Detroit (CBS Detroit) – Leader Dogs for the Blind was founded in 1939 by Lyons Clubs, the great humanitarian organization. The guide dog movement hit it’s stride at the end of World War II, with many of the troops returning home in need of assistance.

1954: A blind man being taught how to control his guide dog (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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Leader Dog has grown today to be one of the largest guide dog schools in the world, meeting one of society’s greatest social challenges, that of visual impairment and blindness.

1966: A blind woman relaxes at the local swimming pool watched over by her guide dog. (Photo by John Pratt/Keystone Features/Getty Images)

“Those challenges prevent people from living the lives they would want to live within their community and within their family,” says Melissa Leilani Weisse, Chief Philanthropy Officer. “That’s where Leader Dog provides a true solution for people looking for answers to their mobility challenges.”

So, where does Leader Dogs for the Blind get their candidates?

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“We have over 500 volunteers around the country who support Leader Dog as Puppy Raisers,”  adds Weisse, “those Puppy Raisers fully dedicate themselves to the first year of a puppy’s life in preparation for the Leader Dog program. It’s a very rigorous process that each puppy goes through to become a fully trained Leader Dog.”

1968: Labrador puppies to be trained as guide dogs (Photo by Patiniott/Daily Express/Getty Images)

Is there a particular bread of dog best suited to be a leader dog?

“We’re looking for very specific traits in our dogs that make them unstoppable and help the people they serve navigate increasingly complex communities around the world.”


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