05/08/2013 06:42 pm ET

Training School Prepares Dogs For Tough Assignment, Life In New York City

Brad Horrigan

As a blind woman in Queens seeks the perfect canine companion, an elite training school prepares pups for the toughest assignment they’ll ever receive: life in NYC.

The kick came fast and from just ahead as Dorcas Conde stepped off the curb and into the 23rd Street crosswalk in Manhattan. She didn’t even feel her cane fall from her hand at first. Between curled fingers and a sweaty palm, all she sensed was air. She walked forward a few paces, feigning unawareness that it was missing. She stopped midway through the crosswalk, unsure what to do. Should I try to find the cane? I didn’t hear it fall. Use my foot to find it? I don’t know where it is. It could be outside the crosswalk. It could be in traffic.

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