About Us

Playing with some white pupsThe Israel Guide Dog Center for the Blind began operations on January 1, 1991 with just one objective -- to help blind people in Israel to achieve independence and mobility through the use of guide dogs.

 

From 1953 to 1970, Prof. Dr. Rudolphina Menzel, a psychologist and dog trainer, prepared guide dogs to assist blind Israelis to become more independent and lead as normal a life as possible. There was no one to continue this work at the time of her death in 1970 and Israel was left with no guide dog training center, but with many blind Israelis, both civilians and war veterans. Sending blind Israelis to training centers in the United States solved the problem.

 

Guide dogs become part of the family

But this was a very partial solution. Only blind Israelis who could understand and communicate in English were sent to guide dog schools in the United States for instruction. Many, unable to comply with these criteria, could not participate and simply never received a guide dog. Even the lucky ones who received a guide dog from overseas found that if a problem with the guide dog arose later on, there was no one to provide the follow up (after care) service so vital to a successful "Partnership" (blind person and dog). The Israel Guide Dog Center for the Blind was established to fill this need.

 

Advantages of guide dog training in Israel

  • The dogs are trained to respond to Hebrew commands and the applicants are instructed in Hebrew.
  • The dogs are trained to guide in Israel's physical environment and maneuver around typically Israeli obstacles such as bus-stand posts or streetlights in the middle of sidewalks; concrete barriers at street corners or cars parked half on the sidewalk and half on the road.
  • The applicants find the instruction course much less stressful, because during the three weeks of instruction at the Center's Beit Oved campus, may receive visits by family and friends.
    An additional part of the instruction course involves time spent helping each applicant acquaint his new guide dog with the home and work place environments.
  • Domiciliary instruction (home training) is arranged when appropriate.
  • Aftercare assistance is just a phone call away. Any questions the guide dog user may have about his dog's performance can easily be answered, as the instructor is readily available.
  • Visits are made every six months or more often when requested.

 

 

Training costs for a guide dog, from the moment of birth until it leaves the Center with a blind Israeli, are approximately $25,000. The blind person receives the guide dog, instruction and regular home visits during the working life of the dog at no charge.

 

 

Where do the funds come from? The Israel Guide Dog Center for the Blind is a registered non-profit organization supported almost entirely by donations and bequests from individuals, and by foundations, companies and organizations "with vision" that believe in our humanitarian work. Their assistance allows us to continue and develop our work, and provide blind Israelis with a chance to enjoy freedom, safe mobility, and independence.

 

 

Israel has over 27,000 registered blind people, although unofficial estimates place this figure much higher. Of these, about 250 are guide dog assisted, but this number is growing steadily as the number of graduates from the Center increases annually.

 

First-hand impressions are the best ones. For a blind person, "seeing" is believing in his guide dog. For the rest of us, seeing the Center is believing what can be achieved with help from our wonderful friends. If you would like further details, or would like to visit us at our Beit Oved campus, just a 20 minute drive south of Tel Aviv. We'd love to hear from you.

 

LEARN ABOUT THE PROCESS

Sponsor a puppy

Sponsor a future guide dog and help us to provide the love and support that is so crucial during the first year of a puppy’s life. The cost to raise a puppy is $1000, which includes all of their food, toys and immunizations. We see to it that the puppies are raised in a nurturing and enriched environment to prepare them for the important work that they will do. In less than two years, these amazing animals will make a profound difference in the life of someone who is visually impaired.

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Me and my guide

Amit Bar-El was a soldier fighting house-to-house during the 2006 Lebanon War. As he rushed to the aid of a wounded comrade, Amit opened a door only to have a rocket fly past and explode in the wall next to him. He received multiple shrapnel wounds

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Donate Now

Help to support Guide Dogs in Israel by donating through our secure online donations page.

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