Guide Dogs of America

Guide Dogs 1

As wonderful as modern technology is, no invention comes close to the incredible accomplishments of a bright, willing, well-trained guide dog.

Since its founding through donations by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Union in 1948, Guide Dogs of America in Sylmar, California has helped blind men and women recover their ability to move freely and regain independence through partnership with these remarkable animals.

We receive no government funding. Our program relies on donations from individuals, businesses, foundations, corporations, clubs and organizations.

Your donation or bequest to Guide Dogs of America helps continue this legacy of trust, companionship, love and independence without stress.

Every dollar we receive is put to good and immediate use.

To breed, raise and train a fully-qualified guide dog costs approximately $25,000. All services including guide dog, harness, in-residence training and lifetime follow-up arefree-of-charge to the blind individual.

Guide Dogs of America is certified by the California State Guide Dog Board and is a member of the U.S. Council of Dog Guide Schools and the International Federation of Guide Dog Schools. The school is a non-profit charitable organization and all contributions made to Guide Dogs of America are tax-deductible to the extent provided by law.

Partners: A Labor of Love

Guide Dogs of America uses Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers. The majority come from our own breeding program.

At about 8 weeks, puppies are placed with volunteer foster families where they’ll play and cuddle, as well as learn house manners and basic obedience skills.

Guide Dogs 2Our puppy raisers are on duty 24 hours a day, socializing their little students to the real world—introducing them to crowds of people, small children, elevators, buses, the noises of a parade, the quiet of a church—every possible situation they will encounter with their future human partner.

“Since l attended your school my self esteem has soared. You helped make this beautiful life possible.” Susan Huff & Kukui

The young dogs return to our Sylmar facility evaluation at 15 to 18 months, and continue to follow a four to six month training program that will qualify them for their new career.

Guide Dogs 3Our veterinary care is state-of-the-art and includes any medical support the guide dog in training may require. Guide Dogs of America makes a lifetime commitment to the health, happiness and overall wellbeing of these gifted dogs.

Our state-licensed trainers serve a 3-year apprenticeship at Guide Dogs of America, becoming adept at working with blind individuals as well as training guide dogs. Their work lays the foundation for the next step: pairing the right dog with the right human partner to help both achieve their highest potential.

“When I lost my sight I lost my see confidence. Now I feel like the person I used to be. My guide dog is so capable, I can do anything and go anywhere. Confidently.” Terry Winford & Rusty

Guide Dogs 4Students reside in our comfortable dormitory for a month while they learn to work with and care for their new companions. Students and guide dogs are together round-the-clock: during meals, classroom sessions, and recreation. Staff attention is devoted exclusively to helping the new partners become comfortable with each other as they develop their skills.

“I didn’t think I had any love left to give until l got this guide dog puppy. She’s going to do great things someday!” Puppy Raiser

Trust is a special language between partners. Companionship, love and mobility without stress —these are the attributes that develop confidence and freedom. The “simple” ability to get around affects the kind of life a blind person can have. The added confidence that comes from working with a guide dog can influence their decision to try new social activities, to have a career or return to school.

“I never felt so independent in my life.” Mary Gillespie & Max

Guide Dogs 5You can change a life. To meet the demand, in a timely manner, we constantly need additional funds to train more dogs and graduate more teams. In order to continue this wonderful program —and expand it—we need you to become a partner too. Please add us to your annual contribution list and keep us in mind for special fund-raising projects.

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