COVID-19 Updates

Update - November 23, 2020

Operations continue without interruption at Fidelco. Since September, we’ve been able to place almost a dozen guide dogs as the staff navigates travel restrictions caused by the pandemic.  This means evaluations are made daily about where we can go and how we can work to complete placements and stay safe and healthy.  We’re thankful for the resilience and flexibility of our staff and volunteers and the understanding and patience of our clients.

The dogs are at peak performance while waiting for a safe window of time to be placed and it’s a joy for all to see them move into their new life partnerships. An even bigger plus, is that the dogs are raring to go-you can almost see them thinking “enough training, let’s go to work!”.

Repairs to the Bloomfield facility are underway, so we should be able to move back into the Pup House before the end of the year. Just in time for several more litters to arrive.

We’re thankful for the hundreds of people who continue to volunteer, raising puppies and supporting Fidelco in so many ways. We’re thankful to be at this point after a long and challenging period of time, fulfilling the mission to provide intelligent, hard-working and beautiful German Shepherd guide dogs to people who are blind.

From all at Fidelco, our best wishes for a safe and healthy holiday season.

Check back for periodic updates.

Update - September 14, 2020

After very careful preparation and precautions, we are beginning to place dogs in safe states.  Everyone is absolutely thrilled to be fulfilling our mission after such a long wait. We have several more litters expected this month, new puppies beginning their journey and the dogs In- For-Training are progressing very well. The life cycle continues!

Due to travel and quarantine issues, Fidelco is limited to conducting placements and follow-up activity in states that are not identified as “quarantine states” by the state of Connecticut.  All of our operations are conducted in a manner to ensure the utmost safety of our employees, clients and volunteers.

Be assured that we are assessing travel safety for our clients and staff every day. If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Stay safe and well!

- Fidelco Guide Dogs Staff

Update - August 13, 2020

We continue limited operations at the Bloomfield facility. The dogs are working hard with the training staff and another group of puppies will be meeting their puppy raiser families at the end of the month.

Everyone is safe following Hurricane Isaias. Trees came down on the roof of the Pup House and our incredible staff quickly moved the puppies to another location. The damage is significant, and repairs will take time. Fortunately, we have room in other buildings and operations have continued seamlessly.

We’re all hoping that travel will become safe very soon so we can resume placements.

Stay safe and well!

- Fidelco Guide Dogs Staff

Update - July 28, 2020

Two weeks into our limited re-opening of the Bloomfield facility, all is going well. There are new puppies being cared for in the Pup House. We welcomed 22 young dogs who join their older siblings in the training program. The staff is starting the day earlier to get the training sessions completed before the worst heat of the day. Our fleet of vehicles are equipped with cooling systems and designed to keep our beautiful dogs safe and hydrated during the summer weather. And, each vehicle is sanitized every day as is the facility.

The Fidelco staff is working tirelessly to ensure that our mission continues without interruption. Their dedication is outstanding as we all adapt to the changing requirements of operating in this pandemic world.

We are following the requirements for travel, state to state, every day. As soon as we can safely travel with our fully trained guide dogs, we will resume placements.

Please stay well and safe!

- Fidelco Guide Dogs Staff

Update - July 6, 2020

Dear Fidelco Family,

Today, we welcomed Training and Kennel staff members back to the Bloomfield campus. We remain closed to visitors. Training and Placement, Kennel and Pup House staff members will arrive in staggered shifts and follow all state and national guidelines for sanitation and hygiene.

The work resumes with multiple dogs who are In For Training; you’ll see them out in Hartford and the surrounding area, keeping the life cycle going for our clients. All of the dogs were in loving homes and training at a readiness level so they’re raring to go!

We’ve sent another 7 puppies out to their foster families and expect new puppies mid-month.

We had planned to start placements this month however, the emergence of virus “hot spots” has put those plans on hold until further notice.

June marked the 60th anniversary of Fidelco. This is a good time to reflect on all we are able to do with the support of our volunteers, staff members, donors and others who contribute to the mission.

Thank you.  Please stay well and safe.

- Fidelco Guide Dogs Staff

Update - June 9, 2020

Dear Fidelco Family,

We hope this finds you safe and well. There have been many reports from animal shelters and rescue organizations about increasing demand for dogs and cats – a reminder of how important they are to our lives. At the Fidelco facilities, we have several cats and dogs who wander all day, teaching our beautiful German Shepherd Dogs to recognize different breeds without being distracted or curiously chasing them!

For all those volunteers and staff members who are sheltering a Fidelco puppy or dog, another huge shout-out of thanks. You’ve made it possible for the life cycle to continue and we’ll be ready to place fully trained guides when it’s safe to travel.

We are planning to reopen the Bloomfield facility for limited operations in early July. In addition to Kennel and Pup House operations, which continue on an as-needed basis, the Training and Placement staff will return on staggered shifts, to ramp up the In-For-Training process. For the time being, our Administrative and Development teams will continue to work remotely.

The volunteer puppy raiser staff will continue with virtual puppy classes, orientation and home visits using online resources.

We are not planning to re-open the Wilton facility at the moment.

Along with everyone else, we’ll follow state guidelines for sanitation and hygiene and will advise when it’s possible to resume onsite puppy training classes.

Our staff is available for clients and puppy raisers and volunteers at any time. We’re looking forward to seeing each other, still at a distance, but a welcome sight all the same.

A reminder that Dog Days of Summer will be held as an online program this summer. Look for details at fidelco.org.

We are so very grateful for the people who continue to contribute to the organization, whether financially or through volunteerism or simply good will.

Be well and safe.

- Fidelco Guide Dogs Staff

Update - May 19, 2020

Dear Fidelco Family,

Two months ago, Fidelco began remote operations, joining everyone in finding ways to operate and succeed in a virtual world. Our staff members have been incredibly resourceful, creative and innovative in keeping the life cycle of our dogs going. There are many new puppies and wonderful volunteers who have taken on raising young dogs. We found a way to give the puppies to their puppy raiser families, “contact-free” while also celebrating these great beginnings. Training continues, sometimes using on-line tools, and we are ready to place our hard-working, fully trained guides when it’s safe to do so.

A significant part of training is exposing the younger dogs to busy, crowded environments, such as train stations and airports, office buildings, escalators and elevators. Until we can once again move about, this skillset will wait to be developed.

Many of our donors have continued to support our mission and we’re very grateful, especially in these challenging times.

As the state of Connecticut releases guidelines to reopen facilities, we’re carefully evaluating the best plan for the Bloomfield and Wilton campuses. Our best guess is that we are likely to have limited operations in Bloomfield at some point in June. We’ll keep everyone advised and once again, thanks to all for your support and effort.

- Fidelco Guide Dogs Staff

Update - April 6, 2020

Dear Fidelco Family,

We are almost 3 weeks into remotely operating Fidelco. We so hope that you and your families are well and safe. And, a heartfelt thanks to all who are taking care of people and ensuring safety during this time.

We are taking every precaution to ensure safety. Our dedicated staff is continuing to raise, nurture and train Fidelco dogs. Puppies will be leaving the facility in mid-April to go to their puppy raisers so we’ve developed a no-contact method of making the transfer. There will be plenty of excitement at a distance.

New puppies are expected at the end of April. The cycle continues. Dogs in training are working hard. We have some limitations until we can return to training in crowded and busy environments and all other required training continues.

The American Veterinary Medical Association has been regularly updating guidelines for all pet owners and guide dog users. For detailed information on these protocols, please visit:

https://www.avma.org/sites/default/files/2020-03/covid-19-faq-pet-owners_031620.pdf

We will continue providing updates as we navigate these challenging times together. Please stay safe and well.

- Fidelco Guide Dogs Staff

Update - March 17, 2020

Dear Fidelco Family,

Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation’s success is only possible because of you – our incredible community of clients, supporters, volunteers and friends. As we deal with the  (COVID-19) situation, we are reaching out to keep you informed about the steps we are taking to keep everyone as safe as possible.

The following are precautions we are taking now. We will continue to closely monitor guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the State of Connecticut, and will adapt our plans accordingly:

  • Effective Tuesday, March 17, the Bloomfield campus is closed to all but the essential personnel who manage the Pup House, Kennel, Vet MD, Puppy Raiser and Training departments. We are managing shifts to limit interaction between people and limit any potential spread of the virus. It is important to note that dogs cannot be infected with coronavirus, but the virus can live on the surface of their bodies.
  • The Wilton facility is closed until further notice.
  • All other Fidelco people will be working remotely and do have access to telephone lines and email, so please contact them if you have questions or concerns.
  • We are asking that our puppy raisers maintain a 30 day supply of food. Fidelco has a supply of food and is actively working to increase stores.
  • On-campus events are canceled until further notice. This includes puppy classes.
  • With Fidelco clients living all over the country and in Canada, we are currently suspending follow-up visits. Guide dog placements are suspended. We will be in close contact with our clients to reschedule as soon as it is safe to do so.
  • As always, we are available to all our clients via our 24/7 “hotline” to answer questions and address concerns about their guide dogs.

We will continue providing updates to keep you informed of what we are doing to carry our mission forward while exercising caution. We are deeply grateful for your support and appreciate our Fidelco family and community now more than ever. Sending you and your loved ones our best wishes as we all navigate this developing situation together.

Sincerely,

- Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation