On any given day, non-profit Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) is caring for and training a new litter of frisky puppies at their school campus. More than 800 per year are whelped and raised by a dedicated team at GDB’s National Headquarters located in San Rafael, California.
Dreyfuss + Blackford Architecture, in association with Animal Arts Design Studios, was selected to design the new 28,000 square foot Puppy Center. Applying the latest in animal care design best practices, this new puppy birthing and enrichment facility supports GDB’s mission of preparing highly-qualified service canines to be lifelong partners for individuals who are visually impaired. By providing a healthier, more ergonomic and socially enriching environment for the puppies and their caretakers, GDB will better equip these future companions to reach their full potential. The facility also includes a Learning Lab (in lobby), which will help educate the public through interactive displays, dedicated areas to view puppy enrichment, and other learning spaces.
The Puppy Center includes 19 neonatal kennels and eight new whelping kennels for moms and puppies, and 30 new puppy kennels in the Young Heroes Academy where the puppies stay until 10 weeks of age. Each area will have dedicated gown-in facilities, medical support spaces, staff work areas, laundry, food preparation area and restrooms. The building systems include industry best practices in biological risk management, acoustics, air quality, radiant heating, and lighting.
A new courtyard and park across from the Puppy Center entrance also enables staff to exercise dogs and train them in real world outdoor settings.
Photos by David Wakely.