raised two German shepherds and that he and his father had once belonged to a dog obedience club.
His parents had quite divergent views of Lang’s decision to complete the job application. Mr. Lang was slightly dismayed that four years of college would end with his son becoming a “dog trainer,” while Mrs. Lang responded, “Go for it!” Lang struggled with the question on the application about his last three full-time positions. “I had nothing to put there,” said Lang. “But the next question was ‘What were the last three books you read.’ In my response, one of them was A Reverence for Life by Albert Schweitzer.”
Lang was shocked when, within weeks, he got the call to travel to New Jersey for an interview. “I was 21 years old, and it was my first plane ride. I flew in on a Friday night,” said the soft-spoken Lang. “I decided to stay at the YMCA in Newark. What did I know? I didn’t sleep a wink, and I was on the first bus in the morning!”
Feeling out of his element and sleep deprived, Lang was none-too-confident upon his arrival, as introductions were made to instructors and supervisors. But he got a much-needed boost when The Seeing Eye’s chief executive, George Werntz, invited him into his office. “I walked in, and there’s a bust of Albert Schweitzer behind his desk.”
Thus, his 43-year career began.
Lang was about to complete the first year of his three-year apprenticeship when the school hosted one of its occasional picnics for summer classes. He found himself sitting next to a student from Boston who was training with her first Seeing Eye dog, Sandy. “We were talking … and talking. After a while, I looked up, and we were the only ones left at the picnic!”
When class ended and Jane Henderson was about to return home, Lang asked if he could call her. That was in June, and the couple married in September. Three children and one grandchild later, their courtship remains an essential piece of Seeing Eye folklore.