Veterans Voices

Connecticut nonprofit pairs guide dogs with local veterans

BLOOMFIELD, Conn. (WTNH) - Helping to bring back independence to those who fought for ours; that's Fidelco's mission.

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Doug Fuchs, Chief Operating Officer & Chief of Staff at Fidelco Guide Dogs, said that the breeding dogs with the right temperament is the key to success.

"We take great care in our breeding, to make sure we are breeding dogs with the right temperament and intelligence to do this kind of work."

Fidelco German Shepard's have a strong blood line of service. For the last 60 years, they have been guiding blind veterans. Costing $45,000 on average, from the time they're bred, raised, trained, and then paired, all of the money comes from donors. These dogs help give freedom to Veterans, which is something they understand well.

John Garoppolo is a Korean War veteran that has depended on guide dogs for the last 28 years since loosing his vision. Petra, his current companion, has brought back his quality of life.

"If it were not for the guide dog, I would not be able to do a lot of the things I do."

Olive, a Fidelco Guide Dog in training, led me through an obstacle course, blindfolded. Depending on someone else's eyes, opens your own.

"You learn to live with what you have and you're thankful for what you do have," Garoppolo said.

Fuchs said helping veterans has always been the at the heart of Fidelco.

" Our primary focus has always been on clients such as John who have given so much to our country."

 
 

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