Guiding Eyes for the Blind guide dog Sarge and Omar Rivera.

Omar Rivera and Guiding Eyes for the Blind Guide Dog Sarge

I wanted to do a quick pre Fourth of July update for you; this is what I talk about in this episode:

● Great editorial about “Charlie’s Law” from someone at the South Jersey Times who “gets it”. Read the whole thing at the link below, but here’s the key excerpt, my emphasis:

“By all means, Gov. Chris Christie should sign the bill. It would be a genuine feel-good moment if Shore and Charlie were with him at a public ceremony. But, as we noted this winter, police have higher-priority things to do than intervene in disputes over whether or not a dog can be admitted to a restaurant. We don’t expect these fines to add up to much, but the need for greater awareness is critical. What kind of compliance program can the state Attorney General’s Office establish on fine revenue that may be assessed only a few times each year? An ineffective one.

So, back to “wag the dog.” Fines make good headlines, but lawmakers and the administration should commit to funding sufficiently an effort such that every government building security guard, every ticket-taker at a theater, and every bluenose who sniffs “No dogs allowed!” will know better.

Ask yourself: If this issue is so important – like we keep hearing it is, particularly from some of the major assistance dog organizations, all the time – why hasn’t someone committed the money and people for a real, full-time advocacy and education effort? Because that’s what it will take if we truly want to get something done.

● Do you know who the biggest guide dog and service dog organizations are in the U.S.? Probably no surprise if you know the community, but you might be surprised at the actual numbers, and just how tough pulling up those numbers is, so I’ve included those tables for you below.

It’s tough in many cases to find out something as simple as how many dogs an organization produces annually (I said I didn’t put it in the tables, but I changed my mind and included what I was able to find on the service dog one). Or how much government funding they get – you won’t see that on an IRS 990, at least not by that name and where it’s clearly identified. I tell you where you can find it, and give you an example.

Organizations, you need to not make us work so hard – make it easier for us to find this information.

●  In that same vein…  Organizations, don’t make me have to look past things to support you.

For example, the other day I saw a major organization comment on a social issue that has absolutely nothing to do with placing an assistance dog. Why would you do that? Even if I agree with you, I now have to wonder why you are talking about something that doesn’t seem appropriate or relevant for you to be commenting on. And if I don’t agree with you, you may have just lost a supporter, or potential supporter, over something that has absolutely nothing to do with your mission. Why put me in that position?

Same with veterans. Even more so, as far as I’m concerned, because, not surprisingly, that’s a particularly sensitive subject with me, as it is with many of us, and especially around holidays like the Fourth of July where you start seeing these veterans pitches every year. Be very careful – you don’t have to be doing anything crooked to get in trouble here. If you even look like you’re stretching things, promoting your veterans efforts out of all proportion to the actual amount of veterans work you are doing – look out. I give an example in the podcast of what I’m talking about.

Same with celebrities. “Live by the celebrity, die by the celebrity.” – that’s an original quote from me. You need to be very careful here as well.

● And, last, a very positive – and touching – story. I was looking at the latest Guiding Eyes for the Blind graduation announcement, noticed one of those very interesting looking black-and-tan Labs that GEB graduates in the group photo, and scrolled down to the individual team photos to see who the dog was paired with – Omar Rivera. That name might ring a bell with you, maybe not, but, either way, go to the links below and read the story yourself.


Ten Largest Service Dog Organizations in the U.S. by Assets – 2016

Organization Assets Income Staff Placements
Canine Companions for Independence $56,352,754 $22,124,348 255 366
K9s for Warriors $11,278,391 $8,705,687 41 73
Puppies Behind Bars Inc $9,916,660 $3,132,436 17 10
NEADS $7,113,316 $2,317,406 41 37
Paws With A Cause $6,200,945 $3,906,182 55 ?
4 Paws for Ability $5,349,541 $2,758,142 128 103
Support Dogs, Inc $5,348,058 $1,433,617 19 19
Can Do Canines $4,458,846 $1,458,715 33 34
Patriot Paws Service Dogs $4,212,489 $3,673,694 26 ?
Warrior Canine Connection $2,740,802 $1,941,816 34 ?


Ten Largest Guide Dog Organizations in the U.S. by Assets – 2016

Organization Assets Income Staff
Guide Dogs For The Blind $374,908,726 $40,937,709 335
Seeing Eye, Inc. $316,313,022 $37,316,194 181
Guiding Eyes for the Blind $83,363,687 $27,045,674 182
Southeastern Guide Dogs $41,762,464 $19,034,863 170
Leader Dogs for the Blind $31,459,938 $15,416,582 160
Guide Dogs of America $27,632,153 $7,634,506 48
Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation $25,238,948 $5,780,837 59
Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind $21,193,717 $9,773,300 146
Pilot Dogs $9,992,270 $3,146,716 40
Guide Dogs of the Desert $4,024,397 $2,655,157 20


‘Wag the Dog’ issue in N.J. service-animal bill – Editorial”

“Fraudulent Service Dogs a Growing and Serious Problem for People with Disabilities”

“There Oughtta Be A Law” – There Already IS One

USA Spending.Gov Recipient Profile: Canine Companions for Independence, Inc – FY2016

“Black and Tan Labrador Retrievers”

Guiding Eyes for the Blind Graduating Class – June 2017

“Remembering Salty”