Within each GDB puppy resides the potential to change the world. Our Puppy Center will provide a safe, warm, and enriching environment for puppies as they begin their journeys to become guide dogs. We believe the new Center, which will be built on our California campus and include areas for puppy birthing (the Puppy Nursery), puppy socialization (the Young Heroes Academy), and a public education center (the Learning Lab), will greatly improve the health and success of our puppies, so that more of them reach their potential to become guide dogs that transform lives.
The Center will feature three key components:
- Healthier, more nurturing habitats for mothers and their pups
- Early socialization and enrichment areas for puppies
- Educational displays and interactive learning opportunities for the public
The Plan: A $20 Million campaign
The innovative Puppy Center will not only address the limitations of the existing facility, but also be a signature project that will more effectively position GDB to advance our mission and strategic objectives in the future. The new Center is expected to cost approximately $20 million. We anticipate raising funds for the project primarily from individual donors, foundations and corporations. Our goal is to complete the new Center by mid-2019.
Designing for Our Future
The Puppy Center will feature approximately 28,000 square feet of space and provide enhancements in animal welfare and socialization, biosecurity, and improved working environments. It will incorporate best practices that will not only protect the wellbeing of our puppies, but also enhance their socialization experience and allow staff and volunteers to perform their roles efficiently and ergonomically. By increasing capacity, creating healthier environments, and educating our visitors in unique ways, our vision for creating a state-of-the art facility will be fully realized.
Healthier, More Nurturing Environments
The new Center will feature larger, non-linear kennel spaces that incorporate approachable and interesting materials that are both aesthetically pleasing and functionally efficient. In the Puppy Nursery, stalls will have distinct areas that enable mother dogs to care for their litters and also have a separate area to rest, relieve, and access outdoor space for exercise.
In the proposed Center, we will establish a “puppy bubble” that utilizes best practices in biosecurity to keep our puppies healthy, from the time they are born until they leave our doors, especially in the critical phase after they have been separated from their mothers’ milk and the accompanying antibodies it provides. Enhancements will include:
- Isolation areas for potentially contagious puppies
- Changing room areas for staff and volunteers that help preserve the distinction between clean and dirty zones
- A stable, segregated air system
- Less porous flooring and other surfaces that are less likely to harbor bacteria and viruses
Enhanced Socialization and Enrichment Areas
Stalls will incorporate varied textures, surfaces, and sounds that will provide exposure to environmental stimuli throughout the duration of the puppies’ stay. An expanded socialization area will feature a walking track and indoor/outdoor yard specially designed to foster the pups’ confidence and provide early interactive experiences. Increased socialization opportunities for our puppies contribute to higher success rates, reduction in the number of puppies required to meet program goals, reduced breeding, and a smaller breeding colony.
Functional Work Spaces
The new center will have streamlined and ergonomic work stations, dedicated changing areas, and optimal lighting so that our dedicated staff and volunteers will have a functional and pleasant work environment. Features to include;
- Non-linear and modular stalls
- Well-designed work stations
- Updated equipment
Interactive Learning Lab
The ability to see our puppies is one of the key reasons that GDB’s campus tours are so popular—more than 15,000 people visit our California campus each year. We have a unique opportunity through the new Puppy Center to not only give visitors a healthy dose of puppy love, but to educate and motivate them to understand the bigger picture of “both sides of the harness.” The Learning Lab will include a number of exhibits that will help tell our holistic story by providing a window into the world of our many programs.
Exhibits may include:
- A viewing gallery that provides a look into the Young Heroes Academy puppy socialization area and provides opportunities to interact with our volunteer puppy socializers as they work with the pups
- A peek into a “real life” room where our puppies get to experience a home-like environment
- Video kiosks featuring stories about various GDB alumni and other members of the GDB community
- Interactive displays with educational information about our breeding, neonatal, kennel, veterinary, and puppy raising programs
Our goal is that the Learning Lab will provide a unique experience that stays with guests long after their visit.
For more information about the Puppies with a Purpose campaign, please contact Lisa Poehlmann at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 415.492-4190, or any member of our Fundraising team.