Southfield (CW50) – Leader Dogs for the Blind was founded in 1939 by Charles A Nutting, Donald P. Schuur and SA Dodge. At the time, they were all members of the Uptown Lions Club of Detroit. Their motivation for creating Leader Dogs was another Lions Club member, Dr. Glenn Wheeler, who had lost his eyesight and wanted a guide dog. They bought a small farm in Rochester Hills, and over the past 80 years the land has been expanded to form what is the 14-acre Leader Dogs campus.
Leader Dogs for the Blind offers several programs and services for the blind and visually impaired including: guide dog training, orientation and mobility training, summer experience camp, breeding a puppy and the host of a breeding dog.
The main program is the Guide Dog Training, which offers free training to clients who are legally blind, be at least 16 years old, have good orientation and mobility skills and are able to take care of a dog. Leader Dogs matches a client with a dog that best fits their lifestyle and is trained for their living environment, whether urban, suburban or rural.
For community members who are not blind, but wish to participate in Leader Dogs, there are two programs. The first is a puppy breeder program, in which a participant donates 12-15 months of their time, energy and love to raise a puppy, which will eventually be trained as a leader dog. The other program is the Host a Breeding Dog Program, whose participants provide a home for breeders of leading dogs throughout their lives.
Lorene Suidan, COO of Leader Dogs for the Blind, and Leader Dog Arctic join Lisa Germani on Community Connect to talk about the services a Leader Dog provides to the blind, as well as the special bond they make with their new owner.
To learn more about Leader Dogs for the Blind, visit LeaderDogs.org
Watch CONNECT COMMUNITY, Saturday at 7:00 am on CW50