Should this be the official state dog of New Jersey?
Efforts are moving forward to name an official state dog for New Jersey.
Actually, the plan is to have several types of dogs become the official state dog.
In recognition of the upcoming 90th anniversary of the Seeing Eye, an organization in Morristown that trains service dogs for the visually impaired, state Sen. Anthony Bucco, R-Morris, is sponsoring a measure to designate the guide dog as the state dog of New Jersey.
“I was wondering: Do we make it a lab? Do we make it a shepherd? Do we make it a collie? What do we do?”
But after discussing the situation with the Seeing Eye, Bucco said they suggested having the seeing-eye dog named as the state dog, even though this would include German shepherds, golden retrievers and Labradors.
“All of them would be the state dog, the seeing-eye dog itself. I’m sure you’ve noticed people with a guide dog — did you care whether it was a German shepherd or a Labrador retriever or whatever? No.”
But can three types of dogs actually all be the official state dog of New Jersey? According to Bucco, it’s not a problem.
“We asked Trenton to investigate it, OLS — the Office of Legislative Services — to investigate it, if we could do it that way, and they came back and said yes it would be appropriate.”
He said his state dog legislation will be considered by the Senate Health committee next month and he expects lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to rally behind the idea.
“I don’t think there’s going to be a problem with convincing them to go along and support this," he said.
Bucco believes all seeing-eye dogs deserve to be honored because they provide a wonderful service.
“The dog senses what he’s got to do to stop that person from going off the platform or walking into traffic. This is what the dog has been trained to do," he said.
He pointed out dogs and people have very special bonds.
“I love my dog. He just tore his ACL — it cost me $6,000 to have him operated on. But he’s my dog; he’s part of my family.”
Thirteen other states have official state dogs. New York has named the working dog as its state dog, while Pennsylvania’s official state dog is the great dane.
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You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com