Guide Dog Foundation



To improve the quality of life for people who are blind, visually impaired, or who have other special needs.



  • The Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind was founded in 1946.

  • The Foundation is headquartered in Smithtown, New York. Located on its 10-acre campus are:
    • Training center, with kennel space for up to 174 dogs
    • National administrative center and student union
    • Student residence hall with 16 private rooms, with private baths and Internet and phone access
    • Breeding department and puppy nursery

  • It costs over $50,000 to breed, raise, train, and place one guide dog; however, there is never a charge to the individual. All students receive their guide dog and training, and a lifetime of aftercare, at no cost to them.

    The Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind was the first assistance dog school in the United States to be accredited by the International Guide Dog Federation and Assistance Dogs International, the two international regulatory bodies that certify guide and service dog schools on a voluntary basis.

  • The Guide Dog Foundation has been rated as a 3-Star charity with Charity Navigator, America's largest independent and recognized charity evaluator. The Foundation is also listed as “Top-Ranked” by CharityWatch, and the American Institute of Philanthropy, with a grade of “A.”

  • The Foundation breeds its own pure Labrador and Golden Retrievers, Standard Poodles, and first-generation Labrador/Golden crosses.

  • There are more than 1300 volunteers nationwide who support the Guide Dog Foundation. Volunteer opportunities include:
    • Puppy raisers
    • Kennel volunteers (to engage dogs in for training during free play time)
    • Student residence volunteers (to take students on outings on weekends during a break from training with their guide dogs)
    • Office volunteers (to help with everything from stuffing envelopes to filing to working special events)

  • The Foundation has more than 300 puppy raisers throughout Long Island, Florida, Texas, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee. Puppy raisers housebreak a puppy, teach it basic obedience, and socialize and educate the puppy so that it grows up to be a confident dog.

  • Pups return to the Foundation’s campus when they are about 14 to 16 months old. For the next three to four months, they will undergo training and be evaluated to determine the career for which they are best suited.

  • Some dogs will become guide dogs for people who are blind or visually impaired, while others will become service dogs for people with disabilities other than blindness. These expanded programs mean more career paths for our dogs and the chance to give more people the gift of independence and mobility.  

  • The Guide Dog Foundation’s field service staff is based all along the East Coast, from Florida to Maine, and lets us offer a variety of training options for guide dog and handler to best meet an individual’s needs. This geographical spread allows us to better serve our students and graduates.

  • Approximately 82 percent of the funds the Foundation raises go toward program services. This fiscal prudence has consistently earned the Guide Dog Foundation high marks from organizations that rate charities. We receive no regular government funding and rely on donations from individuals, corporations, foundations, businesses, and service and fraternal clubs.

  • America’s VetDogs, a subsidiary of the Guide Dog Foundation, provides guide and service dogs to disabled American veterans of all eras.


How to Help

All the services of the Guide Dog Foundation are offered free of charge to people with disabilities. We rely on voluntary contributions from individual donors, corporations, foundations, and service organizations to fund its efforts. With your help, we continue to provide the gift of enhanced mobility and independence.

Here's what you can do:

  • Spread the word about our services to people who are blind or visually impaired.
  • Make a financial contribution and/or encourage your employer, club, or congregation to contribute or raise funds.
  • Sponsor a puppy.
  • Honor a beloved pet or service animal as a “Noble Animal Friend.”
  • Raise a Guide Dog Foundation puppy.
  • Invite a Guide Dog Foundation speaker to your next meeting or event.
  • Include the Guide Dog Foundation in your bequests, legacies and planned gifts.
  • Make a donation in memory or honor of your friends or loved ones.
  • Call our development department for other sponsorship and naming opportunities.

To learn more about the Guide Dog Foundation visit