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A One Woman Training Tradition for Seeing Eye Pups - abc27 WHTM

A One Woman Training Tradition for Seeing Eye Pups

A One Woman Training Tradition for Seeing Eye Pups

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Ask any puppy owner and they'll tell you that teaching basic obedience to the pups can be a challenge. But, for volunteer puppy-raiser Virginia Knoll of Newburg, these challenges are nothing new.

"You just want him to do what he's supposed to do and not be distracted by something else," said Knoll, directing her latest Seeing Eye puppy past her own dog's kennel.

"Just like some kids, puppies want to do what they want to do. And that's him."

Him is six month old Ukon, a German Shepherd Seeing Eye dog candidate, her 62nd foster puppy. And, she remembers each of them.

"This is my first puppy. This is Gem," said Knoll, thumbing through 42 years of pictures. "She's a German Shepherd."

"And this is Rose who had two puppies of her own on my birthday," added Knoll.

The puppies come to Knoll at seven weeks old and return to Seeing Eye in Morristown, N. J. at 14 months for formal dog guide training. During their stay with Knoll, the puppies are exposed to as many sights and sounds of everyday life as possible, including car rides into town, traffic at busy intersections and, one of Knoll's favorite stops, the library, where social interaction is learned and patience is practiced.

The seeing eye dog program dates back to 1928 when Morris Frank and his dog Buddy proved to the world that blind people could lead normal lives with specially trained dogs at their side. Knoll has been with the program for nearly half of its existence and has no plans to hang up the leash any time soon.

"It makes you feel good because you know the dog is going to a good home and you did a good deed by training them," said Knoll.
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