Photo courtesy Guiding Eyes for the Blind
For most dog owners, the expression "work like a dog" doesn't make much sense. While the typical canine companion certainly gives his owner immeasurable happiness, it's obvious that he lives a life of remarkable leisure. Our pets gracefully go from the carefree days of childhood directly to the rest and relaxation of retirement, skipping the working part of life entirely.

But some dogs happily perform very demanding jobs for much of their life, putting in a full day's work just like the rest of us. Guide dogs, one of the most familiar sorts of working dog, provide an invaluable service to humans. Every day, they help their masters get from place to place more safely.

In this edition of HowStuffWorks, we'll find out what the life of a guide dog is all about: We'll see what their job is like, how they are trained and what happens to them when they retire. We'll also learn what we can all do to help guide dogs do their job correctly, and find out about some ways interested people can get involved with raising guide dogs.

Special thanks to Jane Russenberger, Louise Schofield and Lee Nordin at Guiding Eyes for the Blind for all their help with this article. Thanks also to Mary Cantando, for sharing her experiences of raising Sonar, a future guide dog in the Guiding Eyes puppy-raising program.