Campus Tour and Foundation Speakers Bureau
Are you interested in taking a Tour the Guide Dog Foundation's Smithtown, NY campus? If yes, please CLICK HERE
Are you interested in having someone from the Guide Dog Foundation visit your school or organization? The Foundation has an amazing network of speakers, known as our Speakers Bureau. They are some of our most effective ambassadors to help educate the public about our guide and service dog programs. Our speakers visit schools and service clubs like the Lions, Knights of Columbus, Rotary Clubs; churches; temples; senior centers and more.
To request a speaker to visit your group, fill out the following online application form. We ask that you please submit this form at least three weeks prior to the date of the event. Please note, we are able to fulfill requests for volunteer speakers primarily in the Long Island/New York metro area. If you live outside this area, we will be happy to send you information for your group’s meeting.
If you have any questions, please contact Judy Pesner at 631-930-9000 ext 1130.
The Guide Dog Foundation's eight-acre campus is located on East Jericho Turnpike/Middle Country Road in Smithtown, New York. (Smithtown is about 45 miles east of Manhattan.) The Foundation just completed a major campus expansion and renovation project – the largest in its 55-plus year history. Pictured here is our National Administrative Center.
Welcome to the Foundation. The lobby is the first stop for most visitors. Come on inside, and you’ll be greeted by one of our receptionists.
The Puppy Nursery is a very popular place at the Foundation, especially when a dog is giving birth to her pups. The nursery and whelping areas are sanitized, and so access is restricted to certain members of the staff. Viewing windows allow staff and guests can check in on the future guide dogs and see how they are doing. We breed our puppies to maximize the traits important for guide dogs.
The Puppy Playground was donated by the Melville Rotary Club and the Michaels family in memory of Herbert Lloyd Michaels. Puppies need to be kept separate from older dogs until they have had all of their vaccinations. Guide dog puppies need to have many different experiences, so they are not frightened by new things as adults. This playground gives the pups a place to begin that learning process.
The Foundation's kennel houses about 100 dogs. It houses the dogs that are in for training as well as the puppies that are in for boarding. Volunteers come in every day of the week to exercise and socialize our dogs.
When the dogs are out, the kennel can be relatively quiet. But when it is feeding time...cover your ears!
The center of the Foundation's campus features simulated street intersections. This area, traditionally used for staff parking, is an excellent resource for the training staff, as it is constructed just like a public roadway -- from the curbs to the wheelchair-accessible ramps. Of course, this is only for the beginning of the training process. It is important to continue with real-life traffic situations.
The Nature Walk is another place for students, staff, and volunteers to take a breather.
This authentic Japanese garden was donated to the Foundation by organizations that wanted to dedicate a part of our campus to the memory of Lenny Santoro.
The covered Leash Relieving Station is where students bring their dogs to relieve. It was designed to look like a train station. Students love the roof when there’s inclement weather!
The Lions Dining Room is where students on class gather for meals. When class is not in session, the room is also used for staff and donor functions.
A major part of the Foundation’s campus renovation was the conversion from double residence rooms to private rooms. Now, each student has his/her own room, complete with private bath and individual climate control. In addition to the added privacy, the rooms make it easier for students to bond with their dogs.
The Student Computer Lab houses several computers that are available for student use during the 25-day in-residence training program. The computers feature adaptive technology, so our blind consumers can check their email, surf the Internet, and a whole lot more. It enables them to keep in touch with their employers, family, and friends, while they are training with a guide dog.
The Snack Area and Lounge is a great place for students to relax and unwind after a day of training. It’s also a great place to practice some techniques learned during the training program. The different seating options – from booths to stools - are representative of what our students and guide dogs will encounter in their daily travels.
The Foundation offers plenty of activities for students during the breaks in training. In addition to televisions and radios, there are movies with descriptive video, large print and Braille playing cards, Braille Scrabble and Monopoly games – and a whole lot more!
One last look at a puppy before we leave!