Locals can vote for Leader Dog program

The Leader Dog for the Blind program in Iowa has been selected as a candidate for a possible grant from Wella, a hair product company. To secure the grant, the program has to earn more votes than the other organizations and charity groups nominated from across the country.

Voting is already underway and continues online until May 15. The winners will be announced in June when Wella awards 20 of the most popular entries with grants of up to $10,000. People can vote for the Leader Dogs for the Blind program by going online at and scrolling until they see the link for the group. People can vote once a day, every day if they wish.

Heading up the campaign for votes locally is Brenda Laufersweiler, owner of Exclusive Hair by Brenda in Fort Dodge. She is also active with the Leader Dog for the Blind program operating at the Fort Dodge Correctional Facility where five puppies are currently being trained.

Leader Dog not only helps to train a dog that will aid a blind or visually impaired person, it also impacts and improves the correctional facility’s atmosphere by giving the inmates responsible for caring and training the puppies a sense of passion and purpose that benefits society and surrounding community. Additionally, the puppy raising programs within the prisons have proven to produce dogs with a higher success rate as leader dogs than those trained elsewhere.

The Leader Dog program is operated on sponsorships and donations with no cost to the blind or visually impaired person receiving the dog. After full training, a leader dog is estimated to be worth $30,000.