Friday, November 12, 2010

Guide Dogs

There are approximately 314 million visually impaired people in the world, whose daily routines can be made easier and possible by guide dogs. Currently 1,750 Seeing Eye® dog users in the U.S. and Canada and hundreds of organizations around the world that offer this specialized form of training and assistance.

The Seeing Eye is one such organization.

Since 1929, The Seeing Eye in Morristown, New Jersey, has partnered with people who are blind who seek to enhance their independence, dignity, and self-confidence by providing them with and instructing them in the use of Seeing Eye dogs. On their 60-acres of land in the Washington Valley, about 325 dogs reside and train to be seeing-eye dogs.

All of the dogs used at The Seeing Eye are bred within the program. Every dog is specifically matched to meet the individual needs of each student. Matches are made based on handler/dog compatibility in strength, pace, temperament, and home environment.

The Seeing Eye matches about 270 dogs with blind or visually impaired owners each year. The program involves a 90-day, 12 class training program, where the dogs train in a variety of situations. The owners also go through a three to four week course. After these weeks and months of rigorous training are complete the dog and owner can return home together.

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