Guide Dog Foundation

How to Help

Volunteering at the Guide Dog Foundation

The Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind is pleased 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 and we look forward to getting to know you better!  

 The Volunteer Program

Puppy Raisers: Puppy Raiser families make a commitment to take a puppy home for approximately 12 months or more.  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 one year or more

 Requirements:  Must successfully complete orientation session, obedience training class (we provide the puppy), and home visit by a Foundation representative. Ongoing professional training and education is provided while the puppy is in your home.

Questions? Contact: 631-930-9060


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

Kennel Volunteers:  Kennel volunteers provide socialization and interaction with our wonderful adult guide and service dogs in training by filling interactive toys, visiting dogs in and out of kennel runs, grooming, leash-walking, and free-running dogs in the indoor and outdoor play yards.  We require a one-year commitment of two hours per month.  Each volunteer must successfully complete the webinar orientation session and Level 1 training.  Volunteers decide if they would like to advance to Level 2, 3, and 4 by successfully passing reviews at each level.  The wait to volunteer could be up to 6 months.

Hours of Volunteering: 10:30 AM - 5:00 PM on weekdays, 11:30 AM - 5:00 PM on weekends. We are in great need of volunteers Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  
Requirements:  Must be 16 years old, able to follow instructions, 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 a minimum of 2 hours per month for a year. Volunteers 16-18 years old must provide a signed parental consent form.  

Questions? Contact: Barrie Madasu,, 631-930-9000, ext. 1549.


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, cell phone, and other necessary travel expenses as needed.

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: Barrie Madasu,


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 guide 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, everyday, 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,, 631-930-9033


Office Volunteers:  Our office staff could always use extra help with various office duties during the day.  Volunteers help out with everything from stuffing envelopes to filing to answering phones.

Hours of Volunteering:  Flexible, during normal business hours

Requirements:  Training is provided for office volunteer tasks as needed

Questions? Contact: Maureen Palmquist,, 631-930-9033


Photography Volunteers: Photography volunteers come to the Guide Dog Foundation campus to take photos of the dogs in training for foundation use.

Hours of Volunteering: 8:30 AM-11:30 AM or 1:30 PM- 4:30 PM, on the last Thursday of Feb, Apr, Jun, Aug, Oct & Dec and the first Thursday of Jan, Mar, May, Jul, Sep & Nov.

Requirements: A camera with a flash.

Questions?Contact: Gen Teague,, 631-930-9063.

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,, 631-930-9054

Fund-Raising Volunteers:  Individuals looking to host a personal fund-raiser can organize a variety of events from charity paintball tournaments, toy drives, 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 special event coordinator to submit the application for approval.

Questions? Contact: Jaime McGrade,, 631-930-9054


Sewing Club:  Sewing Club volunteers assist with the creation of "puppy jackets", the brightly colored jackets used to identify a future guide dog in training.

Hours of Volunteering:  Flexible, work from home

Requirements:  Volunteers must own or have access to a sewing machine.  One-on-one orientation is provided by the Foundation.

Questions? Contact: Barrie Madasu,


How to Apply

Download the application in WORD.  

Please mail, fax, or e-mail your completed application to: 
Guide Dog Foundation for the blind
371 East Jericho Turnpike
Smithtown, NY 11787
Fax: 631-930-9009


 Other Ways to Help the Foundation

  • Financial Contribution
  • Puppy Sponsorship
  • Participation in a sponsorship, special event, or toy drive
  • Donation of newspapers for the nursery
  • Donation of clean, lightly used towels and blankets for the kennel (no tassles or fraying)
  • Donation of Nylabone Galileo (Wold or Super); Durachew toys (Large or Super); and Extreme Black Kongs (Large, XLarge, XXLarge)
  • 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!


Recipients of our Exceptional Volunteer Awards 2010:

Volunteer Award Winners 2010


Recipients of our Expectional Volunteer Awards 2011:

 Exceptioanl Volunteer Award Winners 2011


Recipients of our Exceptional Volunteer Awards 2012:
Volunteer Awards 2012