Keith Tomlinson is a guide dog trainer for Guide Dogs for the Blind, an organization that trains K9s for vision-impaired individuals.
“I have always loved working with dog as people, and I found this to be the best way to do both,” Tomlinson said.
Guide Dogs for the Blind help vision-impaired people all over the world by providing dogs for assistance.
“About 60% of our dogs become guide dogs,” Tomlinson said. “The 40% that don’t pass can become other types of service dogs.”
According to Tomlinson, many people believe that guide dogs know where their owner is going, but that’s not necessarily true.
“A guide dog is basically a living cane, so you need to know where to tell the dog to go,” Tomlinson said.
Tomlinson starts training guide dogs when they are young.
“After a dog is fully trained it can cost up $70,000 which includes paying the trainer, paying vet bills and even follow up visits with the dog and user once year after the blind user receives the dog,” Tomlinson said.
“All of our dogs that make it become service dogs are all given to blind people for free.”