Priority of Use for Guide Dog Foundation Dogs
To provide the best dogs for our programs, and to ensure the best use of the Foundation’s resources, the following priorities are established. Every dog is important and will be used for the purpose for which it is qualified and where it will best serve the needs of our consumers and support our mission. We recognize that there are different careers and paths each dog might take to help us fulfill our mission. Below are brief descriptions of the different uses for our dogs after puppy raising or training.
- Breeding Stock: If a dog meets our standards for breeding stock and is of lines that would complement our breeding colony.
- Guide Dog Foundation and America's VetDogs programs: Throughout the training process, from the puppy homes through our formal training, dogs are continually evaluated for the skills and traits necessary for assisting people with disabilities and assigned to the most appropriate program. Both programs provide:
- Guide Dogs for people who are blind: If a dog is class ready, meets all health, safety, and training standards, and can be matched appropriately with an accepted applicant or current consumer retiring a guide.
- VetDogs provides guide dogs for veterans who are blind; service dogs for those with other physical or emotional disabilities; hearing dogs for those who are deaf or hard of hearing and lost their hearing later in life; physical and occupational therapy dogs to work with amputees in military and VA hospitals; and combat operational stress control dogs that were deployed overseas.
- Transferred to Cooperating Assistance Dog Program: If a dog meets the health, safety, and training standards, and is accepted by a cooperating assistance dog program, it will receive the dog, with the condition that the dog will be returned to the Guide Dog Foundation for adoption if it is not successfully placed.
- Transferred to a Cooperating Detection Dog Program: If a dog meets the standards and is accepted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Michael Stapleton Associates, or other cooperating organization that trains detector dogs, with the condition that the dog will be returned to the Guide Dog Foundation for adoption if it is not successfully placed.
- Transferred to a Strategic Partnership: Strategic partnership encompasses programs that will provide outreach, raise awareness, or education regarding assistance animals. These are mutually beneficial partnerships that raise awareness for the Guide Dog Foundation and America's VetDogs. If a dog meets the standards for strategic partnership with the condition that the dog will be returned to the Guide Dog Foundation for adoption if it is not successfully placed.
- Placed in an adoptive home: All potential adopters are carefully screened to ensure that they are an appropriate match for the dog and will provide a safe and loving home to our career change dogs. The puppy raiser of the dog will be offered first choice of adoption after career change from our programs. If you are current volunteer with at least six months of experience volunteering with us, you can be considered for placement on the adoption waiting list. If you have any questions regarding adoption please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Retirement is a process that is accomplished by the dog’s partner, our consumer services department, and training team. The decision to retire an assistance dog, at any age, can be an emotional and well thought out process. In most cases our client will adopt the retired dog as a pet to a friend or family member. Occasionally, the dog is returned back to the Guide Dog Foundation to find the best home possible. After retirement, the dog will be offered back to the puppy raiser or placed in an adoptive home.