Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Buffed and Polished: Campus Cleanup Courtesy of Kiwanis

Baecky Sintek of the Sandy Kiwanis Club, with retired guide Hector
Baecky Sintek of the Sandy Kiwanis Club,
with retired guide Hector.

The wonderful folks from the Sandy Kiwanis Club (with a few members of the Sandy Optimist Club thrown in for good measure) descended on our Oregon campus earlier this month to help make our grounds a little spiffier, a little more polished in celebration of the International Kiwanis Club’s “One Day” event where Kiwanis volunteers give of their time and energy in service of others.

The team of volunteers descended like a hive of busy bees – power-washing the kennel areas, pulling blackberry bushes, polishing windows and generally making our campus shine like a new penny. Once their tasks were complete, the volunteers stayed to witness a graduation ceremony, where six student-dog teams were celebrated for the hard work they had accomplished over the previous two weeks.

Thank you Sandy Kiwanis Club - we hope to see you back again next year!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Not Just Eyes

Contributed by Erin Austin

A youngster meets a black Lab Guide Dog puppy at the Blind Babies Foundation beep Easter egg hunt
On March 20th, Fresno’s puppy raising group, Puppies with a Plan, and Visalia’s puppy raising group, Tailwaggers, attended the 17th annual Blind Babies Beeper Egg Hunt. The Blind Babies Foundation helps families with blind or visually impaired children, providing services to help the child’s optimal growth and development. My group, Fresno’s Puppies with a Plan, has been attending the Egg Hunt for the past two years; we were invited in 2009 by the Tailwaggers.

When this year’s Egg Hunt came around I was really excited. I was unable to attend myself last year, but my puppy, Freya, went with our club's leader. I got a lot of pictures of Freya with the kids, and I couldn’t wait to take pictures myself this time around.

The Blind Babies Foundation beep Easter egg hunt
When we got there and met up with the Tailwaggers, I wasn’t too sure what to expect. I currently don't have a puppy, so I took Tomales, a puppy from our group.

More than 1000 electronic eggs are donated free of charge by Carl Zeiss Meditec. The egg hunt, along with several fun activities including a petting zoo, cupcake decorating, bubbles, crafts and lunch, were enjoyed by more than 300 children and their families who traveled from throughout Northern California.

We were able to roam and mingle, so Tomales and I stayed with a few other members of my group and stopped whenever a child wanted to pet a puppy. One little kid really stands out in my mind. She petted one puppy and then went to another and another. She couldn’t stop laughing. Eventually she got down on the ground and one of the puppies licked her. She rolled around on the ground and laughed and laughed. She wasn’t the only kid who really loved the puppies.
It was there that I realized that no matter who Freya went to, she would bond with them. For some reason, seeing those kids smile when they put their hand on a puppy was all I needed to make the worries go away. I knew Freya would be fine because she wasn’t just going to be some person’s eyes. She was going to be their friend and, hopefully, whomever she is paired with will have the same smile on their face when she and her partner meet for the first time.

Puppy raisers and their pups at the beep Easter egg hunt

We've Got Mail: Birthday Milestone

Lana and Ms. Pearline
Dear Friends -

It is Miss Pearline's 9th Birthday! It's amazing how time flies by; it was seven years ago when we became a team. She was 1 year and 9 months old and I could trust her with my life.

Miss Pearline has added so much independence to my life and what an ambassador she has been representing her alma mater, Guide Dogs for the Blind. And she proudly represents Hawaii.

Miss Pearline is a professional and dedicated to her occupation. She takes her job seriously and has actually saved me from being hit by cars, and she remembers where bus stops and stores are located. Pearline can find doors, elevators, and escalators. Her memory is so incredible, she remembers places we have been. For
example, when I go to the capital I get off the bus and I say, "Let's go to the capital," and she will take me right to the elevator. If I say, "Let's go to Queens Hospital," she will take me right to the door. I just have to say "take me to Safeway" or Longs, or Costco or her favorite - Pets Discount - she knows the difference and takes me to the right store. 

Miss Pearline is my Guardian Angel for sure. She is a true blessing from God.

Miss Pearline really is a little ray of sunshine and loves to socialize with people, especially the ones who always seem to have carrots for her. Miss Pearline has selected a few people that she has a special connection
with, so if she gives you her tummy, you know you are one of them.

Her favorite friend to play with is a tall, dark and real handsome young Doberman named Koa. However, when he gets out of hand, she gives him good scolding and stands her ground.

I told you her memory is amazing; well, she always reminds me when it is her feeding time and will not 
stop bugging me until I feed her. She has a internal alarm clock that goes off at 7:00 am and again at 4:00 pm.

We attend lots of meetings people do not even know she is there. Traveling is easy - she is a real jet setter. She has traveled to Kentucky twice, Florida, Washington state twice, Oregon, and California at least five times.

Miss Pearline loves the ocean; that's her thing for sure. She insist on daily play time with me and daily tummy rubs. We go on daily walks. Her vet says she does not know she is a senior - she acts like a puppy. Her eyes are bright and ready for whatever is next.

When people say hello to me, she expects to be greeted too. I love her, I enjoy everything about her. After all
she does for me, I am privileged to be the one to care for her. Miss Pearline is my dearest friend; we are a team. We work together, play together and enjoy the life our Lord has chosen for us. Miss Pearline is the best roommate I have ever had!

Hope I did not bore you but I just had to share with friends how special this day is.

Much Aloha,

Landa Phelan

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Hector eyes a load of groceries destined for the food drive
Last week, retired guide Hector, who now spends his days with GDB's Community Relations Officer Michele Davis, celebrated his 12th birthday in style. In honor of his birthday, staff and volunteers on our Oregon campus participated in KGW-TV's Annual Food Drive and contributed more than 600 pounds of goods to the effort (pictured, above). GDB's donation was highlighted on the Channel 8 newscasts throughout the day. "There is a downside to stardom, however," said Michele. "Hector is no longer willing to do any more free gigs and now requires kibble paid in advance!"

In other news...

Monday, April 5, 2010


Here is a sample of some of the fantastic photo submissions we received in the month of March, 2010. To see a slideshow of all of the month's submissions, please visit the gallery on our Flickr site.

A napping Guide Dog puppy
Guide Dog puppy Chase as he's napping.
Submitted by Karen Abrams.

Freeman at the Bark & Whine Ball
GDB retired stud dog, black Lab Freeman, was the recipient of the San Francisco SPCA's Pet Hero Award for his work as an an ovarian cancer sniffing dog at the Pine Street Clinic in San Anselmo, Calif. He is pictured at the SPCA's recent "Bark & Whine Ball" where he was honored. Photo submitted by Georgianne Meade, who writes: "We had a great time at the Ball. There was a band and great food. They had an 8' x 4' banner of Freeman hanging on the wall. He got so much attention that he was exhausted when he got home. There were 600 people and 300 dogs. Every dog was just so well behaved and so were all the parents." Kudos Freeman!

A baby pup looks up to his momma
Momma… what’s a Guide Dog? Submitted by Ken Schopp.

What about those toys?! The puppies in the photo above are part of GDB’s Litter Raiser Program, where they spend the first several weeks of their lives in the homes of volunteer breeding stock custodians. The toys shown in the photo are GDB-approved, with supervision, for puppies of that age involved in the Litter Raiser program.

We've Got Mail: Kind Words

A peek into GDB's inbox....

Donna and Tracy with their Guide Dogs
Nanaimo visits Portland: A Letter from GDB alumna Tracy McGee

Dear Guide Dogs,

This spring break my good friend Donna, her guide Prudy, and her two children, Daniel (11) and Raylene (8) came from Nanaimo Canada for a visit. Donna and Prudy were just partnered up in August so my guide Fazio, my son, Colin (8), and myself had not met Prudy until this last week and boy oh boy did we ever have a wonderful time. My guide Fazio and I just celebrated our one year anniversary on March 7th, and it has been a year of many blessings.

Our guides were the best of friends and were the hardest of workers when it came to an outing that left our children tuckered out running behind the two young, speedy guides. Donna and I could not have been more satisfied with the independence that our guides provided us both this last week, as well as on a day to day basis. During the time that we all were together, I took Donna and the gang on the city bus many times, the MAX a few times, and we walked plenty to take our children to many outings, including an Easter egg hunt at the Casey Eye Institute. We had a wonderful time and want to thank Guide Dogs for our wonderful new partners.

Tracy McGee

Heroes in the Community: A Letter from GDB supporter Michi Gorek

Dear Guide Dogs,

This is a double hero award nomination.

Today I went to Macy's at the Northgate Mall in San Rafael, and while I was waiting for a sales associate, I was fortunate to witness about six GDB instructors training their dogs on how to navigate the escalator. I am so happy to see this large corporation (Macy's) give our beloved local organization access to the escalators - something that is so foreign to any animal but necessary to the visually impaired. I am impressed by neighbors working together for a common good. Thank you Macy's and Thank you Guide Dogs. I was a fan of you both before, but I'm even more so now.

Michi Gorek