When Your Pet Meets a Seeing Eye Dog
The Seeing Eye provides specially bred, raised, and
trained Seeing Eye dogs for blind citizens of the U.S. and Canada,
increasing their ability to travel independently to work, school, or
anywhere they desire. But Seeing Eye dogs are not pets - they are working
animals. Just as you depend on your vehicle to get you from place to
place, blind people rely on their dog guides.
Uncontrolled Dogs Jeopardize the Safety of Dog Guide Teams
Did you know . . .
1. More than one-third of all dog guide teams are attacked by loose or
2. Even a family pet can endanger a dog guide team.
The safety of the dog guide team depends largely on a dog
guide's ability to concentrate on its work. When distracted from these
duties, the dog or its blind owner or both become instantly vulnerable to
harm. People who are blind must face dog attacks and interference without
the ability to use vision to protect themselves or their dog guides.
Dog attacks on dog guides can be devastating - some dogs
die. Unprovoked attacks may make it impossible for dog guides to continue
their work and can make the blind person fearful of subsequent incidents.
Attacks can result in expenses that are insurmountable -
veterinary care, retraining, replacement, emotional trauma, and loss of
mobility can create major setbacks for the blind person.
Even a Playful Puppy Can Interfere
Any dog, regardless of size or breed, can pose a threat to a dog guide
team. People who are blind routinely experience interference, whether it
be a neighbor's pet that enthusiastically runs out to greet the team, the
family "guard" dog that menacingly growls and barks or circles the team as
they pass its territory, or the well-meaning pet owner who brings a
leashed animal over to visit the dog guide.
You Can Help! Practice Responsible Pet Ownership
Dogs provide great companionship for people of all ages, but owning a pet
also involves serious responsibilities. Please don't take chances with the
safety of dog guide teams or other animals in your community. Practice
responsible pet ownership.
1. Learn about and obey your state and local leash laws. In many states
it's a criminal offense to permit your dog to attack or interfere with a
2. Never let your pet near a dog guide, even if your dog is leashed. Dog
guides are working animals and must never be distracted from their duties.
3. Alert the blind person of your dog's presence when passing by the team.
A simple greeting of "Hi, I have a dog with me" is often appreciated.
4. Keep your dog under good control at all times. Using retractable
leashes in populated areas and leaving your dog tied up outside unattended
in a public place endanger both the dog guide team and your own dog.
5. Never allow a child or anyone unable to control your dog walk it on a
6. Learn as much as possible about your family pet and its breed
characteristics, especially relating to temperament.
7. Enroll your dog in obedience classes. Properly socialized and trained
dogs make better pets.
8. Immunize against rabies and spay or neuter all dogs.
9. Report any loose dogs roaming about in your neighborhood to the local
police and animal control offices. Unsupervised pets in unfenced yards
should also be reported.
10. Offer assistance to a blind handler if you witness an attack or
interference on a dog guide. If it is your dog that causes harm, take
responsibility for its actions.
For more information or to learn how you can help, contact
The Seeing Eye Advocacy Council at (973) 539-4425 or email
email@example.com. This article also available in Spanish by emailing
Please crosspost far and wide.
Go on to The Silence
of the Dogs
Return to 22 May 2005 Issue
Return to Newsletters
** Fair Use Notice**
This document may contain copyrighted material, use of which has not been
specifically authorized by the copyright owners. I believe that this
not-for-profit, educational use on the Web constitutes a fair use of the
copyrighted material (as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright
Law). If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your
own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright