Mood: hug me
Topic: "Swiss Miss" (5)
Morris Frank was a 20-year-old student at Vanderbilt University who was very unhappy about his dependency on others. After learning of an American named Dorothy Eustis, living in the Swiss town of Vevey, who had written an article about dogs being trained to assist humans with disabilities, he decided to have a "look" for himself. Here he was introduced to Buddy.
After a very extensive joint training program, Eustis provided the financial backing for Morris to return to America in order to spread the word about Seeing Eye dogs. Reporters who greeted Frank and Buddy in New York Harbor were immediately dumbfounded by the way "she moved forward into the ear-splitting clangor, stopped, backed up, and started again." Frank himself later wrote in his book "First Lady of the Seeing Eye" that "I lost all sense of direction and surrendered myself entirely to the dog. I shall never forget the next three minutes. . .ten-ton trucks rocketing past, cabs blowing their horns in our ears, drivers shouting at us. . .When we finally got to the other side and I realized what a really magnificent job she had done, I leaned over and gave Buddy a great big hug abd told her what a good, good girl she was."
As time passed, what seemed to amaze people the most was that Buddy had an ability called "intelligent disobedience." She would obey Frank without question, except when the execution of a command would result in harm to Frank. Her new friend found that what he enjoyed most were the conversations in which he could now participate because people initiated discussions with him about the dog, when, in earlier times, people would be hesitant to speak at all. After two years in Frank's hometown of Nashville, where they had founded "The Seeing Eye" as a training center for guide dogs and their new acquaintances, Eustis and Frank moved to Morristown, New Jersey, since the German Shepherds found the Tennessee climate too hot for training all-year round.
There were no laws in America at the time to allow the presence of Seeing Eye dogs in restaurants, hotels, trains. Frank startled many of those who attempted to stop Buddy from entry by simply insisting that "I'm not bringing her in; she's bringing me in." A railroad porter once attempted to remove Buddy from a sleeping car after allowing her to guide Frank to his berth. The exhibit of her "beautiful teeth" was a great equalizer in the struggle for Seeing Eye dog liberty.
Buddy arrived in Nashville in 1927, and, as all things must, ended her association with Frank in Morristown in 1938. The obituary, printed at length in the NEW YORK TIMES stated "Buddy had appeared on hundreds of lecture platforms and barked in response to applause; she had been received by Presidents Coolidge and Hoover and other notables; and she had been led into the homes of poor among the blind and given them hope while they patted her and fingered her harness."
Today, dear reader, you can learn at www.seeingeye.org that 14,000 dogs have been trained, beginning with Buddy. You can go downtown in Morristown and "see" what is probably the only statue in the entire world of a blind man and his dog.
Good, good girl.