Skip to main content

PawTracks may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

5 non-profits worthy of your support in honor of International Guide Dog Day

Our canine companions are more than simply our best friends. They’re also our confidants, not to mention members of our family. For some people, dogs are an essential part of their ability to live an independent lifestyle. Guide dogs, colloquially known as “seeing-eye dogs,” are highly trained dogs who work to assist people living with disabilities. Dog lovers appreciate their furry besties every day, but we think these hardworking pups deserve an international day of recognition for all they do. 

Fortunately, we’re not alone in that sentiment. Let’s take a closer look at International Guide Dog Day and learn about five incredible non-profit organizations that need your support to continue their inspiring and important work. 

Two guide dogs, one black lab and one yellow lab, sit together in the grass.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

How International Guide Dog Day got its start

Founded in 1989, the International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF) “is comprised of 99 member organizations, whose purpose is to serve people who are blind or have low vision around the world, by training and providing Guide Dogs.” Created by the IGDF, International Guide Dog Day was first celebrated in 1992, and it’s been celebrated every year since on the last Wednesday in April

5 nonprofit guide dog charities you should know about

There’s a common misconception that any guide dog will fit effortlessly into their new human’s life, but that’s simply not the case. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), “Guide dogs are very carefully paired with their handlers. Everything from a person’s lifestyle, hobbies, activity level, family, living arrangements, and other pets go into the pairing process when a person applies for a guide dog through a non-profit organization.” Here are five of our favorite non-profits you can support right now.  

Guide Dogs for the Blind

With an impressive 4 out of 4 stars on Charity Navigator, Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) is one of the most trustworthy charities out there. Founded in 1942, GDB has graduated over 16,000 guide dog teams in the United States and Canada. In addition to providing a skilled guide dog, GDB also offers post-graduation support, financial assistance for veterinary expenses, and personalized training…all free of charge. Surprisingly, GDB isn’t government-funded. The organization accomplishes all of this with the help of generous donors and volunteers.

A blind woman walks down a sidewalk with her yellow lab guide dog.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Guide Dog Foundation

Listed as a “Top-Rated Charity” by CharityWatch, the Guide Dog Foundation (also known as the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind) boasts an A-grade score. The Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind was founded in 1946 with a straightforward mission: providing guide dogs to the blind or visually impaired at no cost. Not only has the Guide Dog Foundation trained guide dogs for over 75 years, but the foundation has branched out, offering service dogs to those with other disabilities. 

Gallant Hearts Guide Dog Center

While Gallant Hearts has only been on the scene since 2010, this Mississippi-based non-profit organization holds a perfect score on Charity Navigator’s website. Gallant Hearts Guide Dog Center was founded by Rebecca “Becky” Floyd and Kathie Curtis after Ms. Floyd, who is blind, retired from her position as Executive Director of the MS Protection and Advocacy System in nearby Jackson, Mississippi. She now works as Executive Director for Gallant Hearts. Kathie Curtis, the retired Director of Youth Ministry for the Catholic Diocese of Jackson, serves as the Director of Kennel Operations & Puppy Program for Gallant Hearts. 

The Seeing Eye

Founded in 1929 by Morris Frank and Dorothy Eustis, America’s oldest guide dog foundation celebrated its 90th anniversary back in 2019. As well as breeding and raising puppies to become guide dogs, the Seeing Eye also works closely with the blind, instructing them on how to care for their guide dogs. Additionally, the Seeing Eye is heavily involved in research into canine health and development, but their work doesn’t end there. The experts at the Seeing Eye also provide education to the public and make recommendations on public policy, all while earning a “Give with Confidence” rating from Charity Navigator. 

Guiding Eyes for the Blind

Based in New York State, Guiding Eyes for the Blind specializes in breeding and training guide dogs. With an average of roughly 12 students per class, handlers learn how to work with their guide dogs in a relaxed setting that offers plenty of one-on-one attention. Guiding Eyes was founded by Donald Kauth in 1954 and has since graduated nearly 10,000 guide dog teams. As an accredited member of the International Guide Dog Foundation (IGDF), Guiding Eyes meets global standards while maintaining a solid rating on Charity Navigator. 

A yellow Labrador guide dog walks with his handler.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

When it comes to donating your time and resources, you want to make sure you’re supporting an ethical charity. Each of the wonderful non-profit organizations on our list has been vetted for transparency and accountability, so you can feel good about donating to a top-notch charity that genuinely improves the lives of the blind and visually impaired. 

Editors' Recommendations

Mary Johnson
Mary Johnson is a writer and photographer from New Orleans, Louisiana. Her work has been published in PawTracks and…
7 dog training podcasts we’re obsessed with
Podcasts can help any pet parent with training their pooch
an Australian Cattle Dog wearing a pink bandana stands on the grass

There are times every pet parent feels as though they’re out of depth or coming up short in regards to their pet. Whether it’s a behavioral problem, a health concern, or simply how to find the right doggie day care, wouldn’t it be great to have an expert on speed dial to give you advice and reassure you that you're doing just fine?

Unless you happen to know an expert personally, podcasts are a great way to get this advice and reassurance. When it comes to dog training, podcasts feature a variety of experts who can help any pet parent, and there are enough podcasts to last a lifetime! Wondering which dog training podcasts to start with? Here are our favorite ones!

Read more
This video proves the dog pool is better than the dog park
Your pups could enjoy a dog pool day just like the ones in this video
A dog runs on a pool deck after a swim

If you're a pup parent, you've probably spent some time at the dog park, but have you ever given the dog pool a shot? As you might imagine, this takes the concept of the dog park and brings water into the equation. As this video proves, there's nothing cuter than watching a stream of pooches dive right into the water to play. It's truly a sight worth seeing.

This TikTok proves dog pool day can beat dog park day and is perfectly titled "Pool Day for the Pups." It opens on a shot of a big fenced-in pool with some buddies waiting excitedly outside. Once the gate is open, they pour in to start splashing in the water, swimming around, and, of course, barking madly. The welcoming setup even has some helpful mats on the edges to assist anyone with slippery feet getting in and out. A quick cut shows us another dog pool, this one indoors and filled with toys to help the happy games along. Again the furry friends make a mad dash in to play. It's clear that every single pup in the video is living their best life.

Read more
Are tennis balls bad for dogs? Here’s what you want to know before your next game of fetch
You should be asking this crucial question
Jack Russel terrier on the beach with a tennis ball jumping

When you think about classic dog toys, tennis balls are sure to make the list. They’re a fun, cheap option that many pet parents can stock up on just as quickly as their dog goes through them, which is good news for pups who like to chew or fetch. Still -- despite the balls' everlasting popularity -- more and more dog owners have stopped to wonder: Are tennis balls bad for dogs?
It can be difficult to guarantee the safety of any pet product, so you should pay special attention to your pup while he's playing with anything you don’t completely trust. Better yet, you can even research the items your dog is playing with. This could, and perhaps should, include low-quality dog toys or any chew item not meant for canines -- including tennis balls. Here’s what you need to know.

Should dogs play with tennis balls? Pros and cons of these popular dog toys
Although there are many pros to playing with tennis balls (they're cheap, easy to find, etc.), they come with many risks you may not have considered. The team at Animal Dental Care and Oral Surgery — or Wellpets, as its site is named — has put together some helpful reminders about the silent dangers of tennis balls.

Read more