Seeing-eye dogs train at ROC airport

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) Twenty seeing-eye dogs were in training at the Rochester International Airport Saturday. They were taking a familiarization tour so they’re ready to help the blind and visually impaired.

“And so when they get this ‘orientation session’ so to speak, they’ll be comfortable when they’re paired with a partner and they have to actually go take a flight,” Lisa Farbstein, a Transportation Safety Administration Spokesperson, said.

The dogs live and train with Guiding Eyes for the Blind for about 16 to 18 months. The organization trains the dogs to be the sight for those without.

Cynthia Swift, a volunteer with the organization says on the airport orientation, “They’re going to be guide dogs, and  it provides the person with vision loss just a sense of independence.”

The dogs are learning how to weave and bob through the baggage claim and check points, getting pat downs from officers, and how guide a person with vision loss around the airport’s many obstacles. 

Volunteer Ray Kesel said, “It just gives (the dogs) a sense of confidence and that’s what we’re here doing, is trying to build up their confidence so when they actually graduate, they’re ready for the real world and help those who need them.”

“The TSA team here really enjoys this opportunity to work with the community and get in a little practice as well,” Farbstein said.

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