Susan De Antonio first became aware of Guide Dogs of America when her Soroptimist Club chose a member of their community to help under the club’s programs of service. Kenny Brown had lost his sight due to Multiple Sclerosis. He wanted to graduate with a guide dog so he could return to school and take computer science classes. The group spent a year raising the funds to sponsor a dog in Brown’s honor. (Guide Dogs of America provides guide dogs free of charge to blind individuals, but the group wanted to contribute to the school as its thank you for giving Brown his dog.)
Two years later, Brown and his guide, Newby, visited the club to personally thank the members for their kindness and generosity. De Antonio said to him, “If you ever need anyone to take care of your dog for you, I would be happy to.” When it became time for Newby to retire, she soon found a new career with De Antonio, who was a fire investigator for the city of Rancho Cucamonga. Newby was specially trained to detect accelerants at fire scenes and she became the city’s first arson dog. She was the first of three GDA career-change dogs to be partnered with De Antonio during the last 15 years of her 34 years with the department.
De Antonio learned about and became a Partner in Trust in 2002. “It is the least I could for GDA. They have the best dogs, facilities and trainers,” she said. “I feel very comfortable giving a percent of the assets in my trust to GDA. I would tell anyone that they couldn’t find a better cause to support. It is an altruistic and well-managed organization.”
For information about becoming a Partner in Trust, please contact Rhonda Bissell at 818-833-6432.