The Seeing Eye, Inc. is the oldest existing guide dog school in the world. Their mission is to enhance the independence, dignity, and self confidence of people who are blind, through the use of specially trained Seeing Eye® dogs. Twelve times a year, as many as 24 students at a time visit their Morristown, NJ campus to discover the exhilarating experience of traveling with a Seeing Eye® dog.
In order to fulfill their mission, The Seeing Eye, Inc.:
- breeds and raises puppies to be Seeing Eye® dogs
- trains Seeing Eye® dogs to guide blind people
- instructs blind people in the proper use, handling, and care of their Seeing Eye® dog
- conducts and supports research on canine health and development
Dr. Smith and the team at Gilbertsville Veterinary Hospital are honored to have Seeing Eye® dog, Themba, visit us. Themba (“Timba”) is a beautiful yellow Labrador Retriever puppy. She is currently in the care of a family who were chosen to care for her from the age of 8 weeks to about 18 months. Families or individuals who meet The Seeing Eye, Inc. criteria and are approved as caretakers are called “puppy raisers.”
Some Commonly Asked Questions
How long does it take to train a Seeing Eye® dog?
When a dog is about eight weeks old, it is placed in the home of a volunteer puppy-raiser, where it is taught basic obedience, socialization and given lots of love. When the dog about 18 months old, it returns to The Seeing Eye, Inc. where it begins a four-month course of training with a sighted instructor. When this phase is completed and passed, the dog is then matched with a blind person. The person and dog then train together, under the supervision of a sighted instructor. Someone training with his or her first dog participates in a 27-day training session. For someone training with a second or subsequent dog, the session lasts 20 days.
How long does a dog work?
The average working life for a Seeing Eye® dog is 7-8 years. Many Seeing Eye® dogs have lived and worked to the ages of 10 or 11. Retired Seeing Eye® dogs may be kept as pets, given to a friend or relative as a pet, or returned to The Seeing Eye, Inc.
How much does a Seeing Eye® dog cost?
Each student is asked to pay $150 for his or her first visit to The Seeing Eye, Inc. and $50 for each subsequent visit. For military veterans the fee is only $1. This fee, unchanged since 1934, includes the cost of the dog and its initial equipment; the student’s instruction with the dog; room and board during the 20 to 27 days the student spends at the school; round-trip transportation from anywhere in the United States or Canada; and lifetime follow-up services. This payment, which may be made in installments, covers only a fraction of the total cost. To the student, however, it represents dignity and self-respect. No one has ever been denied a Seeing Eye® dog for lack of funds.
Does the Government provide funds for The Seeing Eye, Inc.?
The Seeing Eye, Inc. receives no government funding.
There are many ways you can help support The Seeing Eye, Inc. and their efforts to enhance the independence, dignity, and self confidence of people who are blind. Visit their website for more information on ways to support this worthwhile non-profit organization.