Dogs Helping the Blind

In today's Internet world, almost anyone who acts in a uniquely brave or selfless manner is labeled a "hero" and is featured on one website or another but years ago, many people who stepped out of their comfort zone to better the lives of others were barely acknowledged. New research projects are bringing some of these personalities to light including the story of Dorothy Harrison Eustis who paved the way for the disabled to enjoy a higher quality of life through the use of service animals.


Dorothy Harrison Eustis was a well-to-do gentlewoman who didn't need to work, but once her "hobby" of raising dogs to assist sight-impaired individuals was publicized, the requests for help convinced her to put all of her efforts into creating quality programs that would train leader dogs and match them with people who needed their services.

Eustis had been living in comfort in Switzerland when she became aware that her dog-training could be put to use to improve the lives of blind people. She began to put all of her efforts into the new venture, hiring dog trainers and traveling from city to city to assist sight-impaired individuals as they learned to work with their Seeing Eye dogs. She opened a school which served as a center for the program to which blind people could come for training.

Eustis's devotion to the needs of disabled people, and her advocacy for their needs has played a great role in today's present-day efforts on behalf of individuals with impairments and the widening recognition of the help that they can receive through the use of service animals.