Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Fred Strohl (strohlhf@ornl.gov)
Communications and External Relations


Audio Spot: Guide dog undergoes socialization training at ORNL

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Feb. 26, 2008 — A four-month old guide dog that will hopefully one day assist a blind person is undergoing socialization training during a daily routine at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Connie Nichols of Oak Ridge's Human Resources Directorate is working with Timmy, a yellow lab, for up to 14 months as part of his two-year training to become a full-fledged guide dog.

"His training starts the minute we get out of the car," Nichols says. "Along the walkways to my office, he faces a lot of challenges and issues that most blind people will face when they have a fully trained guide dog, such as barrels in the way or construction equipment or steps or cross-walks."

Nichols literally works with Timmy 24 hours a day seven days a week.

"He goes to all the restaurants with me, he'll go to church with me, to the grocery stores, to parks - anywhere that a blind person might need to go when they have a fully trained guide dog - that's where Timmy will go with me," Nichols says.

After 14 months, Timmy will return to school on Long Island to complete his two-year training. Timmy is the sixth guide dog Nichols has worked with.

ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy.