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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Leader Dogs for the Blind / FACTS

Did you know that since 1939, Leader Dogs for the Blind in Rochester, MI has produced over 14,000 guide dog teams?

The first "class" at Leader Dogs had only four people--and the dogs were Dobermans!  Now 80% of the dogs used are Labs, 15% are Golden Retrievers, and less than 5% are German Shepherds.

About 250 teams graduate from Leader Dogs every year.  There are Leader Dogs in every state except Hawaii and in 39 countries around the world (nearly 700 in Spain and more than 400 in Mexico).

It takes a lot of support to breed, raise, train, and pair up these amazing guide dogs with their handlers.
  • There are about 400 puppy-raisers in 22 states and Canada.  About 70% of puppy raisers raise more than one puppy, but more are needed!
  • There are more than 70 breeding dogs in the Leader Dog program.
  • The 65,000 square feet of kennel at Leader Dogs houses 300 dogs!
  • Dogs at the kennel eat more than 122,000 pounds of dog food every year.
  • Vision impaired people who come to Leader Dogs for a guide dog live on site and train with their Leader Dog for 26 days.
  • The Food Service Department at Leader Dogs prepares 170 meals per day!  2000 dozen eggs, 1800 pounds of beef, 3000 pounds of chicken, and 1200 loaves of bread yearly.

Where does Leader Dogs for the Blind get all the money to do this great work?  Funding comes from three sources:  individual gifts, endowment interest, and from service organizations such as Lions Clubs.  Totally voluntary contributions!

I am proud to be associated with this organization.  To learn more, go to their website  (www.leaderdog.org) and spend some time browsing--there is a ton of information there!

For specific "fact sheets," check out this page for more info about puppy-raisers, this page about breeders, this page about student statistics, and this page to learn about Leader Dogs' deaf/blind program (they graduate 4-6 deaf-blind teams each year).

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