Recently GDB participated in another type of collaboration with the Minnesota Guide Dogs Breeding Center (MGDBC). The MGDBC was founded in 1989 by a captain of industry and philanthropist, Paul Keymer. Mr. Keymer visited guide and service dog schools around the world and realized that introducing collaborative breeding efforts would dramatically enhance progress in reproductive practices, canine selection strategies and provision of services for the visually impaired. Toward this goal, he founded the MGDBC and contacted key schools to create the Original Collaborative Breeding Group:
- The Seeing Eye (United States)
- Guiding Eyes for the Blind (United States)
- Guide Dogs for the Blind (United States)
- KNGF (the Netherlands)
- Guide Dogs, Victoria (Australia)
- Guide Dogs for the Blind Association (United Kingdom)
To date, collaboration continues to flourish. The six original schools continue to benefit from the opportunity to share knowledge and experience and to further initiatives to expand gene pools, educate veterinary staff about techniques specific to working with assistance dogs and to improve the health and well-being of guide dogs around the world.
Once collaboration between the six original schools was well established, Mr. Keymer donated all the MGDBC adult breeding stock to other schools and stopped producing puppies. Since that time the MGDBC has continued to support the Guide Dog industry by whelping and rearing litters of puppies for other schools. MGDBC has developed a program for the early socialization of puppies and they usually select one school each summer to work with. This year Guide Dogs for the Blind was honored to be selected for this collaboration. Golden Retriever brood Amaya was selected and traveled to Minnesota while pregnant; she then whelped and reared her litter at the MGDBC. Once the puppies were weaned, MGDBC staff member, Kelly Schulz, accompanied Amaya back to GDB and spent a week at our San Rafael campus learning more about our program and exchanging ideas. Similarly, Breeding Manager, Jenna Bullis and Puppy Raising Program Specialist, Sharon Kret traveled to Minnesota to observe their program and Amaya’s puppies before they left to join their new GDB raiser families.
We greatly value our collaboration with MGDBC and look forward to continuing to work together in the future. We are very excited for the volunteer puppy raisers who will begin working with the puppies from the Amaya x Amici litter this week. We are grateful for their help and the assistance of all our volunteers and donors in fulfilling Guide Dog for the Blind’s mission.
Photos of Amaya x Amici puppies:
Video of Amaya x Amici puppies: