Gallant Heart Center

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Rebecca Floyd and Reba

Panola native opens Gallant Heart center

By John Howell Sr.

Retiring Mississippi Protection and Advocacy System Executive Director Rebecca Floyd is realizing her dream establishing a guide dog school which will provide well-trained, healthy dogs to people who are blind.

The Panola native is blind herself and has worked a guide dog since 1964. Now she has helped to found Gallant Hearts Guide Dog Center which has adopted as its mission providing the guide dogs free of charge to qualified people throughout the United States. The training program is accepting Boxers, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds and Doberman Pinschers, Floyd said.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Prior to being placed as guide dogs, each dog will also earn both Canine Good Citizen and Therapy Dog International Certificates.

“We are now placing dogs into puppy raiser homes where an in-home atmosphere provides the critical early socialization and obedience training needed to be a guide dog,” Floyd said. “Gallant Hearts provides veterinary care, food and obedience training for the puppy which will remain with the family for 12 to 16 months and then transition into the training program.”

Gallant Hearts Guide Dog Center is a non-profit, tax exempt organization established in Madison with a mission to provide well-trained, healthy guide dogs to people who are blind.

These dogs will be provided, free of charge, to qualified individuals throughout the United States. The organization is governed by a nine member Board of Directors selected for their expertise in governance, fund raising, veterinary care, medicine, legal issues, finance, and the media.

Gallant Hearts has two events pending on the calendar. Saturday, October 23 the organization will sponsor an informational booth at the Seventh Annual Scarecrow Cruise and Car Show hosted by the Mississippi Classic Cruisers in Madison.

Saturday, November 13, Gallant Hearts will present its inaugural event, a “Wag ‘N Walk-a-Thon at Mayes Lake in the Le Fleur’s Bluff State Park.

“Bring your friends, family and dogs!” Floyd said.

To learn about becoming a puppy raiser or to find out how to help this program, contact Gallant

Hearts Guide Dog Center at (601) 853-6996 or write to Gallant Hearts Guide Dog Center, P. O. Box 16828, Jackson, MS 39236. The program is funded through donations from individuals, corporations, bequests and fund raising activities.

Floyd served for more than 25 years as executive director of the Mississippi Protection and Advocacy System before her retirement last February. “Ms. Floyd led MPAS through many directional changes and was integral in its inception,” according to information provided by MPAS. “She has been acclaimed throughout the years for her dedication and desire to bring about a more accessible world for individuals with disabilities,” the announcement on Facebook stated.