Canadians continue to receive guide dogs during the pandemic

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Michael Hodgins with guide dog Tosca and retired guide dog Nellie

Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind [CGDB] marked its 37th anniversary on January 12, 2021. CGDB is proud to have successfully created and supported over 900 guide dog teams over the years.

They are a proudly Canadian organization that provides Canadian bred and trained guide dogs, changing the lives of Canadians by improving their safety, freedom, and independence. Their own well-established breeding program ensures a quantity and quality of dogs suitable to the job, and enables the continuance of producing and training guide dogs during the pandemic. 2020 also marked an exciting milestone, as Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind opened their new kennel on the property of their National Training Centre in Ottawa. The state-of-the-art facility only enhances their service, and provides an even better home for the comfort of these incredible future guide dogs as they undergo training.

All of CGDB’s funding comes from Canada, and is then spent here in Canada as they fulfill their mission. They are a national charity that heavily relies on donations and does not receive any government funding.

Despite the numerous unforeseen challenges, Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind continued to successfully place guide dogs in 2020. This past year, they matched and partnered guide dog teams across the country, from British Columbia all the way to New Brunswick.

Understanding the need for their services, CGDB only restricted placement of new teams for the first two months of the pandemic, while they strived to put in new procedures to keep everyone safe. They continue to update their procedures as new information becomes available, and adhere to, or exceed, public health guidelines and laws.

Thanks to thirty-seven years of proven success, Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind has been able to continue with its mandate and ensure that Canadians who require guide dogs can still get them.

Michael Hodgins, from Shawville, Quebec, and his guide dog Tosca, are one of the teams who graduated in 2020. Michael says, “I’m in a white world, not a dark world. Everything’s white to me, I have no focus. I can see some shades of colours, but it’s like someone threw a white blanket over my face. When I put the harness on my guide dog, it’s like flicking a light switch. If I didn’t have a guide dog, I’d be straining going around with a cane, trying to feel my way, or walking on someone’s elbow, and so, this way, I can go out by myself and I don’t have to hang on to that person’s elbow. We’re partners, and Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind has given me independence.”

There are other qualified Canadians like Michael Hodgins who are currently awaiting their guide dog, and Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind is eager to serve them, but they need your support to do so. Whether you need to apply for a guide dog, or would like to make a donation, please visit guidedogs.ca for more information.

 

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