CNN Guide Horse Story
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Everyone's
heard of seeing eye dogs, but this is a horse of a different color, or
at least a different size.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a seeing eye horse?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is handsome!
MOOS: Actually, "he" is a she, named Cuddles.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cuddles? That's like a pillow name.
MOOS: Cuddles cushions the life of his new owner, Dan Shaw. He's got her
tattooed on his hand.
DAN SHAW, CUDDLES' OWNER: I feel blessed. That's how happy I am with it.
MOOS: Dan may have lost his sight, but he's been touring sights with
Cuddles, from the White House to the Empire State Building, where she
licked the limestone. At the Statue of Liberty, Cuddles picnicked on the
grass. No wonder she mistook the carpet for pasture at the Travel Inn.
SHAW: Easy. Good girl.
MOOS: Dan just finished a month of training with Cuddles, and he's now
taking her home to Maine. Dan's got a wife, but at the moment, he only
has eyes for Cuddles.
SHAW: With a guide horse, she'll live 25 to 35 years. We'll grow old
MOOS: They live longer than dogs and they have great vision.
SHAW: She sees 350 degrees around her, everything but her tail, while
MOOS: Cuddles is the first guide horse to be placed by the nonprofit
Guide Horse Foundation. Trainer Janet Burleson says Cuddles responds to
JANET BURLESON, GUIDE HORSE FOUNDATION: Find the escalator. Find the
elevator. Find the van. It's great when you go to the mall, because you
don't have to remember where you parked, because the horse remembers.
MOOS (on camera): Does she respond to giddyap?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
MOOS (voice-over): In New York, Cuddles negotiated turnstiles, steps.
SHAW: Good girl.
SHAW: Easy, easy, easy.
MOOS: And revolving doors. She even mastered the subway. The miniature
horse ended up next to a headless human. Imagine waking up to a
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hope it ain't real.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And she's got shoes!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, that's so she doesn't slip and fall.
MOOS: The easiest way to put on these cut-down baby shoes is to have
Cuddles lie down. She sleeps standing up, napping while everyone else
was dining at the Carnegie Deli and the Oriental Pearl. Cuddles is
housebroken, though they had to clean up after her like a dog in the
subway. She lets Dan know when she needs out.
SHAW: She'll tap her foot, neigh, and cross her back legs and keep
MOOS: She loves TV, we kid you not, especially westerns.
DON BURLESON, GUIDE HORSE FOUNDATION: We took her to the movie "A
Knight's Tale" and she was very interested in the horse scenes.
J. BURLESON: She loved the jousting scenes.
MOOS: Cuddle's only encounter with New York horseflesh was friendly. How
many horses get to go on a ride through Central Park? Apparently, even a
horse is drawn to a carriage. Our last stop was at the toy store, FAO
(on camera): Dan, look what I found.
MOOS: A horse, a huge one. Check this out, Cuddles. Look at this.
(voice-over): She seemed ready to cuddle with this stuffed donkey.
Suddenly, that old cliche about love being blind seems to make horse
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She wants her tummy rubbed.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.