Puppies Become Guide Dogs For Blind At Lutherville Training School

LUTHERVILLE, Md. (WJZ)—There is such a demand for guide dogs to help the blind that top training schools have backlogs of two-three years.

Mike Schuh reports on a group of volunteers helping to get more guide dogs working with the blind.

Look, when you’re a good looking puppy you don’t need to do much. But some future guide dogs are preparing to earn their keep. They learn to move with the trainer, move on command and when to not move on command but look.

They’re puppies, and they’ve got a lot of energy waiting to be channeled.

Cindy Lou Altman is just the person to do the channeling.

At 8 weeks, dogs are sent to volunteers who raise the puppies and do basic training and assessment. Not all puppies make the cut.

For the blind, these dogs see, guide and keep them safe.  How noble then to be able to help in that process.

“It was just something I wanted to do. Love dogs, love kids, dogs easier than kids,” Altman said with a laugh.

Here’s something you need to know: someday Altman may help train a dog who will help her.

“I am legally blind,” Altman said. “Have been for 14 years. I can have a guide dog but would rather someone else who needs it have one.”

If her vision gets worse–and it’s expected to–some of what she’s given will no doubt come back to her.

Puppies are given back to the training school at 18 months, and then the clients come in and they face a month of training on how to best use their dogs.

There are 10 certified training schools in the United States.  All of them provide the dogs to their clients for free. Altman is a volunteer with Guiding Eyes for the Blind.  For more information, click here.

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