The CNIB (Canadian National Institute for the Blind), is an organization that has been around for over a century, founded after World War I in response to rising blindness rates due to veterans returning home from the war, and has since been responsible for creating programs, providing services, and advocating to change the lives of Canadians who are blind or partially sighted, and in the time they have been active, they have put together a long list of accomplishments. More recently, they started up the Guide Dog program in 2017, and the Buddy Dog program in 2019.
The Guide and Buddy Dog programs are two similar programs that work to match up people who are blind or partially sighted with specially trained dogs, sourced mostly at this time from a trusted breeder in Australia. These dogs, labs and golden retrievers, and crosses of these two breeds, are chosen because of their intelligence and adaptability, as well as their natural eagerness to please. It takes a lot of time and effort to train a guide dog, and while not all succeed, some still fill an important role as buddy dogs for children and youth between the ages of 7 and 16. CNIB covers food and approved veterinarian costs for program graduates, which helps the people and families who need it most.
While the Guide Dog program focuses on training “seeing eye dogs” who look out for traffic and other hazards, the Buddy Dog program meanwhile focuses on training dogs to act as companions to blind kids all across Canada, boosting the kids’ confidence and combatting loneliness. Across both programs, the CNIB has 53 dogs in training, 56 active guide dogs, 23 active buddy dogs, and 6 ambassador dogs. Of these numbers, we were lucky enough to meet the lovely Katie and Scout, who stopped by our shop along with their handlers, Johanna Lintaman and Miriam Mas respectively.
To help the CNIB in its efforts, Simply Baked is running an ongoing fundraiser where for $20, you get four whole wheat apple carrot “pupcakes” with a peanut butter honey icing, a tasty treat that’s safe to share with your pooch! 25% of proceeds from all “pupcakes” will be donated to the CNIB’s Guide and Buddy Dog programs. Be sure to order ahead!