LAMAR COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - "If you have a friend with a disability like blind or deaf, you should always include them in things that you do," said Oak Grove Upper Elementary Fourth Grader Alex Perrin.
Perrin stated the exact lesson Becky Floyd, from Madison based Gallant Hearts Guide Dog Center, wanted this group of fourth graders to learn.
"These children are very accepting and very impressionable at this age, and so it is important for us to tell them how much a guide dog can mean to a person," said Floyd.
Floyd is blind and has worked with guide dogs for 47 years. Through her organization Gallant Hearts, Floyd works not only to eliminate the stigma toward those with disabilities by talking to elementary students, but to help other visually impaired people connect with a guide dog.
"It opens a lot of doors. It allows you to do things you wouldn't otherwise be able to do," said Floyd.
Over the years Floyd has had guide dogs, like her current dog Lucy, to help her through school and a career.
"Through the dog I went to college, law school, and worked for 36 years," said Floyd.
Floyd is now retired and runs Gallant Hearts where she assists in raising puppies like Piper, with Kathie Curtis.
"Our sole mission is to breed, raise and train guide dogs, and give them at no charge to people who are blind,"said Curtis.
Curtis says the program is non-profit so they depend on groups like the Delta Pi Chapter of Delta Gamma from Southern Miss who raise money for organizations that serve the visually impaired.
"Just seeing that we can give back to something, and actually see where our good works are going it's an awesome thing," said Caitlin Seale of Delta Gamma.