Just in time for National Puppy Day, Quillan, a 7-week old Seeing Eye©, Inc., puppy, arrived at the Montville Township Public Schools district offices. Quillan, a male, black lab and golden retriever mix, is one of several puppies born in the past two months at the Morristown-based The Seeing Eye©, Inc. facility. Quillan was born to a litter of “Q” puppies. Coincidentally, March 23, 2023, was National Puppy Day. It is on this important national day of recognition that Quillan was delivered to Lauri Schmitt at the Montville Township Public Schools district offices.
According to their website, the mission of The Seeing Eye©, Inc. “is to enhance the independence, dignity and self-confidence of people who are blind, through the use of specially trained Seeing Eye© dogs.”
While an Administrative Secretary to the Principal at Cedar Hill Elementary School, Schmitt and her family raised four Seeing Eye©, Inc. puppies: Klondike, Marty, Roger and Rowdy. Quillan is her fifth Seeing Eye©, Inc. puppy, and the first she is raising since she moved into her position as the Special Services Administrative Assistant in the Montville Township Public Schools district offices.
Quillan, the 26th service puppy to be raised in the MTPS district, is the first to be raised in the district offices. The other 25 service dog puppies have been raised at Cedar Hill Elementary School. In addition to Schmitt’s four previous puppies, Cedar Hill School Nurse Bonnie Lee DiCola has raised 21 service puppies. Currently Apollo, DiCola’s 21st puppy, is a member of the Cedar Hill community.
“Being a part of The Seeing Eye© puppy training program is a valuable opportunity for our department and the population we serve,” said Erica Cerilli-Levine, Director Special Services. ”Dogs help students build social skills and confidence. We are very grateful to have this opportunity in Special Services, and we are thankful that Lauri Schmitt participates in The Seeing Eye© puppy raising program and is willing to make this opportunity available to our community.”
According to The Seeing Eye©, Inc., Montville Township Publics Schools is the only district they are aware of where puppy trainers bring their puppy’s to work with them on a daily basis.
“Dogs trained in a high-energy environment learn a great deal about how to be skilled companions for people who rely on a dog’s training, skills and support to enhance their quality of life,” Schmitt said. “My family and I enjoy being a part of The Seeing Eye© puppy training program, and we are grateful to the district for supporting this important program.”
At Cedar Hill the raising of The Seeing Eye©, Inc. puppies is incorporated in the school’s curriculum, helping to build empathy, awareness and character, while also assisting in the training of these important canine companions for humans in need of specially-trained Seeing Eye© dogs.
Expanding the program into the Montville Township Public Schools’ Special Services department will allow even more district students to benefit from learning about The Seeing Eye©, Inc., and the joy and importance of helping others through the organization’s trusted puppy training program.