About Guide Dogs of the Desert
Blindness is a disability that can strike anyone – at any moment, with devastating results. There are increasing numbers of Americans that have lost their vision due to an accident, at birth, or to complications associated with aging, coronary disease, diabetes, glaucoma and macular degeneration. This loss of vision predominantly leads to an individual’s loss of mobility, freedom, and independence.
Since 1972, Guide Dogs of the Desert has made a difference in the lives of individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Over the past 45 years, more than 1,400 client/guide dog teams from around the country have graduated from Guide Dogs of the Desert – enjoying richer, fuller, and more productive lives. Attending a 28-day in-residence training on the Guide Dogs of the Desert campus, the blind individual is matched with the highest-quality guide dog that is custom trained to the individual’s personal needs and home environment—all at no cost to the client—thanks to financial supporters like you. Because of this founding philosophy, class sizes are small assuring individualized training for optimal success as a team. It is you who makes it possible for Guide Dogs of the Desert to provide these individuals with custom-trained guide dogs that deliver the gift of new found confidence, independence, safe mobility, and infinite smiles.
Guide Dogs of the Desert is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, totally reliant on philanthropy from individuals, foundations, corporations, and service clubs. We do not receive any state or federal funding.
Executive Director’s Message – October 2018
Thanks to your generosity, Guide Dogs of the Desert is in full swing for the desert season, doing what it does best . . . providing custom trained guide dogs for the blind . . . for safe mobility, companionship and independence. A new class arrived mid-September and will be residence for a full four weeks, graduating with their guide dogs on Saturday, October 13, 2018 – 12:00 noon here at the Guide Dogs’ campus – Santulli Auditorium. This class is sponsored by the Nesbitt Foundation, whose generosity since 1997, has provided countless guide dog to the blind/visually impaired.
We are “scaring up” some fun activities this month, raising awareness to support Guide Dogs of the Desert. Ruby’s Diner (Palm Springs) is repeating Dine at Ruby’s fundraising opportunity. So after graduation on October 13th, head to Ruby’s in Palm Springs (along with a printed flyer) and enjoy a great lunch or early dinner and benefit Guide Dogs of the Desert. Guide Dogs will be attending the San Bernardino Valley College Disability Fair on October 3rd, an Ambassador Speaker Team has been invited to give a presentation at Sun City Shadow Hills on October 9, and Guide Dogs’ will be heartily represented at the Long Beach VA White Cane Day event on October 15th. The month ends with the annual Puppy Raiser Halloween Party on October 27th.
With all that activity, we will be conducting a second in-residence training, beginning October 21st, with their graduation being held Saturday, November 17th.
When I reflect on the trust and investment you – as friends and donors – have made to Guide Dogs of the Desert, I am reminded of graduate Phil W.’s comment … “with a cane I was only aware of obstacles… with a guide dog, I don’t even know the obstacles exist.” Your generosity removes the obstacles that allows the organization to do what it does best – custom trains guide dogs for the blind.
Thank you for your trust and confidence in Guide Dogs of the Desert, and bestowing valuable treasure that, in turn, removes obstacles so “6 paws” can start a new life interdependent to create independence.
Sarah G. Clapp
Guide Dogs of the Desert provides custom trained guide dogs for the blind, and for those with special needs, for safe mobility, companionship, and independence.
Founded 45 years ago, Guide Dogs of the Desert adheres to the premise that every legally blind person should have the opportunity to utilize a guide dog, including those with multiple disabilities. Because of this commitment, class sizes are small and focus on the individual needs of each client.
Many clients lost their sight at birth, through a life altering accident, or have progressive eye diseases. Acquiring a guide dog can be life changing, providing a renewed sense of freedom and confidence, and the ability to partake in everyday activities that many take for granted.
All of the above is provided at NO COST to the clients we serve.
Guide Dogs of the Desert is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation.
Guide Dogs of the Desert was founded in 1972 with the goal to provide quality guide dogs to the blind and the multi-handicapped blind. With the help of the Cathedral City Lions Club, Guide Dogs of the Desert was incorporated and licensed under California State Law and the Department of Consumer Affairs.
By 1975 Guide Dogs of the Desert leased a two-bedroom house with a detached garage located on the current school property.
In 1976, several individual members of Canyon Country Club in Palm Springs, California backed the purchase of the property and renovations commenced. The demand for specialized guide dog training and individualized instruction soon required larger facilities.
In 1982, Lions Club members, local businesses and a grant from the Lions Club International Foundation served to expand the kennels and dormitory. The adjoining six acres was purchased to provide for future expansion.
An additional five acres was purchased in 1995 for the development of a breeding facility and additional kennels.
Student housing was completed in the fall of 1997, with accommodations for 12 students. The dormitory was designed with the input of students and graduates. The facility offers single bedrooms for each student with a shared bathroom for every two students. There is also an auditorium with a kitchen and a dining room. The dorm also has a recreation room equipped with a talking computer with Internet access, exercise equipment, musical instruments and a television. Microwaves and laundry equipment are also available.
An additional kennel was built in 1998, made possible by the Mary Stuart Rogers Foundation. This facility is used strictly for the care of breeding dogs and their puppies.