point Shelter, St. Jude Children’s Hospital, and more.

The firm, which makes a charitable donation each month to the selected charity, provides information to all employees regarding the charity, and encourages them to volunteer time or money.

“Our attorneys and staff care deeply about the community,” Sider says. “We consider engaged corporate citizenship a matter of vital importance to the health and wellbeing of our community, our people and our firm.”

Two of the firm’s attorneys spent the morning with the Leader Dog pups.

“Leader Dogs for the Blind makes a point to visit donors at their office as a thank you for supporting their cause,” explains attorney Ralph Margulis, a partner and member of the Aviation and Financial Institutions Practice Groups, and an alumnus of University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, where he served as chairman of the Moot Court Board of Directors and associate editor of the Journal of Urban Law. “I was able to visit Alloy and Ruby between work as they were making their rounds around the office. The dogs made for a friendly and fun Friday at Jaffe.”

“I’m proud to work for a firm that makes it a priority to engage in and support the local community,” says Paul Hage, a partner and member of the Insolvency and Reorganization Practice Group, and an adjunct professor at the University of Michigan Law School.

“It’s a great program because it allows each of us to become more familiar with one of the many charitable organizations that are doing important work in the community. Leader Dogs for the Blind was a great organization to partner with, as they have been doing important work in the community and nationwide for over 75 years.”


Leader Dogs for the Blind empowers visually impaired

Founded by three Detroit-area Lions Clubs members in 1939, Leader Dogs for the Blind, headquartered in Rochester Hills in Oakland County, empowers people who are blind, visually impaired or deaf-blind with skills for a lifetime of independent travel, opening doors that may seem to have closed with the loss of sight.

Thanks to the generosity of dedicated supporters, all programs are provided free to clients, including meals and housing during training, travel and equipment. Leader Dog programs are crafted to address individual situations and adapt to our clients’ changing needs at any point in their lives. From youth camp to orientation and mobility cane training through guide dog training and GPS technology integration, Leader Dogs’ programs give clients the confidence and skills they need to live independent lives.

Leader Dog is recognized as a “Best In America” Charity by the Independent Charities of America (ICA).

Leader Dogs are Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, German shepherds or Labrador/golden crosses. A majority of dogs are from the organizations own breeding colony. On occasion, dogs come from other service dog organizations.

Leader Dogs are educated with lots of repetition and positive reinforcement. For the first year, they grow up in homes with volunteer puppy raisers who teach basic obedience and expose them to the world. Leader Dogs then participate in four months of formal harness training with a professional guide dog mobility instructor (GDMI) learning skills such as stopping at curbs, avoiding obstacles and finding doors.

Some of Leader Dogs’ most successful guide dogs come out of the Prison Puppies initiatives. As many as 60 percent of Future Leader Dogs raised in correctional facilities go on to become Leader Dogs, and hundreds of puppies have been raised in the prison system.

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