Canine Development Center
We’re renovating our kennel into a Canine Development Center that will strengthen the training process of our dogs allowing them to develop the skills and characteristics necessary to handle the responsibility of being a guide dog. After all, our Leader Dogs have the immense responsibility of being the eyes of their human companions. View the video.
Portions of our kennel date back to the 1960s and do not support the way we need to train today's Leader Dog. We know that in order to train our future Leader Dogs to the best of their ability, they need to have the optimal environment, so we met with the top experts and consultants in the industry to create just that. After three years of rigorous planning, the plans were finalized for the Canine Development Center. This $14.5 million project will be the state-of-the-art facility our Leader Dogs need to learn their lifesaving work.
Open Housing Villages
At times the kennel environment can be stressful. To ease this stress, we redesigned our housing bays with an open concept that allows for ample stimulation and interaction:
- The suites, placed around the perimeter of the room, will provide wide, open sight lines for every single dog.
- There will be 255 suites in total that are 2.5 times larger than the current suites.
- We know dogs like to be around other dogs, so up to 60% of the suites allow for cohabitation.
- A large, open area is included where the dogs can spend time with our volunteers and staff, allowing for even more human-dog interaction.
- Air conditioning will keep our dogs cooler, calmer and reduce humidity.
Puppy and Breeding Areas
The journey to becoming a Leader Dog starts at birth, which means the Canine Development Center was developed with our breeding stock and puppies in mind. Improvements include:
- A breeding area featuring separate housing, recreation and relief runs for males and females, allowing them to remain relaxed prior to breeding
- An air exchange system to keep the male and female dogs from smelling one another's pheromones prior to breeding to promote natural breeding behaviors
- Separation between puppies and breeding stock dogs, offering a more peaceful environment that helps protect young immune systems
- Three times more space available for litters
- An improved layout that allows for increased socialization and supervision
- Adjacent daytime and nighttime spaces to reduce the need to move puppies throughout the day (previously, puppies had to be carted to and from a converted garage)
Centralized Veterinary Clinic
Our esteemed team of veterinarians has the responsibility of caring for each and every one of our dogs. Every dog that enters this facility must be seen and monitored at the on-site veterinary clinic. As our operations have expanded and evolved, so has the need for an advanced, centrally located veterinary clinic so our veterinarians can give our future Leader Dogs the best care possible.
- Centralization will streamline circulation and increase staff effectiveness
- With 35% more space, the clinic will allow us to add new and enhanced technology
- Defined areas for X-ray, surgery, post-surgery recovery and endoscopic procedures help with work flow
We’ve redesigned our lobby to include a gift shop and puppy viewing area, because there's not much that's more welcoming than puppies!