As you may know, seeing-eye dogs are pups that have been trained to guide and assist people with vision impairments, essentially acting as their eyes. A local Bourne, MA vet lists some interesting facts about these Very Good Boys in this article.
While many different breeds have been seeing-eye dogs, a few pups really excel at the job. These include the Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, and German Shepherds.
Seeing-eye dogs have been around much longer than you may think. In fact, an ancient Roman mural depicting a dog leading a person around was dated back to the first century AD! After World War I, they became much more common, due to the number of veterans who returned home blind. The first Seeing-eye dog in America was a German Shepherd named Buddy. He came to the states from Switzerland in 1928, with a Nashville man named Morris Frank. Soo after this, Buddy’s trainers, Frank and Dorothy Harrison Eustis, founded the first guide dog school in the U.S.
Training for seeing-eye dogs starts early in puppyhood. It’s important to teach Fido good manners from the start, so he doesn’t pick up any bad habits. The training is quite rigorous. Not all pups make it. According to some estimates, only about three quarters graduate.
Fido’s career as a seeing-eye dog usually lasts about 8 to 10 years. After that age, pups are into their golden years, and are ready to slow down. They are often adopted out to new families, rather than staying with their original owners. This is sad for both parties, but is ultimately for the best. A new pup will step in to assist the owner, and the retired pooch can relax and enjoy some well-deserved R&R.
Seeing-eye dogs are considered service dogs. They are protected by federal law, and are allowed almost anywhere humans can go. The only exceptions are places where a sterile environment must be maintained, such as some labs and hospital wards. If you happen to see a seeing-eye dog, or any other service animal, do not try to pet it or interact with it. Fido has an important job to do, and he needs to focus. In fact, it’s actually illegal to interfere with service animals.
Do you have questions about your dog’s health or care? Contact us, your local Bourne, MA animal clinic, today!