September is National Guide Dog Month
The veterinarians and staff at Sunset Veterinary Clinic give a special salute to America’s guide dogs, schools, trainers and everybody who supports the work of bringing these brave, intelligent canine companions together with humans who need them.
In 2008, Dick Van Patten, the actor who played dad on “Eight is Enough”, spent a day blindfolded with guide dogs in training at the Guide Dogs of the Desert training school in California. He was so impressed with these gentle, intelligent dogs—yet dismayed to hear how expensive it is to train and match dogs with those who need them. Van Patten and others united to provide financial support and awareness for guide dog schools across the country. You can help by sponsoring a guide dog as well. All the information is on their website.
It’s estimated that there are around 10,000 guide dogs working today, but only 2% of the people who could benefit from a guide dog have been paired with one. We’d like to highlight three particularly heroic guide dogs:
The first seeing-eye dog in America actually came from Switzerland. Morris Frank, who’d lost his sight at 16, heard about a program where German shepherds were being trained as seeing-eye dogs for German WWI vets. Buddy and Mr. Frank were trained together and became pioneers for all guide dogs to follow as they navigated over 50,000 miles on foot, subway, boat, train, bus and airplane between 1928-1938.
Roselle calmly guided sales manager Michael Hingson down 78 flights of smoke, noise and chaos from World Trade Center One before it collapsed on September 11, 2001. Hingson credits Roselle (who passed away in 2011) with his survival, saying the two of them supported each other and kept each other calm.
At five years old Nathan got arthritis, and soon after, the inflammation affected his eyesight eventually causing him to become fully blind. He felt like he wouldn’t be able to go on, until he met Hudson. Now Nathan has the confidence to go out and the motivation to continue living even with the loss of his sight. Hudson is more than just a guide dog, he is Nathan’s best friend.
Sunset Veterinary Clinic proudly salutes our amazing guide dogs this September!