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by Catherine Bigelow

Canine Heroes Gala

Cause: Guide Dogs for the Blind
Attendees: 1,200 online supporters
Result: More than $350K for dog training and lifetime veterinary care


Guide Dogs for the Blind un-leashed its super-paw powers June 6 at its Canine Heroes Virtual Gala. For 79 years, this San Rafael nonprofit has provided skilled service animals — free of charge — to its blind or visually impaired clients throughout the U.S. and Canada so they may lead more empowered and mobile lives.

Hosted by Emmy Award–winning radio and TV personality Liam Mayclem, the event featured an auction and the presentation of an adorable 8-week-old puppy to a volunteer Guide Dog trainer. Additionally, a tail-wagging video narrated by Grammy and Emmy Award– winning composer James Newton Howard starred Guide Dog clients with yellow and black Labrador puppies performing frolicking feats while draped in red capes, which they learned in Guide Dog’s renowned training school.

“I am inspired by our mission on a daily basis because we change lives,” Christine Benninger, president and CEO of Guide Dogs for the Blind told ABC7 News. “Giving somebody their independence is huge. All of us want to be independent and be able to live the life that we want to live. Essentially that is what we do at Guide Dogs.”

These crucial funds also offer lifetime support, provided by Guide Dogs, for these amazing animals — from breeding and training to career changes that include transitioning to other important gigs such as search and rescue, medical alert work and pet therapy.

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