A generous gift from the Auen Foundation was key to opening the Sanford J. Reed (Sandy) Nursery at Guide Dogs of the Desert (GDD), a Coachella Valley-based, accredited Guide Dog school. The recently completed on-site nursery is significant to GDD because it allows puppies to begin their Guide Dog journey in a comfortable, stress-free environment with round-the-clock attention.
The facility was dedicated in memory of Sanford J. Reed (Sandy), whose family has been longtime supporters of GDD, including adopting two dogs that were released from the program. Naming the nursery in Reed’s honor reflects a culmination of many years of significant support from the Auen Foundation.
In 2019, the Auen Foundation learned of GDD’s goal to bring the breeding program in-house. The Foundation provided a $50,000 gift to help get the nursery for the program started. After Sandy Reed died in June 2020, friends and loved ones donated more than $10,000 to the organization in Sandy’s memory. Then, in July 2020, the remaining funding needed to complete the nursery was donated exclusively from the Auen Foundation and the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation.
“Nurseries are a source of hope, and this one is a tribute to Sandy’s generosity of spirit. It’s also a celebration of him,” said Tricia Gehrlein, Executive Director of Guide Dogs of the Desert. “The Sanford J. Reed Nursery is a place synonymous with possibilities, which will continue to unfold long into the future.”
During the nursery’s ribbon cutting and dedication, Gehrlein was surprised with additional donations from the Auen Foundation and the Berger Foundation, totaling $50,000, which will be used to pay for the dogs’ medical expenses in the breeding program.
“It is extremely meaningful to us that our longtime partnership with Guide Dogs of the Desert launched the organization’s important breeding program. The nursery, which will carry Sandy’s name, will be the beginning of many more life-changing companions for people in need of Guide Dog services,” said Catharine Reed, Sandy’s mother and Senior Program Officer of the Auen Foundation.
The event concluded with the puppy handout, the adorable and exciting moment when puppies are handed over to the foster families who will raise them for the next 18 months. This litter of Guide Dog puppies has been named for members of the Reed family.
The Coachella Valley-based Guide Dogs of the Desert is an accredited guide dog school that has been helping visually impaired students find independence and companionship through service dogs for almost 50 years.