YORKTOWN, N.Y. -- Yorktown-based Guiding Eyes for the Blind is seeking foster families for its breeding dogs.
Foster-family volunteers in Guiding Eyes’ brood/stud program provide a permanent home for one of the non-profit's superb breeding dogs. All veterinarian care is covered. Fosters receive training in dog handling, care, and obedience.
Guiding Eyes said it relies on volunteer families to help complete its mission.
The dogs in Guiding Eyes’ breeding program represent the future of the organization and only the very best are selected to produce subsequent generations of guide dogs. Most breeding colony dogs are between the ages of 16 to 20 months old when placed in a foster home. They are housebroken and have had basic obedience training, but have not been trained as guide dogs. When the time comes for a brood or stud to retire, fosters have the first opportunity to adopt.
Volunteers must also commit to walking their dog at least 3 miles per day.
Alisa Colley has fostered two brood dogs having previously fostered a guide dog.
"It's been fantastic," Colley said. "It's been wonderful. I get a dog that is already trained and I know I am doing something for the greater good. You get a chance to change somebody's life."
Colley, who works as a camera operator for movies and television, brought her dog, Dazzle, with her to the set of the former NBC series "Smash."
"Bernadette Peters serenaded her," Colley said.
Michelle Brier, a spokeswoman for Guiding Eyes, said the center has a big need for foster families.
"Unlike with puppy raisers where you have to say goodbye, you get to keep the dog," Brier said. "This appeals to anyone with an interest in having a dog. Plus, you'll have one of the nicest Labrador retrievers.
Colley said the best part is visiting Guiding Eyes and seeing her dog with her new puppies.
"I get to play with puppies without putting in any of the work," Colley said. "I'm like a doting grandmother giving them treats and love. There's nothing cuter than a puppy. It's the happiest place in the world next to Disney World."