Guide Dog Foundation

How to Help

Volunteering at the Guide Dog Foundation

We are very fortunate to have a thriving community of more than 1300 volunteers who support our programs.  Every volunteer plays an important role in our mission to improve the quality of life for people who are blind, visually impaired or have other special needs. We thank you for your interest in joining our volunteer team!


The Volunteer Programs
  

Puppy Raisers: Puppy Raiser families make a commitment to take a puppy home for approximately 12-14 months.  Puppy Raisers provide a safe and loving home where the puppy will learn housebreaking, obedience, excellent house manners, and socialization in public places.

  • Hours of Volunteering:  The puppy lives with the family for 12-14 months.
  • Requirements:  Puppy orientation session, obedience training classes with our puppy, and a home visit by a Foundation representative.  Ongoing professional training and education is provided while the puppy is in your home. Veterinary care is covered by our veterinarians. Food is paid by the volunteer, approximately $50 per month.
  • Questions? Contact: 631-930-9060, email: Nadine@guidedog.org, please complete our online form for puppy raising. CLICK HERE TO PROCEED  

Temp Homes: People care for a puppy or adult dog in their home for short periods as needed.  Temp homes provide a safe and loving home where the puppy will learn or maintain housebreaking, obedience, excellent house manners, and socialization in public places. For an adult dog, they will maintain their good house behaviors and socialization.

  • Hours of Volunteering:  The puppy temps the dog for a scheduled time period.
  • Requirements:  Puppy orientation session, obedience training classes with our puppy, and a home visit by a Foundation representative.  Veterinary care is covered by our veterinarians. Food is paid by the volunteer, approximately $50 per month.
  • Questions? Contact: 631-930-9060, email: Nadine@guidedog.org, Please complete our online form for puppy raising. CLICK HERE TO PROCEED  

Community Outreach for Puppy Raising: Community outreach volunteers play a crucial role in spreading awareness of our need for puppy raisers by visiting local businesses and asking them to hang recruitment posters on our behalf.  

  • Hours of Volunteering:  Very flexible, can be done at your convenience – this is a great option for students who are trying to fulfill a short-term requirement for volunteer hours for school.
  • Requirements:  Volunteers should be friendly and outgoing with ability to travel to many local businesses (a car is very helpful!)  A brief (15-30 minute) preparatory meeting with a Foundation representative is required to get you started.
  • Questions? Contact: 631-930-9060, email: Nadine@guidedog.org  

Taxi Team:  Taxi Team volunteers use Foundation-owned vehicles to transport dogs to various local and long-distance destinations.  Trips include local airports, out of state locals, veterinary clinics, or other destinations to meet Foundation volunteers, staff, or graduates.  The Foundation provides a vehicle and other necessary travel expenses as needed. Taxi volunteers are needed mostly in the New York area. Occasionally, there are needs in the Tri-State area, the South East, Mid-Atlantic and New England regions. 

  • Hours of Volunteering:  Flexible, depending on the trip
  • Requirements:  One-on-one training is provided before taking your first trip.  Must be at least 18 years of age, with a valid driver’s license.
  • Questions? Contact: Nadine, email: Nadine@guidedog.org, 631-930-9060  

Office Volunteers:  Our office staff could always use extra help with various office duties during the week.  Volunteers are needed to stuff envelopes and data entry.

  • Hours of Volunteering:  Flexible, during normal business hours, 8am-5pm.
  • Requirements:  Experience with filing, faxing, prepping or scanning charts, data-entry, Microsoft applications, phones.
  • Questions? Contact: Maureen Palmquist, maureenp@guidedog.org, 631-930-9033  

Weekend Student Residence Volunteers:  Student Residence Volunteers act as “sighted guides” for our students during recreational time on weekend afternoons and/or evenings.  A volunteer takes a student (without his or her dog) on local, fun excursions.  Activities range from a trip to the mall, to a walk on the beach, to a night at the movies.  This program is a great way to make new friends from all over the country!

  • Hours of Volunteering:  12:00 PM – 4:45 PM or 4:45 PM – 8:15 PM weekends, when a Guide Dog Foundation residential class is in session.
  • Requirements:  Must successfully complete orientation and training session provided by the Foundation.  Volunteers must be at least 18 years old unless accompanied by a parent and possess a valid driver’s license.
  • Questions? Contact: 631-930-9000, Barbara Kaiser, ext. 1602 or Kim Stasheff, ext. 1612  

Hospitality Volunteers: The Guide Dog Foundation provides students on class three meals a day, every day, during their stay on campus. Volunteers are needed to serve our students either breakfast, lunch or dinner on weekdays and weekends.

  • Hours of Volunteering: 7:00 AM – 9:00 AM or 11:45 AM – 1:45 PM or 4:45 PM – 6:45 PM weekdays and weekends, when class is in session.
  • Requirements: Training is provided for food serving as needed.
  • Questions? Contact: Maureen Palmquist, Maureenp@GuideDog.org, 631-930-9033  

Special Events Volunteers:  The Guide Dog Foundation holds several special events throughout the year.  Volunteers are needed to help prepare for these outings, both before and during events.  Special events include the annual golf outing and bike-a-thon. We receive a large number of application in this area and utilize on a very limited basis, please consider personal fundraising if you are interested in events. 

  • Hours of Volunteering:  Varies, depends on event
  • Requirements:  Training is provided for special events tasks as needed.
  • Questions? Contact: Jaime McGrade, Jaime@GuideDog.org, 631-930-9054  

Fund-Raising Volunteers:  Individuals looking to host a personal fund-raiser can organize a variety of events from charity paintball tournaments to virtual fund-raising online. 

  • Hours of Volunteering:  Flexible. Volunteers may be able to do some work from home.
  • Requirements:  Fund-raising volunteers meet with the Community Fundraising/Events Manager to submit the application for approval.
  • Questions? Contact: Jaime McGrade, Community Fundraising/Events Manager, Jaime@GuideDog.org, 631-930-9054  

Toy Drives:  Individuals looking to host a toy drive, or a towel drive or a “puppy shower”. 

  •  Hours of Volunteering:  Flexible. Volunteers may be able to do some work from home. 
  • Requirements:  Volunteers must submit the application for approval.
  • Questions? Contact: Barrie Madasu, Barrie@GuideDog.org

Sewing Club:  Sewing Club volunteers assist with the sewing and repairing of “puppy jackets”, the brightly colored jackets used to identify a future assistance dog in training.

  • Hours of Volunteering:  Flexible, work from home
  • Requirements:  Volunteers should be comfortable sewing clothing and have access to a sewing machine.  One-on-one orientation is provided by the Foundation.
  • Questions? Contact: Barrie Madasu, Barrie@GuideDog.org

Kennel Volunteers:  Kennel volunteers socialize our dogs in training by filling interactive toys, visiting dogs in and out of their kennel runs and brushing dogs.  Advanced volunteers will be trained to leash-walk and free-run dogs in the indoor and outdoor play yards.  We require a minimum commitment of 2 hours per month for 12 consecutive months.  Each volunteer must successfully complete the mandatory orientation and Level 1 training.  Volunteers can advance to Level 2, 3 and 4 by successfully passing reviews at each level.  The wait to volunteer could be 8 months or more. No groups please, only individuals can volunteer in the kennel.

  • Hours of Volunteering: 11 am - 4pm, every day.
  • Requirements:  Must be 16 years old, follow instruction, pay attention to detail, work independently in a structured environment, physically capable of bending and standing for a minimum of 30 minutes at a time, lifting and carrying 20 lbs.   Must volunteer minimum of 2 hours/month for a year. Volunteers 16-18 years old must provide signed parental consent. 
  • Questions? Contact: Barrie Madasu, Barrie@GuideDog.org, email is required.                               

Breeder Caretaker Homes: People care for an adult breeder dog in their home  Provide a safe and loving home where the dog will maintain housebreaking, obedience, excellent house manners, and socialization in public places. Monthly obedience classes are required.

  • Hours of Volunteering:  The dog is owned by the Foundation but lives with the family and is called to the kennel as needed.
  • Requirements:  Puppy orientation session, monthly obedience classes with our puppy, and a home visit by a Foundation representative.  Veterinary care is covered by our veterinarians. Food is paid by the volunteer, approximately $50 per month.
  • Questions? Contact: Theresa Manzolillo, Breeding Program Manager, at 631-930-9066, or Kara Hickey, Breeding Technician, at 631-930-9000 x1269 for further information., Please complete our online form to apply for breeder caretaker. CLICK HERE TO PROCEED  

How to Apply

Download the application.  

Please mail, fax, or e-mail your completed application to: 
Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind
Barrie Madasu, Volunteer Services Manager
371 East Jericho Turnpike
Smithtown, NY 11787
Fax: 631-930-9009
E-mail: Barrie@GuideDog.org

 

 Other Ways to Help the Foundation

  • Financial Contribution
  • Puppy Sponsorship
  • Participation in a sponsorship, special event, or toy drive
We gratefully accept donation of the following:

  • Creamy Peanut Butter                         
  • Cans of Green Beans 
  • Gallon Size Plastic Bags                 
  • Ziploc and Twist tie clear plastic bags 
  • Unscented Baby Wipe Refills         
  • Clorox or Lysol Disinfecting Wipes 
  • Gently Used Blankets and Towels  
  • Kong® Extreme - Black – Large, X-Large 
  • Nylabone®  Brand Toys/Chews        
  • BIG Chews – Beef shaped Bone  
  • Dental PRO Action Chew – Bacon    
  • Durachew® Knot – Original  
  • Durachew® Ring Chew Toy and Variety Packs
  • Durachew® Braid Chew                
  • Galileo® (Wolf,or Souper) 
  • Durachew®  Wishbone (Wolf or Giant)  
  • Double Action Chews                        
  • Durachew® Textured Ring – Chicken  
  • Durachew® Monster Bone               
  • Durachew® Action Ridges – Bacon 
  • Donation of Baby rice cereal, Karo Light corn syrup, sweetened condensed milk, chicken broth, "Iams" brand dog biscuits, unscented baby wipes for the nursery. Please call 631-930-9060 prior to collecting items to determine need. Ring bell at the Breeding and Development center to drop off donations. 

 Thank you for your interest in the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind and in our volunteer programs!