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The Difference a Seeing Eye® Dog Makes

For more than 80 years, Canadian students have been attending The Seeing Eye in Morris Township, New Jersey, to learn how to care for and work with Seeing Eye® dogs. Each year, between 15 and 18 Canadians graduate from the school with their Seeing Eye dogs, ready to take on the world with a renewed sense of independence and dignity.

Marlin Nagtegaal poses with his arm around his German shepherd Seeing Eye dog, Champ.

Marlin Nagtegaal of Stratford, Ontario, went to The Seeing Eye to be matched with a German Shepherd named Champ. 

Now retired, Marlin was for many years a music professor at Wilfrid Laurier University and a musical director at a church. 

Marlin and Champ can frequently be seen out and about in Stratford and the surrounding countryside, as they love hiking together.

“He’s an unbelievable dog. He’s changed my life completely.”

Amazing Teams

Canadians and their Seeing Eye® dogs

Graduate Bill in his official portrait with his golden retriever Seeing Eye dog Alphonse. Bill has his arm around Alphonse, and their heads are touching. In another photo, Bill and Alphonse are shown seated next to each other at an event. Alphonse is wearing a medal around his neck.

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Graduate Bill with his Seeing Eye® dog Alphonse

Graduate Spotlight

Yvonne and Idris

Winnipeg resident Yvonne Peters is a seven-time graduate of The Seeing Eye. She is an attorney, an advocate, and an activist — and a member of The Seeing Eye Organization’s Board of Directors. Her first Seeing Eye® dog was named Tokie.

“I have truly loved all my Seeing Eye dogs, but I especially loved Tokie,” Yvonne said. “She introduced me to a thrilling new kind of independence. Her dedication, loyalty, and patience helped me to become a competent guide dog user and for that she has a very special place in my heart.”

In the early 1980s, while serving as chair of the Human Rights Committee for the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, the Canadian government was adopting a new Charter of Rights and Freedoms that did not include sufficient legal protections for people with disabilities. Yvonne, guided by her Seeing Eye dog, led the first-ever disability rights protest on Parliament Hill. 

“I was very proud of my dog, and it highlighted this huge injustice, which two months later was corrected. Canada became one of the few countries in the world that extended constitutional protection to the rights of people with disabilities.”

Yvonne’s current dog is Idris, a chocolate Labrador/golden retriever cross. For more than 45 years, Yvonne has been championing the rights of people with disabilities, always with a Seeing Eye dog at her side.

Your Donations Make It Possible

When you make a gift of any size to The Seeing Eye Organization, you’ll help Canadians who are blind or visually impaired experience the life-changing difference of a Seeing Eye® dog.