March 16, 2020 – Due to COVID 19 planning and precautionary measures, all visitors, on-site tours and events have been suspended at this time.
Guiding Eyes is based in New York. We operate out of two main locations, the Canine Development Center (CDC) in Patterson, which is where our puppies start their lives, and our Headquarters and Training Center in Yorktown Heights, which is where our dogs learn to be guide dogs.
Both of our facilities provide veterinary care for our dogs.
In addition, we have a field-training center in White Plains, NY, which forms an important part of our guide dog team training.
About the Training Center
Guiding Eyes’ 10-acre campus in Yorktown Heights, NY, is home to its headquarter offices and the training facilities. There are two principle buildings on the site: one housing administrative offices and student facilities, and the other housing kennels and the veterinary hospital.
Training typically begins when the dog is around 18 months old. Each dog is assigned to a professional Guiding Eyes Instructor, who works with each dog for at least 5 months. When the dog responds reliably and safely to all work situations it will encounter while guiding, it is ready to be matched to a person who is blind or visually impaired.
The Training Center is a bucolic country home to our dogs throughout this journey and home to our students who come to learn how to work with their new dog.
If you’re interested in visiting the Training Center, learn more here.
A Warm Welcome
The main entrance to headquarters is the original white clapboard farmhouse from Guiding Eyes’ start more than 50 years ago. The reception area is tastefully decorated in a colonial style, with swag valances and leather armchairs. Two administrators sit behind an oak-paneled countertop, ready to greet all who enter our doors.
A Vibrant Community
The student dining hall is a favorite gathering place where students, staff, volunteers, and guests share meals and experiences. It has a cathedral ceiling and large windows, and seats approximately 40.
A Home Away From Home
Our modern dormitory has 18 single-occupancy rooms with doors that open onto an easily accessible corridor. A second door in each room leads outside. Dorm rooms have radios, TVs, CD players, a telephone and internet connectivity. They are also fully air-conditioned. Rooms are numbered with Braille and raised letter and number signage.
On the main floor of the dormitory you will find the nurse’s office, a student lounge with vending machines, a dog grooming area, and meeting rooms Student common areas and amenities include: a fitness room equipped with accessible treadmill, elliptical, and other fitness items; two tandem bikes for outdoor use; a game room and adjacent living room with Brailed board games, audio captioned movies, books on tape, musical instruments, and access to PC and Mac computer stations with accessible features for students who are blind or visually impaired.
The Nature Walk at the Yorktown Heights campus is a peaceful paved trail set among gardens and bordered by a quiet stream. It is lined with park benches and features a screened gazebo for outdoor activities. The Nature Walk provides a safe setting for recreation and a variety of training situations. We are grateful to the Lions Club chapters that provided a portion of the funds for this wonderful asset.
The kennels provide our dogs with plenty of room for exercise and play. In the same building is the kennel kitchen, which provides our dogs with nutritious, measured meals.
We provide an extensive kennel enrichment program to ensure that our dogs have a positive, enjoyable stay. Learn more about kennel enrichment here.
Please click below to view a pdf of the general layout of the Training School building.
About the Canine Development Center
The Canine Development Center (CDC) is where potential Guiding Eyes guide dogs get their start. This is an exciting place where the first steps are taken toward producing a successful guide dog team: breeding, birthing, socializing, screening, and placing high-potential puppies in loving, nurturing puppy-raising homes.
Our breeding program was established in the mid 1960’s, to ensure a reliable resource of quality dogs to train as guide dogs. Over many generations of selective breeding, we’ve worked to maximize the qualities required for a working guide dog and minimize health problems that could disrupt or shorten a guide dog’s working years.
In 1993, Guiding Eyes became the first guide dog school in North America to establish a state-of-the-art reproduction program with cryogenics and transcervical insemination. We freely share our breeders from guide dog schools around the world, and we’re proud to lead the way in guide dog breeding
About Our Field-Training Center
About 30 minutes away from our Yorktown Heights campus is the field-training center, located in White Plains, NY. It offers students access to real-life settings to enhance their training, such as a restaurant complete with booths – which doubles as our actual dining area.
Indoor grooming and watering facilities are easily accessible from the lounge areas, and a screened-in porch and sheltered patio are also available for students and trainers to enjoy in good weather.
About Our Veterinary Facilities
Guiding Eyes operates two fully equipped veterinary facilities, one at the main campus in Yorktown Heights, NY, and the other at the Canine Development Center in Patterson, NY. From these facilities, three Guiding Eyes veterinarians and four licensed veterinary technicians provide care for all Guiding Eyes dogs, whether in our breeding program, puppy program, or training program.
Both veterinary facilities are equipped for performing x-ray studies, ultrasound (sonograms), and surgeries, as well as for routine, preventative care.
The veterinary staff also provides continuing support to Guiding Eyes graduates and their guide dogs either by coordinating care with veterinarians in the graduate’s home town or through a free veterinary care program we offer to graduates within commuting distance of Yorktown Heights or Patterson.
Many veterinary specialists in the fields of ophthalmology, cardiology, neurology, orthopedics, and radiology donate all or part of their services to provide our dogs with the best care available.