SYLMAR : Guide Dog Trainers to Get Donated Van


They may help the blind get around, but a group in Sylmar which trains guide dogs has found they need some help getting around themselves.

On Sunday, the Guide Dogs of America, which raises and trains Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, and German shepherds, will be given a new GMC Van, donated by the National Charity League. The donation will be presented as part of the graduation ceremonies for six blind students who have just completed 28 days of training with their new guide dogs.

The Guide Dogs of America breeds and trains the dogs on its 7 1/2 acres of property on Glenoaks Boulevard in Sylmar, but often takes the dogs around Los Angeles to train them to deal with all kinds of streets and traffic, said Debbie Sands, a spokeswoman for the group.


But all that driving can take a toll on the group’s four vans, which all have more than 120,000 miles on them and need to be replaced.

“We had a direct mail plea go out because we needed to replace our fleet of vans,” Sands said. The National Charity League responded by sending the group a check to buy a new van.

The Guide Dogs of America was founded in 1948, and provides the dogs at no charge to qualified people who are visually impaired. Average training for a dog is about five months.