About Dorothy Leib Eustis (Harrison)
Dorothy Leib Harrison Wood Eustis (30 May 1886 – 8 September 1946) was an American dog breeder and philanthropist, who founded The Seeing Eye, the first guide-dog school for the blind in the United States.
In 1927, Eustis was 41 years old and living in Switzerland where she bred German Shepherds as police dogs when she wrote an article for The Saturday Evening Post, a popular weekly magazine. The piece described a German guide-dog training school for blind veterans of the first World War and sparked a flood of mail, including a letter from a 20-year-old blind man named Morris Frank who promised to help set up a similar school in the United States if Eustis would train him to use a guide dog. Eustis invited Frank to Switzerland, where he spent five weeks learning to work with Buddy, the first of his six guide dogs (all named Buddy). A year later, in December 1928, Eustis and Frank launched The Seeing Eye in Frank’s hometown of Nashville, Tennessee.
Eustis’ legacy has been long-lasting. Her work helped spawn guide-dog schools in the United States and around the world, and also paved the way for using service animals to help people with all kinds of disabilities. Because The Seeing Eye refused to see its students as charity cases, Eustis is also credited with helping to change public attitudes toward the disabled and contributing to the disability rights movement that began in the 1970s.