The Low Vision and Rehabilitation Club, a student organization at RSO, invited its members to a tour of the Guide Dogs of Texas last week. The Guide Dogs of Texas is a not-for-profit organization that provides quality guide dogs to Texans who are visually impaired to increase the client’s freedom, mobility, and independence.
During the one-hour tour, we got to hear from three different clients about their visual impairment and success stories with guide dogs, and we also got to meet all of the clients’ guide dogs, including one named Cody. Two staff members and one of the clients, who also served as a volunteer for the organization, gave us a tour of the grounds and facilities. We were able to tour the kennel, which at the moment housed several guide dogs, including Duncan, and tour the residential training facility, where clients stay for a few weeks to receive training with their matched guide dogs. We also got to watch Cosmo, another guide dog, navigate a staff member down a walkway with set obstacles to the staff member’s desired destination, in the same fashion as he would with a client in the client’s daily life.
The tour allowed me to learn more about the advantages, requirements, and limitations of having a guide dog. Advantages included increased freedom, mobility, and independence for the client. Some requirements included being legally blind and being capable of caring for the guide dog. A limitation was that the client had to know how to get to certain destinations (a client must know how many blocks and in which direction the restaurant is away from home) because guide dogs do not initially know that information. I also learned about several fun volunteer opportunities available with the organization, including puppy raising, puppy sitting, and visiting the kennel to play with the guide dogs, which all sound like dream volunteer opportunities for dog lovers.
If you would like to support Guide Dogs of Texas, there are several ways to donate:
- Participate in The Big Give S.A., a 24-hour day of giving, on May 6, 2014 and make a minimum online donation of $10 to Guide Dogs of Texas.
- Make an online donation directly on the Guide Dogs of Texas website.
- Shop online at AmazonSmile, and Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to Guide Dogs of Texas.
- Apply for the Guide Dogs of Texas Capital One Visa Card, and Guide Dogs of Texas will receive $50 after your first purchase, 2% donation on gas and grocery purchases, and 1% donation on all other purchases.