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MEDIA ADVISORY: MU to Hold Eye Exams for Service Dogs

May 6th, 2011

Story Contact: MU News Bureau, 573-882-6211,

WHAT: The University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine will provide free eye exams for service dogs this May. Veterinary ophthalmologists can catch eye problems before they become serious and affect an animal’s ability to assist its owner.

Flash, a service dog, will have an eye exam during the Veterinary Medicine event.

Eye exams are important to people like Karen Darling, and Flash, her mobility aid dog. Darling, head of acquisitions at MU libraries, has mobility issues that impair her ability to perform certain tasks. She refers to Flash as her “fetch and carry guy” because the 5-year-old Shetland sheepdog is trained to help Darling pick things up off the floor and bring Darling the phone if she has a problem while alone at home. Flash accompanies Darling almost everywhere.


“Having Flash gives me independence,” Darling said. “It feels great for me to function independently and safely, knowing that Flash can help me if I need him.”

Karen Darling refers to Flash as her “fetch and carry guy,” as he assists with her mobility.

With years of dog training experience prior to needing a service dog, Darling was able to train Flash by herself. She said private training costs run into the thousands of dollars.  By identifying potential eye problems early, veterinary ophthalmologists can extend the time that Flash is able to assist Darling.

Exams are provided by MU board-certified veterinary ophthalmologists Jacqueline Pearce, Elizabeth Giuliano and Cecil Moore. The event at MU is part of a national campaign of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists.

Karen Darling is the head of acquisitions at MU libraries.

WHO: MU Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital Ophthalmology faculty and service dogs

WHERE: Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital clinics in Clydesdale Hall

900 East Campus Drive

MU campus

WHEN: Friday, May 6, May 13, and May 20

NOTE: Eye exam registrations are closed.