The Seeing Eye Guide
A Magazine for Friends of The Seeing Eye
Volume 73, Number 2
A black Labrador retriever puppy fills the page as it approaches the camera head-on.
Photo by Kristin Castenschiold
A Seeing Eye Perspective
Can you imagine a world without puppies? Mention the word “puppy” to the next 10 people you see, and I’ll bet you’ll get a lot of smiles. Their whole demeanor will soften, they will visibly relax and they might even share a story or two about a puppy that touched their lives. Puppies have a unique ability to give unconditional love, and the effect of that love on us is universal and cross-generational. It’s all part of the mysterious human-canine bond that makes the whole Seeing Eye concept work.
As for us at The Seeing Eye, I know where we would be without puppies, and it’s not a pretty picture. Sure, it’s adult dogs that we train and place with our students. Until a dog is around 15 months of age, it lacks the maturity to undergo training and understand the responsibility it will have for guiding a blind person. But every one of our Seeing Eye dogs was once a little puppy. In fact, the experiences and upbringing that those puppies receive is probably the single, most important determinant of their later success as Seeing Eye dogs.
Our Seeing Eye puppies need to learn that the world is a wonderful, exciting, and safe place. They need to see lots of different things in that world as part of their early development. I’ve often said that a dog that grows up in a kennel or one that only sees the kitchen and backyard is