Oh, there is so much more that there should be to this node. A seeing-eye dog is hands down the most phenominally trained animal, period. This includes drug sniffing dogs Yes, they are placed in foster homes. However, these foster homes are carefully screened, no rolled up newspapers, here. Then, they are sent to be trained, which usually happens in two steps. First, dogs receive basic obedience training, then, they are shipped off to be seeing-eye trained. And while they are trained for up to two years, some may never even make it to service, as most large dogs, such as Labradors and German Sheperds tend to have hip and bone problems, due to their size. See hip displasia. Dogs learn many things beyond having to walk with a harness. They learn to read street signs, remain calm for hours at a time, while their owner possibly carries on a job.

When you see a guide dog that is working, under no circumstances do you pet, talk to, or associate with the dog. He has enough on his mind, his owner is his sole responsibility. However, when the dog is not is harness, with the owner's permission, give the dog as much affection as they can stand. They're dogs, and they thrive on attention and care just like any other dog.

Most dogs do retire by about the age of 10, where they will be placed in regular households who can take care of them. I can't wait, a blind friend of mine has agreed to give me his 110-lb black lab when he retires, if I can take him. Otherwise, the waiting list for retired guide dogs is usually 2-3 years long.

Guide dog training costs @ $25,000, all of which is donated, none of that cost will ever get back to the owner. So, when you have the chance, donate to the Seeing-eye Dog Foundation. Yes, it's tax-deductible, and very worth it.