Earlier this month a group of 11 from three area Lions Clubs visited Pilot Dogs Inc. of Ohio in Columbus. This group represented Austintown, Canfield and the new West Mahoning County Lions Clubs. The group was met by Executive Director Jay Gray and toured the facility and learned much about guide dogs and their role in society with their visually impaired owners. This is a school for the blind students and the dogs that are matched up with them, to perform at their utmost enabling the blind to get better in their quest for a quality life. The facility was established in 1950 to simply train and furnish pilot dogs to guide the blind.
Dog breeds that are used at the facility are Doberman Pinchers, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, German shepherds, standard poodles, boxers and vizlas. Pilot Dogs, Inc. gives its trained guide dogs to the sightless at no charge. Private donations and Lions Club donations keep the facility operational.
Members of the tour got a chance to feel the action as Sam, a Golden Retriever pilot dog went to work guiding several blindfolded members of the tour throughout the sidewalks at the facility. Members said afterwards that everyone needs to see the role the pilot dogs have in preserving dignity to the blind.
Photo special to the Town Crier
Area Lions Club members recently toured Pilot Dogs Inc., which trains guide dogs for the blind. Executive Director Jay Gray shared his program with Lions Joyce Whited, John Facemyer, Jack Kochansky, Randy and Shirley Boyles with pilot dog Sam, Jim Tripp, Ed and Linda Ellis, and Dee Tripp. Missing from the photo are Lions Ted Filmer and Bob Whited.
Lion Ted Filmer of the Canfield Lions Club coordinated the tour.