Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind: 37 years and more than 900 guide dogs raised and trained in support of Canadians

CORNWALL — Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind marked its 37th anniversary last month, an organization that has successfully created and supported over 900 guide dog teams over the years.

Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind provides Canadian-bred and trained guide dogs, changing the lives of individuals by improving their safety, freedom, and independence. Their well-established breeding program ensures a quantity and quality of dogs suitable to the job, and enables the continuance of producing and training guide dogs during the pandemic.  2020 also marked an exciting milestone, as Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind opened their new kennel on the property of their National Training Centre in Ottawa. The state-of-the-art facility only enhances their service, and provides an even better home for the comfort of these incredible future guide dogs as they undergo training.

All of Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind’s funding comes from Canada, and is likewise to spent here on their domestic mission. They are a national charity that heavily relies on donations and does not receive any government funding.

Despite the numerous unforeseen challenges, Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind continued to successfully place guide dogs in 2020. This past year, they matched and partnered guide dog teams across the country, from British Columbia all the way to New Brunswick. Understanding the need for their services, Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind only restricted placement of new teams for the first two months of the pandemic while they strived to put in new procedures to keep everyone safe. They continue to update their procedures as new information becomes available, and adhere to or exceed public health guidelines and laws.

Thanks to thirty-seven years of proven success, Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind has been able to continue with its mandate and ensure that Canadians who require guide dogs can still get them.

Bruce Wotherspoon from Cornwall, Ontario, and his guide dog Stefan, are one of the teams who graduated in 2020.

Wotherspoon, who has used guide dogs for twenty-five years says, “I think that if blindness is the worst thing that happens in a lifetime, you’ve done pretty well. I don’t take taxis or public transit. I have a guide dog to get around and that’s what I use him for. I cannot thank Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind enough for giving me independence.”

There are other qualified Canadians like Wotherspoon who are currently awaiting their guide dog, and Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind is eager to serve them, but they need donations to do so. Whether you need to apply for a guide dog or would like to make a donation, please visit guidedogs.ca for more information.

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