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Freedom Guide Dogs for the Blind, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Training, Animals, Blind & Visually Impaired Centers, Disabilities, Human Services

Mission: Breed, raise, train and place guide dogs with vision impaired people mainly on the east coast of the u. S. These services are provided free of charge to the clients.

Programs: Training guide dogs for the blind. 34 dogs were placed with blind persons during 2014.

Community Stories

14 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

Ten years ago,my vision faded away, and so did my independence. Freedom Guide Dogs for the Blind came to the rescue by providing a highly trained guide dog. Eric, the trainer, was patient and calm while teaching me to work as a team with Elliott, my first Freedom guide dog. Hometown training was convenient because I live in a very rural town and did not want to go to a training facility in an unfamiliar city to learn to work with a dog guide in surroundings that were also unfamiliar. Elliott and I were able to learn the streets, sidewalks, stores and offices that we would visit nearly every day. Having a guide dog from Freedom restored my confidence, independence and provided a four-legged companion with whom I could safely walk through daily life. Now, ten years later, Wags, a brilliant yellow Lab from Freedom, has replaced my dear Elliott. Freedom Guide Dogs for the Blind provided much more than training and support - they offered an open door to live an active, meaningful life with joy and freedom.

Julie Houser L.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Freedom Guide Dog school is very patient and very interactive with their clients they have given me three amazing guide dogs. Throughout this experience my Independence has become more confident

Board Member

Rating: 5

Our family has raised four puppies and served on the board of Freedom Guide Dogs. it is an amazing organization that not only helps the visually impaired but also our wounded veterans. I can’t say enough about this amazing organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We've been volunteers for Freedom Guide Dogs for over ten years. In that time we have served on the Board, been a volunteer grant proposal writer, worked on events and helped wherever we could. In that time we have seen the number of trained guide dogs per year increase each and every year. Donations are used to help more people each and every year while administrative expenses are kept to the bare minimum. If you want to donate the most help to clients from your each dollar you give, then Freedom Guide Dogs should be your charity.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Freedom Guide Dogs is an amazing organization. We have been puppy raisers for 7-8 years and have raised 6 guide dog pups, starting our 7th soon. They have many special qualities: exceptional breeding of beautifully tempered and intelligent English Labradors, Hometown Training which allows clients to be trained with their new guide dog in their own community, servicing of clients who are not only blind or visually impaired but also have secondary disabilities, providing Barbets and Standard Poodles for clients with allergies, and rising to the placement of about 40 guide dogs per year on a very modest budget. Co-founders Sharon and Eric Loori and very sensitive to the needs of their clients and go the extra mile to provide for them.

Katie Shepard S.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My husband has been blind from birth. He waited for many years to get a guide dog due to the fact he could not be away from work for an extended period of time. We discovered Freedom Guide Dogs that offered Hometown Training, where they come to you. It was a godsend. My husband received his first dog Piper approximately 10 years ago. He guided my husband Bill faithfully until his retirement last year. Then Freedom placed Banner with my husband. He could not have been happier. He has performed perfectly. The Hometown Training made all the difference in the world. Would not for that, my husband would never have gotten a guide dog and would have been forever dependent on others.

Mike C.5

Client Served

Rating: 5

Freedom Guide Dog gave me my life, independence, and mobility back. I lost my vision completely at age 40.. I had taken mobility several times, but always had problems veering when crossing streets. I used a sighted guide when necessary, but mainly just stayed home.
Finally I was forced to live alone. In preparation for that happening, I tried a guide dog from a famous New York state school. The dog was a wreck in NYC, and she lasted only four days. I waited another two years, went to Ohio to get another dog, and after three weeks was told the dog was not sound and I left that school thinking I would never get a guide dog. Upon my return, a blind friend told me about Freedom Guide Dog. I applied, and in only ten months got Major, my English Labrador. I have had him since 2012 and he has been the most wonderful, sound dog. He is never rattled by anything in the city. Traffic jams, construction sites, subway, or other dogs. With him, I can go to my doctors, meetings, bank, grocery store, and even theatre. I have another blind friend who got a dog from Freedom Guide Dog, and her experience has been just as positive. Erik, his wife, and staff are always willing to help and answer any questions or address any issues that I may have. In my opinion, Freedom Guide dog is the best suppliers of well trained,, superb guide dogs. I cannot speak highly enough of these people and their dogs. Having Major has given my independence, self-esteem, and sense of freedom back to me;I did not know how much of life I was missing until I got this priceless , free, gift. Thank you Erik, and everyone with Freedom Guide Dog.

Busser Howell

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been both a puppy raiser and donor for almost four years and I have nothing but good things to say about Freedom Guide Dogs.

Being a puppy raiser has been a very positive experience. Whenever I have a question or concern, the issue is addressed immediately. Alison (Freedom's Puppy Placement Specialist) will even contact me on nights, weekends or holidays. That is true commitment to the job. Having raised puppies with another guide dog school, I can tell you that kind of dedication is rare.

The first dog I raised for Freedom (Woz) has a very slow gait and a soft personality. I was thrilled when Freedom took the necessary time to find the perfect match--an elderly gentleman who also walks slow. And knowing they are a great team makes my heart burst with pride.

As far as being a donor is concerned, I feel that every penny I donate makes a huge difference. It costs Freedom $25,000 to breed, raise and train each guide dog. The other guide dog schools dogs costs twice that much. Why? Other guide dog schools transport the blind individuals to their schools, house & feed them and provide on-site nursing care. This costs a lot of money. With Freedom's Hometown Training program, blind individuals train in their home and work environment. This saves Freedom huge overhead costs.

What a fantastic organization I am proud to be a part of!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

It’s amazing the time and effort put into the training of these guide dogs and to be given at no cost to the blind. This is a great organization.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Alyssa was born blind and with autism. Having Xaverie by her side offers her comfort and the independence she needed while out in the community. Anytime we have questions, we have several contacts associated with Freedom to answer our questions. It’s a great organization and we are proud to be part of the Freedom family.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Gosh! Where to begin? We are puppy raisers for Freedom, currently raising our 6th dog, Ozzy. A better, more compassionate and wonderful organization can't be found. They TOTALLY go out of their way to meet a client's needs. They work so hard-and accomplish so much. They have a wonderful relationship with all their workers, raisers and clients. We raised 10 dogs for another organization,-but this one is by far the most caring one, going way over the top to always help out, and be there for anyone who need them. They treat us all like extended family-and we all feel the same towards them!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

For the past 20 years, Freedom has giving me the wonderful gift of independent travel. In 1995 I had spinal surgery with complications leaving me with multiple disabilities. Freedom was the only guide dog school that would consider matching me with a guide. The trainer worked with my balance and loss of strength issues and blindness. I am now working with Otter my 4th Freedom Guide Dog. I always tell people that I think that Freedom is the smallest school with the biggest heart. I could never thank the staff for the wonderful gift of independent travel.

Donor

Rating: 5

I am involved with a host of charities, including those which assist blind and sight-impaired persons, and which attempt to assist veterans who have become disabled as a result of their military service. I also contribute (in varying amounts) to such similar groups as The Seeing Eye, Guiding Eyes for the Blind and The Guide Dog Foundation. All are superb organizations, and deserving of support.

That said, Freedom Guide Dogs, perhaps because of its "mom-and-pop" aspect, holds a special place for me. The dedication of FGD's founders, Eric and Sharon Loori, to the "cause" is beyond ability to find words to do it justice. Indeed, a critical aspect to FGD is that if a blind/sight-impaired person lacks the means to attend a "regular" guide dog school or has been rejected by another school (where space, sadly, but understandably is limited) because the person lacks the funds to attend or cannot live her home area (e.g. because she has young children) or has a second disability (e.g. deafness), Eric will travel LONG distances to train that student.

FGD's has many compelling stories to tell, but two especially come to mind. The first is of a blind woman with Downs Syndrome who had no friends or social outlets, and who -- to be blunt -- but a sad, pitiable case. Eric trained the woman to use a dog which gave the woman not just mobility -- even the ability just to walk around the block in nice weather -- but her best friend.

The second instance involved a young kid who enlisted in the army, went to Iraq, and was not just blinded by an enemy bomb, but lost his hands as well. That young man's life vanished and even his high school friends (understandably) were at a loss to bring any joy into his horribly afflicted life.

After surgeons at the University of Pittsburg Medical Center (I believe it was) performed a miracle by implanting prosthetic hands, Eric patiently and painstakingly trained the young man to use his artificial hands to hold the lease and harness of the guide dog which FGD provided to him.

I am not particularly religious, but in those and in other circumstances, Sharon, Eric and their few, overworked, unpaid assistants did "God's work."

Eric and Sharon live so modestly that I'm not even certain that they have health insurance for themselves and their three children (one of whom is their biological son, while the other two were adoptees, both of whom are somewhat autistic).

Freedom Guide Dogs simply is a great, worthy organization, and exactly what most people have in mind when they think of charities doing noble and selfless work.

Edward Hochman
Eshoch@aol.com,

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

THIS IS A GREAT ORGANIZATION AND A PLACE WHERE YOUR DONATION CAN REALLY MAKE A DIFERENCE.
I am a very skeptical and cynical New Yorker and have been very disappointed when I learned more about many well known and not so well known nonprofits. Freedom Guide Dogs, on the other hand, is a place where your money truly helps those in need.
We are not personal friends but I have met Eric Loori, who founded and runs this organization and can tell you he is a man with few needs in life other than helping others. He lives a modest life dedicated to his cause. As an example, when he has come to New York on official business, he searches for the most economical accommodations available and if someone's couch is available, he will take it. Your hard earned donations are NOT spent at The Four Seasons, as I suspect they are with many larger organizations.
Small size is another factor. As you can see by the filing, this is a real "mom and pop" sized organization. YOUR money can really make an impact.
Mr. Loori is a remarkable man. Once I saw him speak about solving the problem, engineering wise, of building the guide apparatus for a man who was not only blind but physically disabled as well. I don't know that I have even seen anyone happier than he was at that moment.
Please note, I am a donor but NOT AFFILIATED with this nonprofit in any other way.
Robert Braglia
New York City

Review from Guidestar