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State Honoree

Rose Kenyon

Rhode Island

Rose Kenyon, 15, of Wakefield, R.I., a ninth-grader at South Kingstown High School in South Kingston, has spent more than 300 hours a year over the past few years training two puppies to serve as guide dogs for the blind. Rose loves dogs, and as a Girl Scout, she has been involved in many volunteer projects. When she heard about the opportunity to raise puppies for Guiding Eyes for the Blind, "I thought it would be a great thing to do," she said.

After attending a six-month training class, Rose received her first puppy and began to understand how much time and patience her new volunteer project required. Even when she had homework or wanted to hang out with friends, she had to come directly home from school each day to exercise her dogs and train them to obey basic commands. And in order to get her puppies accustomed to all types of places and situations, she had to take them almost everywhere with her - to the mall, church, concerts, restaurants, even to doctor appointments. But "the most difficult part is giving your dog away after 15 months of training," said Rose. She was able to meet the blind girl in Kentucky who received Rose's first guide dog. "She walked so proud with her new companion, and you could tell how incredibly grateful she was," said Rose.