Guide Dogs in South Africa

Gladys Evans founded South African Guide-Dogs Association for the Blind in 1953 after she returned from England with her Guide Dog, Sheena. Gladys, a South African, was trained with a Guide Dog in the UK. A Guide Dog enhanced her life so much that she aspired to make Guide Dogs accessible to other South African citizens.


The dog has been a companion and aid to people with visual impairment for centuries. Art and literature throughout the ages depict a dog at the side of a person who is visually impaired (a mural found in the Roman ruins depicts a blind man with a dog).

In 1780 The Quinze-Vingts National Ophthalmology Hospital in Paris worked 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 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 in 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 and to bring Guide Dogs to America. She agreed and trained a dog called Buddy for Frank.

Dorothy eventually returned to the USA and established The Seeing Eye in Morristown New Jersey.

Follow the link for a comprehensive history of Guide Dogs:  International Guide Dog Federation – History of Guide Dogs .

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