By: Jason Cohen
A non-profit organization that provides specially bred and trained dogs to guide people who are blind recently unveiled a $7.6 million renovation.
On June 13, The Seeing Eye held a dedication ceremony for the newly completed Robert H. Harris Canine Pavilion on its Washington Valley Campus in Morris Township. The state-of-the-art kennel upgrade took approximately 18 months to complete. The Golden Dome Foundation, a Middletown based 501(c)3 non-profit organization, donated $2 million in memory of its founder, Dr. Robert H. Harris. Harris is the late husband of the organization’s President, Mary Ellen Harris. The Harris’ created the foundation in 2015, to support charitable causes.
Dogs at The Seeing Eye campus were previously housed in two separate buildings, one that had become outdated. The new structure combines the living quarters, and gives all dogs direct access to covered all-weather exercise areas. The facility was designed to be open and airy, allow for an abundance of natural light, state-of-the-art ventilation and air exchange systems, heated floors, newly designed dog grooming and food prep areas and much more. When creating the new space, research was done that specifically was aimed at increasing stimulation and a sense of well-being, making the dogs feel more comfortable, and improving the success of the overall program.
Peggy Gibbon, director of canine development at the Seeing Eye, feels the renovation will benefit the dogs and the staff.
“The kennel is great,” Gibbon said. “We’re very excited to have this new facility. I think it’s going to be a great living quarters and a nice place for the staff to work.”
She told the Morristown News that residents and elected officials praised the organization for the recent upgrade.
The Seeing Eye was founded in 1929 and allows blind people to experience enhanced mobility and independence and to retain their active lifestyles despite blindness. The Seeing Eye is a 501(c) 3 non-profit supported by contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations, bequests, and other planned gifts. If you would like more information on The Seeing Eye, visit the website at www.SeeingEye.org, call (973) 539-4425, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.