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Retired Dog Policies

When we talk about retired dogs, we are including dogs who have retired from active guide, support, or service work, as well as those retiring from the breeding program.


The age of retirement varies considerably and is completely dependent upon a number of factors related to the dog’s health, age, and situation. Some retired dogs may be able to be placed in another service program, with an organization affiliated with Guiding Eyes.

Retired dogs not used in another program

Guide dogs

  • The graduate has first option of adopting the retired guide dog or placing the dog with an approved adopter who is a close friend or family member.
  • If the graduate chooses not to adopt the dog, it is returned to Guiding Eyes. The puppy raiser will be contacted to determine his or her interest in adopting.
  • If the puppy raiser chooses not to adopt the dog, we look for a home from our waiting list of applicants.


  • Breeding dogs released or retired WITHIN 12 months of active status may be returned to train as a guide dog, dog for special needs clients, or detection.
  • If a released/retired breeder is not used in another program, the dog will be available for adoption.  The right of first refusal will go to eligible puppy raisers and then eligible fosters.
  • Breeders retiring AFTER 12 or more months of active status are offered to the foster family, if the volunteer has had the dog for more than 12 consecutive months.
  • If the foster chooses not to adopt the dog, eligible raisers will be given the option to adopt, starting with the most recent raiser.
  • If eligible fosters and/or raisers decline to adopt the dog, it will be placed into the Guiding Eyes Public Adoption Program.

Detection Dogs

The person responsible for the dog throughout its career is given first option of adopting or placing the dog with a family member or close friend. These adoptions are handled through the affiliated organization that trained the dog.


Retired detection dogs are usually placed a significant distance from Guiding Eyes and often not returned to Guiding Eyes for placement. However, if the dog is returned to Guiding Eyes, the raiser will be offered the right of first refusal before placing the dog with a Public Adoption applicant.