International Guide Dog Day – April 29 2020

April 29, 2020 - The International Guide Dogs Federation (IGDF), along with the Guide Dog Foundation and America's VetDogs call for worldwide support for its community to help them to continue to provide guide dogs for people who are blind or partially sighted post COVID-19 crisis.

Quote from IGDF Chair, Paul Metcalf:“This year, International Guide Dog Day falls while guide dog organisations around the world are adapting to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.  While many have temporarily suspended operations, all are seeking ways to get back to our business of training exceptional dogs to benefit people who are blind or partially sighted.  The pandemic has meant that IGDF has had to postpone the biennial international Seminar planned for May 2020 in Prague, Czech Republic.  However, IGDF is still in operation, finding new ways of working to support the fantastic work of our member organisations around the world.”

The first International Guide Dog Day was celebrated in 1992 and is held on the last Wednesday in April each year.

About the IGDF

The International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF) is a charity that defines and maintains international standards for the training of guide dogs around the world.  This work ensures the quality and safety of guide dog services for blind and partially sighted people.

IGDF was established in 1987 by representatives of 15 guide dog organisations from 10 different countries.  IGDF has grown significantly over the years and now has 100 member organisations from 34 different countries. Around 22,000 people with sight loss enjoy the benefits of safe, independent travel through their partnership with a guide dog.  However, the World Health Organisation estimates there to be over 250 million blind or visually impaired people worldwide.

As well as developing international standards, IGDF supports new guide dog organisations around the world, helping them to grow and progress towards full accreditation against the IGDF standards.  IGDF also offers scholarships which enable guide dog instructors to develop their professional skills by undertaking secondments with established IGDF member organisations.

The IGDF holds a biannual Seminar, which brings together guide dog professionals from around the world for a three-day international conference.  This showcases new developments in the training of guide dogs and enables member organisations to share best practice.

About the Guide Dog Foundation
For more than 70 years, the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, Inc. (www.GuideDog.org), has trained and placed guide and service dogs to provide independence, enhanced mobility, and companionship to people who are blind, have low vision, or have other special needs. The Guide Dog Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization serving clients from across the United States and Canada. The Foundation relies on contributions from generous individuals, corporations, service clubs, and foundations to fund its mission to serve people with disabilities. It costs over $50,000 to breed, raise, train, and place one assistance dog, but the Guide Dog Foundation provides its services completely free of charge to the individual.  Its sister organization, America’s VetDogs, trains and provides guide, service, and hearing dogs for disabled veterans and first responders. The Guide Dog Foundation was the first assistance dog school in the United States to be accredited by both the International Guide Dog Federation and Assistance Dogs International.

About America’s VetDogs
Since 2003, America’s VetDogs (www.VetDogs.org) has trained and placed guide and service dogs to provide independence, enhanced mobility, and companionship to veterans with disabilities from all eras. In 2015, VetDogs opened its programs to first responders, including fire, police, and emergency medical personnel.  America’s VetDogs is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization founded by the Guide Dog Foundation and serves clients from across the United States.  VetDogs relies on contributions from generous individuals, corporations, service clubs, and foundations to fund its mission to help those who have served our country live with dignity and independence.  It costs over $50,000 to breed, raise, train, and place one assistance dog, but America’s VetDogs provides its services completely free of charge to the individual. America’s VetDogs has been accredited by both the International Guide Dog Federation and Assistance Dogs International.