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March 4, 2021
Ithaca, NY | 26°F

Life & Culture

Furry friends with a future: Meet Guiding Eyes for the Blind

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Ziti is an 8-month-old black Labrador who is being raised by sophomore Sarah LaFontaine. LaFontaine said Ziti is a sassy and mischievous dog who loves going for walks in the woods. RAY VOLKIN/THE ITHACAN

Guiding Eyes for the Blind is an international nonprofit organization that connects trained dogs with people who are blind or visually impaired. The organization was founded in 1954 and has since connected over 7,000 guide dogs with new owners. At Ithaca College, students who participate in the college’s chapter of the organization can become a raiser and train a puppy to one day graduate and be matched with an owner. The raisers train the puppies for a year and a half to get them ready to join a guide dog team once they graduate. By being on campus and being
surrounded by different environments, the dogs learn how to adjust to these environments to prepare them for life beyond training.