Guiding Eyes for the Blind’s dogs are recognized throughout the world for their ability to provide independence and safety for the blind and visually impaired, as well as children on the autism spectrum. From college and marriage, to the workplace and soccer games, Guiding Eyes graduates revel in the sense of normalcy their dogs allow them. The dogs truly enable freedom for people to fulfill life’s goals.
“The ability to walk confidently with my dog, knowing that he will stop at curbs and stairs and will object if I happen to make an unsafe traffic judgment, gives me an indescribable sense of freedom,” says Becky Barnes, a blind graduate from Guiding Eyes.
“Bambi has helped me realize that life doesn’t have to be so hard,” shares Kate Lawson, another graduate. “I love having her by my side. Without her, I’d feel incomplete.”
Eileen Fabiano’s son Vincent received Heeling Autism service dog Randy. She notes that, “Randy is our missing puzzle piece. He has saved our lives in every sense of the word. Vincent was notorious for bolting; if he were my only child I would be able to hold on tight to him, but he has a twin and a slightly older sister. We went through years of intense therapies, and I still could not control this frightening behavior. Randy took over, and he accomplished what no person could; he extinguished the bolting behavior! He communicates with Vincent so strongly, eloquently and lovingly, without even using a word. Randy has been a miracle in our lives.”
All Guiding Eyes services are provided to clients free of charge. We rely on public support— both through financial contributions and volunteers— to fulfill our mission.
More than 1,300 volunteers commit their time and talents to helping us change lives. From fostering members of our breeding colony and spending time with our dogs in training to assisting with administrative tasks, each volunteer is essential to our mission.
Perhaps the most exciting volunteer opportunity is to raise a Guiding Eyes puppy. Volunteer raisers take 8-week-old pups into their homes. They teach the puppies basic obedience skills and house manners, and they socialize the puppies to everything the world has to offer. Puppy raisers are people of all ages; they can be families, single people or students. All share a love of dogs and people, and a commitment to the Guiding Eyes mission.
Interested in helping us change lives? Learn how to get involved at www.guidingeyes.org.
When a pup is 16-18 months old, he or she returns to Guiding Eyes for formal training and ultimately pairs with a blind person or an autistic child. Those who raise the puppies can attend their pup’s graduation ceremony and meet the person fortunate enough to benefit from their love and devotion. Most importantly, they’ll feel incredibly proud to have been such a large part of bringing independence to someone’s life.
Guiding Eyes has puppy-raising regions from Maine to North Carolina and as far west as Ohio. The New York City and Westchester regions are particularly close to home, and close to our hearts. A plethora of sights, sounds and smells, as well as plenty of open space and chances for socialization offer a diverse array of training opportunities.