Seeing Eye Dog named the New Jersey state dog

New Jersey lawmakers have named the Seeing Eye Dog the official state dog.

Lawmakers in New Jersey have made the Seeing Eye Dog the official state dog. This happened earlier this week, and Dog O’Day learned of this news through NJ.com.

On Tuesday, January 21, Governor Phil Murphy signed a bill into law making this official, after the bill had passed unanimously in both the State Senate (37-0) and the State Assembly (73-0).

The Garden State becomes at least the 17th state to have an official state dog,following Alaska, Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Ohio, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.

The most recent that we’re aware of was Ohio last year, which made the rather generic “shelter pet” the official state dog. Around six or so other states are considering bills establishing an official state dog.

The Seeing Eye Dog is a trademarked term for guide dogs trained by The Seeing Eye, which is located in Morristown.

The Seeing Eye was founded by writer Dorothy Eustis and dog trainer Jack Humphrey in the late 1920s, partially in response to the visual impairments suffered by World War I veterans.

Originally training German Shepherds exclusively, the most common breeds used today are Labradors, Golden Retrievers, GSDs and Labrador/Golden mixes, with the occasional Poodle or Boxer.

According to their website, The Seeing Eye’s mission is to  “enhance the independence, dignity, and self-confidence of blind people through the use of Seeing Eye dogs.”

This is accomplished through the breeding and training of guide dog puppies, instructing students on how to work with their canine partner as a team, and through research on canine health and development.

The school receives no government assistance, instead relying primarily on donations from individuals and grands from foundations, though each student does pay an initial $150 cost (and $50 each folow-up) for help with expenses. No student has ever been turned away for a lack of funds.

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This is an important acknowledgement of the role of the guide dog in the lives of the visually impaired, and we salute New Jersey for making the Seeing Eye dog the state dog.

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