Thursday, December 31, 2009

Celebrating Those Who Touch Our Lives

GDB alumna Lois Seigal with Guide Dog Savitaby GDB Alumna Lois Seigal

I loved my Guide Dog Savita beyond measure. She had a sweet, gentle nature and was kind of a tease at times, too. So, you can imagine how I felt when she was diagnosed with cancer in April.

Our veterinarian, Dr. Jeff Meyer, his wife Lynn, and the rest of the loving staff at the Granville Small Animal Clinic went above and beyond the call of duty in her care. After performing surgery to remove her cancer-ridden spleen, Dr. Meyer and his wife took her into their home for several nights so she could recover under observation.

Consulting with GDB’s veterinarian, Dr. Dietrich, Dr. Meyer and I came to the decision to begin chemotherapy. Each time Savita went in for a treatment, my amazing friends would drive us the 80 miles to and from the clinic. Savita would spend a night or two there under the staff’s supervision before returning home. She easily won everyone's affection by being so brave, cooperative and loving with those who cared for her.

And even though I know I must have been phoning the clinic almost daily for advice and assurance that I was caring properly for Savita, at the end of each call I was ALWAYS was reminded to "Please call us any time you need us." I have never met such exceptional expertise matched with kindness, understanding and patience.

Each time we spoke, Dr. Dietrich reminded me to make every day the best day of Savita's life, and so we did. There were many friends to play with, including two local teens who gave her extra-special attention during their summer break. There were outings to enjoy, treats and the very kindest most loving care possible to imagine. She had nine wonderful months before additional complications set in.

When her back legs began to fail, a friend made a special relieving box for her on our deck, so she wouldn’t have to maneuver the five steps up to the house from the yard. But when her kidneys failed, we knew it was time to make the difficult decision to free her spirit from her ailing body.

Her last day was special: she enjoyed some sniffs in the snow, her favorite treats, hours of loving, cozy warm beds, and visits from friends. Her favorite friend, I think, was the mailman; he was so saddened by the prospect of losing Savita that when he left after an hour of stroking her, it was with tears rolling down his cheeks. It was a sad day for us humans, indeed.

With heavy hearts, Dr. Jeff and Lynn drove the 80 miles from the clinic after their day of work on Thursday, December 10th and arrived here at our home around 8:30 so Savita could be put respectfully and lovingly to sleep in her own home and in her own bed, surrounded by friends. I wish I knew of a tribute appropriate for my wonderful veterinarian and his wife. They continue to call to check in on me, recognizing the loneliness I feel in not having the warmth of my best friend to hug, but they know she is with me in spirit.

Savita was loved; she was a little princess with a very, very big heart! She leaves behind so much in the way of memories to cherish forever for me and all those who loved her. The cards, phone calls, flowers, gifts, donations and endless kindnesses in her memory are the evidence of her mark in life. I feel so blessed to have been her care-giver, friend, companion and handler. What a privilege for almost nine years! She would have been 11 in March.

She touched all of our lives, and you have touched mine. Thank you each and every one for caring for this precious dog and extending her life beyond what we thought might be possible.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Guide Dog Puppy Wins Charlie Brown Christmas Tree Contenst

One of our Guide Dog puppy photos was selected as the winner of the (San Francisco Chronicle) Charlie Brown Christmas Tree Photo Contest!

Yellow Lab Guide Dog puppy pictured underneath a scraggly Christmas treeMany thanks to all who voted for and supported us. We even inspired the Chronicle staff to host a puppy photo contest – you can see the announcement here:

Have a safe and happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

An Arrow to the Heart

Contributed by Michael Stout

I first applied to Guide Dogs for the Blind in October of 2008. I was evaluated and there was concern about my stamina and my ability to keep up with a dog. What the school didn't realize about me was my great determination to have a Guide Dog. I immediately began walking every day and within 4 months I went from walking less then 1/2 mile to walking over 4 miles. After reevaluation, I was finally approved to participate in the accelerated program at the Oregon campus.

Michael and Arrow
In August of 2009, I was matched with a dog named Arrow. I instantly fell in love with him. Since our introduction and training he has become my left hand. He and I are dedicated to one another. He has provided me not only the ability to become more independent but has also motivated me to become more active and continue on a path of wellness. Now, three years after I first lost my eye sight to diabetes I feel complete again. They told me with time my Guide Dog and I would become one. I have patiently watched for that connection to develop and today Arrow and I have become one. He provides me the comfort of not being alone and we now get lost and find our way together.

When the harness comes off he is my buddy. He runs and plays in the back yard with the energy of a puppy. When the harness is on, so is he. He becomes all business and never falters from his duties. His guide skills are incredible and I couldn't be happier. I no longer find the need to correct where he is going. I just say the word and he knows.

I wanted to thank you for helping me through the process and although it was a long journey it was well worth it. I have nothing but admiration and gratitude for Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Family Reunion

Contributed by Megan Miller

Please enjoy another great post by frequent No Bones About It contributor, Megan Miller.

My Guide Dog, Pasta, was born November 29, 2004 to Wilka and Caddy, both of whom produced great dogs. After a battery of tests, she was given the high honor of being chosen to be a breeder for GDB. She had her first litter on September 14, 2006, but that litter consisted of only one puppy, a female black lab named Quiche. Quiche was later career changed. However, Pasta’s contributions to GDB were not over.

Pasta and her second litter of pups
On May 14, 2007, Pasta gave birth to her second litter. She had difficulty during her delivery, but four puppies were born. Sadly, two had congenital problems. However, the two surviving puppies, a female black lab named Portia and a male black lab named Purcell, soon went off to their puppy raising homes. Since Pasta had such small litters and had trouble in her second delivery, the breeding department felt it was best to retire her from the breeding program. However, luckily for me, the training department was able to take her back into training to become a guide. This is very rare since dogs can only be put back into training within the first year of being named a breeder. Pasta just made it!

On January 10, 2008, I received the best late Christmas present I could ever get when I was presented with Pasta. I was very excited to hear she was a mama dog and looked forward to somehow hearing about her puppies who were in training, even though I didn’t know how I would be able to. A few months after our graduation, I began attending local puppy club meetings, and once the leader found out Pasta had pups in training, she began sending me the phase reports. I loved reading them and seeing how her puppies flew through the phases and was sure to update Pasta of their progress. Once I learned from Pasta’s puppy raisers that her puppies had been placed in class, I wished I would have been able to attend their graduations, but I was unable to do so. But I always hoped I would meet one or both of them some day.

On December 12, 2009, that wish became a reality at a holiday party put on by the Orange County puppy raising clubs. As I sat and listened to graduates introduce themselves and their dogs, I gasped as I heard a woman introduce her dog, Purcell. It was Pasta's baby! I knew then and there that I had to meet him and try to get photos. I asked one of the raisers at our table if she could help facilitate an introduction, and quickly learned that Purcell’s handler would love to meet us. So, off we went to see Pasta’s son!

Pasta, Purcell and Megan
I honestly think they remembered each other. Pasta loves dogs and was being kind of silly that day with all the excitement and had several times tried to do little lunges to say hi to dogs she thought should be her friend. But with Purcell, she didn’t really lunge or go crazy. She just started licking him all over the face and wagging her tail excitedly. Purcell did the same. The only really goofy thing Pasta did was lick Purcell's handler across the face, as if to say, thanks for taking such good care of my boy! Pasta and Purcell just walked around in a circle, sniffing and licking each other, while continually wagging their tails. It was great to see!

The photographer at the party took some photos of of all of us; thanks to him, we have some great mementos of this reunion.

When it was time for Purcell and his handler to leave, Pasta wanted to go with them. She tried to follow them out the door. It was very touching. So, Pasta and I had a very great surprise that day. It was wonderful to see what a great dog Pasta brought into the world, and it was a very special experience to have both mother and son together as working guides in one place at the same time. It was a very rare treat indeed!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Food Rewards Are Fun!

This is a fun little anecdote submitted to us by GDB alumna Tiffany Jolliff:

Tiffany with Santana and Railey
My first guide dog, Santana, has been retired since November of 2008. I now have a successor guide named Railey (all three are pictured). However, this story concerns Santana.

I had gone to bed and taken Railey with me. I was almost asleep when I heard my cell phone ring. I answered it, and my dad asked me if I had fed Santana earlier that evening. Confused, I replied that I had and thought nothing more of it. The next day, Dad told me the story behind the phone call.

Santana was in the living room trying to communicate with my parents. She kept looking into the kitchen and back at my parents. She was jumping up and down, wagging her tail, and generally getting more and more excited. My dad said she even resorted to howling at the top of her lungs several times.

Finally, Dad decided to follow Santana into the kitchen. She tore into the kitchen and sat purposefully in front of the refrigerator. (On top of the fridge is a giant box of dog treats.) As Dad watched, Santana began doing her obedience routine all by herself. She sat, laid down, sat back up, and laid back down. Then, she sat and stared daggers at the treats until Dad got one for her. I'd say that those food rewards really do work, even with retired guides!

Aww! And we think Santana has earned treat or two in her retirement! Thanks for sharing Tiffany!

Seeing the Picture from the Puppy Raisers' Eyes

Contributed by Dianne B. Phelps

Guide Dog puppy Reyna
A few months ago, I received an email from Stephanie Perkins, one of the puppy raisers on the GDB Lounge email list. We discovered that I lived just a couple blocks from where she was working one day a week. So, we decided to meet for lunch to get to know one another. Reyna, the yellow Lab pup Stephanie and her family are co-raising (pictured), and my working yellow Lab Guide, Hibiscus, curled up under the table for a nice snooze while Stephanie and I visited.

Stephanie shared with me the fact that this is a family commitment on the part of the puppy raisers. As she described her experiences with her puppies, I was once again struck by the difference we see in our dogs as they meet us in class with the new techniques being used with the pups. Our dogs are more ready than ever before because of the social exposure and special handling techniques they experience as pups.

As our friendship has continued, Stephanie asked me to attend an outing with her puppy raising group, The Contra Costa County Puppy Raising Club. All together, nine puppies and their raisers and three of us with working guides (myself and Hibiscus, Vicki Kennedy with guide Angela, Judy Hemmer with guide Tamiko) joined in the fun. Angela and Tamiko had been raised in this group, and while Hibiscus (who had been bred before becoming a guide) was with her breeder-keepers, she attended obedience sessions with the group to keep up her very important skills. Stephanie's Husband, Tony, who takes just as much care in this work, was with us on this outing, and many of the puppies had multiple family members working with them.

Dianne Phelps and Hibiscus at the airport
We all boarded the BART train in Walnut Creek and rode the train all the way to San Francisco International Airport where we got off and walked (pictured). This walk was designed to expose these tiny puppies in training to all sorts of surfaces - some shiny, some rough, some carpeted, up stairs and down, in and out of elevators, through doors, around people and luggage and moving cleaning carts. We popped into a conference room for a quick lunch and a bit of talk, and even went through a simulation of a TSA airport security check. The grown guides were eager to show off for the pups and their raiser, and we three working guide dog handlers were so touched and amazed to watch these little puppies taking in all of these busy experiences, all well behaved and doing their best to do what was asked of them. We then made our way back to the BART station for the long trip home and some warm cozy beds for some tired puppies and guides.

Glenda and Wendy
Recently, Stephanie and Tony and their son, Tyler, shared with me the culmination of their work with their previous pup Wendy's graduation. Graduation is the goal toward which every puppy raiser works toward with such mixed emotions (Wendy is pictured with her new partner, Glenda Johnson). On one hand, all puppy raisers want their puppy to make it, but on the other, it is so difficult to lovingly give them up, knowing they will stay with their new forever person.

I had listened to Stephanie speak of the special relationship and bond she and her family had experienced with Wendy and how she worried that just the right loving person would receive her. She even worried about her little Wendy being at GDB and experiencing the kennel life for a period of time. As I listened to her, I realized that her concerns and feelings are just like those of us graduates who face having their guide at GDB or in any kennel situation which separates us for any reason. The fact is, the human-canine bond experienced by those of us connected with GDB is probably surpassed by nothing else in this world. The love of puppy-raisers, staff instructors and alumni for these dogs is something palpable and tangible that we share together. Without our puppy raisers, the dedication of the instructors, and the care given to both pups and dogs alike by GDB's veterinary staff, we would not have such a phenomenal program. As a graduate working my eighth guide dog, I can only say a heart felt thank you!

Listen Up: These Pups are Great Reading Companions

Contributed by Leslie Graham

Elsa and Arbuckle at the library
Arbuckle and Elsa love to hang out and play with each other, but when they are at the library, they are all business. They are there to listen to stories. No, the librarians do not read to the dogs. School children, from 1st-5th grades, read to them.

The Danville Paws to Read program is “staffed” by Therapy Dogs from the Valley Humane Society in Pleasanton, Calif., but these two dogs have other jobs, too.

Elsa is a GDB breeder and has to take breaks from listening to have a litter now and again. She lives with her breeder custodian, Sue Day, who is also a puppy raiser, currently raising Dusky. Arbuckle is a career change pup and is also a GDB Ambassador Dog. He was adopted by his puppy raiser, Leslie Graham, who is now raising her 7th puppy, Cate.

Both of these black Labrabor Retrievers help show the community just what great dogs come out of the Guide Dog puppy raising program!

Dreaming of a White Christmas

One of Lania's puppies
Puppy raiser and breeding stock custodian Ruth Cattaneo is enjoying her holidays in quite a unique way. She's the wardrobe supervisor of the National Tour of Irving Berlin's White Christmas, and is with the tour as it travels the country bringing the time-honored classic to maybe a neighborhood near you! But while she's on the road, thoughts of GDB and her breeder dog Lania are forefront in her mind during this season of giving. She has organized a unique fundraiser in honor of Lania's first litter of pups (Lania and her new pups are pictured here). In Ruth's own words:

Sarah (my daughter) and I began raising puppies when she was in junior high school. We've raised seven dogs. Four of our pups are currently active guides, working in locales all across the country (Portland, Ore., Lake Oswego, Ore., Boston and Kansas City). Lania is our first breeder and is very special to me. She is the most athletic of all the dog's we've had - I plan on doing agility training with her when I get home.

Logo: Irving Berlin's White Christmas
For now, I am traveling with the National Tour of Irving Berlin's White Christmas. It is a wonderful tap dance musical that I call "candy for the eyes." It is a seasonal show that runs from November thru January. [As the wardrobe supervisor] I am in charge of over 300 pieces: hats, jewelry, shoes etc. The costumes are colorful and lots of fun. I started in New York in October to prepare the show for tour. We will be visiting the midwest section of the country: Omaha, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Michigan State University, St. Louis, Louisville and Kansas City. I'm hoping to see Baja, one of the pups I raised, in Kansas City when we are there.

To raise a little money for GDB, I plan to put pictures of Lania and her puppies on the crew and cast bulletin board. Then before the shows in the evening I will make an announcement over the speaker to our cast and crew letting them know that whatever is donated in total I will match (example: if two hundred dollars is donated then I will match it with another two hundred dollars). There are two little girls in the show who saw the pictures of the puppies and got so excited that they've agreed to take the "can" around and help collect any donations.

Thank you Ruth for your creativity and thoughtfulness!

Lania with her first litter of  pups

Friday, December 11, 2009

Ringing In the Holidays: Festive Holiday Luncheon, 2009

Puppy raiser Ellen Aguirre with yellow Lab Addison
It doesn't REEEALLY start to feel like the holidays around here until we've had our Festive Holiday Luncheon. Held just a couple days ago in San Francisco at the Westin St. Francis on Union Square, GDB's 33rd Annual Festive Holiday Luncheon kicked off the season in style. 829 people were in attendance, and the event raised more than $180,000.

CEO Nancy Gardner and GDB aluna Margot Roberts
The day's festivities began with an intimate reception for our Legacy Society members. Legacy members were treated to a keynote address by GDB alumna Margot Roberts, and noshed on tasty appetizers and champagne. (Margot is pictured above with GDB's CEO Nancy Gardner.) From there, the event progressed to the hotel's Grand Ballroom, where guests enjoyed a fabulous lunch and program. GDB alumna and board member Vickie Kennedy and her guide Angela, along with Angela's puppy raiser Gayle Bittner (pictured below), regaled the crowd with tales of how Angela helped to forge a lasting friendship between the two women and their families. The highlight of the program was the ever-anticipated puppy delivery; four young pups were delivered to the eager arms of their new puppy raisers (Ellen Aguirre, top, got her new puppy, yellow Lab Addison).

Gayle Bittner, Vickie Kennedy and Guide Dog Angela
It was a festive day all right! Please take a moment to view our photo slideshow of the event, found at this link on our Flickr site: GDB's 33rd Annual Festive Holiday Luncheon Photos.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Puppy raiser Peggy Sundstrom. Photo: The SF Examiner
  • Service Dogs Appeal to Wide Audience (The San Francisco Examiner): Featuring puppy raiser Peggy Sundstrom (pictured above; photo from SF Examiner)
  • Vacaville Pair Train Service Dogs (The Reporter, Vacaville, CA): Family inspired to raise Guide Dog puppies by their uncle/brother-in-law, GDB alumnus Karl Vidt
  • Guide Dogs for the Blind (Volunteer Experiences, Inspiring Stories - blog): Feature on GDB puppy raiser and author Suzanne Woods Fisher
  • Rowing Through the Darkness (The American Spirit, CBS National News): Featuring GDB alumna and world-class rower Aerial Gilbert and her Guide Dog , Splash
  • Everyday Heroes (KMGH-TV/ABC 7, Denver, CO): Featuring puppy raisers Bill and Caroline Wriston

We've Got Mail: 2-week Class is a Hit!

Here's a letter we received from one of our students, Sylvia Munoz, sharing her enthusiasm for our new 2-week class training program.

Good Morning,

What an incredible two weeks it has been! So different from when I last was here. I do like the new training schedule and the new training techniques - the food rewards and the clicker training.

Sylvia Munoz and her new Guide Dog, Nina
I want you to know that the team of three instructors that we worked with were and are incredible. They definitely know their job and the camaraderie that they shared amongst themselves was great. As you know, being away from home and sharing anytime with people you do not know can be stressful. Pat, Vanessa, and Melissa made it a positive and less stressful experience. I did not experience this last time I was here nine years ago.

I mostly worked with Pat Kelly and think he is a fabulous instructor. He is patient, easy-going, humorous, but yet gives great input and suggestions. He matched me with a great dog. I had requested a male yellow lab because that is what I had twice before and that is what had worked for me. When Pat and Vanessa called me a week-and-a-half before training and asked whether I would consider a female or another color of lab, I told them that I really had three requirements and beyond that, I would leave it in their hands. I needed a short-haired dog, a fast walker--my last dog was a cruiser--and I needed a smaller dog because I do a lot of traveling. And, with that, I got Nina. She is the first guide I have worked that I feel like we have worked together for months already.

Please keep up the high standards for trainers. I look forward to returning to Guide Dogs in ten years.


Sylvia Munoz


Here is a sampling of the wonderful photo submissions that we've gotten in the past few weeks. 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!).

Guide Dog Langer
Just in time for all this cold weather (grin), Guide Dog Langer, age 9 1/2, at the beach. Submitted by Gary Norman.

Black Lab puppy Avalon
Avalon in her puppy coat. Uploaded to the GDB Photo Pool by traceyirv.

A golden retriever puppy
One of the six fluffy Taylor x Kaylee Golden pups, Tahiti, at 8 weeks old. Submitted by Suzanne Bria.

Breeders Digest, 10.1.09-10.30.09

Three baby yellow Labrador Retrievers
Here's all of our new arrivals from October 1, 2009 through October 30, 2009. To see photos of these litters, please visit GDB's Flickr site, Littermate Photos.

Litter Announcements

Labrador Retrievers
  • 10/2/09 Atrus x Brigitte – 2 males, 4 females
  • 10/4/09 Hardy x Charisma – 3 males, 2 females
  • 10/12/09 Dutch x Lyric – 5 males, 4 females
  • 10/12/09 Kentucky x Blossom – 3 males, 5 females
  • 10/21/09 Baker x Harbor – 4 males, 4 females
  • 10/23/09 Dylan x Trinity – 1 male, 1 female
  • 10/24/09 Jenkins x Melody – 3 males, 4 females
  • 10/27/09 Jay x Georgette – 4 males, 3 females
  • 10/29/09 Atrus x Arcadia – 3 males, 2 females
  • 10/29/09 Tiburon x Germany – 3 males, 4 females
  • 10/30/09 Kentucky x Sunset – 5 males, 2 females

New Breeders

Labrador Retrievers
  • Aqua – raised in CA
  • Dallas – raised in CO
  • Glee – raised in OR
  • Luau – raised in CA


Dear readers: We're pleased to announce a new feature for this blog, a Classified Ads section highlighting products for sale by various puppy raising clubs and/or alumni. In most cases, the puppy club products are being sold as a way to raise funds to help offset their club's operating expenses. We hope that you'll support the clubs and our alumni, and enjoy the products that they have available. All Classified Ads will be given a label of "classifieds" - you can click on the classifieds label link (right hand column of this page) to bring up all Classified Ad posts.

If you are a puppy club or an alumnus with an item for sale, please submit all relevant information (product name and description, pricing, contact information and preferably a photo of the item) to information[at] All products are reviewed prior to posting; we will notify you when your product has been accepted for inclusion in the Classified Ads.

Leashes and Dog Handling Equipment

Gentle Leader Bait Bags: These bait bags feature a super strong closeable hinge, water resisent lining, two additional pockets, belt clip and waist strap. Available in red, blue and black. $14 each plus shipping. To order, contact Mary Flynn/Puppies with a Plan-Fresno at 559-288-0029 or mef22[at]
Bait bagBait bag

GDB-style leather leashes: $23 includes shipping. Contact Traci Holmes/Born To Lead, (801) 388-3493, or email: traciholmes2002[at]

Latigo leather training leashes with brass clips and rings: $25, including shipping. Contact Cheryl Anderson/Santa Cruz County Puppy Raisers, (831) 335-3183, or e-mail: aeanders[at]

Gripper Leashes: Because these specialty leashes are made of cotton-poly blend material with rubber gripping, they're great for wet weather conditions and for working with stronger dogs. Special pricing for GDB puppy raisers, $27 each. Also available in shorter 3' length with "O" ring, $13 each. $4 shipping per leash. Both available in green or black. Contact Sightmasters South Puppy Raising Club, (503) 659-5847, or e-mail: yellowboys3[at]

Assorted items

Dog Lovers' Cookbook: LA Southwest Guide Dog Raisers is offering its Official Recipe Book--for dog lovers. Pamper yourself while cooking using this 8x10 charming photo gallery of delicious favorite recipes presented in a way to make you smile. The perfect gift for dog-loving friends and family, too. You don't have to cook to enjoy this book! First printing sold out quickly. Your gift directly benefits GDB's kennel renovation project. Order now for only $12 each (plus $2.50 shipping). For ordering information and a sample recipe, see or contact Pat at (310) 379-4233.

Puppy Overnight Bags: These black travel bags are ideal for taking along supplies for any puppy socializing trip. $12 each and now available online through the Willamette Valley Paws for People Puppy Raising Club. Visit their website for photos and details:

Puppy Coat Sleeve: Made of soft and durable green fabric with "Guide Dog Puppy" in white lettering and black binding on the sides. Sturdy velcro around the front jacket strap. Has an inside pocket for ID card or clean up bags. $7 each plus shipping. Visit our website for more information: Contact Jerri Bitler/Gold Rush Guides of Sacramento, (916) 635-8308, or email: pupraiser4gdb[at]

Specialty Items: Sidekicks for Sight of Douglas County, Colorado, is offering specialty items through their club website. Magnetic ribbons, t-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodie pullovers, zippered hoodies and zippered totebags. Visit their online store for photos, pricing and availability:

Custom Dog Portrait: Painted on 4 1/4" tiles from your photo. $30 including shipping. Great for gifts or as a keepsake of your guide dog puppy. This is not a photo put onto the tile--an artist paints with glaze from your photo, and it is then fire finished. Will e-mail examples on request. Contact Cheryl Anderson/Santa Cruz County Puppy Raisers, (831) 335-3183, or email: aeanders[at]

Bitch Britches...and more! The best item to have for in-home boarding of intact females in season. These washable cotton britches come in one size, and fit most GDB puppies. Available in a variety of colors and fabric patterns for $10 per pair plus shipping. New for 2008, ruffled britches, $12 each. Also available: flat unstuffed faux fleece toys with no squeaker for baby puppies under 4 months. Available in a variety of shapes; footballs, baseballs, fire hydrants, shoes, stars and many more. $1 each plus shipping. Contact Becky Bain/Leading With Love Puppy Raising Club, (719) 380-8816, or e-mail: rbain9[at]

Long lines: 20', strong, yet soft and comfortable to handle. Perfect for recall practice or dragline. $10 each, shipping included. Orders of 10 or more $9 each, shipping included. Contact Janet Gift/Yolo Eyes for Others, (530) 758-4200, or e-mail: janetgift[at]

Bandanas: Available in 5 different colors. Choose "Career Change," "Breeder," "Retired Guide or Breeder," or "Puppy Raising," embroidered below the puppy raising logo. $12 each. Contact Jerri Bitler/Gold Rush Guides of Sacramento, (916) 635-8308, or e-mail: pupraiser4gdb[at]

Bumper Stickers: "Future Guide Dog on Board," and/or "I'm Proud to be a Guide Dog Puppy Raiser," green lettering on white. $2 each plus shipping. Ask about quantity discounts. Contact Beth Nelson/TLC Guide Dog Club, (970) 495-9903, or email to: bnelson2312[at]

Dog Training/Dog Sitting: If you live in Contra Costa County, Calif., and are in need of dog services, consider Diablo Doggies. Owned and operated by Mo Vashel, former licensed Guide Dog instructor and puppy raiser, Diablo Doggies offers services that can help your dog be the happy, healthy and well behaved, including adventure walks, training, vacation sitting, grooming, and courier services to your dog's vet. Visit for more information.

Note: Items featured in Classifieds are not sold by GDB; ads are posted as a courtesy only. GDB is not responsible for the quality of the products nor the customer service you receive when purchasing from an advertiser. Any disputes between purchaser and seller must be resolved between the respective parties, without the assistance of GDB.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Events Recap

A puppy raiser and her new pup at the Oregon Fall Luncheon
Were you there? Did you love it? We're talking about our 11th Annual Oregon Fall Luncheon, held in early November at the Oregon Zoo in Portland. The sold-out “friendraiser” had 330 guests and raised $60,000. Event proceeds benefit programs at our Oregon campus. The luncheon was emceed by GDB alumnus and Board member Morgan Watkins with his guide Will, and featured guest speaker Erin Rumer with her Guide Dog Provo. There was a special raffle where the Grand Prize was naming a GDB puppy, and as always, the highlight of the afternoon was the puppy delivery where puppy raisers were presented with their new charges. All in all, it was a fabulous day, and we hope that you can join us next year! To see all of the photos from the event, please visit our Flickr site at the following link: Oregon Fall Luncheon Photos.

Two puppy raisers and their pup at the Dogs on the Square event
Later in the month, The Corner Store on historic Sonoma Square hosted our 2nd Annual "Dogs on the Square" event where GDB supporters could shop and dine in support of GDB. The event featured special holiday merchandise; a book signing by Guide Dog puppy raiser and author Suzanne Woods Fisher; refreshments; complimentary wine tasting by Highway 12 Wines, and plenty of Guide Dogs and puppies! Thanks not only to The Corner Store, but to the following restaurants that participated by donating a portion of their sales from the evening to Guide Dogs for the Blind: Cafe La Haye, Della Santina’s Trattoria, Maya Restaurant, red grape restaurant. To see more photos from the event, please visit our Flickr site at the following link: Dogs on the Square Photos.

We've Got Mail: A Mother's Gratitude

We love getting your cards, letters and emails. This is an email we received recently from Renee Bevan, the mother of a young GDB graduate. Her words eloquently describe the difference a Guide Dog has made in her son's life, and we thought it was worth passing along. In her words:

John and Houston
Hi there,

My son was in one of your summer classes - he graduated the end of July. He was paired with the most amazing dog - Houston. John started college in the fall and Houston lives in the dorm with John. Houston is the most popular student on campus. John is in the orchestra and when they have concerts, Houston is right up there on the stage with him. The entire campus has embraced having John and Houston on campus (Lynchburg College) and they respect the rules and requirements of a guide dog.

I have had and trained a lot of dogs in my life and I have never seen or met a dog nearly as clever as Houston. He transitions well from our home to college, he gets along with our pet dogs, but most importantly he takes great care of John. John is *very* regimented and consistent with Houston with respect to feeding, relieving, training... and Houston clearly is thriving with their routine. I don't know how your selection process works with respect to the matching of the dog with the person but this pair was a perfect match. Having Houston has given John more confidence to travel to new places and he travels much faster and more efficiently with Houston.

I am attaching a picture of John and Houston that I snapped when John was on his way to his first college concert. It speaks volumes about the confidence, independence and pride that both of them have. They were walking so fast we couldn't keep up! I hope you enjoy it and I just wanted to thank you for this most amazing gift to my son.


Renee Bevan

Retired Guide Still Making a Difference

We recently heard from GDB alumna Deborah Armstrong of Milpitas, Calif., about the great work that her retired guide, Boston, is doing as a therapy dog. She writes:

Boston, my retired guide, is now the pride and joy of Bob, my wonderful sighted husband. Boston and Bob are both certified by Therapy Dogs International.

I like to show GDB staff that even when a dog retires, it is still loved and can make people happy. My third dog, Glade, the one before Boston, also did therapy work, and lived to be almost 17 years old!

I am happily working Bev, my fifth guide. I work full-time at 112-acre Deanza community college in Cupertino. I am responsible for helping disabled students solve their technology problems all over campus, which means I have to run between many buildings like a competent tech who knows how to fix your computer! Zipping around with a confident Guide Dog sure doesn't hurt the image!

I've now had Guide Dogs for 28 years, and I have never stopped being grateful. There is no way I could do my job, my volunteer work, or function as an effective homemaker without the furry express!

The daughter of a patient posted a video on YouTube of Boston's recent visit with her ailing mother. I think it is particularly important for your hard-working instructors to see this video. None of my dogs ever stopped being useful when they retired, and I pledge that this will always be so.

To see the video of Boston at work as a therapy dog, please visit: