Tuesday, November 3

Seeing Eye hits matching milestone

Greetings. I received the following note from The Seeing Eye. AS is mentioned by the organization's president, it's not how many dogs have been matched, but rather the level of service that the organization gives to each match. While matching 15,000 dogs is certainly something to be proud of, that 15,000th team will get the same level of service and care from The Seeing Eye as the first 10 matches did oh so long ago. Enjoy.


The Seeing Eye Forges 15,000th Partnership for Independence

MORRISTOWN, N.J. – The Seeing Eye, the pioneer and innovator of dog guide services for people who are blind, announces its 15,000th partnership between human and canine ... Dr. Josephine DeFini of New York City and a black Labrador retriever named Zion.

The philanthropic organization celebrates its 80th anniversary this year, making this particular milestone especially meaningful. Zion is the ninth Seeing Eye® dog for Dr. DeFini, who has traveled through the past 52 years being led by these specially bred and trained canines.

"I can't show The Seeing Eye enough appreciation for what they've done for me," said Dr. DeFini. "Every time I return to The Seeing Eye, it's like a whole new experience because it's such a forward-thinking organization. They're always looking to make the training better, enhancing the ease with which a person with a visual impairment can enjoy movement and freedom."

A lifelong resident of New York City, Dr. DeFini returned home with Zion in September and already is back to her active life, traveling through the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. After retiring earlier this year from a career as a social worker and psychotherapist (most recently with Lighthouse International), she continues a small private practice.

Her experience as a Seeing Eye dog user is special, to be sure, but not at all unique. "Multiply the success of this new partnership by 15,000, and you begin to understand the magnitude of the impact made possible by all those who have supported our mission for the past 80 years," said Seeing Eye President & CEO Jim Kutsch. "In fact, the 15,000th dog is really no different than number 14,999. Our promise is the same for all of our graduates – to provide ongoing support and commitment to them by providing the best dog guides in the world."

Since her stay at The Seeing Eye campus in Morristown, N.J., where she trained with Zion, the team has been all over New York City, including regular trips to her Pilates class. "I can get to all those places with a cane, but it's the ease and confidence that's so different with a dog. After the experience of not having a dog for six months, I've regained my self-confidence and ease of movement."

The Seeing Eye is supported by contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations, bequests, and other planned gifts. The Seeing Eye is a trademarked name and can only be used to describe the dogs bred and trained at the school's facilities in Morristown, N.J.

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