Otis passes initial round of his guide-dog training

 In News & Events

Staff Report – The Daily Star Online – 04/01/2006

After spending 17 months at the State University College at Oneonta, Otis has moved on to the next stage of his education.

Otis, a 20-month-old black lab in guide-dog training, recently passed his “In For Training” test and is headed to Yorktown Heights for more advanced training.

Don Ackerman, SUCO maintenance operations assistant director and Stamford resident, said he taught Otis basic obedience and helped socialize him while caring for him.

“For about 17 months, everywhere I went, Otis went,” Ackerman said Tuesday. “It’s real hard to say goodbye to a pup, but it’s for such a good cause.”

Otis is part of the Guided Eyes program. Guiding Eyes was established in 1954 to offer visually impaired people with the assistance of a professionally trained guide dog, according to the Guiding Eyes webpages.

Otis has about five months left of formal training and one month of training with a blind person before he is able to graduate, according to Ackerman.

Ackerman said that he is invited to Otis’ graduation when the time comes.

“I picked Otis up when he was 10 weeks old,” Ackerman said. “It’ll be nice to see how far along he’ll go.”