Somers Cub Scouts Meet, Greet Guide Dogs

SOMERS, N.Y. - The Primrose School cafeteria was buzzing with pleasure on Friday evening when Cub Scout Packs 1 and 11 were introduced to Hayley and Sable, ambassadors from the Yorktown headquarters of Guiding Eyes for the Blind.

Close to 200 people sat in intrigue as Guiding Eyes volunteers Jeff and Nina Kellogg introduced the two labs to the Cub Scouts. The presentation began with a video, explaining what the organization does. Scout Master Chris Swee commented that he had never seen the kids so quiet and still.

The Kelloggs followed up with a few comments about their own involvement and experience with Guiding Eyes. They have been volunteering there for 16 years and have the honor of having a dog named after them. He was “Kellogg” and he “provided eyes” for the famous blind trumpet virtuoso, Stacy Blair. “They travelled all over the world together.”

Nina Kellogg described a graduate dog who is “Tammy’s eyes.” They live in Chicago. The dog is one of Hayley’s puppies. Her name is Primrose.

The Cub Scouts were teeming with questions. “How old do you have to be to get a dog?” and “What happens to the dogs who don’t make it in the program?” and “What kind of dogs do you use?” and “Why?” and “How old are Hayley and Sable… How many puppies have they had?”

The answers were: Hayley is 7½, she has had 37 puppies but has been “retired” for a year. Sable is 18 months old and her future is still to be decided. Ninety-five percent of the dogs in training are labrador retrievers. The other five percent are either German Shepherds and golden retrievers. 

Jeff Kellogg explained, “We prefer labs because they’re smart and very adaptable. They go from owner to owner while they’re in training but they adjust to everyone. Also, they have short hair so they’re easy for a blind person to groom.”

Nina Kellogg added that there are other careers for dogs who don’t do well as seeing-eye dogs. “Some become ambassador dogs. Or they may go to children with autism or into law enforcement or search and rescue. For dogs who don’t have any alternative, they might just become someone’s pet.”

The scouts had lots of praise for the dogs. Cub Scout Griffin commented, “I love them. They’re cute and nice and they lick you.” Junior Webelo Trey said, “They help blind people. They always listen. They’re always calm. They don’t bite and they always lick.” Webelo Liam added, “They love people. They lick you. All dogs love people, except for bad dogs. But there are no bad dogs.”

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