When the vision of Freedom Guide Dogs and Hometown Training™ was developed, the special needs of blind individuals was a focal point. But many individuals have more that one disability and they are under served by many of the guide dog schools.
We define Special Needs as a blind individual having an additional disability, which can be physical or neurological, or in some special cases cognitively challenged. Our founder has been involved with special needs clients since his early days in training guide dogs, and it has become his passion to meet the needs of those blind individuals.
Thinking outside the box comes into focus when assessing these deserving blind individuals. From the selection of the future guide dog that would best meet their challenges, to the training of the chosen dog and simulating the special need of the specific blind recipient. Many times some adaptive equipment is involved, perhaps a different harness, harness handle and/or leash or by adding a support cane for the client. Other needs require some special actions by the dog in regards to gait, travel and/or positioning and of course the demeanor of the guide must be well suited to it’s handler.
All guide dogs are special, however, it takes one with unique abilities and a certain generosity of spirit to work with a Special Needs clients, offering them safe travel as well as comfort and peace.