The desert guide dog official unveiled his new plant nursery in Whitewater on Friday morning with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
The new Sanford J. Reed (Sandy) Nursery enables puppies to begin their guide dog journey in a comfortable, stress-free environment with around-the-clock care.
The kindergarten is named after Sanford (Sandy) Reed, who died in a car accident at the age of 25 on June 12, 2020. Sandy’s family has long been a supporter of desert guide dogs, including the adoption of two dogs that have been discharged from the program.
“It means so much to me and my family as this was created through so many donations to my son’s Sandy Memorial and then the foundations got together and they started the kindergarten and it would be so proud,” said Catherine Reed, Sandys Mother and Senior Program Officer of the Auen Foundation.
The Auen Foundation helped start the kindergarten program. In 2019, the Auen Foundation learned of Guide Dogs of the Desert’s goal of bringing the breeding program indoors and provided a gift of $ 50,000. After Sandy died, his friends and family donated more than $ 10,000 to the organization in his memory.
In July 2020, the HN and Frances C. Berger Foundation and the Auen Foundation were among the generous donors who contributed the remaining funds to the completion of the kindergarten.
“Kindergartens are a source of hope, and this one pays homage to Sandy’s generosity. It’s a festival for him too, ”said Tricia Gehrlein, manager of guide dogs for the desert. “The Sanford J. Reed Nursery is a place that represents opportunities that will unfold for a long time to come.”
During the event on Friday, Gehrlein was surprised with additional donations from the Auen Foundation and the Berger Foundation totaling 50,000 US dollars, which will be used for the medical costs of the dogs in the breeding program.
“It is very important to us that our long-standing partnership with Guide Dogs of the Desert brought the organization’s important breeding program to life. The daycare that will bear Sandy’s name will be the start of many more life-changing companions for people in need of guide dog services, ”said Catherine Reed.
“Guide Dogs of the Desert does a fantastic job training these great animals to serve members of our community and beyond,” said Chris McGuire, President and CEO of the HN and Frances C. Berger Foundation – the Berger Foundation can be a part of this special Day and the devotion to Sandy who was a great young man we all miss very much. ”
The event ended with the puppy handover, the adorable and exciting moment when the pups are handed over to the foster families who will raise them for the next 18 months. This litter of guide dog puppies was named after members of the Reed family.
The Coachella Valley-based guide dog school is an accredited guide dog school that has been helping visually impaired students find independence and company through service dogs for almost 50 years.
visit guidedogsofthedesert.org to learn more about the organization, including how to donate, apply to be a puppy breeder, or apply for a guide dog.