Guiding Eyes Public Adoption Program
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!)
A small percentage of our dogs are not suited to guide or other service work, and are placed in loving homes through our public adoption program. These puppies and young adult or “career change” dogs are in high demand but are well worth the wait. While they make excellent pets, they cannot be used as guide dogs, service animals, or have access privileges as emotional support animals.
Through our Public Adoption Program, Guiding Eyes’ goal is to make the right match for both dogs and owners. The list of loving homes is fortunately longer than available dogs, and therefore wait times can be many months or years.
What Kind of Dogs Are Available?
Adoptable Guiding Eyes dogs include male and female Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds. We are not currently accepting applications for Labrador Retrievers; however, we are accepting applications for German Shepherds.
These dogs have been identified as not suited to guide work for a variety of conditions. They range in age from eight-week-old puppies to career change dogs between one and two years old.
Retired guide dogs are not often available for public adoption; these dogs are often placed with the guide dog user or their original puppy raiser. However, we do place a small number of retired guides each year.
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. However, because demand for our dogs is significant, most adopters wait a year or more.
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 sponsor a graduating guide dog team will be considered for priority adoption, which may in some cases result in reduced wait times. To sponsor a guide dog team, please contact Rebekah Cross at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How Much is the Fee?
When a match is identified, adopters pay an adoption fee of $2,000 for a puppy or $3,000 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. Adoption fees help to cover Guiding Eyes’ costs of approximately $50,000 per guide dog to breed, raise, train, match and support each team for a lifetime.
How Do I Apply for Adoption?
To ensure compatibility, potential adopters participate in our selection and matching process by completing an application and providing references. Approved applicants are placed in our database while Guiding Eyes works to make the best possible match.
Once approved, applicants remain in our database until a match is identified; there is no need to renew or revise applications unless relevant information has changed.
Due to the popularity of our adoption program, Guiding Eyes cannot guarantee regular adoption status updates, but we do our best to respond to individual adoption status inquiries.
How will I know if Guiding Eyes finds the right match for me?
Once a match has been identified, Guiding Eyes contacts the potential adopter with basic information about the puppy or career change 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.
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.
Ready to Adopt?
If you need assistance with adopting a German Shepherd, please contact Jennifer McLain at email@example.com. If you are interested in learning more about the priority adoption process, please contact Rebekah Cross at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*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.