Dogs are more than just man’s best friends. They can be so much more – they can be family, confidants, heroes, and for some, dogs can be their guide through daily life.
Guide dogs provide assistance to a lot of people. That includes the visually impaired, blind, injured, and other people who are suffering from injuries. We consider these dogs heroes.
You might have heard about Guide Dogs of America and the services they provide. Let’s talk about the different ways you can help GDA and save lives.
Who Are Guide Dogs of America
Guide Dogs of America began over 70 years ago when Joseph Jones was looking for a guide dog for his mobility needs.
He kept getting knocked back because of his “advanced age” of 57 years – can you believe that?
He was not deterred by these rejections, and eventually received help from the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW).
They endorsed the founding of an organization, International Guiding Eyes, that eventually became Guide Dogs of America.
Joseph’s persistence paid off when he was finally matched with his guide dog Lucy.
And now, over 70 years later, Guide Dogs of America are still helping match guide dogs with people who need them – regardless of their age.
What Do Guide Dogs of America Do?
Guide Dogs of America have a long history of raising and training dogs to help people who are visually impared.
And if that was all they did we would still love them, but they also help veterans and children with autism.
They do such an amazing job training these dogs, and when they are matched with their person it is life changing.
These guide dogs help their person become more active and mobile in their daily life while also providing loving companionship.
They also offer more services that we love including the following:
- professional training
- personalized instruction
- air and ground transportation to and from the GDA school
- room and board for in-residence training
- delicious meals prepared by a professional chef
- veterinary services for graduate teams on campus
- specialized guide dog harness or service dog vest
- extensive post-graduate support services.
The best part is, all of their programs and services are provided at no cost to the recipient, isn’t that amazing?
You can find GDA in a 7.5-acre campus in Los Angeles. They provide services for countless individuals both in the United States and Canada.
How Can You Help?
Now, you may be wondering how you can be a part of this incredible non-profit organization. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to help.
Because Guide Dogs of America provides their services at no cost, they are constantly in need of donors and volunteers.
Their donors and volunteers are the backbone of the organization, as they help GDA raise and train service dogs that change people’s lives, without having to charge them any fees.
If you decide to be a donor, GDA provides detailed financial information on their website for transparency so you can see where your money is going and how you are helping.
Here’s what you can do to help Guide Dogs of America.
You can pledge or donate any amount directly at Guide Dogs of America’s website. You can choose a one-time or recurring donation to show your support.
Your donation will help the non-profit organization support their running expenses. GDA spends about $60,000 on each guide and service dog team.
Additionally, you can also make a donation in memory or in honor of someone.
Whenever you make a donation of $25 or more, GDA gives you the option to have them send a handwritten card about the occasion to the person of your choice.
You can either send a physical mail, an email, or an e-card. Isn’t that wonderful?
Another way you can help Guide Dogs of America is through volunteering. It’s a great way to spend your free time, and help change lives.
If you are interested in volunteering, you can submit an application through their website.
For your own convenience, GDA requires you to be located in or near Sylmar, California.
The non-profit organization has multiple types of volunteer opportunities you can dive into.
These include the following:
- general and clerical
- kennel and boarding
- puppy head start
- puppy nursery
- tour guide
- receptionist and phone duties
- marketing and publicity
- event work.
If you’re interested in fostering puppies, you can also volunteer as a Puppy Raiser. Find out more details below.
You can also help GDA by raising a puppy in your home. Their guide and service dog pups are placed with foster families and individuals whom they call “puppy raisers.”
Guide Dogs of America carefully screen these families and individuals before they place puppies in their care.
The time these puppies spend with their puppy raisers teaches them basic obedience, house manners, and other experiences that will help give them the confidence they need.
Puppy Raising is an essential part of GDA’s training program.
Just like you, the entire GDA team is rooting for each puppy’s success. They provide group meetings with fellow puppy raisers, organized training, behavioral support, and on-site veterinary care.
If you choose to be a puppy raiser, your puppies-in-training cannot be left alone. This means that even when you’re going to work, you need to take them with you.
Or, you can have a dedicated family member to sit for the puppy during the day.
You can also help Guide Dogs of America through Planned Giving.
There are different options available, and you can plan your giving by amount, age, or asset, so you have plenty to choose from.
You can set up a plan that allows you to see the results of your gifts during your lifetime, or that leaves a legacy gift in your will.
If you wish to help make a difference through Planned Giving, explore your options here.
You can also partner with Guide Dogs America.
They have several partnerships that support their work including PAWS San Diego, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.
If you’re interested in becoming a partner, learn more about it here.
Another great way to show your support for GDA is by becoming a sponsor.
There are multiple sponsorship opportunities you can choose from, including the following:
Newborn Puppy Sponsorship: $1,000
Through this sponsorship, you’re covering the costs of breeding, birth, and all expenditures for one newborn puppy up to the age of eight weeks.
As a thank you, you’ll get a certificate of thanks and a snapshot of one of GDA’s adorable newborns.
Newborn Litter Sponsorship $2,500
By choosing to be a Newborn Litter Sponsor you’ll cover the costs of an entire litter of puppies up to the age of eight weeks.
As a token of GDA’s gratitude, you’ll get a certificate of appreciation as well as a picture of one of their gorgeous litters. How cute, right?
Puppy Sponsorship: $5,000
You can also become a Puppy Sponsor, where you’ll cover all costs from the time the puppy is 8 weeks old until they return to campus for formal training at the age of 15-18 months.
You will receive photos and quarterly updates of your puppy.
Other sponsorship options include:
- Guide Dog/Service Dog Recipient Scholarship for $12,000.
- Guide Dog/Service Dog Sponsorship for $30,000.
- Guide Dog/Service Dog Team Sponsorship for $60,000.
Other Ways To Give
There are also many other ways you can help Guide Dogs of America. These include the following:
- kennel renovation
- fundraise on Facebook
- shop Amazon Smile
- shop in their gift store
- wills, bequests, and trusts
- donate stocks or securities
- matching gifts
- workplace giving
- airline miles
- Food 4 Less Community Rewards Program
- Ralphs Community Contribution Program
- dorm naming opportunities
- use the Goodsearch browser
- plan a trip with Charity Pro Travel
- donate a used car
- commemorative bricks.
- Charitable Pet Sitters
- Opinions 4 Good.
We love what Guide Dogs of America do and they need our support so they can continue making a positive impact in people’s lives.
What will you do to help?