The vision of Guide Dogs of Texas is to serve all Texans who are visually impaired and who would benefit from the use of a guide dog.
Our Core Values
An integral part of our vision for the future entails six core values:
We endeavor to understand the challenges and circumstances of the clients we serve and strive to enhance their mobility and independence.
We provide an excellent quality of life for puppies and dogs in training, using modern, humane techniques.
We teach our clients to handle and care for their dogs in the same manner.
We honor all commitments to clients, volunteers, employees and the community at large.
We practice good stewardship of all gifts entrusted to the organization.
We respect and promote the role of the client, volunteer and employee as equal contributors in the mission of the organization.
We offer ongoing support for our graduates, designed to enhance client confidence and ensure successful, long-term graduate “team” outcomes.
We provide our services in the client’s home environment in order to create a relaxed, informal atmosphere that helps minimize client anxiety and promotes positive transitional and learning experiences for both guide dog and client.
We work together with positive attitudes, combining our strengths, skills, knowledge and talents to achieve the mission of the organization.
Guide Dogs of Texas was incorporated on Feb. 14, 1989 in San Antonio, Texas and received non-profit [(501(c)(3)] status in June 1989.
In 1989 we began with a focus on early canine development programs. Puppies were raised by volunteer puppy raisers until 18 months of age. Guide Dogs ready to start formal training were donated to several programs across the country.
We hired first GDMI, and a formal guide dog training program was initiated, enabling GDTX to expand its reach to serve underserved Texans across the state. The first guide dog, “Harley,” was placed in November 1998 in the Houston area.
We launched our highly acclaimed PAWSItive Approach program. This is a collaborative program with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice whereby carefully screened nonviolent offenders have the opportunity to raise a puppy and take it for supervised training walks outside of the jail. The program is highly successful, with the participants experiencing a less than 1% recidivism rate.
Guide Dogs of Texas was accredited as a full member of the International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF).
Guide Dogs of Texas opened its current headquarters facility in January 2006. The site began as a residential training facility for client/guide dog teams, but evolved into a kennel, administrative office and advanced guide dog training facility. Guide Dogs of Texas does not require clients to travel to our location for training; we bring the guide dog and the training directly to the client at their Texas home within a 1,400 mile radius of our San Antonio headquarters.
In October 2010, Guide Dogs of Texas reached a major milestone when “Poppy” delivered a litter of eight puppies as part our successful in-house breeding program, which continues today.
To make sure that we provide only the highest quality guide dogs, Guide Dogs of Texas is a member of the American Breeding Collaborative that includes guide dog and service dog schools in the U.S. and participates in exchanges through the International Guide Dog Federation.
A$100,000 gift from philanthropist Kym Rapier helped GDTX create the Kym Rapier Sight Center. This facility will help provide a covered location and other amenities for our early canine development program and community outreach.