Leader Dogs for the Blind, a Rochester Hills nonprofit dedicated to training guide dogs for people who are blind, visually impaired, or deaf-blind, has announced a campaign to expand its Canine Development Center.

Construction for the center is underway, and is expected to be completed in 2016. The organization has already raised $12.3 million, but it still needs $2.2 million before it reaches the $14.5 million needed to complete the project.

The new Canine Center is expected to be 75,000 square feet and will have 255 dog suites. The center will be able to accommodate up to 380 dogs and will have a new veterinary clinic. It will help reduce the dogs’ stress, promote learning, support their overall health, and increase socialization opportunities.

“The Canine Development Center represents the best standard for ‘ready to learn’ dogs with open concept housing and training areas that allow the dogs to interact more with each other, our staff and volunteers,” said Sue Daniels, president and CEO of Leader Dog. “Every dollar matters as we enter the most critical part of the campaign to engage individual donors to fully fund this much needed Canine Center.”

If you’re interested in making an online donation to help Leader Dog reach its fundraising goal, click here.

Leader Dog, Canine Development Center

Leader Dogs for the Blind is unique in that it’s the first and only guide dog organization to achieve accreditation from the National Accreditation Council for Blind and Low Vision Services (NAC). It was also the first guide dog organization to create a program to train dogs for clients who are deaf and blind.

The organization was founded in 1939 by three Detroit-area Lions Club members. Leader Dog offers 10 classes a year with up to 20 clients in each class. The classes last 26 days and take place at the Rochester Hills, MI campus.

During the classes, clients learn how to travel in the country, city, and at nighttime. They also learn basic dog care and how to incorporate a Leader Dog into daily routines. Clients accepted into the program receive their meals, housing, transportation, guide dog, and equipment free of charge.


Since its founding, Leader Dog has placed dogs in all 50 states, seven Canadian provinces, and 39 countries. It has graduated more than 14,500 clients. About 200 client/guide dog teams graduate annually from the Leader Dog program.

Leader Dog thrives on volunteer support, so if you can’t make a monetary donation, consider a time donation. To learn about how you can get involved with Leader Dog, visit www.leaderdog.org/volunteers.

This is a great opportunity for Detroiters to support a unique organization dedicating to empowering visually impaired people.

If you need a leader dog, prospective clients can find more information about Leader Dog programs here.


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