Guide Dogs Make Ordinary Moments Extraordinary

Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind matches visually impaired clients with the dog that’s right for them, enhancing mobility and creating powerful bonds.

Crossing the street independently becomes a moment of liberation. Traveling alone becomes a welcome adventure. Embracing new experiences becomes an everyday occurrence.

These examples cited by Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind illustrate how the power of a bond between a guide dog and a person who is visually impaired can make ordinary, everyday moments extraordinary.

Guide Dog Foundation instructor and yellow Labrador retriever practice stopping at curbs onsite at the Smithtown, Long Island campus. Photo Courtesy of Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind

In 1946, when the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind (GDF) was founded, its mission was simple: to provide guide dogs and training – free of charge – to people who were blind or visually impaired. For more than 75 years, GDF has trained and placed guide dogs and service dogs to provide increased independence and enhanced mobility to people who are blind, have low vision, or have other disabilities.

Through a meticulous curriculum, small classes, and individualized instruction, GDF's guide dog partnerships enable clients to experience increased independence, safety and mobility. Once accepted to the program, individuals travel to the GDF campus in Smithtown, N.Y., for training and instruction. GDF staff also provide assistance with transition from class to home — and a lifetime of aftercare support.

Recent funding to the organization will support these powerful, mobility-enhancing partnerships. The Foundation’s Board of Directors awarded multi-year grants to several nonprofit organizations serving people with visual impairments in Greater New Haven, including Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind. The grants were made possible thanks to two funds established decades ago by donors who stated a preference that grants be made specifically for the benefit of the visually impaired: The Jennie C. Bronson Fund, and the Albert Zunder Fund. (Learn more.)

"It costs over $50,000 to breed, raise, train and place one guide dog; however, there is never a charge to the individual," says Jennifer Gisler, Chief Growth Officer. "Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind is grateful the support of The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven. The grant award we received will help support the training and placement of a guide dog for an individual with visual impairments who lives in the Greater New Haven area. Our mission would not be possible without the generosity of Foundations like yours."

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