WWII veteran gets around Smithtown, thanks to trained poodle – New York News

When Sy Lederman started losing his sight, he maintained his independence with help from a cane.


But when the World War II veteran got his cane stuck in a door, marring an outing, he decided it was time to try a dog.

“The Germans didn’t kill me — I figured what do I got to lose?” the Smithtown resident said.

Lederman, 90, has used specially trained sight dogs for decades now. He and his latest, a poodle named Merlot who has guided him for more than seven years, were the guests of honor Saturday in Bethpage at America’s VetDogs’ third annual 5K and dog walk.

The Smithtown-based organization provides service and guide animals to veterans, including sight and hearing dogs. More than 600 participants ran or walked a 2-mile course with their own dogs at Old Bethpage Village Restoration to raise more than $70,000, organizers said.

That’s about enough to raise, train and support at least one service animal for a veteran, said Wells Jones, VetDogs’ chief executive officer.

For Lederman, the dog the organization provided…

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