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 – January 2018
Happy New Year! 2018 promises to be a great year with increases in the Breeding Program, more clients served with custom trained guide dogs, and continued improvements at the campus.
All Kennel Canine Enrichment Zones and Administration Kennel play areas (north and south side of campus) are now improved with shaded structures and fresh astro-turf, include new play structures and equipment. These much needed improvements were made possible by a grant from The Frank M. and Gertrude R. Doyle Foundation, along with Carl Blue and Betty Evans and we are truly grateful for their support. These shaded expanded play zones will be used year round for the enjoyment of the puppies and dogs in for training.
Rounding out the improvements to the campus, with special appreciation to the Mary Stuart Rogers Foundation and Desert Classic Charities, I am pleased to report that concept drawings are now in process to expand the Guide Dogs’ kennels, with 36 additional kennel runs. This will be the first major expansion since 1997-98, when the Dormitory, Auditorium and Administration buildings were built. Long overdue kennel space will give each dog its own kennel space and creative a more conducive environment for the dogs in for training.
Three client/dog training classes are scheduled, leading into the desert’s summer months. Graduations are scheduled for Saturdays at 12:00 noon: February 17, April 7, May 12. These are held at the Guide Dogs’ campus, open to the public, free to attend and we do hope you will join us for one of these celebratory occasions.
The fundraising event calendar is showing three events to some great fun while supporting Guide Dogs of the Desert: Through the Eyes of Love February 14 concert and dinner, featuring Lorna Luft, held at the Annenberg Center for Health Sciences on the Eisenhower Medical Center campus; Monday, April 2 will be a great repeat event of Dog Day Afternoon, hosted by Yvonne and Steve Maloney, held at the historic Smoke Tree Ranch; and new to the Inland Empire area is the Pinot and Pints for Paws on May 19, held at the Mission Gables Bowl House.
What a way to kick off 2018. It’s all possible because of YOU, contributors who embrace the mission of Guide Dogs – to provide custom trained guide dogs for the blind, and for those with special needs, for safe mobility, companionship and independence. Thank you for making all this and more possible to those we serve. Best wishes for an abundantly blessed 2018!
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.