Guide Dog Programs
September is National Service Dog Month! Click here to find out more!
Natural Balance® provides food for Guide Dog Associations. Click on the links below for more information about each program:
Guide Dogs of the Desert
Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance® Pet Foods is helping to support guide dogs through their work with Guide Dogs of the Desert.
For 35 years, Guide Dogs of the Desert has provided high quality guide dogs and individual instruction to the blind, the elderly blind and the blind with special needs, so they may live a more mobile and independent life.
Guide Dogs of the Desert serves blind individuals throughout California, Arizona and Nevada, as well as from throughout the United States and Canada.
Guide Dogs of the Desert was founded in 1972 by Mr. Lafayette "Bud" Maynard with the goal to provide quality guide dogs to the blind and the multi-handicapped blind. He began by training students one at a time from his home. With the help of the Cathedral City Lions Club, Guide Dogs of the Desert was incorporated and licensed under California State Law and the Department of Consumer Affairs.
Approximately 300 volunteers provide a wide range of support services for Guide Dogs of the Desert. Over 120 individuals from Alaska to New England to Florida are serving as volunteer puppy raisers for our school at any given time. All of the services are provided free of charge to the blind.
At right is Dick Van Patten taking a walk with one of their certified Guide Dogs.
Guide Dogs of Texas, Inc.
Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance® Pet Foods is helping to support guide dogs through their work with Guide Dogs of Texas, Inc.
San Antonio based Guide Dogs of Texas, Inc. compliments the fine services offered by national schools by providing a regional alternative. GDTx is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing mobility and independence to Texans who are visually impaired. The school excels in providing high-quality, personal one-on-one training and ongoing support after graduation.
The key to a successful working team is the right match between dog and handler. Rather than training people on a first-come, first-serve basis, GDTx carefully assesses the strengths and weaknesses of each dog and client. Speed of walking, working environments, distances of routes, and dog and client personalities are some of the many considerations used to make a match.
The small size of the organization allows a flexible and personal approach. Clients who cannot leave their job or family for a full four-week course can take advantage of partial or full training at their homes.
Classes are run by dedicated, energetic staff and are very small, with one or two clients training at a time. The small class size allows instructors the ability to address the individual needs and concerns of each client. The training program focuses on a unique philosophy of complete client care. Each team is advised, supported, and monitored not only during training but also throughout the lifetime of the dog. This on-going care promotes happy, relaxed, and confident teams.
In addition to working with the visually impaired, Guide Dogs of Texas has a program called Pawsitive Approach, which is a joint effort between the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (specifically, the Dominguez State Jail), the Windham School District and Guide Dogs of Texas, Inc. Their goals include providing the opportunity for non-violent offenders to exercise responsibility, learn how to nurture, focus attention, problem solve and cooperate with others in order to achieve a common goal, foster pro-social behavior and to facilitate reintegration into society.
This approach originated when Puppy Program Manager, Yvette Rowland of Guide Dogs of Texas, Inc. was developing this program at the same time Principal Owen Kelly at the Dominguez State Jail was wanting to develop an educational program for confinees that centered around the human/animal bond. They "share the same vision" - something that will last long after the confinee returns home.
Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance® Pet Foods provides food and support for Guide Dogs of Texas, Inc.
Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance® Pet Foods provides food and support for Guide Dogs of the Texas. Pick up a specially marked bag of Natural Balance dog food with this sticker in the Month of September (left), and you can help our guide dog program, too!
Contact Guide Dogs of Texas: Phone: 210-366-4081 or Toll Free: 800-831-9231
Japan/Office Profit: National Service Dog Association, Inc.
Office Profit and Natural Balance® together support and feed Service Dogs for the National Service Dog Association, Inc. of Japan. The NSDA trains service dogs and educates quality trainers, as well as advises local rehabilitation centers that need service dogs.
The NSDA offers service dogs free of charge to individuals with disabilites, and trains their dogs for each individual. They also follow up with each person in order to adjust to changing needs and environments.
The Service Dogs of the NSDA are trained to help people with disabilities to allow them mobility and independence. Service Dogs' abilities include bringing the telephone, helping shop, opening doors, pushing elevator buttons, helping their owners stand up and get up and down stairs.
We are proud to feed the NSDA dogs!