best dogs in sight!

San Antonio, TX   |


The mission of Guide Dogs of Texas is to provide quality guide dogs to Texans who are visually impaired in order to improve their freedom, mobility and independence. We are committed to personalized service and lifelong dedication to our Clients and their Guide Dogs.

Notes from the nonprofit

Thank you for taking the time to learn about our amazing mission, staff, board and volunteers. Please reach out to us if we can help you, answer questions, or if you would like to get more involved. The Guide Dogs of Texas Team

Ruling year info



Mr. Billy F. Rader

Main address

1503 Allena Drive

San Antonio, TX 78213 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Southwest Guide Dog Foundation



NTEE code info

Blind/Visually Impaired Centers, Services (P86)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

There are over 600,000 people in Texas who are visually impaired, and this number is larger every year. We estimate there are over 3,600 Texans who are blind/severely visually impaired and whose lives would be transformed through guide dog mobility. Applications for guided sight continue to double on an annual basis. Guide Dogs can help people move from isolation to inclusion, constraints to freedom, and from darkness into the light of canine vision and companionship. Guided sight assists in providing equity to those disabled by vision loss.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Guide Dog Training

Guide dog training is a highly specialized field of work. Preparing a guide dog for work typically lasts up to two and a half years. The cost of providing one day of guided sight with a guide dog is $17, which after training of the dog, is an investment of approximately $50,000 per guide dog team. Our Director of Training is a certified Guide Dog Mobility Instructor and ensures protocol and procedures are followed to produce high-quality, expertly trained guide dog teams. Our dog training programs include puppies and adult dogs. Volunteer puppy raisers provide basic obedience and socialization training for professionally bred and carefully selected puppies. The pups are generally housed with their puppy raisers for early obedience, socialization and environmental awareness. The pups are placed with their puppy raisers at the age of ten weeks and graduate to the formal training program at 16 - 18 months of age. At any given time there may be 12-14 puppies in our program. The next phase of training is the formal Guide Dog Program. A Guide Dog Mobility Instructor works daily with each dog on their team. Each Instructor’s team may consist of 3-4 dogs and Guide Dogs of Texas currently has four Guide Dog Mobility Instructors, an apprentice and two assistants. Each dog is taught to guide a person through a variety of situations while avoiding obstacles and ignoring distractions. By working in areas, a guide dog builds confidence and sharpens problem solving skills. Upon completion of the formal training program, the dog is carefully matched with a Texan who is visually impaired. At that point, the GDMI will conduct a training class in the client’s own home and community where the client and guide dog learn to be a team. During this time, the client and dog will bond with each other, promoting trust between the two of them. They will work together every day in a variety of locations in town under close supervision. This phase of training usually lasts 2-3 weeks. The Guide Dog Mobility Instructor is responsible for training not only the guide dogs but the visually impaired clients as well. Clients are taught techniques for handling a guide dog, such as how to slow the dog down, how to turn right or left, and how to encourage the dog to solve problems. This allows the Guide Dog Mobility Instructor to help acclimate the dog and client to the home. Our unique matching and training program yields a 100% team graduation rate and a 90% two-year retention rate. Guide Dogs of Texas is dedicated to providing lifelong service to our clients and guide dog teams. Once a client/dog team has graduated, they will receive an annual after-care support visit from a member of our Guide Dog Mobility Instructors and training staff. These visits allow us to assess and evaluate the effectiveness of the team and the effectiveness of overall training. During an after-care support visit a trainer will help the client reinforce training techniques, help determine new routes to travel, and assess the guide dog’s health.

Population(s) Served
People with vision impairments
Incarcerated people

Where we work

Affiliations & memberships

Council of US Guide Dogs 2005

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of clients served

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Incarcerated people, People with vision impairments

Related Program

Guide Dog Training

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

GDTX assists 100+ Texans with blindness in our training program each year and impacts more than 173,000 Texans through education, outreach, training and support.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Guide Dogs of Texas would like to provide a quality Guide Dog to any blind Texan who would benefit from their skills, and who can handle and care for a Guide Dog. In addition, we want to provide annual and continuing education and support for every Guide Dog team.

Our short-term goals include:
Providing information on Guide Dog Mobility to potential applicants
Assessing all Guide Dog Applicants across Texas (applicants who have returned their application)
Breeding, Raising, and Training Quality Guide Dogs
Matching and Training these Dogs with Applicants accepted on the list (also called 'class')
Provide Annual visits by a Guide Dog Mobility Instructor for every Team
Every Guide Dog Owner and Applicant receives individualized mobility assessment and instruction, advocacy for issues facing people with low or no vision, and assistance when needed to overcome any obstacles they face.

In addition to the San Antonio main campus, Guide Dogs of Texas placed a certified Guide Dog Mobility Instructor in Austin in 2015. Before 2021, the Dallas/Fort Worth satellite and Houston Satellite will also be in place. This will allow better opportunities for education throughout Texas, quicker services to applicants in those areas, more Guide Dogs trained in those communities, more Guide Dog Team placements, and better services for graduates. Other areas of Texas will be served by the closest Instructor.

In particular we will:
1. Expand awareness of Guide Dog Services through publicity, educational events, and volunteers.
2. Provide information and resources to people who contact GDTX.
3. Provide assessments by Guide Dog Mobility Instructors for all applicants.
4. Train Guide Dogs in the central, and satellite locations. Puppy Raising has expanded to the Austin, Houston and DFW satellite areas.
5. Match and Place Teams throughout Texas.
6. Provide efficient graduate services to all teams.

Guide Dogs of Texas has 3 certified Guide Dog Mobility Instructors. World-wide, certified Instructors are in short supply, and training to become an Instructor takes 3-4 years after receiving a bachelor degree. GDTX will recruit or train an Instructor to launch the DFW satellite. By placing Instructors in the larger cities throughout Texas, we are closer to the people who need our services. This reduces overhead and travel, and allows us to provide more efficient service to blind Texans.

In order to fill this need, Guide Dogs of Texas launched a Guide Dog Mobility Instructor Apprentice Program to provide the pipeline of professionals needed to meet our goals,

Guide Dogs of Texas is well-positioned with the expertise to carry out this mission. We are accredited by the prestigious International Guide Dog Federation. There are only 11 other accredited schools in the US, and no other schools in Texas. Our high-quality and personalized training model, is well-regarded internationally. We participate in bi-annual continuing education through the Federation, and are members of the American Council for the Blind, Guide Dog Users International, and the Council of US Guide Dog Schools.

Guide Dogs of Texas has achieved extremely high-quality service, and dedicated, professional staffing. Establishment of the Austin area satellite was achieved in the summer of 2015. With the advancement of our Guide Dog Mobility Instructor Apprentices, the placement in the rest of the Texas Satellites should occur within the next three years.

We are still working to expand education and awareness of the program to potential clients, volunteers and donors throughout Texas. The sustaining membership program was created in 2014, and an endowment fund was created in 2015. Both of these programs are in development, and are benefiting from an expansion of awareness of Guide Dogs. In 2019 we completed the construction of an event/training pavilion, a Puppy Enrichment Center as well as added additional accessible restrooms to service those areas. Promotion of these critical funds, and cultivation of donors will assist us in reaching our long-term impact goals.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.)

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback



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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Board of directors
as of 03/09/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Ms. Gail Hathaway

Ret. Nonprofit Executive/Military Officer

Term: 2024 - 2021

Board co-chair

Dr. Jeana Orman

Retired Epidemiologist

Term: 2021 - 2024

Lou Ann Williams

Special Ed Teacher (ret)

Kendrick Vela

KGB Texas

Rene Perez

SA Lighthouse for the Blind

Brent Barnes


Karen Vazquez

Retired Finance Executive

Jennifer Edwards

The Argo Group

James "JC" Clapsaddle

Retired AF Officer

Jane Fritz


Jennie MacNaughton

Retired USAA

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 3/9/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Decline to state
Gender identity
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data


Equity strategies

Last updated: 05/14/2020

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.