Press Release Article


Date: Mar 29, 2003
Press Release Number: 37-2003

Media Wishing to Cover the Event Should Come to Terminal A, Delta Airlines Arrivals, at 8:45 a.m. on Saturday, March 29, or Saturday, April 5

Port Authority Police and civilians will take part in a training program for seeing-eye dogs on Saturday, March 29, and Saturday, April 5, to help 50 puppies become accustomed to airport sights, sounds and smells.

\"This is the ninth consecutive year that the Port Authority has had the privilege of hosting this familiarization program to help train these dogs at our facilities,\" said Susan M. Baer, General Manager of Newark Liberty International Airport. \"Any program that increases access for all to enjoy the benefits of air travel is certainly a worthwhile effort.\"

Staff from The Seeing Eye, Inc., a philanthropic organization that helps visually impaired adults achieve mobility through the use of guide dogs, and United Airlines personnel are also involved in the effort.

United will take the puppies onto a plane and on a tour of the Terminal A baggage claim areas. Newark Airport staff will take the student guide dogs on a tour of Terminal A, and Port Authority Police will familiarize them with emergency equipment and vehicles.

\"We are grateful to the Port Authority for making this tour possible,\" said Valerie Roberts, the Seeing Eye leader who organized the excursions. \"The range of experiences given to these dogs will desensitize them to the unfamiliar.\"

The families involved in training the guide dogs are all New Jersey residents. At Newark Liberty International Airport, Port Authority Police K-9 explosives detection dogs will treat the families who have helped train the seeing-eye dogs to a demonstration of their bomb-sniffing skills.

Outings like this are part of a guide dog training program created by The Seeing Eye, Inc. Puppies are first placed with volunteer families from New Jersey 4-H Clubs. These families teach obedience and expose them to all of the stimuli and distractions found in the world in which they will work. After about 16 months with volunteer families, the dogs begin a five-month formal training course that prepares them for life as full-fledged guide dogs. Following the training, the dogs are assigned to a visually impaired person.

The 4-H club is an organization that sponsors educational activities geared toward helping youngsters become responsible adults. The club has been working with The Seeing Eye, Inc., since 1942 to raise and prepare puppies for further training.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates some of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. They include John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia and Teterboro airports; the George Washington Bridge; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH rapid-transit system; the Downtown Manhattan Heliport; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal; the Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island; the Brooklyn Piers/Red Hook Container Terminal; and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. The agency also owns the 16-acre World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan. The Port Authority is financially self-supporting and receives no tax revenue from either state.