Ohio puppy breeders help train dogs to make life easier for the visually impaired

MIDDLEFIELD, Ohio (WJW) – A plane full of puppies. Admit it, when you read this sentence, it immediately put a smile on your face.

Even though it looks like one of them is flying the plane, they’re not that smart. But given time, they’ll do something even better than looking gorgeous in the cockpit.

They give a visually impaired person the chance to be mobile again.

A six-month-old pup named Fenway was in flight on Wednesday. Fenway is just beginning his guide dog journey.

They will spend the next year and a half with Keith and Lauri Wagner, who live near Cleveland, teaching them the basic manners of being a guide dog.

“You’re walking the dog and he sees a squirrel and you don’t want him to say ‘squirrel.’ They’re learning that you don’t,” said Keith Wagner.

Well, Tabitha has those manners and more. She has completed her guide dog training on the streets of New York City and is ready to go to her new owner

Guiding Eyes for the Blind has a network of volunteer trainers across the country, like the Wagners, who teach these essential skills.

CEO Thomas Panek says preparing a dog for everyday activities like navigating city streets or staying in an office or in a store is a months-long process.

More than 200 people with visual impairments are currently waiting for their four-legged partner. The need for trainers and for dogs to help others has never been more important.

“We are all now trying to social distance and trying to help someone who is blind and it may not be as convenient as it used to be for someone and as a blind person himself to reach out and ask for help A little less comfortable than before and having a guide dog at your side has increased demand significantly,” said Panek.

After training, the dogs are soon in the hands of a visually impaired person, which is a tough time for the puppy breeders who love dogs so much that they are needed to make the lives of others easier.

“I tell everyone that’s how I see it. We had a kid, we sent that kid to college, they met someone, got married and moved away, and we never saw them again,” Wagner said. “It’s hard. It’s hard. We cried.”

The dogs were flown to Geauga County Airport by the Pilots to the Rescue group.

It is a group of pilots and plane owners who volunteer to fly animals to where they are needed and wanted.

About Clayton Arredondo

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