My Sky Color

A forty something Dad, Husband, Engineer guy living in Western Oregon. Reflections on all things in life. A few technical things and whatever else comes along.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Guide Dogs

The youngest has joined the 4-H group where we live. One of their first activities was this weekend. Unknown to us we have a Guide Dogs for the Blind facility near by. Saturday we went and attended a "graduation" and a tour of the facility. It was really amazing!

This is an amazing organization. This started in 1942. They only have two facilities and provide dogs to people all over North America. No public money is involved! Everything is funded by private donations. The organization has operating philosophies that are completely unique.

They actually have their own breeding program. They claim responsibility for the dogs from birth to death. The dogs go to normal families for their first year then to training at one of the facilities for their second year. When the dogs are about two years old they are paired with sight impaired person. We got to see 5 dogs paired up with someone.

The people get two weeks of training with the dog at one of the facilities. All the expenses for flights, meals and training are taken care of. The care of the dog is taken care of for its whole life as required.

The campus was really nice. There are around 150 dogs at the facility in training at any one time. There was no smell. None. No dog smell and no dog poop smell. It was pretty amazing.

Graduations are held every two weeks with about 5 people and dogs graduating. There are somewhere around 2500 dogs active in the system. When dogs are too old to be guides they are placed with families for their retirement years.

This was one charitable organization that I felt really good about. They have a small number of full time employees and a huge number of volunteers. Really top notch volunteers!

Check it out. Guide Dogs