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

Check back for periodic updates.

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