Guide dog charity seeks private jet operators for puppy flights


The charity Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) is seeking help from private jet owners and operators in North America to help transport puppies and guide dogs across the continent.

Slashed airline schedules, due to Covid-19, have disrupted the charity’s work in supplying puppies for guide dog training and trained dogs to their sight-impaired new owners, according to the charity. “Because of limitations with air travel due to Covid, the aviation sector in the US and Canada can help Guide Dogs for the Blind transport its puppies who are coming from or going to GDB’s campuses in California and Oregon for training or for delivery to puppy raisers,” Christine Benninger, GDB president and CEO told Corporate Jet Investor.

“GDB would also welcome conversations with volunteer jet pilots who would be able to transport trained guide dogs to GDB field staff and their clients in the US and Canada.”

‘Volunteer jet pilots’

The guide dog charity has already partnered with Angel Flight West, a non-profit, volunteer group that arranges free, non-emergency air travel for children and adults with serious medical conditions and other compelling needs. The organisations have worked together to identify volunteer pilots willing to transport puppies from California to our puppy raisers in New Mexico and Texas.

“In terms of transporting puppies and dogs, GDB would like to have an established network of volunteer pilots with jets (versus smaller planes) who are willing to help GDB, so that we can call on appropriate volunteer pilots on an as-needed basis,” said Benninger. “Transporting puppies out to our puppy raisers and adult dogs back to our campuses for training is central to our mission. Without this critical flow of dogs back and forth, we would be unable to provide trained guide dogs for our clients. Covid has made this critical transportation cycle difficult, thus endangering our mission. This is the key reason why GDB is seeking alternative forms of transportation for our dogs.”

Transporting puppies

GDB supplies puppies to volunteer puppy raisers to socialise and train them for the first 15-18 months of their lives. GDB’s professional trainers receive dogs that are ready for formal training to prepare them for their role as a guide for a person who is visually impaired or blind.

“Both puppy raisers and trainers help further Guide Dogs for the Blind’s life-changing mission to empower individuals who are blind or visually impaired by enhancing their mobility, giving them greater independence, and creating more inclusion by providing them with a social bridge to the sighted community in the form of a guide dog,” said Benninger.

Founded in 1942, Guide Dogs for the Blind provides all of its services to clients free of charge.  The charity receives no government funding and relies solely on the generosity of its donors.

The organisation breeds Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers and Lab/Golden crosses from its own purebred stock. The dogs specially selected for excellent temperament, intelligence and health.

Meanwhile, more information about charity’s work is available here. If you can help the charity, please send an email to [email protected].


Christine Benninger, GDB, (and friend) are looking for jet pilots to transport puppies and guide dogs.