Portland, OR. Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) hosted its annual Canine Heroes Gala on June 6th. This year the event took place on a free, virtual platform that allowed for viewers from across the U.S., Canada, and beyond to see both GDB campuses and enjoy stories and photos of heroic guide dogs. Some guide dogs were dressed in superhero costumes to illustrate their life-changing actions. Others appeared in pictures, like the 8-week old guide dog puppy in training named Beatrice who is seen above.
The Virtual Canine Heroes Gala was hosted by Liam Mayclem, an Emmy Award-winning TV and radio personality, and GDB Vice President of Outreach, Admissions, and Alumni Services, Theresa Stern alongside her guide dog. The gala also featured several vignettes of some four-legged GDB friends which were narrated by Grammy and Emmy Award-winning composer, James Newton Howard.
GDB had 1,220 households register for the event which raised over $350,000. Donors all across the world provided a large amount of financial support to the nonprofit organization’s life-changing mission. After the live event ended, GDB hosted a virtual auction that ran from June 2nd-9th, which allowed people to bid on a wide range of items in support of the organization.
The President and CEO of GDB, Chris Benninger, provided updates on the nonprofit’s plans and topped the evening off by delivering a GDB puppy. The adorable 8-week old black lab puppy, Beatrice, was given to a volunteer puppy raiser to begin her journey to becoming a fully-trained canine hero.
Here’s a video from the organization which also has spoken narration for those with limited sight. Meet GDB client Walter Elias and his black Lab guide dog, Frommer. Walter was interviewed on the grounds of GDB’s Oregon campus. Other footage and photos show Walter and Frommer hiking through a forest, and walking through neighborhoods with his two instructors.
From Guide Dog’s for the Blind:
Guide Dogs for the Blind is a passionate community that prepares highly qualified guide dogs to empower individuals who are blind or visually impaired to move through the world more safely and confidently. GDB not only improves mobility for its clients, but it also furthers inclusion and advocates for policy reforms that change how the world views blindness. All of GDB’s services are free to participants and the organization receives no government funding, which makes events like the Canine Heroes Virtual Gala such a pivotal fundraiser each year.