Eighty-seven years ago today, The Seeing Eye was founded with the goal of improving the lives of blind people through the assistance of seeing-eye dogs. Since it’s foundation, the New Jersey-based  has expanded into an organization that breeds and trains guide dogs for the visually impaired, provides instruction for the dog owners, and participates in research on canine health.

In honor of the anniversary of The Seeing Eye’s creation, we’ve compiled some helpful tips for how to interact with trained guide dogs, as well as information about what you can do to help out the organization.



It’s important to remember when you see a person with their seeing-eye dog, that the dog is not just a pet—it’s essentially performing a job, and that certain etiquette must be followed to keep the dog and its handler safe. Here are some tips for how to interact with someone else’s guide dog:

  • As much you may want to, do not pet. It’s distracting to the animal and can undo training.
  • If you’re driving near a seeing-eye dog, try to refrain from honking or yelling—guide dogs have to rely on traffic sounds to determine where it’s safe to guide their handler.
  • If you’re assisting the person, walk on the side of them opposite to the seeing-eye dog.
  • Seeing eye dogs eat on a strict schedule, and shouldn’t be fed snacks outside of that.
  • Don’t grab the dog’s harness or leash from the handler—it can disorient both parties.
  • If you’re walking your pet in the proximity of a person and their seeing-eye dog, make sure it’s leashed and under control.



Raising a Puppy:

When a seeing-eye puppy is around eight weeks old, it’s sent to live with a foster family until it is old enough to be trained–generally, 13 through 16 months. While raising a seeing-eye dog, handlers are expected to treat the puppies with affection, socialize them, and ingrain them with fundamental obedience. Each family raising a puppy must join a regional “puppy raising club” and attend regular training meetings. If you live near on of Seeing Eye’s New Jersey locations and are interested in raising visit seeingeye.org for more information.


The Seeing Eye also has a plethora of potential positions for volunteer work. Volunteers take care of the dogs, drive program graduates to speaking ceremonies, plan events, and provide clerical assistance. The organization is also always looking for volunteers who can provide beneficial professional services.
If you’re interested, email [email protected] for an application form to find out what you can do to help.


Of course, raising a puppy is a responsibility that many people do not have the time or capability to commit to, as is volunteer work. If you’d like to help out the organization in another way, you could donate to their cause. On their donation page, The Seeing Eye shows you what each allotted donation amount will provide for the dogs and trainers in their program. Donations are tax deductible.

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