Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

The First Dog Guide Team

After the end of World War I the nation of Germany was devastated by financial depression. Many private businesses failed, including the Potsdam, Germany school, the first school to train dog guides for the blind.

An American woman named Dorothy Eustis had heard about the 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 dog guides for the blind. She did not start this right away, however. In fact she was still considering the possibilities when she wrote a story for The Saturday Evening Post about the potential for dog guides for the blind. A Nashville man named Morris Frank had heard 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 dog guide.

As part of an arrangement he'd made with Ms. Eustis, Mr. Frank started training dog guides in the United States. The foundation that Mr. Frank started was dubbed "The Seeing Eye" and the so-called Seeing Eye dog was effectively born.

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