Guiding Eyes has an extensive Kennel Enrichment Program. Our nurturing staff and volunteers provide a healthy combination of exercise and rest to stimulate our dogs’ minds.
Kennel enrichment is the practice of providing animals under managed care with environmental stimuli. This practice ensures a positive, enjoyable kennel experience for the dogs. Any novel stimulus which evokes an animal’s interest can be considered enriching:
Our program is designed to provide an inviting kennel environment – enhancing the dogs’ lives and preventing stress during this important training period. Kennel volunteers will spend the majority of their time cleaning the kennels and equipment and assisting the staff in other duties. Volunteers are offered the opportunity to specialize in one particular enrichment area and will receive additional training to perform the required tasks for that area.
Staff or volunteers spend quality alone time with a dog in his or her run. Sitting in a low beach chair, they can groom, use toys or simply cuddle with the dog. This creates a more relaxing atmosphere where the dog is not being asked to do anything except be a dog. This exercise also helps the dog view his/her run as a positive environment.
Staff or volunteers take retired or released dogs on leisurely walks along the campus nature path. These walks provide the dogs with time away from the kennel to relax and unwind outdoors. Dog walking volunteers must have experience handling and walking large dogs.
Staff or volunteers brush, bathe and dry select dogs in our washing facility. Dog bathers must be able to sit, stand and bend for at least 30 minutes at a time.
Volunteers can participate in playtime once they have volunteered at our campus in an alternate position and have been approved by the staff. Playtime volunteers take individual dogs into one of our outdoor community runs. Here the dogs have various toys to play with, including pools and ice toys in the summer months. Volunteers also have the option to use our turf run where the dogs can stretch their legs, play a game of fetch or enjoy one on one interaction in an outdoor environment.
All potential volunteers must complete a volunteer application and undergo a screening, training and evaluation process prior to placement. Additionally, volunteers are required to adhere to a code of conduct indicating that they will uphold the highest standard of professional conduct while volunteering with Guiding Eyes for the Blind.
This unpaid internship is available to college students, 18 years old or over, who are looking to gain practical experience in their field. We are not able to offer this opportunity to High School Seniors at this time.
We encourage applicants to submit their internship requests well in advance; 3 to 6 months is preferred.
Guiding Eyes provides the opportunity for unpaid college internships at our Yorktown Heights campus only, that allow for hands-on experience with service dogs. Interns are responsible for helping kennel staff with basic animal care and kennel cleaning with a particular focus on dog enrichment.
Dog Enrichment is the practice of providing animals under managed care with environmental stimuli. Here at Guiding Eyes we have an extensive Kennel Enrichment Program designed to enhance the lives of our dogs undergoing guide dog training so that we can prevent stress build-up during this important training period. Our internship program is designed for students with a serious interest in the animal care and training field to gain practical experience while helping Guiding Eyes achieve our mission of expanding the horizons of the blind and visually impaired.
Please Note: Applications for internships are accepted year-round however the following minimum requirements are in effect:
It is often financially impractical for non-local residents to apply unless they are able to secure nearby lodging. Unfortunately we are unable to provide accommodation or assistance in locating accommodation for interns. If you are interested in applying for an internship with Guiding Eyes, please complete the Internship Application below.