January 29th is National Seeing Eye Dog Day. These wonderful pups definitely deserve some attention. A Bourne, MA veterinarian discusses Seeing Eye Dogs in this article.
Seeing Eye dogs have been around since shortly after World War I. They were initially trained to assist veterans who returned home from the war blinded. These wonderful pups have really changed the lives of many visually-impaired people, allowing them to live independently.
Technically, many types of dogs can be Seeing Eye dogs. However, the pups most often found working in this important niche are Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, and Standard Poodles. These breeds are all known for being intelligent, obedient, and highly trainable.
Seeing Eye Dogs may perform a variety of tasks for their humans. They may alert their owners to things that could cause trips, such as ramps and stairs, and assist them with getting around obstacles. They also guide their people into and out of rooms, get the mail, and retrieve various objects.
In order for Fido to make the cut as a seeing eye dog, he’ll need to start his training while he’s very young, long before meeting his potential owners. The process of pairing a dog with his human is very thorough, and can take quite a while. It’s absolutely crucial to make the right match! Usually, dogs will start work around the age of one and a half. Most seeing eye dogs’ careers last about 8 to 10 years. After that, they ‘retire’ to the life of being a pet, sometimes with adoptive families.
Do you want to do something to support Seeing Eye Dogs, and the organizations that train and home them? There are some wonderful ones out there, including Guide Dogs For The Blind, The Seeing Eye, and Guiding Eyes for the blind. Donations are great, but even sharing links on social media can be useful.
If you happen to come across a Seeing Eye Dog, don’t try to pet the pooch or interact with him … no matter how cute he looks. Fido is on the job, and he really needs to focus on helping his human. Distractions can be very disruptive! In fact, it’s against the law to interfere with working dogs.
Do you have questions about your pet’s health or care? Contact us, your Bourne, MA animal clinic, anytime!