HomeYour PetPet StoriesBuddy was the first guide dog in history

Buddy was the first guide dog in history

Morris Frank was the first user of a guide dog and fought to get them accepted in public places.

Morris Frank, was the first “user” of a guide dog, co-founder of The Seeing Eye, a guide dog school. He traveled throughout the United States and Canada to promote the use of guide dogs for people who are blind or visually impaired.

Also a precursor in the right of people with guide dogs to access restaurants, hotels, transportation and other places open to the general public.

He was born in Tennessee, United States, when he was six years old, he lost vision in one eye when a horse collided with a tree branch and in the second eye as a result of a blow in a boxing fight at the age of 16.

He studied at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, married Lois Margery Sellmer (1910-1993) and together they toured the United States for many years representing The Seeing Eye. The film is complete on YouTube.

In 1927, when he was 20, Morris read an article in The Saturday Evening Post that described a European school where German shepherds were trained to guide blind soldiers.

Morris was a visionary and wanted to share with other blind people the independence that a guide dog can give.

An idea came to mind and he did not hesitate to write to them expressing his concern about obtaining a “trained” dog and establishing a similar training center in the United States. Brave and enterprising, he traveled from Nashville on a steamboat to Switzerland, where he met Ms. Eustis and her head trainer/geneticist, Jack Humphrey.

After training with Buddy for five weeks, he returned to the United States with two goals: to prove that guide dogs are safe human guides and to get the dogs accepted in public places.

With Buddy and tenacious audacity, he demonstrated that the consequences of improved and safe mobility were the dignity, confidence and independence that a person with partial or total blindness needs.

Along with Dorothy Eustis as president and Jack Humphrey as vice president of training and research, Morris founded The Seeing Eye, the first guide dog school in the United States.

He visited students before and after receiving their dogs, addressed many Clubs, visited recently blinded veterans and ophthalmologists, and conducted countless radio interviews.

Morris Frank and his first dog, Buddy, traveled thousands of miles across the United States bringing the message of hope to blind people and demonstrating to the public the value of a guide dog.

Morris Frank, with his inseparable Buddy

Buddy, who broke many travel barriers for guide dogs, died shortly after the iconic photo was taken in 1938. Morris had five dogs, all named Buddy.

It was proposed to establish criteria for students, obtain dogs with suitable physical and mental characteristics, and locate capable instructors who could work with both dogs and people.

His work in public relations gained acceptance by public transportation and restaurants to allow the dog to accompany the owner.

Morris achieved that guide dogs had the right to enter places such as public transportation, restaurants, universities and more.

In 1978, Morris became the first person to reach 50 years as a guide dog user. After 80 years, in 2009 the school went from a class of 2 students with 2 dogs to over 15.000 dogs, bringing a new level of mobility, security and self-sufficiency to nearly 8.000 men and women.

Along with Blake Clark, he wrote First Lady of The Seeing Eye, the story of Buddy that led to the film Love Leads the Way in 1984. It shows the love and fight for the rights to be able to look through the eyes of your guide dog.

A fragment of the film inspired by Morris Frank and his guide dog Buddy

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