Essex County Puppy Club ( "EYES OF HOPE") is chapter
of the Seeing Eye Puppy Project. The club actively participates
in raising puppies for the Seeing Eye. The Eye Of Hope Club also
organizes events and activities outside of training to further
expose the pups to environments they will be expected to work as
adult dog quides.
The club has more than 50 puppy raising families.
SEEING EYE & CLUB
Seeing Eye, Inc. is the oldest guide dog school in the United
States having been established in 1929. In 1942 it joined forces
with 4-H Youth Development program, placing puppies in 4-H homes
in Morris County to be raised until they were old enough to begin
their formal training as guide dogs for the blind.
Essex County club was started in 1970 and now has 40 to 50
each year. The members are both
and adults from Essex County and nearby Union County. Seeing
Eye breeds German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Golden
and a cross between a Labrador and a Golden. Once the puppies
are seven weeks old they are placed with the puppy raiser
with them until they are about 16 to 18 months old. During this
time the puppy raiser is responsible for teaching house manners,
basic obedience and exposing the pup to as many different situations
as possible. Training sessions are held twice a month and field
trips are scheduled to provide the necessary exposure. The Essex
Club provides train rides, a tour of Newark Airport, Newark Bear’s
baseball games, trips to Liberty Science center, mall walks,
a beach party, parade participation and an overnight trip among
events. All of these things provide exposure so important to
the puppies development. They are also fun for the puppy raising
One family member is usually responsible for raising the puppy
but it really is a family project. Everyone in the family helps
provide love, attention and discipline.
The puppy will be returned tot the Seeing Eye at about 16 to
18 months and then, if all goes well, will begin formal training,
learning how to guide. Hopefully at the end of the training
period the dog will be matched with a blind individual
independence and dignity.
By this time many of our puppy raisers are busy raising their
next furry charge. Some of the members can only raise one puppy
many stay to raise puppy after puppy. But, no matter how many
they raise, each family is very important to us.
Meetings are held the 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month at
7p.m. in Roseland Municipal Building all purpose room, 19
Harrison Avenue, Roseland, NJ.