Guide Dogs for the Blind Programs
GDB has developed a comprehensive assessment strategy to evaluate the interest and readiness for both students and dogs to ensure the best possible match and life-long partnership. Each applicant must complete a thorough application process to be accepted and enrolled in our program. Once accepted, most students participate in the in-residence training program and complete the required courses to graduate with their guide dog. After graduation Guide Dogs for the Blind performs annual follow-up services checking in with graduates ensuring their safety and sometimes helping them decide when to retire their current guide dog and return for another. To ensure that every dog reaches his full potential, we carefully nurture our dogs through our breeding, veterinary care, socialization and training processes, and develop meaningful roles for them as guides, breeder dogs, K9 Buddies, or “career change” pets. We rely on 840 volunteer puppy raising homes on the West Coast to care for and socialize each dog until they are ready for the formal training to prepare them to be a Guide. We currently have 140 active Guide dog teams in the state of Washington.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
We're immensely proud of the fact that so many people come to us from all across the United States and Canada. Many believe it's because we consistently have the best success rate. Others, because we have the most comprehensive services available in North America. Some think it's because all our services are free of charge. The real reason is simpler than that. People come to us because we know that a guide dog/human team is about much more than "mobility."
We create a truly unique partnership between two beings. A collaboration that enhances the individual potential of each partner. Where the dog and the person have better lives together than either would have apart.
Our unique program is equal parts match-making, intensive training, and lifetime support. Students have access to instructors, counselors and veterinarians, a full-time nursing staff, a dedicated dormitory staff all of whom attend to students' needs in order to make their stay pleasant and enjoyable. We also offer follow-up services to each graduate of our program at their home or place of business for the lifetime of their guide dog partnership.
Guide Dogs for the Blind is supported entirely through private donations, GDB receives no Government Funding. Everything we do—from transportation to room and board, including training and all our support services—is free of charge to the blind or visually impaired student.