Leader Dogs for the Blind has helped over 14,000 blind people become more confident and independent through companionship.
Learn more about the initiatives of Leader Dogs for the Blind toward visually impaired people. And discover how you can help the organization through donations and volunteering.
Who is Leader Dogs for the Blind?
Leader Dogs is an organization that aims to support the visually impaired with the help of service dogs.
From white cane training to matching people with a Leader Dog, this organization provides the tools and training to help people be more independent and confident in their everyday lives.
Leader Dogs for the Blind is a non-profit organization. With donor support, the guide dog training organization has been able to pair thousands of dogs with the visually impaired worldwide.
Their facility is located in Rochester, Michigan.
How Did Leader Dogs for the Blind Start?
Leader Dog’s history can be traced back to 1938 when the Uptown Detroit Lions Club members gathered to discuss the future of Dr. Glenn Wheeler, a blind man who had shown interest in obtaining a personal guide dog.
After a tedious process, the organization called Lion’s Leader Dog Foundation was founded in April 1939.
The group selected a small farm in Michigan and began to work with dogs and volunteers.
The name was changed to “Leader Dog League for the Blind” in 1940, and during the first year, eighteen dogs were placed with blind students.
Today, the organization has provided over 14,500 service dogs to the visually impaired and continues to serve clients worldwide.
What Does Leader Dogs for the Blind Do?
As the first dedicated guide dog program for people who are DeafBlind, Leader Dogs for the Blind has their own breeding colony to produce the most skilled dogs.
On occasion, the organization also welcomes dogs from other working organizations.
The dogs undergo lots of repetition and positive reinforcement. At a young age, these puppies are taught basic obedience.
Then, Leader Dogs participate in four months of formal harness training with a professional guide dog mobility instructor.
If you are at least 16 years old, legally blind, and physically and emotionally capable of caring for a dog, you can get a Leader Dog. All you have to do is complete an application, submit medical forms, and send personal references.
The entire application is free, thanks to generous donors and individual gifts, partnerships, and fundraising events.
Leader Dogs for the Blind also launched their Orientation and Mobility Program, which allows you to learn how to use a white cane to effectively know where you are, where you want to go, and the skills to get to your destination.
The organization also initiates interesting programs for everyone, such as summer camps for teenagers and working with correctional facilities to raise puppies in prisons.
Leader Dogs for the Blind has also teamed up with guide dog organizations in Spain, Mexico, and Brazil to provide training and follow-up services.
Check out Leader Dog for the Blind’s website to learn what makes their programs different from other guide dog initiatives.
How Can You Help Leader Dogs for the Blind?
Leader Dogs for the Blind offers a few ways for individuals to help.
Donate to Leader Dog using their donation webpage. You can make a one-off donation or choose to donate monthly to help the organization survive in the many years to come.
You might also want to consider volunteering on campus if you live nearby.
Their volunteers work in over 70 different positions, including in the canine center with the dogs, the lobby, the vet clinic, and the puppy development or breeding areas.
Apply online and wait for Leader Dogs for the Blind to respond. After all your paperwork is done, your virtual volunteer orientation will be included in your welcome packet.
Spread the Word
If you’re a student or teenager on a budget and can’t donate, you can help in your small way by telling your friends about Leader Dogs for the Blind.
Leader Dogs for the Blind continues to help legally blind people become more confident and independent with a furry companion.
Its free services and long history makes them a reputable organization not only in Michigan but throughout the world.
Continue supporting dog organizations like Leader Dogs for the Blind to help humans improve their lives and help dogs fulfill their purpose.
Check out our Animal Charity Spotlight for more organizations like this.