Our "Freshman Dorm"

This state-of-the-art 6,639 square foot “freshman dorm” provides a fantastic new home for our dogs returning to campus from volunteer puppy raisers -a.k.a. Guide Dog University.

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Lead Donor Keith G. Hirst

After volunteer puppy raisers return their dogs to campus for formal harness training, the incoming freshman class of dogs begins preparing for new careers with a stop at the “freshman dorm,” the Keith G. Hirst Canine Assessment Center. For five to six weeks, a team of trainers and veterinary staff assess them for health, temperament, intelligence, and suitability for guide dog work. The Assessment Center serves as the dedicated home for the dogs, providing space for group and individual evaluations as well office and lab space for staff.

Opened in May 2014, the custom-designed Canine Assessment Center welcomes dogs to 6,639 square feet of bright, dedicated space for conducting assessments and training. Designed with advanced noise and odor control systems, the Caine Assessment Center has separate male and female runs, a small clinic, a food preparation and laundry area, a loading bay with grooming tubs, an observation and workstation space, and an exercise yard.

This $1.4 million building was made possible by the generosity of lead donor Keith G. Hirst, the Lions Clubs, and many individuals and organizations who participated in two matching campaigns to raise the necessary funds.