SAN RAFAEL, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) announced today that it has expanded the geographic and demographic scope if its K9 Buddy Program to include adults of any age who are blind or visually impaired throughout the U.S. GDB also plans to ultimately expand the program to Canada.
The K9 Buddy Program matches specially selected dogs with people who are visually impaired to become companions and pets. Previously, the program was primarily limited to the western U.S. and was focused on youth. In addition to continuing to actively serve youth and their families, this expansion means more adults who want to learn about the guide dog lifestyle and even people who may not qualify for a guide dog can join the GDB community and benefit from the companionship of one of GDB’s exceptional dogs.
In addition to receiving K9 Buddies from GDB free of charge, K9 Buddy recipients are also eligible for GDB’s Veterinary Financial Assistance program to support the ongoing health of their dogs throughout their lifetime.
“We believe a dog can make a remarkable difference in any person’s life, by fostering a sense of caring, responsibility, self-esteem, and confidence,” said Kelsey Gilbert, GDB K9 Buddy Program manager. “We’re delighted to spread the love and benefits of having a K9 Buddy to a greater number of people throughout the U.S. and ultimately Canada.”
Good candidates for K9 Buddies are children five or older and adults of any age who have a visual impairment as verified by an ophthalmology report. Candidates should be able to provide a safe and loving home environment, exhibit emotional stability, and possess the ability and desire to care for a dog, which includes feeding, grooming, and exercising.
K9 Buddies are not trained to perform the tasks of a service dog and therefore are not defined as service animals by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). To learn more about GDB’s K9 Buddy Program, visit GDB K9 Buddies.
About Guide Dogs for the Blind
Headquartered in San Rafael, Calif., Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) is the largest guide dog school in North America. It is a passionate community that prepares highly qualified guide dogs to empower individuals who are blind or visually impaired to move through the world more safely and confidently. This year marks the organization’s 80th anniversary of helping its clients live the lives they want to live. More than 16,000 guide teams have graduated from GDB since it was founded in 1942. GDB not only improves mobility for its clients, but it also furthers inclusion and advocates for policy reforms that change how the world views blindness. GDB’s services are provided free of charge, and it receives no government funding. The organization was the subject of an award-winning 2018 documentary feature film called Pick of the Litter, which can be found on most popular streaming platforms. The film was developed into a television docuseries by the same name that debuted in 2019 on Disney+. For more information, visit guidedogs.com, or call 800.295.4050.