As we near the halfway mark celebrating of our 80th Anniversary year, we at Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) continue our mission to harness the power of partnerships to transform the lives of people with visual impairments. More than 16,000 guide teams have graduated from GDB since our founding in 1942. The Marin Independent Journal recently highlighted some of our contributions and plans for the future.
Trading a Cane for a Canine: One Guide Dog User’s Story
Paul Castle didn’t think about getting a guide dog until he was in his 20s, despite experiencing vision loss since childhood. Paul struggled to accept the social stigma he felt when using his cane. He also found it difficult to move comfortably with a cane, often bumping into objects. Paul decided he was ready to pursue the guide dog lifestyle and applied for a guide dog at GDB.
Nurture Your Pet talked with Paul to learn about his guide dog journey and the impact his dog has had on his safety and wellbeing.
Did you know that Guide Dogs for the Blind has 2,000 puppy raising volunteers? Volunteers socialize pups within their communities for about 14 months until they are ready for formal training on one of our campuses. Recently, our southern California volunteer raisers and pups attended the Orange County Transit Authority Service Animal Training Event to learn how to ride on public transit and navigate large crowds.
The event was covered by KTLA Channel 5, and the news story featured GDB staff, volunteers, and puppies who were in attendance. The GDB service dogs in training wear green vests and settle nicely beside their handlers.
Serendipity frequents our Guide Dogs for the Blind community more than one might imagine. This magic happened to Legacy Society members Bill and Joan Truncali of Portland, Oregon and guide dog alum, Bill Faulkner of Calgary, Alberta in the summer of 2009. The Truncalis were having dinner in Seattle with Theda, their beloved GDB career change and ambassador dog, when they were approached by Bill Faulkner, his wife Martha, and daughter Susan. The Faulkners were immediately taken by Theda and inquired about GDB’s services. What happened next changed their lives.
Each year, approximately 800 puppies are welcomed into the world at Guide Dogs for the Blind. In this special two-part episode, Central Bark’s podcast Host, Theresa Stern, sits down with Jenna Bullis, the manager of GDB's world-renowned guide dog breeding program. Learn what makes a guide dog at the DNA level and the intricacies of managing our dog breeding population.