BC & Alberta Guide Dogs
Our Impact Why We Exist
BC & Alberta Guide Dogs is dedicated to meeting the growing demand for professionally trained Guide Dogs and Autism Support Dogs for citizens of British Columbia and Alberta, at all times meeting or exceeding international standards as established by the International Guide Dog Federation and Assistance Dogs International.
We are dedicated to improving availability of service, including breeding, raising and training more dogs and continuing to give care to dogs that are currently with human partners. Dogs are provided at no cost to the recipient.
Our Story What We Do
Though often viewed as a dog organization, BC & Alberta Guide Dogs is an organization about people. When evaluating blind and visually-impaired applicants' suitability for guide dog training, we see ability rather than disability. All individual guide dog training programs are tailored to the needs of each individual.
British Columbia Guide Dog Services was incorporated as a registered charity on June 28, 1996, becoming British Columbia’s first guide dog school, and was registered in British Columbia as an extra-provincial society under the Society Act on August 8, 1996.
- In 2001, BC Guide Dog Services became a member of the International Guide Dog Federation, an international accrediting body.
- In 2002, BC Guide Dog Services registered the title Alberta Guide Dog Services for the purposes of providing guide dogs to blind and visually-impaired Albertans.
- British Columbia Guide Dog Services was registered as an extra-provincial corporation in Alberta on May 30, 2002.
- In December 2008, BC Guide Dog Services founded Autism Support Dogs, and continues to work in partnership with this organization.
- In October 2014, BC & Alberta Guide Dogs and its sisters charity Autism Support Dogs amalgamated as one organization under one name.
Our Programs How We Do It
Our Starting Point - The Breeding Program
BC and Alberta Guide Dog Services maintains an in-house breeding program. By only training dogs that we have bred ourselves, we know the genetic history of each dog, which is vital to our ability to produce healthy guide dogs. Learn more about our Breeding Program.
Early Education - The Puppy Raising Program
All of our puppies are raised in the homes of volunteer Puppy Raisers rather than in kennels. Volunteer Puppy Raisers prepare our dogs for advanced training by teaching them basic obedience skills and by socializing our puppies so that they are comfortable in public spaces. Learn more about our Puppy Raising Program.
Professional Canine Education - The Training Program
At approximately 15 months of age, the dogs enter advanced training, and work with a Guide Dog Mobility Instructor. This advanced training period takes approximately 4 months. Learn more about our Advanced Training Program.
Client Training - Adult Classes
Since 1998, we have been committed to providing domiciliary (in-home) training. Rather than have the blind/visually-impaired person travel to our location, our Guide Dog Mobility Instructors travel to the person's home with the dog, so that the team can train on familiar routes. The training can be completed in approximately 3 weeks. Learn more about our Adult Program.
Client Training - Youth Classes
When training youth clients (aged 13-18), BC and Alberta Guide Dog Services also works closely with the youth's network of supporters (e.g family, school staff) to create a positive educational experience. Learn more about our Youth Training Program.
Post Graduation - Aftercare Services
We provide aftercare services to our clients through three programs. First, post-class aftercare is provided three months after graduation. Second, annual aftercare takes place with each client for the working life of the dog (usually 8 years). Third, priority aftercare is provided as requested by our clients.
What You Can Do
BC & Alberta Guide Dogs is a non-profit, charitable organization. It costs approximately $35,000 to raise and train a Guide Dog, but our clients only pay a symbolic $1 for the use of their dog.
Your support is very important to us, and allows us to continue providing professionally-trained guide dogs for our blind and visually-impaired youth and adult clients.
You can help in several ways: