Guide Dogs for the Blind Hosts Virtual Holiday Celebration

Guide Dogs for the Blind Hosts Virtual Holiday Celebration

Portland, OR. Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) hosted a Virtual Holiday Celebration on December 6th. The event featured stories of GDB’s canine teams across the country. Through the event, $400,000 was raised for the non-profit. Supporters who missed the celebration can watch it online here. People can continue to donate for the event until December 16th and will be given an opportunity to name a GDB puppy.

Guide Dogs for the Blind celebrated its first virtual holiday celebration.

The Virtual Holiday Celebration was hosted by Liam Mayclem, an Emmy Award-winning radio and TV personality, along with Theresa Stern, GDB Vice President of Outreach, Admissions, and Alumni Services. Chris Benninger, president and CEO of GDB, gave updates on the nonprofit, along with the GDB ambassador dog, Thea. Zach Thibodeaux, a recent Guide Dogs for the Blind graduate, shared his story of receiving his first guide dog, Natura. There were some special appearances of the actor Noah Wyle and some GDB guide dogs, and a video starring canine teams across the U.S. was featured.

The Virtual Holiday Celebration was hosted by Emmy Award-winning radio and TV personality Liam Mayclem and Theresa Stern, GDB Vice President of Outreach, Admissions, and Alumni Services.

The virtual celebration had over 1500 attendees sign-on, and an additional 120 viewers signed on to the  Facebook Livestream. Guests joined from all over the States, and from Canada, England, India, and Italy. Donations were given from all around the world.

Behind the scenes of the virtual holiday celebration, with President and CEO of Guide Dogs for the Blind, Chris Benninger.

From Guide Dogs for the Blind:

Guide Dogs for the Blind is a guide dog school that trains highly qualified guide dogs to provide free services in order to empower visually impaired individuals. The organization has been serving people throughout the United States and Canada since 1942.

Guide Dogs for the Blind was the subject of an award-winning 2018 feature-length documentary called Pick of the Litter, which was developed into a television docu-series by the same name that had its debut in late 2019 on the streaming service Disney+.

Guide Dogs for the Blind’s K9 Buddy Picnic has Tails Wagging

Guide Dogs for the Blind’s K9 Buddy Picnic has Tails Wagging

Boring, OR. Families with blind or visually impaired children came out to the Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) Campus to learn about the K9 Buddy program on April 27th. At an afternoon picnic, Kids like Charlie and his parents learned about the program, and were able to interact with GDB employees and families that have a K9 Buddy dog to see if the program is a fit for them.

Owen and Theodore

Jazzy and Henrietta

The K9 Buddy program matches carefully selected dogs with youth in Washington, Oregon, and California who are blind or have low vision, but are not yet ready to care for a guide dog. These “K9 Buddies” offer comfort and companionship while teaching the child responsibility, and give the child an opportunity to begin exploring the guide dog lifestyle at a young age.

Four current K9 Buddy child and dog pairs were in attendance, along with their families. Chris Benninger, President and CEO of Guide Dogs for the Blind, also flew up from the organization’s campus in San Rafael, California to attend the picnic. Other GDB instructors and employees, as well as several working guide dogs and guide dogs in training, also made appearances. After an educational session about the K9 Buddy program, lunch was served. The families attending then had time to socialize, make crafts, and say hi to the dogs.

Here’s a video about the program:

From Guide Dogs for the Blind:

Since 1942, Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) has been creating partnerships between people, dogs, and communities. With exceptional client services and a robust network of instructors, puppy raisers, donors, and volunteers, we prepare highly qualified guide dogs to serve and empower individuals who are blind or have low vision from throughout the United States and Canada.

All of the services for our clients are provided free of charge, including personalized training and extensive post-graduation support, plus financial assistance for veterinary care, if needed. Our work is made possible by the generous support of our donors and volunteers; we receive no government funding.

At GDB, we believe that a dog can make a remarkable difference in any child’s life by fostering a sense of caring, companionship, and a sense of responsibility through the human/animal bond. Our K9 Buddy Program matches specially selected dogs to become wonderful pets and buddies to children and young adults who are blind or visually impaired and their families. A dog can contribute to heightening of sensory development, motivating a child to learn and enhancing self esteem. The K9 Buddy program connects the child/family with our community of puppy raisers and other supporters, including agencies and organizations for the blind. K9 Buddies are offered free-of-charge.

Guide Dogs for the Blind Benefit Highlights Tassels & Tails

Guide Dogs for the Blind Benefit Highlights Tassels & Tails

Portland, OR. Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) hosted a benefit called Tassels & Tails which doubled as a graduation ceremony for the individuals using the highly trained dogs. GDB graduations typically take place at the nonprofit’s campus in Boring, but Tassels & Tails aimed to expose a broader audience to GDB’s life-changing mission by bringing the festivities to 240 people in Downtown Portland at the Hilton. At the benefit, puppy raisers also had the opportunity to join clients on stage and celebrate their new partnerships.

GDB supporter Howard Hedinger visits with Camille Jassney and her guide dog Egan.

Seven Pacific Northwest natives graduated in the ceremony and had the opportunity to walk across the stage with their new guide dogs and share their gratitude for the GDB staff, raisers and the broader community.  Prior to the ceremony, on February 10th, graduates had the opportunity to spend time with the individuals who raised their guide dogs. In addition, the event offered a paid luncheon and fundraising opportunities to support the veterinary/critical care of GDB guide dogs.

Rita Schaefer of the Sigrid Arnhold Foundation spends time with GDB National Major Gift Officer Janet Benjamin and a guide dog puppy.

CEO Chris Benninger shares a moment with guide dog puppy in training Harriet.

GDB instructor Mallary Paoli stands with GDB client Russell Aley and his new guide dog Hera. To their right is the Apland family, Hera’s puppy raisers.

GDB Client George Basioli and his guide dog Dustin stand between longtime supporters Sharon and Marc Alport.

Friend and supporter Nora Harrison poses with two adorable guide dog puppies in training.

From Guide Dogs for the Blind:

Since 1942, Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) has been creating partnerships between people, dogs, and communities. With exceptional client services and a robust network of instructors, puppy raisers, donors, and volunteers, we prepare highly qualified guide dogs to serve and empower individuals who are blind or have low vision from throughout the United States and Canada.

All of the services for our clients are provided free of charge, including personalized training and extensive post-graduation support, plus financial assistance for veterinary care, if needed. Our work is made possible by the generous support of our donors and volunteers; we receive no government funding.