Public Adoption

Guiding Eyes Public Adoption Program

Interested in adopting one of our puppies or dogs who hasn’t gone on to become a guide dog, or been placed with another working dog organization? You’ve come to the right place!


Nearly 500 Guiding Eyes puppies are born each year, and our highly trained staff spends months getting to know our puppies and young adult dogs to make sure they’re suited for guide work.  Just like people, dogs have different personalities and want different careers, and for some, that means becoming a pet!


These puppies and young adult or “career change” dogs are in high demand but are well worth the wait.  Because we receive significantly more applications for adoption than we have dogs available, our selection and matching process is based on suitability rather than on a first-come, first-served basis. Dogs are matched in consideration of the needs of both the dog and the potential adopting home. All our dogs require a commitment from their adoptive families to spend the time, energy, and possible expense of addressing the individual dog’s issues in order to make the match work.


While they make excellent pets, they cannot be used as guide dogs, service animals, or have access privileges as emotional support animals.

What Kind of Dogs Are Available?

Adoptable Guiding Eyes dogs include male and female Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds that have been identified as not suited to guide work for a variety of conditions that can be medical or behavioral.  They range in age from eight-week-old puppies to career change dogs between one and two years old.  All adoptable dogs are microchipped and are up to date on age-appropriate vaccinations.  Career change dogs have been spayed or neutered.

How Much Training Do They Have?

While the youngest adoptable puppies have not been trained, most of our career change dogs have a strong training foundation including socialization, house training and basic obedience.  Like all dogs, they will require regular exercise and will benefit from additional training.

How Long is the Wait?

The wait time for adoption varies depending upon the adopter’s preferences as outlined in their adoption application.  Generally, the more flexible adopters are regarding timing, age, gender, breed, and coat color, the shorter the wait. Because we receive significantly more applications for adoption than we have dogs available, our selection and matching process is based on suitability rather than on a first-come, first-served basis.


One exception is our priority adoption process. Guiding Eyes is a charity and relies 100% on donations to fulfill our mission of providing guide dogs to people who are blind.  Supporters who make a charitable gift of $25,000 or more will be considered for priority adoption for career changed dogs 1-3 years old, which often results in reduced wait times.


Individuals committing to a donation of $7,500 or more can apply to priority adopt a Guiding Eyes puppy (8 weeks of age). For more information, please contact Rebekah Cross at

How Much is the Fee?

When a match is identified, adopters pay an adoption fee of $3,000 for a puppy or $4,000 for a career change dog.  Many people give quite generously in return for our dogs, any amount over the adoption fee may be considered a charitable and tax-deductible contribution.

How Do I Apply for Adoption?

Complete the online application below.  If you do not receive a call  within a year, you will need to fill out another form annually. 


If we have questions or need further information from you, we will contact you by phone. The volume of applications we receive does not permit responses to individual inquiries about the status of an application.  We will contact you by phone if and when we have a puppy or dog that may be suitable for you. At that time, you’ll receive a detailed description of the dog. 


For puppies, adopters are asked to commit over the phone.  They then come to our Canine Development Center in Patterson, NY to complete the adoption process and take their puppy home.  Puppy adopters are required to bring a crate for transportation.


For career change dogs, adopters come to our Yorktown Heights, NY headquarters to meet their dog, then complete the adoption process and take their dog home. You will be advised of the reason it was career changed from the program, what it was like in the puppy raising home, and what its current needs are (both medical and behavioral).


All adopters receive a Welcome Packet containing their dog’s medical history.  All adopted puppies and dogs go home with their adopter the same day the adoption process is completed.  All adopted puppies and dogs must be driven – not flown – to their new homes.

*These are special dogs, so as part of our program, we ask that adopters commit to keeping us up to date with their dog’s progress by completing an Adopters Health Survey each year.

Puppy Adoption Application

Thank you for your interest in applying for a Guiding Eyes puppy. If your application to adopt a puppy is approved, you will receive a confirmation by email. When a puppy becomes available, we will contact you. 

Puppy Adoption Application


You must be 21 years of age or older to adopt a dog from Guiding Eyes for the Blind. Any other animals currently in your home must be spayed/neutered and up-to-date on vaccinations. 

Guiding Eyes for the Blind reserves the right to reject any adoption application at its discretion.



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Please check the preferred characteristics for the dog you wish to adopt.


All questions in this section are required

Some examples of orthopedic issues include hip or elbow dysplasia, cruciate rupture, luxating patella, and osteochondritis. Dog should maintain a lean body weight and avoid concussive activities. Normal exercise is fine, as it is important to maintain muscle. Swimming is an excellent form of low impact exercise for dogs with orthopedic conditions.

Allergies can present as more chronic skin or ear infections. Management may include special diets, medications, bathing, and more frequent vet visits to address flare ups.

Dog may have a history of vomiting bile on an empty stomach, chronic vomiting or diarrhea. Underlying causes may include food sensitivity, gastritis or irritable bowel syndrome. May require medication and/or additional ongoing veterinary care and diagnostics.

Some examples of eye conditions may include corneal lipid dstrophy, iris cysts, conjunctivitis that may be seasonal or year-round requiring veterinary oversight and medication and cataracts. Some eye conditions are relatively inconsequential as a pet, but there is possibility of progression.

Examples of this may include but are not limited to congenital malformations or traumatic injuries affecting limbs or organs.

Dog may have a murmur, arrhythmia, valvular disease and could require medication and/or follow up cardiologist examinations.

Tremors may be intermittent and mild or more pronounced. Seizure management may require follow up care with a neurologist and medication depending on frequency.

The dog may require specialty veterinary care and/or the condition may affect the dog's expected lifespan.

An energetic dog who requires ample daily exercise and mental stimulation. May also be excitable and jump up during greetings or pull on leash in exciting environments, or be “busy” and need help learning to settle in the house.

Separation anxiety happens when a dog that's hyper-attached to their owner gets super-stressed when left alone.

Typically, a confident dog needing clear leadership. May include dogs who can get easily excited or over-stimulated, leading to jumpy and mouthy behavior, such as grabbing clothing, putting their mouths on people’s hands/arms, or avoiding having their collar grabbed (playing “keep away”). These dogs may be more independent or not as eager to please. Some may also be sensitive to having their body handled during grooming or vet procedures. The ideal placement does not have small children and can provide consistent boundaries, structure, and continued obedience training.

Dogs lacking confidence generally have more sensitive personalities and require a handler who can support them through patient training. Dogs of this type may be fearful, shy, or nervous in certain environmental situations, or around unusual objects, loud noises, or unfamiliar dogs or people.

May include: alert barking to noises or objects/people, attention-seeking barking at people, barking when left in a crate, barking when excited or frustrated.

Dog can become excited around other dogs and/or people and/or other things in the environment such as birds, cats, squirrels, etc. May pull on leash, jump up, bark with excitement, or be difficult to refocus on the handler. Typically needs continued training and management, along with time to mature. 

Typically friendly with people, dog is uncomfortable around other dogs and may avoid other dogs or may growl/snap/bark when they approach. Dog may need careful introduction to other dogs. Can also be a dog who shows resource guarding around other dogs. The ideal placement has no other dogs in the home and is able to avoid interactions with unknown dogs. Not placed in homes with other dogs, or where other dogs visit often.

Not suitable for living with a cat or other small uncaged animals. Dog may chase cats or other small animals.  Usually compatible with other dogs unless otherwise noted.

May include: inappropriate chewing, counter surfing, picking up inappropriate items (shoes, remote, paper, etc.), playing keep-away with stolen items.  These dogs require additional training and consistent supervision in the home.

Dog growls or snaps when a person or dog attempts to take food, toy, or another high-value item.  Some dogs will only resource guard towards other dogs, some only towards people, some dogs to both. Some dogs will only guard food, others only toys.  This is managed with training and household structure to avoid these situations. Typically, not placed in homes with young children.

Please supply contact information for three references in support of your adoption application. One should be your veterinarian, if you have one, and the other two must be non-family members and/or people not living in your household.:
Reference 1

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Reference 2

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Reference 3

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By submitting this form, I understand that I am submitting an application for the adoption program. I understand that if I adopt an approximately 8-week old puppy, that the puppy has little to no formal training and it is my responsibility  to provide the support, obedience training and socialization opportunities necessary for the puppy’s growth and development. I also understand that Guiding Eyes for the Blind has determined that this dog is best suited to be a pet and may not be used or trained as a guide dog or service dog nor have access privileges as an emotional support animal. 

You may receive future communications from Guiding Eyes for the Blind as a result of completing this adoption application.