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 – April 2018
April is designated as Volunteer Appreciation Month. Guide Dogs of the Desert could not exist without the dedicated service, brimming with energy and passion, of those who help make our mission possible.
From the untiring efforts of the puppy raisers, to the dedication of Ambassadors, those always willing to put themselves on the “front line” as presenters at events, schools, service clubs, tour coordinators, and the event planners – not to mention those who volunteer their administrative time and expertise – Guide Dogs of the Desert would be hard pressed to get everything accomplished. Did you know – not including the endless hours of the puppy raisers – volunteers contribute over 2,250 hours of time on an annual basis! We are truly blessed!
The guide dog, in-residence training, and post-graduation support to our recipient applicants are all provided at no cost to them. We truly value your contributions of support – be it monetary, in-kind, or your time. The efforts of the entire Guide Dog’s team – breeding department, canine development, puppy raisers, ambassadors, volunteers, licensed trainers, and behind-the-scenes administrative staff – make it possible for “six paws” to walk out the door at graduation.
Guide Dogs of the Desert has many wonderful activities still on the pre-summer calendar, that provides vital support. And mark your calendars for the next two graduation – April 7 and May 12. We look forward to seeing you!
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.