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.