The modern guide dog story begins during the First World War, with thousands of soldiers returning from the Front blinded, often by poison gas. A German doctor, Dr Gerhard Stalling, got the idea of training dogs en masse to help those affected. While walking with a patient one day through the hospital grounds, he was called away urgently and left his dog with the patient as company. When he returned, he saw signs, from the way the dog was behaving, that it was looking after the blind patient.

Dr Stalling started to explore ways of training dogs to become reliable guides and in August 1916 opened the world\’s first guide dog school for the blind in Oldenburg. The school grew and many new branches opened in Bonn, Breslau, Dresden, Essen, Freiburg, Hamburg, Magdeburg, Münster and Hannover, training up to 600 dogs a year. These schools provided dogs not only to ex-servicemen, but also to blind people in Britain, France, Spain, Italy, the United States, Canada and the Soviet Union.

More about the history can be read here

 

Seeing Eye co-founder Morris Frank, trained the one of the first German Shepherd Guide Dogs. Watch the video below.