April 25, 2010

First Seeing-Eye Dog in U.S. – 1928

Seen above is a Seeing Eye dog and
its owner consulting with Santa.

On this date in 1928, a blind man named Morris Frank was presented with his trained guide dog. The German Shepherd dog named Buddy had learned how to pull in harness, stop at curbs, and disobey orders when it would be dangerous to follow them. Buddy enabled Frank to be more independent as he could get around his community of Nashville, Tennessee, without other assistance.

Was Buddy the first dog used to guide a blind person? Of course not. Who knows how many blind people, over the years, utilized dogs to help them in their day-to-day life?

However, we do know that, in the early 1900s, people in Switzerland and Germany were training German Shepherd dogs to guide blind World War I veterans. An American dog trainer named Dorothy Harrison Eustis saw such training and wrote an article about it for The Saturday Evening Post. She called her article “The Seeing Eye.”

On the basis of that article, Morris Frank wrote to Eustis and asked her to train a dog for him. And so began the Seeing Eye organization, which became and still is the best known guide dog school in the world. The school is so widely known, in fact, that many people use the term “seeing eye dog” as a generic term, using it for ANY trained guide dog, including those who were trained by other organizations and schools.

(It's the same sort of thing as people calling any facial tissue “Kleenex,” although that is the name of just one brand of tissue. Another genericized name is “Xerox,” which people commonly used as a noun or a verb—even when using another brand of copier.

If you love dogs...

...consider r
aising a puppy who will become a guide dog. Loving homes provide environments in which puppies can be socialized and learn good behavior. These puppies need to go everywhere that guide dogs go, including grocery stores, school, workplaces, stores, and restaurants—plus onto planes and trains!

Learn more about guide-dog puppy raising here or here.

Imagine being blind.

Have a friend blindfold your closed eyes and then guide you as you take a familiar walk. How easy is it to trust someone else? Did you bump into things?

Learn more here. (Learn about Braille, Helen Keller, and more!)

All Sorts of Service Critters!

There are assist dogs who help people who are deaf and who have other disabilities. Plus there are other sorts of animals who assist. Find out more here

Learn about dog training!

  • Here is a website on the “basics.”
  • Do you know what a German shepherd looks like? Here is a jigsaw of a cute German shepherd puppy!

No comments:

Post a Comment