Planet Dog- My Gracie pup’s favorite store here in portland,me

May 02, 2012

A Circle of Support

GraduatesSometimes we get the perfect opportunity to see the whole AND its many parts, to see the forest AND the trees, and to appreciate the value of the whole circle.

On Saturday, April 28, Planet Dog visited Guiding Eyes for the Blind in Yorktown Heights, NY for their graduation ceremony – celebrating the completed team training between a visually impaired person and their new guide dog. The Planet Dog Foundation (PDF) has supported Guiding Eyes for the Blind since 2009, providing nearly $50,000 in grant funding and product donations to support their training programs.

We had the Executive Director of PDF at the ceremony, accompanied by one of our Account Executives. We were also joined by the owner of Bark & Meow in Tarrytown, NY, who has carried Planet Dog products for years. It was a perfect way to see the whole cycle of Planet Dog’s philanthropy in action – the Planet Dog retailer who sells our products, enabling Planet Dog to donate a percentage of those sales to PDF, enabling PDF to award a grant to Guiding Eyes for the Blind.

The ceremony itself exemplified the Guiding Eyes circle – thanking Planet Dog for its support, and celebrating the puppy raisers who train and care for the dogs from 8 weeks old until they reach 18 months, the trainers who then provide intensive, highly specialized training to prepare the dogs for a career as a guide dog, and the guide dog users who spend several weeks in Yorktown Heights with their 4-legged partners learning how to navigate independently through the world with their canine guide. Joseph and ALana

The graduates themselves represented a broad circle of the Guiding Eyes family. The gentleman receiving his first guide dog after spending his childhood helping his mother with her 6 Guiding Eyes for the Blind dogs. The woman who came in for a retrain in her second visit to the Guiding Eyes campus. The musician who sang a beautiful song written from the Guide Dog’s perspective called “Can’t You See I’m Working.” Or perhaps the gentleman who was deaf and blind, communicating with the help of an interpreter signing directly into his hand.

The people in the graduation room on Saturday represented an amazing community – every facet of the inspirational work being done by Guiding Eyes represented. Friends, family, staff, volunteers, donors, supporters, trainers, clients, and of course, the dogs. They even had some puppies there so all of us could appreciate the beginnings of another cycle in the magical ways that dogs are helping people in need, with a little help from everyone else in that circle.

James Singing

Many thanks to the entire Guiding Eyes for the Blind family for welcoming us to their lovely campus, and letting us shed a few tears of joy and wonder at their inspirational graduation. And in the spirit of the circle, we are humbled to know they will have another graduation in May, and another, and another, and another. We can only hope that our circle of Planet Dog friends, retailers, customers and staff can continue to provide our modest support to make that amazing work continue.

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