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 – February 2018
February. Our thoughts turn to hearts, chocolates and expressing our love and appreciation. Here at Guide Dogs of the Desert there is no exception as we have once again lovingly opened the campus and our hearts to five clients who are now training with their matched guide dogs.
Matched guide dogs? Absolutely! You may not know it, but Guide Dogs of the Desert has its own match making service – between humans and dogs, of course. When a dog enters the formal training for guide service, the trainers also are assessing for particular abilities and the dog’s personality, so it can be perfectly matched to an incoming client. The relationship begins when the dog is introduced to its handler and they bond into a mutual respected, and loved, working team:
“He whom love touches not walks in darkness.”
We also express appreciation to you, our many donors and supporters, for sharing resources to make it possible for the current class to be custom training with their guide dog to enhance their mobility and independence. Your passion – and compassion – plays an integral role in the success of the guide dog team.
Sarah G. Clapp
Please join Guide Dogs of the Desert for these significant dates this month:
Wednesday, February 7 – 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Art Walk at the Palm Desert Design District
41801 Corporate Way, Palm Desert
Benefitting Guide Dogs of the Desert
Wednesday, February 14 – 5:30 PM Cocktails; 6:00 PM Dinner; 8:00 PM Concert
Through The Eyes of Love featuring Lorna Luft in Concert
Annenberg Center for Health Sciences, Eisenhower Medical Center
Rancho Mirage, CA $250.00/person – dinner and concert
$75.00/person concert only
Saturday, February 17 – 12:00 noon
GRADUATION – Guide Dogs of the Desert February 2018 Class
Sponsored by Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians
All welcome – free to attend
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.