Thursday, April 10, 2008

Guide Dogs of the Desert Grand Opening in Palm Springs

On Wednesday I went to the opening of the Guide Dog Depot in downtown Palm Springs. The new space was opened to provide the Guide Dogs of the Desert an opportunity to interact with the general public, and provide a place for trainers to visit while working with guide dogs-in-training. The mission of Guide Dogs of the Desert is to "improve the lives of the blind by creating opportunities for life-changing independence, and by conducting community outreach and education programs." They provide assistance to the visually impaired, by providing trained dogs to people, particularly those who may not have the financial means to purchase a guide dog on their own. Local Palm Springs resident and pop superstar Barry Manilow attended the private reception and mingled with the guests. I had a chance to chat with Barry, who is practically my neighbor; he looked great in his black leather jacket and jeans. Actor and animal advocate Dick Van Patten was also at the reception. His dog food company Natural Balance pet foods is donating dog food and raising money for the Guide Dogs of the Desert. There were a few members of the press on hand, including CBS-TV who interviewed Mr Van Patten following the ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday morning.

above: Actor and animal advocate Dick Van Patten poses with one of the guide dogs. His pet food company Natural Balance raises money for a number of animal organizations across the country. Dick enjoys spending time in Palm Springs and is a proud supporter of the Guide Dogs of the Desert.

I thought this poster above was really cool, with all the photos of the guide dogs. If you want to help out the Guide Dogs of the Desert, click here to donate.
-Rick Rockhill

15 comments:

Ben Wu said...

No pics of Barry?

lime said...

a very worthy post of a very worthy cause. service animals really do make life so much more accessible than we who have no need could ever imagine.

Palm Springs Savant said...

BenWu- Believe me, I wanted to get a photo of Barry, but I didn't want to be tacky.

Mone said...

wow, now thats the spirit. It always feels good to help others out and dogs are anyway mans best friend. Well, except for Dr. Wang of course :)

Marlupe said...

Aw, those puppies are so sweet! My sister is blind, when she got a guide dog it really changed her life for the better. Its amazing how those dogs know just what to do. You've written about dick ven patten before, i didn't know he was so generous to animals.

TWISI said...

very cool!

Anne said...

This is great Rick. Dogs are wonderful helpers and it is amazing what a little independence can do for a person. Such a great cause. I think blindness is probably one of the most debilitating handicaps a person can have.

Lois Grebowski said...

Wook at doze sweet doggie faces...

Seamus said...

I had a recent boss who did a lot of training with the guide dogs. I think it is an amazing and wonderful interaction between the dog and the person needing the assistance.

LouLou! said...

Rick, you manage to get pictures of yourself with every other celeb within a stone's throw. I had hoped to see a pic of you and Barry!

OnCall 24/7 said...

A fantastic cause! Thanks for the recap of the event! Though I'm an owner trainer, myself, I am always pleased to see such events. As they help educate people, as well as helping the schools. So many are in need of a service animal for their disability so they could be independent and not have to rely on people that are quite busy. It always amazes me how my dogs are always intune to my needs even if I am not!

whimsical brainpan said...

Now that's a great cause!

dit said...

I love dogs and Palm Springs. Its a win win. lol

Naomi said...

This is a great cause for people to support Rick. We have a similar charity here in England - Guide Dogs for the Blind. These dogs make such wonderful helpers and companions - they are a true blessing to people who have lost their sight.

Anonymous said...

Rick.....always allow someone the opportunity to have their picture taken with you. I have read several times on your posts that for whatever reasons of bother or status you were unable to get a picture taken. Stop that. You are too important, influential, and have too many friends to deny others the opportunity to see all the great people that you come in contact with. I was thinking less of Manilow because his picture with you was missing. Come to find out it was YOU that never allowed it happen. Manilow would think it is an honor...though we will never know. Next time....get every picture and let your fans decide....ok? Great event and see ya soon.

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