Friday, August 31, 2012
On Aug. 11, a group of 11 from three Lions Clubs in the Valley visited Pilot Dogs Inc. of Ohio in Columbus. This group represented Austintown, Canfield and the new West Mahoning County Lions Club.
The group was met by Executive Director Jay Gray and toured the facility and learned about guide dogs and their role in society with their visually-impaired owners. This is a school for blind students and the dogs that are matched up with them. The facility was established in 1950 to train and furnish pilot dogs to guide the blind.
Dog breeds 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 see how it works, as Sam, a Golden Retriever Pilot Dog, guided several blind-folded members of the tour throughout the sidewalks at the facility.
Lion Ted Filmer, of the Canfield Lions Club, coordinated the tour.