Guide Dogs in South Africa
South African Guide-Dogs Association for the Blind was founded in 1953 by Gladys Evans after she returned from England with her Guide Dog, Sheena. Gladys was a South African who travelled to the UK so that she could be trained with a Guide Dog. Once she realised how much a Guide Dog enhanced her life her next goal was to make Guide Dogs accessible to other South African citizens.
For centuries the dog has been a companion and aid to blind people. Throughout the ages, art and literature have placed a dog at the side of a person who is visually impaired (a mural was found in the Roman ruins that depicted a dog with a blind man).
In 1780 at ‘Les Quinze-Vingts’ hospital for the blind in Paris, work was done to try to train dogs for people who were visually impaired. There are a number of reliable records of people who trained their own dogs to act as guides in Europe during this time period.
Formal schools opened throughout Germany from 1916 to 1923. Dorothy Harrison Eustis wrote an article on the work done by the Potsdam school that was published in the Saturday Evening Post (October 1927).
Dorothy was a wealthy American, living in Switzerland, she was inspired to begin training Guide Dogs. She was contacted by an American man, Morris Frank, who had read the newspaper article. He was very motivated to have a Guide Dog. She trained a dog called Buddy for Frank.
Dorothy eventually returned to the USA and established The Seeing Eye in Morristown New Jersey.
For a comprehensive history follow the link, International Guide Dog Federation – History of Guide Dogs .
South African Guide-Dogs Association for the Blind is a registered Nonprofit Organisation, 000-758 NPO, and Public Benefit Organisation, 130001003.