Blind World Magazine

Graduates of Guide Dogs for the Blind harness the incredible power of the human-animal bond.

Keokuk Gate City Daily, Iowa.
Thursday, March 02, 2006.

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. - Joseph Booth of Wayland, Mo., graduated recently with a black Labrador retriever guide dog named Volare at his side. The duo completed a month of intensive training at Guide Dogs for the Blind, Inc., in San Rafael, Calif. Graduation took place on Saturday, Feb. 4, at the campus located 20 miles north of San Francisco.

Graduates of Guide Dogs harness the incredible power of the human-animal bond. These remarkable canines offer warm companionship, safe mobility and foster confidence and independence.

During the course of training, skilled Guide Dogs and their new partners learn to negotiate stairways, elevators, overhead obstacles, crowded sidewalks and busy streets. The dogs are trained to avoid distractions and disobey commands to cross a street if traffic is approaching.

Guide Dogs for the Blind is more than a school - it is a community dedicated to providing people who are blind with the opportunity to experience what a partnership with a Guide Dog can mean - not only to mobility, but to quality of life. It is the only school in the country that has built its program around both the functional and personal aspects of a Guide Dog partnership.

The school is committed to matching each person with the right dog, developing a personalized training program matched to each person's lifestyle and providing unprecedented support services to establish a true life-long partnership.

Guide Dogs for the Blind has produced more than 10,000 trained guides for graduates across the United States and Canada since 1942. There are currently more than 2,000 people with vision loss enjoying the comfort, companionship and safety of these exceptional dogs.

The school also ensures that every one of its dogs is well cared for during its life, whether or not it becomes a guide. Students are offered air transportation, room and board, training, equipment, financial assistance for veterinary care and support services free of charge. Guide Dogs' extensive post-graduation support underlines its lifelong commitment to the continuing success of each graduating team. Upon the retirement of a guide, the graduate is invited to return for training with a new guide dog.

Guide Dogs for the Blind is a non-profit organization supported entirely by private and charitable donations.

For more information, contact Guide Dogs for the Blind at its national headquarters: P.O. Box 151200, San Rafael, CA 94915; toll free number: 800-295-4050, and on the Web at

End of article.

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