|History of Guide Dogs:
Guide Dog Access
Guide Dog History
Guide Dog Breeds
While there has been a long history of dogs assisting people who are blind, it was not until after World War I that a formal dog guide program was developed. A school in Pottsdam Germany trained German shepherds as guides for blinded veterans of the war, but did not stay in existence for very long. However, an American woman living in Switzerland learned of the program and ultimately advanced the modern dog guide movement in the United States. Her name was Dorothy Harrison Eustis and she was a wealthy Philadelphian experimenting with the training of German shepherds as working dogs. When she visited the Pottsdam school, she thought the concept of a dog guide was a noble profession for which to train her own dogs. But it was not until after she wrote an article about the Pottsdam school which appeared in the November 5th, 1927 edition of The Saturday Evening Post that she had any cause to incorporate dog guide training for her dogs.
Morris frank, a young blind man living in Nashville, Tennessee heard the article and wrote to Ms. Eustis asking her to train a dog for him. Morris Frank had lost the use of his eyes in two separate accidents and did not like depending on others. He asked Ms. Eustis to train a dog for him and, in return, he would teach others who were blind so that they, too, could become independent. Ms. Eustis replied that if he could come to Switzerland for the training, she would accommodate his request. Morris Frank became the first American to use a dog guide and Buddy, a female German shepherd, became the pioneer dog guide in America.
Morris Frank returned home to Nashville and honored his promise:
with $10,000 from Ms. Eustis, Morris Frank worked to establish the
first dog guide school in America. Incorporated on January 29, 1929,
it was called The Seeing Eye, after the article Ms. Eustis wrote. The
title came from Proverbs 20:12 in the Bible, "The seeing eye, the hearing
ear; The Lord hath made them both." The first class had two students and
by the end of the first year 17 people experienced new-found freedom with
Seeing Eye dogs by their sides. By 1931, it became evident that the Nashville
weather was not conducive to year-round training and the school relocated
to New Jersey.