Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Drum roll please... GDB's Online Gift Shop Now Open!

We're excited to announce that just in time for holiday shopping, our revamped online Gift Shop is now officially open for business! Check it out here:

As members of our Guide Dog Family, you're our very best customers and we want to do everything we can to ensure that you have the best shopping experience ever on our site. We've reduced our prices to streamline the checkout process--there's no longer any need to calculate discounts. There's just one, low, everyday price for all customers.

As we get up and running, it's important for you to give us your feedback, so please let us know if you have any problems with your online order. You can contact us at (800) 324-4169 or via email at

So start shopping today and help spread the word about GDB! Here's a few holiday items you might want to consider:

Holiday card: 
A lighthearted illustration of three Guide Dog pups romping with a snowman.
Comes in a set of 10 with envelopes; available blank inside or with greeting. $6.50 per set.

2010 wall calendar
2010 wall calendar: Chock full of full-color photos; $12.

And for even more shopping options, be sure to check out the Puppy Raising Club Classifieds section of our website!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Here's a roundup of some of the news stories featuring GDB this past month. Once again, our people and puppies are making headlines!

Puppy raiser Miranda Robertson, with puppy Candace

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Breeders Digest

A pile of yellow Lab puppiesHere's all of our new arrivals from August 1, 2009-September 30, 2009. To see photos of these litters, please visit GDB's Flickr site: Littermate Photos.

Litter Announcements

Labrador Retrievers
  • 8/1/09 David x Calistoga – 4 males, 3 females
  • 8/6/09 David x Racine – 4 males, 3 females
  • 8/7/09 Dutch x Grove – 3 males, 4 females
  • 8/13/09 Atrus x Bruna – 2 males, 7 males
  • 8/14/09 Samuel x Sarita – 6 males, 3 females
  • 8/27/09 Dylan x Mamie – 2 males, 3 females
  • 8/28/09 Jenkins x Rozzie – 3 males, 2 females
  • 8/28/09 Kentucky x Beverly – 4 males, 5 females
  • 8/29/09 Cubby x Paulina – 5 females
  • 8/31/09 Denzel x Della – 4 males, 3 females
  • 9/18/09 Tiburon x Anjou – 1 male, 6 females
  • 9/19/09 Cabby x Darlene – 2 males, 2 females
  • 9/19/09 Cubby x Dorcella – 3 males, 3 females
  • 9/26/09 Dutch x Doralee – 6 females
  • 9/28/09 Jay x Anista – 4 males, 2 females
Golden Retrievers
  • 8/26/09 GDF’s Mazel x Lamara - 8 males, 3 females
  • 9/3/09 Lance x Chita - 2 males, 4 females
  • 9/6/09 Taylor x Kaylee - 6 females

New Breeders

Labrador Retrievers
  • Simone – raised in CO
  • Suzanne – raised in CA

Monday, November 9, 2009


Here is a sampling of the fun, adorable, silly, fantastic photo submissions that we've gotten recently. You can check out all of the recent submissions on our Flickr site, as well as our Flickr Group Photo Pool. (Remember - you can submit photos straight to the Group Photo Pool! Come on - join in the fun - submit your photos today!).

Puppy Fenwick underneath a brilliant rainbow in the sky
Puppy Fenwick - the gold at the end of the rainbow!
Submitted by Danny Epperson.

A sleeping Lassie
A sleeping Lassie.
Submitted by Sharon Clegg.

Yellow Lab Kingston with a snow shovel
Kingston, 12 .5 weeks old, trying to help shovel the snow from the first Colorado snow storm of the season. Submitted by Andrea Loughry.

Two children reading to a Golden Retriever
The Have Paws Will Travel puppy raising club of Arapahoe County, Colo., has been providing a "Doggie Tales" program at the Arapahoe Libraries for several years. The club's puppies in training, career change dogs and retired guides visit the libraries where children are able to read to them aloud to develop their reading skills. Sofia Moyn from the Eloise May Library reports that "it is a very successful program, and the kids enjoy it very much."

My Guide Dog Puppy, Stanton

By Shannon Patterson

Shannon, age 9, is raising her first Guide Dog puppy. Her 4th grade class was given an assignment to write an essay about a pet; here is what she wrote about her puppy.

Shannon and puppy Stanton
My dog Stanton is a guide dog puppy in training. We will train him for a year. I got Stanton from a truck that comes down from San Rafael. I got Stanton when he was 10 weeks old.

Stanton is a yellow Labrador retriever. He has loving brown eyes and floppy, soft, and smooth ears. He also has gigantic paws.

When Stanton is hot he will lie on the tile and drink his water from his water bowl. He eats Science Diet for dinner and breakfast. He can’t have regular dog treats. He has to have a piece of his regular food instead.

Stanton is just a puppy and plays with my other dog. He also likes to play with his Kong, Nylabone, and tug toys. He knows how to sit, down, lets go, kennel, come, and more.

I love Stanton. I hope when he goes through additional training he will ace the tests and be able to graduate. If he graduates he will be partnered with a blind person. If Stanton does not make it we will get him back.

Navigating Through Life: Adventures with Pasta

Black Lab guide Pasta
The following is a submission from Megan Miller, a 24 year-old student at CalState Long Beach working toward a masters degree in criminal justice (she received her bachelors degree in criminal justice in 2008). She is working with her very first Guide Dog, a female black Lab named Pasta.

I cannot begin to describe what a tremendous impact Pasta has had on my life. She makes all my travels so much easier and makes me feel so much safer and more independent than I have ever felt before. I wanted to share one such instance that we had today, on what some would call a normal walk. But for me, it was again proof of how amazing Pasta is and how much she has enhanced my life, for I would never have taken this walk without her.

I decided to take Pasta out for a nice evening walk. I hadn't really been out all day since I had been doing school work, and it was a nice day. I wanted to take advantage of it and give Pasta some exercise. Initially, I thought we'd just go to the main part of campus and turn around and come back. Along the way, I changed my mind, but I'll get to that.

When we got to our first street crossing, I of course stopped to listen for traffic. I heard a car, but it was far down the street so we went ahead and started across. But halfway through the crossing, a car coming toward us sped up and drove right in front of us.

Pasta stopped dead in her tracks! Good girl! She got lots of praise and kibble for that, and I petted and hugged her once we got to the curb.

Once we were across the street and heading to walk toward the main part of campus, I thought we might as well try something new instead of just going to campus for no reason. I got brave, which is kind of rare for me (smile), and decided that instead of crossing the next street we came to like usual, we'd turn left and walk up a new street. I figured we'd try to do a block or two and make our way back to the dorms.

I had no idea what to expect on this street, since I'd only ever crossed it - not explored it. I knew about how far we'd need to go before turning back toward the dorms and trusted that Pasta and I would figure it out even if we got disoriented. Pasta and I have taken walks to a semi busy street that also intersected with this street, so I figured that we'd eventually run into it and get back on track. In addition, even though the sun wasn't out, light was still visible in the West, so that could help me get oriented as well.

There ended up being lots of parking lot entrances to cross right away. Pasta did great stopping at each one. But then, we ended up walking on a sidewalk that had a parking lot on the left and sort of a wall on the right. Weird, but we kept going. Then, the sidewalk stopped. It turned into just a thin island with bushes. On the right of it was a fence, so we couldn't trail it like we were supposed to. I was hoping the sidewalk would come back, so I risked it and had her walk in the parking lot with us as close against the side of the island as we could be. I didn't know what else to do.

We walked along for awhile and still no sidewalk emerged. I ended up seeing the parking structure to our right at some point, which was helpful since I knew it was directly to the east of the dorms. I knew we needed to turn left, but of course, being in a massive parking lot, we couldn't just go straight left. So, for quite some time, we zigzagged through the lot, trailing the backs of parked cars as best we could.

It was kind of nerve-wracking, but I was surprisingly calm. It was really good for us, I think. I'm nervous about parking lots so it was good for me to have to deal with them. I knew we'd get home eventually because I knew the general direction we needed to go and knew that once we got close enough, Pasta would know where to go, too (if she didn't already!). She sure acted like she knew where we were, and I trusted that she'd get me home. I just kept occasionally saying, good girl Pasta, let's go home.

Eventually, and I'm not quite sure how, we ended up stepping up onto the curb and sidewalk at the corner just north of the dorms. Cool! Again, I'm not quite sure how we did it, but hurray, we did!

Pasta got lots of praise and kibbles along the way for staying so focused and doing such a great job. She got plenty more once we got to that familiar corner! The final stretch was smooth sailing, and Pasta flew down the sidewalk. Woo hoo! I would never have taken that walk through the never-ending parking lots without Pasta by my side. Great job Pasta - I love you!

Just Another Day at Guide Dogs... Through an Intern’s Eyes

Hello! My name is Kim Chapot and I’m a senior at San Francisco State University. I just joined the GDB team as a marketing intern and I’m loving it. There are so many friendly staff members and volunteers, but most of all, so many LOVABLE dogs!!

Last Friday I got the rare opportunity to volunteer in the Whelping Clinic, a place where all these adorable pooches enter the world.

My duties included weighing newborn puppies, feeding moms and pups, cleaning dog runs, performing physical check-ups on the moms, and cleaning ears and teeth. I also assisted with some of the boarded dogs by giving baths and bringing them to the vet.

My day ended with the birth of a beautiful female black lab. The mom did very well throughout labor and couldn’t wait to cuddle with her pups!

I really enjoyed my hands-on experience and being able to observe the compassion the Kennel staff have for each and every dog they care for on a daily basis. GDB is a great place for an internship!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Lost Puppy Update: Gannon is Found Safe and Sound!

Guide Dog puppy GannonTHIS JUST IN: Gannon has been found! He is on his way home with his puppy raiser after the family that found him saw a story on the local news. Those are all the details we have for now, but we got our happy ending! Thanks again everyone for your concern and assistance - now we can all have a GREAT weekend!

Lost Puppy Update: Reward Now Being Offered

Black Lab puppy GannonIt's been a week since Guide Dog puppy Gannon went missing; unfortunately, we still don't have any good leads as to his whereabouts. We're working with the local media in the Lodi/Stockton area, and the GDB community has rallied to help in the search as well, posting flyers around town, posting notices online, calling veterinarians, shelters and the like. We're grateful for the outpouring of support. At this point, thanks to many individuals who have come forward with financial offers to help, GDB is now able to offer a generous reward for Gannon's safe return. Please help us spread the word, and contact us immediately at (800) 295-4050 with any leads. Thank you.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Lost Puppy Update

Black Lab puppy GannonHi all - thanks so much for all of your concern regarding Gannon, the missing puppy. Unfortunately, we still don't have any good news. We're working diligently in the area to find him, and we've got the media helping us in the search. Please see an article that appeared in today's Stockton Record (link below). Of course, we will post any updates here if/when we get them; you can also follow us via our Facebook Fan Page or Twitter for up-to-the-minute information.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


The cast and crew of Curiosity QuestToday, the cast and crew from “Curiosity Quest” filmed and conducted interviews on our California campus for an upcoming show about Guide Dogs. They interviewed staff, raisers, grads... and got plenty of puppy love! “Curiosity Quest” is an upbeat, family, educational program that explores what viewers are curious about. “Curiosity Quest” airs on PBS stations across the country. The program has an estimated audience of 50 million people. Check your local listings for show times. No air date has been set yet, but if you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook, we'll keep you in the loop! You can check out some photos of while they were here on our Flickr site.

Thinking About Accessibility

Morgan Watkins in his office
GDB Board member Morgan Watkins is a retired information technology director from the University of Texas at Austin. In his career, as in his daily life, he uses adaptive technology to accomplish routine tasks like surfing the internet, checking email, reading a book, etc. He's an expert on software accessibility, among other things. The following are exchanges from a couple of Morgan's colleagues on the topic of accessibility, including several informative videos on the subject.

From Daniel A. Updegrove, consultant on IT in higher education:
Whenever I walk through cities with my rolling suitcase behind me, I'm aware of how wonderful curb cuts are. (And I do this a fair amount these days, since I've found that walking from hotel to train or subway station can can take me past interesting parks, historical sites, contemporary architecture, and city life.)

But I don't think I ever would have understood the challenge of website/software accessibility if I hadn't worked in the same building with John and Morgan. Not only was I aware, on a daily basis, that my colleagues were sightless, but also they allowed me to observe and listen to their interactions with systems and services I was familiar with (the web, email, et al.) as well as assistive technology I wouldn't have known about or experienced (such as Jaws). One startling lesson was that John and Morgan could listen faster than I could read, whereas I'd assumed any long email or document put them at a significant disadvantage.

I wonder if the comparatively slow progress in deploying universal design on a broad scale is related to the fact that most designers, legislators, and purchasing managers have no understanding - or experience - of either disability or of the possibilities offered by assistive and universal design. Having done a lot of work over the years with models and simulation - and having been in a DC-10 simulator at FedEx headquarters in Memphis - I'm led to ask if it would be valuable to produce a set of disability and disability-remediation simulators that people could experience.

For example:
  • Make a cell phone call or order a book from Amazon with eyes closed
  • Navigate a website or city street that's recast as seen by someone who's color blind
  • Do ten everyday actions with your left hand, or with one hand, or ...
A high school friend of mine, now an MD, once walked around NYC with sliced up ping pong balls over his eyes to try to understand the experience of a blind pedestrian. People scoffed, "That's just Ted." Perhaps he was on to something.

From Glenda Sims, University of Texas at Austin, accessibility and web standards advocate:

Dan, you are right on target. I have found that often a few videos do the trick. A colleague of mine at University of Tennessee uses these videos to help her web design/developer classes understand the impact of accessibility. She says once her students have seen these videos they "just get it" and she never has to "sell accessibility" to them again. They become self-motivated to create accessibility as a standard part of all sites.

Links to videos; check them out to learn more:

A Day in the Life of... A Working Guide Dog

A working Guide Dog
Readers: This is the latest in our "Day in the Life" series. Click on the "A Day in the Life" label link to list the entire series (see Labels section, right hand side).

Hello Everyone!

I know it’s been a while since my last posting, but boy have I been busy! As you know, my partner Kevin and I graduated from Guide Dogs a few months ago, and we have been having a great time settling into our new life together.

The night after graduation we both slept like rocks! That was such a big day, getting to see my puppy raisers was so amazing, and they were so proud of me!

Then came a whirlwind of change! Kevin packed up his belongings and mine too, I guess I was going home with him! We boarded the class bus like we always did, but somehow this time it felt a little different. The next thing I knew we were at a huge, noisy place with metal birds swooping around. And then, you are never gonna believe this, we actually got into the belly of the big metal bird or as I learned later was called an airplane, and flew away! All I know is that one minute we were in San Francisco, a place that I was familiar with, and after a bit of a nap, we were in a place that was much warmer and the air felt heavy and had a million new smells.

When we got off the bird, oh I mean airplane, we were met with a great deal of excitement by a really nice lady who was very happy to see Kevin and fussed all over me too – I LIKE HER!!!! Together we drove to a pretty tree-lined part of town and pulled up to a house, much like the one I grew up in. Kevin reached down and scratched me behind the ears and said “welcome home little buddy.” I knew right then that this was my new home I would be sharing with Kevin, the nice lady who made a fuss over me, and oh my goodness (this is so cool!) - a cat named Mischief!

After a day of getting to know my new house, and working out my relationship with Mischief (Mischief is the boss, by the way, and lives up to her name), I was happy to settle down for a long snooze on my special fleece pad from school next to my partner Kevin and the nice lady who I found out is called Nancy.

But there hasn’t been much time to just hang out with Mischief, a couple days after we arrived it was time to get to work! In the mornings, after Kevin feeds me and takes me for a little walk, he harnesses me up and we hit the streets! Kevin really knows his way around town. He tells me which way to turn and I make sure we stay safe along the way.

As I came to find out, Kevin is a third grade school teacher. To get to work we walk about a half mile to a bus stop, board the bus, and then exit a few blocks from the school. Working together Kevin and I get to work on time every day. I can tell that it makes Kevin very happy to travel with me, I get lots of praise and petting, and sometimes even a treat, along the way!

Kevin’s job is really cool. I love being around all those kids all day, and they like it too! Sometimes, they have lessons that involve me, one of my favorites is when they have cooking class and make me cookies!!!

Kevin and I pretty much go everywhere together. Last night we went to the movies and it was sooo hard to ignore the popcorn that was just sitting there, on the floor, asking to be snapped up! And on Sunday we will go to church. I learned a couple weeks ago however, that I’m not supposed to sing along, although in my humble opinion, it did bring a much needed moment of comic relief to the morning service, or so it seemed when everyone had a big chuckle over my rendition of the hymn.

Well I’ve got to go now, I just heard Kevin pick up my harness in the other room – I wonder where we are going today…I can’t wait to find out!

F Litter Update: Faulkner's Final Adventures with His Puppy Raiser

Guide Dog puppy Faulkner
Guide Dog puppy Faulkner sends his mom one final dispatch from his puppy raising home. By now, Faulkner is at our Oregon campus, starting his training to be a Guide Dog! Good luck Faulkner!


Faulkner and Faraja
My trip to Seattle was SO much fun!!! I got to meet all kinds of new people and even new dogs. My puppy raiser, Kate, and I even got to see my littermate, Faraja! He's looking great and absolutely loves his puppy raiser, Judy. He has a new buddy that Judy is raising named Magoo. We all got to greet each other and Kate shoved my brother and I together for pictures. She says that we look almost the same and that Faraja is just as sweet as I am. I got to go out to dinner with Kate and her friend and her dad at a really nice restraunt which was tons of fun. They all were really nice to me and, while all of the staff smiled at me, none of them tried to distract me from working. I was just happy to be out and about.

Since we've been home, life has not been too much quieter. We've been keeping really busy. Mostly with getting around to people so that they can say goodbye to me.

Nancy (Kate's mom) arranged it so that I could go to her office today for a very special thing. We gave out dog bone shaped cookies, Faulkner autographs, Faulkner love, and pictures with me for donations to a charity Nancy's office is supporting. We made over $20 in the hour and a half that I was there and Nancy's boss joked that I should be named volunteer of the year!

Can you believe that I'm leaving tomorrow to go back to Guide Dog school? In just about 23 hours I'll be getting on the puppy truck to go to Oregon! Kate has talked to the woman on the truck who's traveling with her husband to come pick me up. I'm going to get to meet all kinds of puppies when we get there! I know that Kate is feeling a little sad about me leaving. We've been through a lot together this past year and we have become very special in each other's lives. Kate wants to make sure that you know just how lucky she feels to have had me in her life, even for this short of a time. She says that everyone I meet thinks that I'm something pretty special and she can't wait to mee the incredibly lucky person that I get to spend the rest of my life working with.

There are pictures of Faraja and me as well as some pictures from my going away party at Nancy's office today. I'm sure that Kate will be sending you more pictures tomorrow or the next day as I embark on my puppy truck adventure. I can't wait to see what has everyone so excited for me at the other end of this jouney! I hear that there will be lots of food....

All my love,


Faulkner's baby photo
Mama Christine's response:

Hi Faulkner,

Thank you for all your news and pictures, I thought I'd add one of my favorite baby pictures of you as well. Please please Kate take a picture of Faulkner in front of the puppy truck. I hope it is the new truck with the picture Cathy took on the side of it. Since the F litter was the inspiration for that picture it would be so cool to have a picture of you and Kate and Franco and his family all together next to the side of the truck.

I know you are going to do well in training. It is great you got to play with Faraja. I know the bond between Faraja and Judy is very special. It was very hard for her to have Faraja career changed—you know how committed she is to Guide Dogs : )


Mama Christine

Tips for Holiday Travels with Your Pet

As the holidays approach many pet owners prepare to take their dogs on the road to visit friends and family. Here are some tips to keep your dog safe and comfortable while traveling:
  • A black Lab wearing a red Santa hatMake sure your dog is up to date on vaccines, flea control and heartworm preventative. Parasites may be more of a problem in the areas where you are traveling and prevention will not only keep your pet healthy but will ensure you don’t bring any unwelcome guests home with you!
  • Check your dog’s tags to see that they are still legible; consider putting one of those little cases on his collar that not only holds tags, but includes notes with travel contact information as well. GDB sells a tag silencer pouch in our gift shop that could carry additional information nicely; to order, call us at (800) 295-4050.
  • Having your pet permanently identified with a microchip or tattoo will give you peace of mind whenever you travel together. Keep your contact information updated with whichever registry you choose.
  • Accustom your dog to a crate at home before leaving. He will appreciate his cozy ‘home away from home’; your hosts may be more comfortable welcoming a canine visitor into their home knowing that he can be secured in his own bed when things get hectic.
  • Pack enough dog food for several days over your planned trip in case of unexpected delays. For dogs with sensitive stomachs, bringing along the water he is used to from home, or even bottled water, may prevent a GI upset.
  • Remember to take along any medications and supplements your dog may need and a coat or jacket if traveling to colder areas. Grooming tools may come in handy too.
  • Never leave your dog unattended in a hotel room. Even though he may be mannerly at home, the stress of strange surroundings may trigger some anxiety and result in damage to the room or barking. Fewer and fewer hotels accept dogs because of irresponsible owners.
  • Always pick up after your dog so that dogs continue to be welcomed at rest stops, hotels and campgrounds.
Dogs love to be involved in family activities and with a little bit of planning your dog can enjoy a trip with you and share in the festivities. Safe travels to you all this holiday season.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Help Us Find Missing GDB Puppy, Gannon!

Hi all - we need your help in finding a lost GDB puppy in Lodi, Calif. The following is the media release we sent out today. Please keep your eyes and ears open if you're in the area, and pass this information along to anyone that might be able to help us locate the pup. Thanks so much.

Guide Dog puppy Gannon
San Rafael, Calif. (FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE) - Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) is asking for your assistance in locating a lost puppy named Gannon. Gannon, a 3-month-old black Labrador Retriever male, is a Guide Dog puppy in training for the GDB puppy raising program.

Gannon was last seen on Friday morning, October 30 near the corner of Armstrong and Davis Roads. He may have been spotted early on Saturday afternoon in the area of Thorton Road, north of Stockton, between 8 Mile and DeVries Roads.

Gannon is being raised by a volunteer puppy raising family in Lodi, Calif. The puppy raiser families teach puppies, like Gannon, to have excellent house manners and socialize them to the world by introducing them to new people, places and experiences.

Gannon, like other Guide Dog puppies in training, stay in their puppy raising homes until they are approximately 15 – 18 months old. At that time they begin their formal guide work training at GDB and are eventually matched with blind students enrolled at the school.

Gannon has tattoos in both ears with his ID number and is wearing a black collar with Guide Dog tags. If you have any information about this lost puppy, please contact Jim Russell at 209-669-7657 or Guide Dogs for the Blind at 800-295-4050.