FAIRFIELD — Whenever Francis “Earl” Staples spotted someone having trouble with their dog while walking past his Rolling Hills home, he would get up from his chair and give them pointers on how better train their canine companions.
Staples, 94, who passed away March 16, should know.
He was one of the first Army dog trainers of World War II, part of a team that trained more than 5,000 dogs for sentry duty, to sniff out mines and carry messages across the battlefields of the Pacific.
It takes more than obedience and good breeding to become a service dog. At Guiding Eyes, a New York–based nonprofit that provides guide dogs free of charge to the visually impaired, the training takes years.
It begins at eight weeks, when the pups—specifically bred by Guiding Eyes—are paired with volunteers who teach them basic obedience and house manners.