The Guide Dog Foundation
Guide Dog Foundation (GDF) is a guide dog school located in the United States. The Foundation's ten-acre campus is located in Smithtown, NY and houses their National Administrative Center and Student Residence Hall as well as several kennels, a puppy nursery, and training facilities. It was founded in 1946 in Forest Hills, New York when five community leaders founded a guide dog school in metropolitan New York to provide guide dogs free or charge to blind or visually impaired students and veterans. GDF's mission statement is "to improve the quality of life for people who are blind, have low vision, or have other special needs."
Guide Dog Training Process
The Guide Dog Foundation breeds its own dogs. Male and female Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Lab/Golden crosses, and Standard Poodles are used. The dogs are specially bred for temperament, gentleness, and physical soundness. Dogs are selected to join the breeding colony at an early stage and later the dogs undergo a detailed evaluation to determine if they carry the qualifications to become a breeder dog for the Foundation.
Before undergoing the formal training process at the organization's campus, the dogs live with volunteers tasked with aiding in the development of the future assistance dogs. They are responsible for socializing the puppy through daily outings in diverse surroundings. Puppy raisers are also required to teach basic obedience including how to properly walk on a leash, sit and stay, down, and recall. While living with the volunteer raisers, the dogs are to attend bi-monthly obedience classes to test their improvements. The classes allow the puppy to interact with other dogs and gives the puppy raiser the opportunity to learn new techniques from trainers and other raisers. Dogs are placed between 8 to 12 weeks old and return to the Foundation when they enter the 14- to 18-month age range. Upon arrival to campus, the dog will move ahead with formal training and testing. Formal training lasts approximately three to six months.
The Guide Dog Foundation is a charitable organization. It costs over $50,000 to breed, raise, train, and place one guide dog; however, GDF never charges the individual. The Foundation relies on contributions from generous individuals, corporations, service clubs, and foundations for donations. Charity Navigatorhas rated the Guide Dog Foundation a “3-star charity". The Foundation is also listed as “Top-Rated” by Charity Watch (formerly known as American Institute of Philanthropy) with a grade of “A,” and is a GuideStar Exchange Platinum Participant. The Foundation has also been recognized by the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance as an accredited charity that meets their “Standards for Charity Accountability."
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- "Charity Report - Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind - give.org". www.give.org. Retrieved 2019-04-16.
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