May has long come to symbolize graduation and new beginnings. And you are helping us create new beginnings at Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) with every guide dog team we graduate.
How? Your generous financial support makes everything we do here possible!
GDB graduations are joyful occasions, marking the beginning of new, life-changing partnerships that commemorate our graduates’ accomplishments after successfully finishing two weeks of intensive training.
In the past 78 years, GDB has graduated more than 15,000 guide dog teams. Watching the bond that is forged between our clients and their new guide dog is truly magical.
And today, as our country manages life with the coronavirus, I am sure our clients are particularly grateful to have their trusted guide dog by their side.
In addition to the enhanced mobility and independence our graduates experience, their dogs provide much needed companionship and emotional comfort in these challenging times.
Jane Fowler has enjoyed three graduation days since she graduated with her first guide dog, Ari. She recently described what the day feels like from a graduate’s point of view:
“Graduation day is such a unique experience. Family and friends are there to celebrate with you and you actually feel like a celebrity,” she says.
Jane was born legally blind and, at the age of eight, was diagnosed with a retinal degenerative eye disease.
How did a guide dog change her life?
“Someone once said that the dogs guide you back into society and that’s so true. I used to be very shy, but Ari brought people to me and helped me be more sociable. It brought me out of my shell.”
Now a self-described “extrovert,” Jane is enjoying life with her third guide dog, Pilaf. She tells us that, as her vision has declined, Pilaf has scented the need to be more helpful.
Recently, she wrote to us: “Thank you for all of your love and dedication to GDB. I am so blessed to have this sweet little girl who works so hard for me. She has never met a person or dog that she doesn’t love. And she is that guide that will walk through a movie theatre lobby and ignore all the popcorn on the floor. Good girl! She makes walking out the door every day more fun and a lot less stressful.”
You make all of this possible. As you know, we receive no government funding and all of our services, including room and board, veterinary financial assistance if needed, training, and ongoing support are provided to our clients free of charge.
Thank you for opening up a whole new world for our graduates today as well as our future graduates. I hope you will continue with us on this transformative journey by sending a generous gift today.
It is hard to imagine how limiting and hopeless it must feel to have eyes that work only in small ways…and then teaming up with a trained guide dog to open up a new world.
A friend and a companion indeed. Guide dogs are great!