The Story Behind Seeing Eye Dogs – A Blessing To The Blind
After reading about guide dogs for blinded WWI veterans, Morris Frank saw the opportunity for the return to his own independence by using seeing eye dogs.
88 Years ago, The Seeing Eye, Inc. was founded to help those visually challenged learn to work with seeing eye dogs. Morris Frank, Seeing Eye co-founder, was part of a ground-breaking trial in Switzerland using dogs as guides. Blinded as a youth, Morris had great faith that he could gain his freedom back through the use of a seeing eye dog partnership.
“Buddy”, his first guide dog, quickly impressed observers as she guided Morris across a busy street in Switzerland. Likely this was the first time that a dog in this type of service had been watched.
Not surprisingly, Buddy captured the hearts of many and became a great ambassador for The Seeing Eye program until her passing in 1938 at which time she was hailed a national heroine. Morris Frank’s successive seeing eye dogs were also named Buddy and all lived up to the great standards set by the original Buddy, all working as ambassadors for the seeing eye dogs program.
Since it’s founding in 1929, The Seeing Eye has matched nearly 16,000 dogs and individuals. Originally located in TN, they are now headquartered in Morristown, NJ. Training for these partnerships lasts a minimum of 25 days where the dog and their individual are together the entire time. The pairing of these dogs with their partner is just as much about the ability of the dog to lead as their personality. A dog that is well-suited for a college student may not be the right dog needed for a business executive sitting in meetings all day. Both the individual and the dog have to learn to work with each other and learn their respective needs. The dogs work about 8 years before they retire to loving homes.
WATCH: Morris Frank, In His Own Words