Guide dogs: How can I get a seeing eye dog for my grandpa who is 80% blind and lives on a busy street?
How can I get a seeing eye dog for my grandpa who is 80% blind and lives on a busy street?
Products mentioned in our answer below are provided to inform you about the types of technologies available and have not been evaluated by CanAssist. They may or may not be appropriate for your particular situation. Some technologies and devices may require an in-person assessment. Speak with your health care provider for additional information and support.
Guide dogs can enable people with vision impairments to increase their independence and stay safe. In BC, guide dogs go through an extensive training and a certification process - so it can be a challenge to receive a guide dog. You should expect to provide some medical evidence on behalf of your relative during the application process.
There are several organizations in Canada that train and provide guide dogs to people in need. The following organizations are currently accepting applications for guide dogs for people who are blind or have vision impairments:
- CNIB, a national-organization with offices across the country, offers a Guide Dog program for those aged 16 and older. You can apply here.
- Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind (CGDB), a national organization based in Ontario, offers a Guide Dog program to Canadian permanent residents aged 16 and older who are registered as legally blind. You can apply here.
- Mira, an organization based in Quebec, offers a Guide Dog program to those aged 11 and older who are either blind, deaf-blind, have low vision or a visual and mobility impairment. You can apply here.
The following organizations are not currently accepting applications for guide dogs, but they may reopen applications in the future:
You might also be interested in some technology solutions to help with safety and navigation for your grandpa. There several innovative applications that aim to support navigation, for example BlindSquare by Foxland. BlindSquare 'speaks' to users and informs them about points of interest and intersections. The application has a 'filter' setting so the user is not overloaded with too much information and the application supports 25 different languages.
Choosing and learning a new application can be a challenge and thankfully CNIB offers multiple technology programs to support people who are blind or have vision impairments. This includes programs that provide smart devices, and training on different topics.