Meet Lion Debi Delie and Her Newest Leader Dog Puppy


                Leader Dog for the Blind is a Major Lions Project based out of Rochester Hills, MI.  We can all agree that life without sight, whether it be something a child is born with or an impairment that is developed later in life, would be a daunting life challenge.  Leader Dog for the Blind helps by providing trained Leader Dogs to those in need and Leader Dog for the Blind is the only program that provides dogs to both Deaf and Blind Clients.  But Leader Dogs are not born, Leader Dogs must be well nurtured and trained from the time they are born. 

                Enter Lion Debi Delie.  She, along with many other wonderful people help raise the thousands of  puppies destined to be Leader Dogs as an official Puppy Raiser.  Lion Debi joined the Howard Suamico Lions Club back in 2019 when she transferred from the Marshfield Lions Club because of move back home to Green Bay.  She brought with her a legacy of commitment to the Leader Dog Program.  Lion Debi has raised 10 puppies to date and her latest Leader Dog in Training is beautiful Lab/Retriever Mix named Caramello. 

                Lion Debi has trained 10 Leader Dog Puppies to date.  Not all make it as Leader Dogs because each dog has a unique personality and Leader Dog uses only the best and brightest puppies for their Leader Dog Program but no worries there is always an opportunity for Career Change.  Lion Debi is eager to share the story about each of the Leader Dogs she trained.  She’s chosen to name each of her dogs after candy so every discussion leaves you needing a chocolate fix.  Licorice and M&M are currently pets, they experienced a career change.  Hershey, Caramel, and Kokaleka are all working Guide Dogs.  Laffy Taffy is a Leader Dog VIP.  Bit O Honey is a trained Autism Dog. Skittles is currently training at home to be a service dog for a Lion Debi’s brother.  Snickers was just returned to Leader Dog and is currently training there to be a Guide Dog.  That’s 10 in all and it truly is a labor of love.

                Leader Dog for the Blind has its own puppy raising program and many of the animals are bred at the Leader Dog facility.  They live with their moms until about 6 weeks of age when they return to Leader Dog for vet checks and then their Puppy Raisers pick them up.  The Puppy Raisers work with the dogs for approximately 12-14 months.  They attend regular training sessions, vet visits, and introduce the puppies to the community.  After their training with their Puppy Raiser is complete, the dogs return to Leader Dog for the Blind for another 4-6 months of formal training on the tasks required to be a Leader Dog.  Once a Dog is Matched with an eligible client that client and Dog spend another 3 weeks learning to work together at Leader Dog.  Lion Debi tells me that it is easier dropping off one puppy and picking up the next rather than leaving alone.  Remember this dog has been a constant companion but Lion Debi focuses on the greater purpose.  Not only do the Puppy Raisers invest time but they invest money.  It costs about $1200 to raise that puppy the first year.  If Lion Debi lived closer to Leader Dog for Blind vet services would be provided there but she does not so she not only has the cost of food but also vet services. She offsets that cost by donations made to the Howard Suamico Lions Club Puppy Raising Fund but still comes up short.

                Lion Debi is available to visit Lions Clubs and Community events to share her story she can be reached at  To learn more about the Leader Dog Program visit their website



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