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Sue Burgess

As a kid growing up in Eugene, Sue Burgess learned to raise dogs through the 4H dog program. "Then I got into the 4H guide dog program," she says. "I raised guide dog puppies in '72, '74, and '76." After graduation from Willamette High, Burgess studied dog grooming at a local school. "I thought I would do it for a while, till I figured out what I really wanted," she says. Since then, she has groomed dogs for vets and pet stores, owned a pet store, and worked as an independent dog groomer for the past 22 years, sharing space with fellow groomer Sheila Brown. In 2000, with her two kids nearly grown, Burgess contacted Guide Dogs for the Blind (guidedogs.com) and again began to raise guide dog puppies. "It's a big commitment," she says. "They're with you 24/7, at the store, the bank, everywhere." Her current guide-dog puppy, Prego, arrived from Guide Dogs breeders at eight weeks old last December. "I keep them 14 months," she says. "They go on to guide-dog college to learn harness work. My first puppy, Falstaff, is now in Arizona, Noah's in Georgia, and Benny will graduate tomorrow."

happening people

photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 19 July 2007

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