GDA’s “It” Factor

Sunday, August 20th, 2017

What is it that makes someone choose Guide Dogs of America for their first guide dog and what keeps others coming back time after time? We asked our graduates to tell us, in their own words and through their personal experiences, what “it” is. As it turns out, “it” is everything. From the care and professionalism of the instructors and staff, to the perfect match made with their guide dog and the camaraderie found in class. From the daily meals, to the comfortable private rooms. From the big picture, to the little touches.

Donor Spotlight: Bill and Pam McDonald Giving Their All to GDA

Sunday, August 20th, 2017

For GDA Partners in Trust Bill and Pam McDonald, it took only one visit to Guide Dogs of America to know they wanted to offer their financial support to the school.

GDA Puppies Meet Their Raisers!

Sunday, August 20th, 2017

Guide Dogs of America’s volunteer puppy raiser families foster our puppies from the age of 8 weeks until the dogs enter formal guide dog training at around 18 months of age.

Auditorium Named For Beloved GDA Supporter Fran Granger

Friday, August 4th, 2017

More than 350 guests joined Guide Dogs of America President Russell A. Gittlen July 29 for the dedication of the Fran Granger Auditorium on GDA’s campus in Sylmar, Calif. Named in memory of GDA board member J. Weldon Granger’s beloved wife of 46 years, the auditorium is located at the heart of GDA’s visitor and education center.

Graduating Class #399

Tuesday, August 1st, 2017


“E,” “G,” “H,” and “I” Litters Meet Their Raisers!

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

Guide Dogs of America’s volunteer puppy raiser families foster our puppies from the age of 8 weeks until the dogs enter formal guide dog training at around 18 months of age.

Graduating Class #398

Friday, July 7th, 2017


Puppy Raising

Friday, June 30th, 2017
We Need You To Help Raise Us!

Volunteer as a puppy raiser for Guide Dogs of America and be a part of changing the lives of those who are blind or visually impaired. GDA is looking for loving homes to raise a puppy of 8 weeks of age until he or she is around 18 months old. If you live in Southern California, we want to hear from you.


Arm full of puppies

Our puppies are placed in foster homes at 8 weeks of age. The volunteer foster families are called puppy raisers.

All first-time applicants must fill out applications and be interviewed before a puppy is placed in the home. Raisers must live in Southern California (Sylmar, San Gabriel Valley, South Bay, Orange County, Westside Los Angeles, San Diego, Ventura or San Luis Obispo). Children and pets in the household are a plus.

Receiving a puppy: You will be notified and scheduled to come in for a Puppy Orientation meeting. In this meeting we’ll explain the “Do’s” and “Don’ts” for raising the puppy. You will be given a a Puppy Manual on raising and a folder with schedules and tips to help you along the way. After orientation you will be given your GDA puppy.

You will also receive a bowl, brush, bone, leash, collar, ID tag, ID card, puppy jacket, and a 5 lb bag of dog food. Food and any items purchased for the puppy are tax deductible. Our puppies are cared for in our state-of-the-art veterinary clinic on our campus in Sylmar. Out-of-state puppy raisers are reimbursed for all veterinary bills.

Your role as a puppy raiser: You will play an essential part in making sure your puppy receives the proper socialization needed to help adjust to the important job he or she will do later on in life.

It will be your responsibility to socialize the puppy as much as you can. Take your puppy everywhere. Expose the puppy to as many different situations as possible (construction sites, heavy traffic areas, animals, children). A well-socialized puppy will have fewer adjustments to make when he or she comes in for formal guide dog training.

Through our obedience classes, you will teach your puppy how to walk on a leash, how to sit, stay, lay down, and come when called. It will also be your responsibility to attend monthly meetings. The meetings allow your puppy the opportunity to interact with other dogs and the meetings give you the opportunity to talk to other puppy raisers. The meetings are a good time to make friends and compare notes on your puppies.

Guide dog “college”: At about 18 months of age, our puppies return to Guide Dogs of America for formal guide dog training. At that time, we host an In-For-Training Luncheon for puppy raisers as a way to say thank you, to get together one last time, and to give puppy raisers an opportunity to say goodbye as they send their puppies off to formal training.

Formal training takes about four to six months. There is no visiting during this time but the puppy raiser can call to see how their puppy is doing while in training and will receive quarterly report cards.

The ultimate reward: Guide Dogs of America volunteer puppy raisers meet the blind recipient of the dog they raised at the guide dog team’s Graduation Ceremony.

Guide Dogs of America Grads Are On The Go

Tuesday, June 13th, 2017

When students arrive at GDA, it is with the goal of achieving greater independence, mobility and freedom. Having the assistance and companionship of a guide dog certainly makes the day-to-day and routine activities easier. But for guide dog teams, exploring beyond their typical routes or boundaries that they’ve established for themselves can be an adventure and give the guide dog user a greater sense of wanting to explore further. Sometimes it’s a neighboring city or state; or it might be a destination across the country or on an ocean cruise with multiple ports of call; or the call of the wild and the great outdoors. No matter how near or far, our guide dog teams are out and about and enjoying life.

Donor Spotlight: Two Very Special Ladies and a Very Special Gift

Tuesday, June 13th, 2017

A daughter wanted to fulfill her mother’s wishes, and Guide Dogs of America was honored to be the recipient of a gift of more than $1 million. The daughter made the gift anonymously in loving memory of her mother.

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