Guide Dogs for the Legally Blind, A Second Review

Guide Dogs for the Blind is a school for dogs and people. This is the second program I am reviewing as my husband and I consider a guide dog for him in the future. We do have a golden retriever, our second golden since Whitey lost his vision, but she is aging fast, and we may be ready for another dog. If we do get a third golden, it might be wise to get a dog who is trained to help the legally blind this time. Our goldens have been wonderful companions, but certainly with more intense training, they would have been even more helpful.

Guide Dogs for the Blind has no cost charged to the new owner. The dog, training, air travel, and room and board are all included. This school is located on the west coast, and since Whitey would be in school for 3 weeks, the distance might be prohibitive, but I am impressed with their website and their facility.

It was interesting too to learn that over 10,000 people across the United States use a guide dog. They do make the point that a guide dog is not a well trained pet, but a working animal. That makes sense to me. The dogs go through thousands of hours of training.

This is also where I learned that there are actually 12 schools accredited by the International Federation of Guide Dog Schools in the United States and still more in other countries. The difference in the schools appears to be in philosophy and training methods, as well as support after the training is complete.

As I look at the different schools, I am looking at cost, location, follow up help, and the general attitude toward the dogs and the people. It is amazing how much you can discover by reading a website — looking for those friendly, loving and caring phrases. I know that none of the web reviews will be the same as a true visit, but I am learning with these reviews,and perhaps we will make a more knowledgeable decision. I pray so.

You can donate to Guide Dogs for the Blind and donations are tax deductible. As with other programs I have reviewed, the Guide Dogs for the Blind program does not receive government aid.

About jta

South Carolina grandmother who loves to write, dance, and visit with friends and family.
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13 Responses to Guide Dogs for the Legally Blind, A Second Review

  1. Joan Adams says:

    Oh yes, Carolan. I think I am at this point most interested in the one in Florida since it is closest, but would love to have her input. Esp if one school is extremely better than another. If they are all about the same, I would opt for being closer. and of course, we are not going to do anything right away, but it seems the right time for the research with Hogan getting so old so quickly, it seems. and Thank you!

  2. Carolan says:

    If you like, I can contact a wonderful blind lady I know here in St. Louis who has used dogs for years, she could likely shed light on your search. She is a teacher at the Missouri School for the Blind.

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  4. bevspaper says:

    Joan, contacting some Schools for the Blind as Carolan has mentioned might be a wealth of information. The people there will have a working knowledge of the reality of people living with a Guide Dog/Seeing Eye Dog. They might be able to share with you actual examples of what works and more importantly what doesn’t work.

    Think of it as the difference in talking to the Car Salesman and then talking to someone who actually drives the car. The view points might differ dramatically.
    .-= bevspaper´s last blog ..Coyote And The Ducks From Native American Lore =-.

  5. Joan Adams says:

    Thank you, Bev. Yes, I agree. And somehow this all seems really important right now, so will continue to investigate and learn — and yes, will make some phone calls to the state School for the Blind, too.

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  9. Joan — Thank you for the wonderful and informative article, and for encouraging others to do their research so they can find the program that is just right for them. The “apply” section of our website has a wealth of information that can help you make an informed decision about applying for a guide dog. Best of luck to you and hugs to your beautiful Golden.

  10. Joan Adams says:

    Whitey is definitely ready to do a dog school, I think. I doubt seriously he will ever attend a school for the blind. He has been visited and counseled by the State Commission for the Blind, etc, but there really is not much they can help him with that he is not already doing himself. But working with a trained dog requires 3 weeks of training at least, and he would want to do that, for his sake and the dog’s. You know we are such dog people! I think Hogan is near 11 – I need to check on that.
    Thank you, Kate!

  11. Dianne says:

    There is a group here that trains dogs and I see them out and about sometimes. I am so impressed with those dogs!
    .-= Dianne´s last blog ..USS Nimitz leaves Thailand =-.

  12. mukunda22 says:

    This was a fascinating read. What does Whitey say about one of these trained Guide Dogs? Sad to think about Hogan’s advancing age. Ulysses is a Golden, too, soon to be nine. How did that happen?

    Going to a School For The Blind is an excellent idea!!

    Good luck with this!!
    .-= mukunda22´s last blog ..The Presence Of The Divine: Allow Her To Lead =-.

  13. David Verney says:

    My mother is a guide dog owner here in England. She has had guide dogs all my life and before. I am now 34 just for the record. The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association here in England work with many visually impaired people, some of whom are controversial as guide dog owners, because it is argued that their sight is not sufficiently bad enough for them to need the use of a dog. My mum is totally blind and she is waiting for a new dog now.

    My dad also used to organise sponsored canoeing events in aid of Guide Dogs for the Blind and has been awarded by the GDBA for that. Sadly, he now has Parkinsons’ Disease and is not going to get better.

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