Guiding Eyes for the Blind celebrates new administration for Orange County


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  • Photo by Roger Gavan On Thursday, June 1, Town of Warwick Supervisor Michael Sweeton (far left), Mayor Michael Newhard (far right) and members of the Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce joined members of Guiding Eyes for the Blind and student dogs outside the senior center by the Warwick Town Hall.



WARWICK — Guiding Eyes for the Blind is a not-for-profit guide dog training school headquartered in Yorktown Heights.

On Thursday, June 1, Town of Warwick Supervisor Michael Sweeton, Mayor Michael Newhard and members of the Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce joined members of Guiding Eyes for the Blind and student dogs outside the senior center by the Warwick Town Hall.

They were there to celebrate the organization’s membership in the Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce and its new administration for the Orange County region, including Warwick.

“The Guiding Eyes community is dedicated to supporting the transformative relationship between a person and a guide dog,” said Regional Manager Bethany Reinhardt, who cut the ribbon for the ceremony. “We partner blind and visually impaired people with guide dogs that provide independence, freedom, and confidence.”

Through exceptional genetics and breeding practices, Guiding Eyes whelps dogs with the temperament and health needed for guide dog work.

After eight weeks of training in its Canine Development Center in Patterson, puppies are matched with volunteer puppy raisers who raise them until they are 14-months-old.

Volunteer puppy raisers work with Guiding Eyes trainers to teach their dogs basic skills and house manners.

“We have a puppy raising region that meets on Thursday evenings at the Warwick Senior Center,” said Reinhardt. “Puppy raisers attend these classes to learn about our training techniques and to socialize the pup. After a year of training with volunteer puppy raisers dogs return to Guiding Eyes to continue their training with professional training staff in Yorktown Heights. The staff works with the dogs for a minimum of five months to teach them the skills needed to safely guide their handler.”

Guiding Eyes provides outreach to potential puppy students to make them aware of its services, covers the cost to admit, prepare, train, and graduate each dog with a professionally trained guide dog.

The dogs live on campus and receive instruction during their 21-day stay at the Guiding Eyes training center, or through the Home Training Program. There are 1,000 Guiding Eyes teams actively working in the United States and abroad. And because of the generous support of donors, all guide dog services are provided at no cost.

For additional information, call 845-230-6436 or visit www.guidingeyes.org.

- Roger Gavan

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