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The Valora Memorial Client scholarship fund

In memory of her beloved first guide dog, Valora, PAALS Advisory Board Member and university professor Dr. JoAnne Herman created the Valora Memorial Client Scholarship Fund at PAALS. The needs-based Valora Scholarship helps PAALS’ clients better afford Team Training tuition upon receiving their service dog.


As a result of a degenerative disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa, JoAnne has been losing her vision and, along with it, her independence since 1975.
Until she received Valora in 2005, JoAnne used a cane and was not able to go out in the dark by herself.
Valora, who came from Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael, California, allowed JoAnne to live on her own schedule for the first time in her adult life. She no longer had to adapt her schedule to rely on help from someone else to get places. She was able to walk to work and navigate the often difficult terrain of the university campus. She could visit her hairdresser on her own, see her physicians, and go any other place she might want to go.

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“Although PAALS does not train guide dogs, this cause is close to my heart because, as you know, I benefited from the work of Valora, who was my guide dog and canine partner for 5 years,” JoAnne said. “Guide dogs do more than just guide blind people. They are the first line of defense when it comes to safety. I feel like I owe Valora my life for saving me from being struck by a car turning into a parking lot. I have no doubt that if I were using a cane, rather than a guide dog, I would be either badly injured or dead.”


Tragically, the heroic and beautiful Valora passed away from a brain tumor when she was only 7 years old. The Valora Fund is part of this amazing dog’s legacy, as she continues to help others far beyond her years on earth.


Your donation to the Valora Scholarship Fund helps ensure that PAALS clients with disabilities can get the Assistance Dogs International-accredited service dog they need to live more independently.

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