Guide Dogs of the Desert History

Nearly 50 years of providing independence and mobility


Guide Dogs of the Desert was founded in 1972 by Mr. Lafayette “Bud” Maynard with the goal to provide quality guide dogs to the blind and the multi-handicapped blind. He began by training students one at a time from his home. With the help of the Cathedral City Lions Club, Guide Dogs of the Desert was incorporated and licensed under California State Law and the Department of Consumer Affairs.

By 1975, the demand for guide dogs outgrew Mr. Maynard’s capacity to train from his home. At that time, Guide Dogs of the Desert leased a two-bedroom house with a detached garage located on the current school property.

In 1976, several individual members of Canyon Country Club in Palm Springs, California backed the purchase of the property and renovations commenced. The demand for specialized guide dog training and individualized instruction soon required larger facilities.

In 1982, Lions Club members, local businesses and a grant from the Lions Club International Foundation served to expand the kennels and dormitory. The adjoining six acres was purchased to provide for future expansion.

Paul Crish

Shay Elenberg

Jacob Harris

Madeleine Harris

Thank You to Our Partners & Sponsors

Berger Foundation
The Auen Foundation

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Guide Dogs of the Desert | California