Volunteers train seeing eye dogs to give lifeline to visually impaired

Written by on November 15, 2021

Volunteers train seeing eye dogs to give lifeline to visually impaired

By Brittany Sweeney
November 15, 2021

Two 8-week-old Seeing Eye program puppies, with a leather harness that they will one day grow to fit and use to lead someone who is blind or visually impaired. (Photo | Courtesy of The Seeing Eye)

Many nonprofit groups have had to adjust operations in the pandemic, but a school for seeing eye dogs says they’re still going strong, serving people in the Lehigh Valley.

Listen to the story.

The Seeing Eye is a nonprofit program that works with people with visual disabilities, pairing them with a guide dog. It’s based in Morristown, N.J.

Shannan Rager is an area coordinator in the Lehigh Valley. She says the groupy depends on volunteers to train the dogs.

“Families raised the dogs from about seven weeks of age, until typically 16 months of age, and they’re responsible for a myriad of things,” Rager says. “The most important is house manners, no stealing food or not jumping on the counter or the couch, things like that.” 

Rager says it’s taking a little longer to complete training in the pandemic.

She adds it can be difficult for the families to give up the dog after a year, but for everyone involved seeing the animal working with a visually impaired companion makes it all worth it.

The Seeing Eye started in the U.S. in 1929 and is the oldest guide dog school in the world.

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