The Seeing Eye
The Seeing Eye, Inc. (TSE) is a guide dog school that is located in Morristown, New Jersey in the United States. It was founded in 1929 as the first guide dog school in the country. The dogs are trained to assist their owners and provide them with a means to be independent and to be able to get about as pedestrians in their communities without other assistance.
While living in Switzerland, an American dog trainer, Dorothy Harrison Eustis, was experimenting with the inclination and ability of German Shepherds to be used as working dogs. Eventually, she visited a school that was training German Shepherds to lead blinded World War I veterans.
Fascinated by what she had seen, she wrote an article entitled, "The All Seeing Eye", about the school, which appeared in the November 5, 1927 edition of The Saturday Evening Post. Shortly thereafter she was contacted by a blind Tennessean man, Morris Frank, who enlisted her to train a dog for his use.
This effort eventually evolved into the Seeing Eye organization in Switzerland and America. After 80 years of providing Independence and Dignity, The Seeing Eye remains the best known guide dog school in the world.
The dogs and their training
Most Seeing Eye dogs come from a breeding center located in nearby Chester, New Jersey. Primarily, they are German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, or Labrador-Golden Retriever crosses. Some dogs are donated to the organization. Occasionally, The Seeing Eye also will train Boxers, or other breeds and mixes.
Puppies are raised by volunteers, primarily 4-H members, who are responsible for the basic obedience training and socialization of the dogs until they are 18 months old. This partnership between the Seeing Eye and 4-H began in 1942 and allows youth to learn about the dogs and serve their communities.
Formal training at the Seeing Eye campus lasts four months. This is where the dogs learn advanced obedience and skills such as pulling in harness, stopping at curbs, and "intelligent disobedience" to keep themselves and their handler safe from danger. After completing this training, the dogs spend up to a month training with their future human partners, before they are formally released. Most of the training with the future owner takes place in the community.
- Information about programs and services at The Seeing Eye (Retrieved on February 20, 2008)