June 6, 2018

The Seeing Eye Comes to Princeton

LEADING THE WAY: From left, Seeing Eye puppy raiser Barb Linko (with Hubert), Princeton rising senior Camden Olson (with Koa), Seeing Eye Puppy raiser Yvonne Quinn (with Woody), Seeing Eye staff member Don MacGowan, Seeing Eye graduate Kathy Murray (with Mac), and Seeing Eye Puppy raisers Jenn Wickman (with Jimmy), Ira Fuchs, Laura Fuchs (holding Penny), Patrick Caddeau (with Kato), and Kate Denby (with RG) visited Princeton last Friday. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

Last Weekend during Princeton University Reunions, the Class of ’88 celebrated its 30th reunion. As its community service project, it chose to observe 2018, the Year of the Dog, by supporting service dogs in general and The Seeing Eye, in Morristown, in particular.

As the original guide dog school in the U.S., The Seeing Eye breeds, raises, and trains dogs to help people who are blind or visually impaired. In addition to training dogs, The Seeing Eye carefully matches dogs with people in need to form partnerships that make it possible for those who are visually impaired to lead productive and fulfilling lives.

As its service project, about 20 members of Princeton’s Class of ’88 visited The Seeing Eye on Thursday, May 31 to see the facility first hand, take part in a public tour, meet with Jim Kutsch, The Seeing Eye’s president and CEO, and do some hands-on work by helping The Seeing Eye’s facilities staff do some gardening and beautification.

In return, The Seeing Eye visited Princeton on Friday, June 1. Don MacGowan, a volunteer member of the Seeing Eye’s outreach team, and Kathy Murray, a Seeing Eye graduate, and her guide dog, Mac, gave a presentation explaining the program in detail.

Camden Olson, a junior at Princeton, also explained how dogs can assist people with diabetes. Olson has trained Koa, her comfort retriever service dog, to recognize when a person’s blood sugar level becomes too high or too low, and to alert them by tapping with a paw. A diabetes alert dog can make a person aware that they need to address a blood sugar irregularity (by eating something or by injecting insulin), so as to remain stable.

While The Seeing Eye’s work is well established and tried-and-true, training dogs to perform diabetes-alert functions is relatively new.

The Class of ’88 raised over $5,000 to donate to The Seeing Eye. As a result, the class will choose a name for a Seeing Eye puppy, and will follow its progress through puppy raising, training, matching, and placement with someone who is in need of a dependable partner to guide him or her through a meaningful life together.

For more information on The Seeing Eye, visit www.seeingeye.org.