Dogs have come a long way in terms of developing relationships with humans. Today, many dogs are intelligent enough to help people with disabilities gain confidence.
Guide Dogs for the Blind is one organization that trains dogs to assist visually impaired individuals.
Learn more about Guide Dogs for the Blind and how they started, and find out all the ways you can help the organization in their mission.
Who is Guide Dogs for the Blind?
Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) is an organization that believes that every person deserves to explore the world confidently, even if they have disabilities.
This is possible with the help of four-legged assistants or guide dogs trained to help visually impaired people.
GDB is a team of passionate people with innovative methods, creating partnerships and raising funds for guide dog training. They raise, train, and offer several programs for dogs to prepare them to assist and empower blind people.
Aside from their effective training programs, Guide Dogs for the Blind is also an advocate of policy reforms regarding blindness and disability. It believes in the power of inclusion so that everyone can participate in society.
As the biggest dog school in North America, Guide Dogs for the Blind has helped over 16,000 dogs graduate in Canada and US since 1942.
The guide dog school is located in the United States, with campuses in Oregon and California.
Their organization is also registered in Canada. They receive no government funding and are fully supported by partners and donors.
How Guide Dogs for the Blind Started
Guide Dogs for the Blind started in 1942 in response to the growing demand for assistance for blind veterans during World War II.
Founded by Don Donaldson and Lois Merrihew, the organization began with the dream of creating a guide dog training school.
The two volunteered to help wounded service members from the war while trying to get dogs to help them.
These people believed in the power of furry friends. So they started instructing students in California, with a German Shepherd named Blondie being the first trained dog.
GDB moved to San Rafael, California, in 1947 to accommodate more dogs and help more veterans. It also opened a second campus in Boring, Oregon, in the Fall of 1995.
2022 marks the 80th anniversary of the organization. Guide Dogs for the Blind is proud of training more than 16,000 dogs.
Their current programs include puppy raising, canine welfare, breeding, and guide dog training. Guide Dogs for the Blind also helps with puppy socialization and veterinary services.
What Does Guide Dogs for the Blind Do?
Guide Dogs for the Blind’s main initiative is to provide guide dogs to the blind. All services are available at no cost, including the programs and workshops they offer for individuals.
The organization does everything from breeding to veterinary care and professional training. This entire program is done humanely by expert trainers and supported by passionate volunteers.
To give you a glimpse, some of the skills that guide dogs will learn from Guide Dog Training include:
- Leading a person in a straight line from one point to another.
- Avoiding obstacles in the path.
- Stopping for obstacles.
- Stopping for changes in elevation.
Trainers teach guide dogs to take their cues from human partners. They learn all of these abilities through positive reinforcement and repetition.
These dogs also receive top-notch healthcare from Guide Dogs for the Blind’s vets and technicians. Their facilities are accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association.
How Can You Help Guide Dogs for the Blind?
Guide Dogs for the Blind gets its funding from partners and donors. The easiest way to help them is by donating.
Donate to GDB through any of the following:
- one-time gift
- monthly gift
- honor and memorial gift
- charitable IRA gift
- annual donations
- employee matching gifts
- vehicle donations.
You can volunteer in the organization if you want a more hands-on way to help.
You can offer to raise a puppy, be a campus volunteer, or be a custodian for a breeder dog. You can also support dogs in foster care by being a provider.
Another way to help is through a corporate or foundation partner. Contact Guide Dogs for the Blind for a partnership or offer sponsorships.
Guide Dogs for the Blind also offers official merchandise. Shop some of the best items from their store, such as a 2022-2023 calendar, zip hoodie, or 80th-anniversary logo t-shirt.
Helping raise awareness for Guide Dogs for the Blind is free. If you have a social media account, you can follow and engage with them through various social media platforms.
Follow these links below:
Lend a Hand to Guide Dogs for the Blind
Everyone deserves to move through the world safely and confidently. Guide Dogs for the Blind helps blind and visually impaired people be more independent by training dogs to assist them in daily life.
The organization finds a suitable animal for every human and is committed to the success of each guide dog. Learn more about Guide Dogs for the Blind on Facebook for the latest updates on how you can lend them a hand.
Help out other animal charities we love in our Animal Charity Spotlight series.