Leader Dogs for the Blind receives $30K donation

By: Linda Shepard | Rochester Post | Published January 13, 2016

ROCHESTER HILLS —Leader Dogs for the Blind’s new Canine Development Center is closer to completion, thanks to a recent $30,000 donation from the Consumers Energy Foundation.

“This donation will contribute to the construction efforts of our Canine Development Center, which is scheduled to be completed later this year,” said Sue Daniels, Leader Dogs president, in a statement. “We are very thankful for the support of the Consumers Energy Foundation.”

The first phase of the new Leader Dogs for the Blind Canine Development Center opened in November. The center includes new puppy litter bays, an expanded veterinary clinic, a custom breeding suite and a protected puppy litter drop-off area.

The new $14.5 million facility, on Rochester Road at Avon Road, replaces aging kennels built in the 1960s, adding 35 percent more space to the old 100,000-square-foot kennels. The state-of-the-art facility is designed to increase the mental and physical health of Leader Dogs from puppyhood to adulthood, allowing for a higher standard of care.

The nearly 75,000-square-foot facility will better prepare dogs for their life-changing and life-saving work. When completed, the Canine Center will provide 255 housing suites, which are two and a half times larger than the current suites. It also includes an upgraded veterinary clinic, separate male and female breeding suites, and indoor/outdoor puppy enrichment areas.

“The Canine Center’s extraordinary design will accommodate a greater number of dogs in a living environment that reduces stress, promotes learning, increases socialization opportunities and supports the overall health of the dogs, among other benefits,” Daniels said.

Currently, two retired Consumers Energy executives, Thomas O’Masta and Paul Preketes, serve on the Leader Dogs for the Blind board. The Consumers Energy Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Consumers Energy and provides funding for a variety of areas, including education, community, civic and cultural development, social services, the environment and emerging issues.

“The Consumers Energy Foundation is committed to working with nonprofit organizations to make our state a better place,” said David Mengebier, president of the Consumers Energy Foundation, in a statement.

“We are privileged that Leader Dogs, which for over 75 years has provided such a vital service to blind and visually impaired clients worldwide, is based in southeast Michigan,” Mengebier said.

Leader Dogs for the Blind has been providing independent travel to people who are blind through the use of Leader Dogs, free of charge, since 1939.

To learn more about Leader Dogs for the Blind, visit www.leaderdog.org.