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Learning About Seeing Eye Dogs

Did you know it's #SeeingEyeDog day on January 29th?

To celebrate this day, we're going to spend a little time explaining what seeing eye dogs do, and why they are so important.

What is a Seeing Eye Dog?

It is a service dog that is a guide for the visually impaired. The most popular breeds of seeing eye dogs are the following.

  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Golden Retrievers
  • German Shepherds

Those breeds are capable of complex training. They stay calm and focused under difficult circumstances. They are trustworthy. And they will only follow instructions when it is safe to do so.

What do you Seeing Eye Dogs do?

Their main objective is to safely assist their visually impaired owner. A seeing eye dog will let their owner know about a change of elevation. They will help their owner find exits. They will help their owner avoid obstacles. They will help their owner retrieve something they dropped, and even help them check the mail. They do so much more that, however. A seeing eye is not only important for assistance, but also comfort. They are a companion, dutiful and warm. They provide their owner with a sense of calm and security. And don’t think a seeing eye dog isn’t playful and fun for their owner, too. They’re still a dog, just a well trained one!

How Does a Dog Become a Seeing Eye Dog?

A seeing eye dog spends its early life in a foster family. It is trained, intensively, from a very early age, before meeting their owners. Once they meet their owner, they train together. After that initial period the dog is ready for seeing eye duty. The dog is usually 18 months old by that time. The career of a seeing eye dog can last from 8 to 10 years. After that, they typically retire with an adoptive family. Their retirement usually consists of laying down, walks, belly rubs, good food and old films by the fire, or margaritas by the beach. 

A suggestion for that good food can include WellyChef Homemade Dog Food Done Right Base Mix.

What is the History of Seeing Eye Dogs?

According to Checkiday.com, the demand for seeing eye dogs came after World War 1, when many soldiers returned blind. After that, schools for seeing eye dogs started in Germany, then Switzerland. A man, Morris Frank, then opened the Seeing Eye Dog School in the United States on January 29th, 1929. The school began in Nashville, but then moved to New Jersey in 1931. It still operates today!

How Can I Celebrate Seeing Eye Dog Day?

Many seeing eye dog schools are non-profits and get most of their funding from donations. A great way to celebrate this day would be to donate to a seeing eye dog school near you.

The next time you see somebody with a seeing eye dog, strike up a conversation with them. Ask them about the relationship between them and their dog. Just remember not to interact with the dog right away. They are working! Plus, you’ll probably get better answers from the owner anyway.

Do you know other facts, interesting bits of information, or personal stories about seeing eye dogs? Let us know in the comments below.

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