for the Disabled
one seems to know when the idea of using guide dogs
first came into being. There is evidence that dogs have
been used in such a capacity for the blind, in various
cultures for a very long time. It is known, however,
that there was no formal guide dog program in existence
until after World War I.
Were German Shepherds Used?
today various breeds may be used as guide dogs, initially
they were invariably German Shepherds. The reason was
twofold. First, the German Shepherd has a strong sense
of loyalty to its owner, giving it a natural tendency
to be protective. Having a very protective dog as a
companion is an obvious asset for someone who may otherwise
be easily attacked by less then scrupulous individuals.
Secondly, the first guide dogs for the blind and visually
impaired were trained in Germany to provided assistance
for those blinded in the war.
the conclusion of World War I the nation of Germany
was devastated by financial depression. Many private
businesses failed and the Potsdam, Germanys school for
training the guide dogs for the blind was one of them.
Dogs in the United States and Elsewhere
American woman named Dorothy Eustis had heard about
the German program and decided it was a very worthwhile
endeavor. Because she owned a company that was training
German Shepherds as working dogs, she decided she might
try to train guide dogs for the blind. She did not start
this right away, however. In fact she was still considering
the possibilities when she penned a story for The Saturday
Evening Post about the potential for guide dogs for
Nashville man named Morris Frank read the story and
decided to write to Ms. Eustis and ask her to train
a dog for him. She did, and Mr. Frank became known as
the first blind person to use a guide dog in America.
part of an arrangement hed made with Ms. Eustis, Mr.
Frank then started training guide dogs in the United
States. The foundation that Mr. Frank started was dubbed
The Seeing Eye and the so-called Seeing Eye dog was
guide dogs are trained to assist people with many different
disabilities. There are Hearing Ear dogs to assist the
deaf and other dogs that assist the physically disabled.
Visually impaired people, and people with other types
of disabilities who have benefited from the use of a
guide dog, the world over, owe their thanks to Mr. Morris
Frank of Nashville, Tennessee.
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