Program areas at Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind
Training program - our instructors complete a three year apprenticeship program before they become certified instructors. During fy 2022, 212 dogs began formal training for placement with a consumer of either the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, Inc. or its related organization america's vetdogs -the veteran's k-9 corps, Inc. the Guide Dog Foundation manages america's vetdogs and is reimbursed for the services it provides to america's vetdogs. Formal training takes approximately three to four months during which time the Foundation cares for all dogs. Dogs are housed on campus in state of the art kennels in the designated training center. Not every Dog that enters formal training becomes a Guide or service Dog. the Foundation currently estimates a success rate of approximately 50%. After completion of formal training, the Dog is ready to be teamed with a consumer. the consumer or student and their Dog are trained to work together as a team either on our campus, in the consumer's home community or a combination of the two. the process and the Foundation's commitment continues after placement with aftercare, follow-up, support and outreach throughout the life of the Dog. the cycle is perpetual, with each stage financed 100% by the organizations.
Student and graduate services - during fy 2022, the Guide Dog Foundation graduated 39 Guide Dog teams, 2 service Dog teams, and placed 1 facility Dog with Georgia academy for the Blind. In addition, america's vetdogs graduated 14 Guide Dog teams, 43 service Dog teams, 33 ptsd/service Dog teams, 3 seizure/service Dog teams, 2 hearing/service Dog teams and placed 6 facility dogs; one at fort bragg, one with courthouse dogs, one with oakland va medical center, one with brooke army medical center, one with madigan army medical center and one with the lakeshore Foundation. Our students come from all over the u.s. as well as outside the u.s. each consumer's needs are evaluated, and if possible a Dog is trained to meet those needs. Some of the disabilities served include: physically disabled, prosthetic limb recipients, traumatic brain injuries, profound hearing loss and those with a primary diagnosis of ptsd. In addition to the tasks, the dogs are trained to mitigate a person's disability. Service dogs also provide comfort and provide re-socialization assistance for our veterans. Students typically stay on campus for approximately two weeks in the student residence which can accommodate up to 17 students at a time. Each student has a private room with private bath. the residence is staffed 24 hours per day. All meals are provided. Students can also receive home training, where the Foundation sends a certified instructor to the student's home community.
Breeding and puppy program - during fy 2022, the Foundation supported 121 dogs in the breeding colony. the breeding colony is carefully selected after extensive screening and testing. During fy 2022, 359 puppies were added to the programs of the Guide Dog Foundation and america's vetdogs. Puppies spend seven to eight weeks in our puppy nursery. From the nursery they spend approximately one year in the home of a volunteer puppy raiser or prison puppy program before coming back to the organization for formal training. During fy 2022 a total of 359 puppies were placed. 249 puppies were placed in puppy raiser homes and 110 puppies participated in our prison puppy program. the organization currently supports puppy raisers in nearly 20 states and has agrements with 14 prisons throughout Massachusetts, Maryland, Florida, Connecticut, Maine and Pennsylvania. During the time the puppies are in puppy raiser homes, we support the volunteer family through constant outreach, communication and training. We bring our volunteer regional puppy raiser coordinators on campus for training and support that they can share with their local regionally based puppy raising families. the professional puppy staff supports our puppy raising volunteers and our staff typically visits each prison weekly to follow up and train the inmate handlers who are carefully screened to insure they are suitable candidates to participate in this program.
Public education - public outreach and education are important parts of the mission of Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind. the Foundation partnered with the dodo and raised Guide Dog vito and demonstrated various skills a Guide Dog can provide. This past year, three issues of the guideway were distributed to an average of 46,000 recipients per mailing. the guideway is the official newsletter to educate the public about Guide dogs, Guide Dog etiquette, and disability issues. the Foundation typically hosts speaking engagements for local schools and community organizations to educate the public about our programs. the Guide Dog Foundation has embraced social media as a means to reach our supporters efficiently and effectively. We currently have nearly 35,200 likes on facebook and over 5,100 followers on twitter. Additionally, we have another 66,200 followers through youtube, linkedin and instagram.