Women of Weymouth Will Hear Clemons
William T. Clemons III will present the program for Women of Weymouth meeting Tuesday, Feb. 16. Clemons is a semi-retired attorney who moved here from Los Angeles, Calif. He has been working with obedience training dogs since 1968 after beginning by training his own dogs for obedience competition and providing training to others through the Tucson, Ariz., Parks and Recreation Department. He has trained several different breeds, large and small, from German shepherds to dacshunds.
Clemons began working with Southeastern Guide Dogs in 2004 as a part-time guide dog puppy raiser through a program between Southeastern and the N.C. Department of Corrections. The McCain Prison, near Raeford, built a puppy compound consisting of several fenced exercise yards and 10 dog runs.
The school would provide six to eight puppies approximately 8 weeks old, and an inmate would be assigned to care for and train each puppy for about 18 months.
Clemons provided training to the inmates on how to train the puppies and also coordinated local host families who took the puppies each weekend, socializing them by taking them to various places that a blind person might visit such as restaurants, movies, stores, bowling alleys, and dry cleaners.
Southeastern is supported solely through tax-deductible donations and receives no federal or state money. Since the level of donations has recently been reduced, they have been forced to reduce the number of dog/blind teams they graduate each year. Consequently, the school needs fewer puppies and the jail puppy program, both here in North Carolina and in their other six detention facilities, has been closed.
In the Weymouth program, Clemons will be discussing the mission of Southeastern, its breeding and training program and the raising and training of a guide dog puppy. His own dog, Nor'e, will accompany him to Weymouth.
He raised and trained Nor'e. Although trained as a guide, she has been designated a "breeder" dog and has been returned to Clemons' care. She has since been therapy-certified and is used with the foster children Clemons represents in court. Nor'e is the only dog in North Carolina that is recognized by the court and allowed to accompany children to court and sit with them when they have to testify.
The event starts with a coffee time at 9:30 a.m. followed by the business meeting and program.
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