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Service Dogs Part 3: Guide Dogs

Service dogs assist individuals in a variety of ways. There are the more commonly recognized guide dogs that assist the blind or visually impaired, as well as dogs that assist the deaf or hard of hearing by alerting their owners of alarms and other important sounds. Service dogs also assist the physically disabled by retrieving objects, pulling wheel chairs, turning off light switches and performing other tasks to help in everyday activities. In addition, there are service dogs that assist with invisible disabilities, such as diabetes and anxiety, alerting a person of a physiological change. These dogs are able to

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All About Dogs

Guide Dog School 6: The Blue, And The White… And The Brown

“I am a nightmare walking psychopath talking, king of my jungle, just a gangster stalking.” You have got to love that Ice-T song from the movie “Colors.” So you ask what made me think about that song and movie from 1988? I found out tonight that every guide dog school has their own colors. Guiding Eyes for the Blind’s colors are blue and white, and the colors are on Nash’s harness and the school’s logo (which is embroidered on the harness, not the dog.) Of course I was the one who had to ask the trainer, “What if we live

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All About Dogs

Guide Dog School 7: The Good, The Bad And….At Least Not Ugly

First, the good. We had good moments during both our morning and afternoon walks today. We began making right turns today, because I am an ambi-turner; I do make right turns in my everyday life. If you are not familiar with that term, see the movie “Zoolander.” When a guide dog loses focus Nash was really good at leading me around obstacles, both human and non-human. He didn’t walk me into anything. I was a little disappointed with Nash’s crossing of intersections, as he would slow down in the middle of the crosswalk. I can’t stress enough how quickly you

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All About Dogs

Service Dogs Part 1: Hearing-Impaired

This is the first in our series about Service Dogs and the important work they do. Service dogs assist individuals in a variety of ways. There are the more commonly recognized guide dogs that assist the blind or visually impaired, as well as dogs that assist the deaf or hard of hearing by alerting their owners of alarms and other important sounds. Service dogs also assist the physically disabled by retrieving objects, pulling wheel chairs, turning off light switches and performing other tasks to help in everyday activities. In addition, there are service dogs that assist with invisible disabilities, such

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All About Dogs

Service Dogs Part 2: Hypoglycemia/Diabetes

This is the second in our series about service dogs and the important work they do. Service dogs assist individuals in a variety of ways. There are the more commonly recognized guide dogs that assist the blind or visually impaired, as well as dogs that assist the deaf or hard of hearing by alerting their owners of alarms and other important sounds. Service dogs also assist the physically disabled by retrieving objects, pulling wheel chairs, turning off light switches and performing other tasks to help in everyday activities. In addition, there are service dogs that assist with invisible disabilities, such

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All About Dogs

Guide Dog School 1: It’s Definitely Not Summer Camp!

What follows is the first in a series of my thoughts and memories of going through guide dog school for the first time. Having never been a dog owner, this experience was not only unique, it was intimidating, but, looking back, it was the best decision I ever made. Getting a guide dog is not an overnight process. It takes about a year. First there is the application, and submission of letters from your doctor. Then there is an in-home interview where trainers from the guide dog school come out and meet with you. This consists of an in person

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Nine Decades Of The Seeing Eye’s Vision

Located in the suburban enclave of historic Morristown New Jersey, The Seeing Eye®, Inc. is the world’s oldest working guide dog school. Mentioned by Jose Feliciano in a recent concert he gave just down the road from it, as many as twenty-four students at a time visit this institution founded by Morris Frank in 1929. Students ranging in age from sixteen to sixty (and beyond), from all over the US and Canada, spend up to a month training with their Seeing Eye dog, knowing that when they leave with their dog they also leave with a sense of independence unparalleled

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Mental Health Service Dogs

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, service dogs originated in 1920s Germany, where guide dogs were first used to help blind World War I veterans. In 1929, The Seeing Eye® guide dog school opened in the United States, the first of its kind. Now, nearly a century later, there are over 20,000 service dogs in America. These animals do a wide range of tasks, which are defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): “…dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people

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Guide Dog School 2: And His Name Is…

Today I became best friends with a yellow lab whose name is Nash. We were introduced early in the afternoon. He’s good and strong about not crying or whimpering after the trainers leave the room. The room here at Guiding Eyes for the Blind is bigger than a typical dorm room, but smaller than a New York City studio apartment. There are two doors, one that leads out to the lobby of GEB, and one that leads out to an alley where the dogs can do their business. We were told to hold onto the leashes for the entire first

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Guide Dog School 3: Taking Care Of Business

This is part three of Brian Fischler’s ongoing series about meeting and learning to work with his guide dog, Nash. Walking with a guide dog Today was the first day that we went out into the streets with our guide dogs. Our instructors were attached to our dogs so we weren’t flying solo. My instructor had a leash which also attached to Nash’s collar; that way she could control the dog and ease me into commanding him. I was holding onto his harness to get accustomed to walking with him. We worked on right and left turns. The difficult thing

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