Retiring A Guide Dog: A guide dog’s working life is about 6 to 8 years (they begin working at about 2 1/2 years old.) When it is time to retire a guide dog, the guide dog user has the choice to keep the dog as a pet, give it to a family member, or return the dog to Guide Dogs of America. Sometimes it is difficult on the retired guide dog to keep it as a pet because it may become jealous or depressed over the new guide dog partner.
Retired guide dogs returned to Guide Dogs of America are put into our Adoption Program. We first contact the dog’s original Puppy Raisers and ask if they wish to adopt the dog. If they do not, the guide dog is given to a prescreened individual from our adoption waiting list who wishes to adopt the dog. Currently there is a 4-6 year wait to adopt a ‘career change’ dog or retired guide dog.