Windsor woman gives gift of independence through CNIB Guide Dog Program


WINDSOR, Ontario — When CNIB launched its guide dog program earlier this year, Windsor's Mary Weingarden knew it was time to provide a transformational experience for someone with sight loss. She stepped up to make the first significant donation in Ontario.

Mary Weingarden and Ulysses (422x500).jpg"I was researching organizations that trained service dogs on the very day that CNIB announced it was launching a new program, exclusively for people who are blind or partially sighted (April 26 - International Guide Dog Day)," says Weingarden. "When I discovered that the guide dog users would not have to pay for their dog, the training or the follow-up support provided by CNIB and that all costs would be covered through charitable donations, my decision was made. I wanted to support a program that truly helped someone and the CNIB Guide Dog Program was the perfect fit."

In Ontario, nearly 200,000 people are living with significant sight loss. For some, a guide dog provides an unparalleled level of mobility, freedom and confidence — showcasing the world in a whole new way.

"Not only does the guide dog partnership provide individuals with mobility and safety, it instills confidence and independence, and creates a sense of connection with the world," says Andrew Hanlon, Manager, CNIB Guide Dog Program. "At CNIB, we believe everyone who would like to have a guide dog should have the opportunity to do so. That's why we're proud to offer a range of choices, services and opportunities for people with sight loss."

To mark National Guide Dog Month in September, Mrs. Weingarden gave the gift of independence through the CNIB Guide Dog Program.

"About 20 years ago, I met a wonderful woman at a summer course. She used a guide dog very comfortably and the two of them interacted seamlessly with the rest of the class. Whether it was at school, a party or a dance, they went everywhere together and they travelled frequently by subway," says Weingarden. "Needless to say, I was impressed by her level of independence with a guide dog."

In recognition of her gift, Weingarden had an opportunity to name one of the first dogs in the CNIB Guide Dog Program.

"When I was told I could select the name of a puppy, I chose Ulysses in honour of my cat, a special and well-loved friend. I felt anyone who was paired with this guide dog would be blessed," says Weingarden. "When I met Ulysses, I felt a great sense of joy. He's a beautiful puppy and he's already sporting his vest to show he's a guide dog in training. His potential overwhelms me and I look forward to hearing how he will be helping someone with sight loss in the future."

Ulysses will begin formal training in April 2018.

About CNIB Guide Dog Program

CNIB started its 100th year with the launch of a new program to raise and train guide dogs – exclusively for people with sight loss. The CNIB Guide Dog Program has been designed to provide the range of choices, services and opportunities that Canadians with sight loss have told us they want. To learn more, visit

About CNIB

CNIB is a registered charity, passionately providing community-based support, knowledge and a national voice to ensure Canadians who are blind or partially sighted have the confidence, skills and opportunities to fully participate in life. To learn more, visit or call 1-800-563-2642.

For more information, please contact:

Shannon Simpson
Manager, Communications, CNIB Ontario
519-685-8420 ext. 5147

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