By TODAY Correspondent Jill Rappaport
We all know what wonderful companions animals are, but doing this story on Guiding Eyes for the Blind reminded me just how miraculous dogs can be.
With a 50-year legacy, Guiding Eyes, a New York-based nonprofit guide dog school, provides blind and visually impaired individuals with superior dogs. In return, their owners get a new lease on life by getting back their independence. The dogs, mostly Labrador retrievers, are introduced into the program when they are puppies, 6 to 9 weeks old. The dogs go through extensive training, which requires incredible love and patience from the organization’s countless volunteers. A puppy is not born a guide dog, but created by the tireless dedication of this entire team of committed individuals. Their efforts result in the creation of some of the finest bred and trained guide dogs in the world, who become a priceless gift for their owners – and a best friend for life.