September is National Guide Dog Month, a celebration of the work of guide dogs in the US. The month-long event, established in 2009, is a way to raise awareness, appreciation and support for guide dog schools across the country.
National Guide Dog Month was inspired by Dick Van Patten, who became impressed by service dogs after a visit to the campus of the Guide Dogs of the Desert in palm Springs, California, USA. After learning the costs to raise and train a guide dog—US$40,000—and the two-year time commitment per dog, Van Patten decided to help raise awareness and money for guide dog schools. Van Patten currently serves as an honorary board member for the Guide Dogs of the Desert. Through his petfood company, Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance Pet Foods, he has underwritten all costs for the promotion of National Guide Dog Month to ensure that all money raised will directly benefit non-profit, accredited guide dog schools in the US.
In 2014, Petco and Natural Balance have teamed up with CSI: Miami's Eva La Rue and Omar Miller to support guide dog organizations.