Thursday, January 27, 2011

Blogs of Note

Puppy raiser Mandy holds black Lab pup Saxon, fresh of GDB's puppy truck
Mandy Jones, of Manhattan Beach, CA, writes a blog called Guide Dog Puppy that was recently featured as's "Blogs of Note" for January 25. Congratulations, Mandy, and thanks for linking back to us!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Pasta and Tofu Together

By Megan, Pasta and Tofu

Last month, I traveled to Iowa to visit my family. I have flown several times with Pasta, and she is a real pro. But this was the first time that I would be taking the new addition to our family, our cat Tofu, along with us. We were going to be staying with my Dad for almost two weeks, and I had nobody to watch Tofu for that long, so he got to go with Pasta and me.

I was nervous about how this would all go. Security especially worried me. I was able to have Tofu be a carry-on item, so I was able to keep him and Pasta with me the entire time. Pasta could tell things were different. She was very excited when we left with Tofu in the carrier, staring at him and wagging her tail furiously. But as she felt my nerves and Tofu’s as he kept meowing on the way to the airport, I could tell she was nervous, which was quite strange for her.

Luckily, the TSA agents were very friendly and we got through security much easier than I thought we would. I had to take Tofu out of the carrier and carry him through the metal detector. Because I needed both hands, I was unable to make the long leash and go through with Pasta at a sit stay as instructed by GDB. So, I instead kept the leash short, put Pasta on a sit stay and dropped the leash before walking through with Tofu. Pasta stayed beautifully. Luckily, Tofu and I did not set off the metal detector, and I was able to call Pasta through. She ate up the attention she got from her pat-down, and we were off.

As soon as Tofu and I both calmed down after security, I could tell Pasta was much more at ease, as well. On the plane, I slid Tofu’s carrier under the seat in front of us and Pasta lay down beside him with her head near his carrier. It was a tight fit for her but she did great, and I really think that having her right there calmed Tofu. They both slept almost the entire trip, and although Tofu had never flown, he only meowed about five times for the entire flight. The connection went just as smoothly, and we were all happy when we got to our destination and my dad picked us up.

Tofu and Pasta both had a great time in Iowa visiting my family, too. Tofu had a blast playing with my dad’s cats, and Pasta loved seeing my dad, the rest of my family and playing in the snow. The time went way too fast, but we all had a great time. Pasta and Tofu both did just as well on the trip back to Long Beach, as well, and since I was calmer, Pasta was not nervous at all.

I just wanted to share this story with you all and thank you for Pasta. She is a terrific guide and friend to me, and a great buddy to Tofu. It must have looked quite interesting to fellow travelers as they saw the airport worker walking in front of us, with Pasta following and Tofu in his carrier over my shoulder. And I just know that Tofu was able to feel safer because his friend, Pasta, was there.

Below, Pasta and Tofu are pictured together on the floor:

Tofu and Pasta together on the floor

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Breeder's Digest, November 2010

Here are the announcements for litters born at GDB during the month of November 2010, and new breeder dogs. To see photos of each litter, click on the links below to take you to GDB's Flickr site.
C litter puppy from breeder dog Suzanne
Litter Announcements

Labrador Retrievers
11/12/10 Bosworth x Gallery – 2 males, 5 females – litter letter "J"
11/18/10 Nevin x Arcadia – 2 males, 4 females – litter letter "K"
11/19/10 Jenkins x Germany – 2 males, 5 females – litter letter "L"
11/21/10 Alonzo x Rose – 4 males, 2 females – litter letter "H"
11/24/10 Samuel x Lani – 1 male, 4 females – litter letter "M"
11/27/10 Nevin x Robin – 3 males, 4 females – litter letter "P"
11/29/10 Forte x Lapis – 7 females – litter letter "T"

Labrador Retriever - Golden Retriever Crosses
11/3/10 Jenkins x Matisse – 3 males, 4 females – litter letter "A"
11/5/10 Guidinglight Wallace x Suzanne – 4 males, 3 females – litter letter "C"

New Breeders

Labrador Retrievers
Justina – raised in OR
McKinley – raised in CA

Friday, January 21, 2011

Great Day in Texas!

From Beth Adams of the Lone Star Puppy Raising Club

Recently, the Lone Star Puppy Club participated in the "Greet the Troops" program at the Dallas/Fort-Worth International Airport. It was a huge honor for all people and puppies involved!

We marked the one-millionth soldier to pass through the airport to begin his/her two weeks of R&R. We do many outings as a puppy club but greeting soldiers returning home or seeing them off to Iraq, was a very special occasion for us.

I can't even describe the emotions I felt witnessing a soldier land on American soil after a long deployment and head directly over to hug one of our Guide Dog puppies. It was equally heartfelt observing smiling soldiers talking with and petting our puppies, prior to their departure to Iraq.

The puppies greeted many soldiers including Army Chief of Staff General George W. Casey, Jr. This was a tail-wagging homecoming that will be remembered for years to come.

Army Chief of Staff General Casey crouches down to be photographed with four of Lone Star Puppy Raising Club's Guide Dog puppies-in-training. The puppies sport red, white and blue scarves for the occasion.

Two-star Army General Farrissee pictured with three of Lone Star Puppy Raising Club's Guide Dog puppies-in-training

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Hands Across the Sky

by Lynne Arceneaux, Graduate Services Program Coordinator

James, adult male black Labrador Retriever in Guide Dog harness sitting down

Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) safely ships Guide Dogs, on a regular basis, via cargo across the United States and Canada. But recently, in January, we received a rather exceptional request to transport a working Guide Dog from Lima, Peru.

What’s a Guide Dog from America doing in Peru? Why was he being sent back? The circumstances were, sadly, most unfortunate. The dog’s blind partner had recently graduated from GDB’s training program and travelled to Trujillo, Peru, over the holidays to visit his family. He brought his Guide Dog with him, a beautiful black Labrador named James. While he was in Peru, the man passed away. His sister called GDB to ask if transportation back to our school might be arranged for the dog. Trujillo is a ten-hour drive from Lima over roads that cannot by any stretch of the imagination be called "highways".

After reviewing the flight options from Lima, I contacted American Airlines to ask for assistance with arranging a cargo transport for James from Lima to San Francisco. The very next day, Ms. Kathy Minihan, an American Airlines (AA) representative in the Miami Area, returned the call. She would be our liaison with AA Cargo in Lima. Her efforts launched a miraculous campaign for James’ return trip. Her hours of organization and international communications championed a Guide Dog’s transport under the most extraordinary circumstances.

Ms. Minihan coordinated the American Airlines flights for James: first from Lima to Miami, then Miami to San Francisco. It was the responsibility of Graduate Services to coordinate the ground transportation from Trujillo to the cargo facility in Lima -- a seven hundred mile trip!

When I relayed James’ story to GDB’s Assistant Kennel Manager, Karen Butterworth, Karen replied that Juan, her husband, had a sister who lived in Lima and might be able to help with the ground transport. After numerous telephone calls to the sisters and Juan we were able to coordinate the 20 hour trip to/from Trujillo, the visit to the veterinarian in Lima to obtain a health certificate for the flight, the purchase of an FAA approved crate and the transport to the Lima American Airlines Cargo Facility. This is where the "It’s a small world after all!" song began to play in our imaginations! And, amazingly, the preparations we so carefully worked on together played out flawlessly!

James was flown on the American Airlines flight from Lima to Miami where he had a "spa break" in between flights in the American Airlines-sanctioned kennel facility. He continued on the last leg of his journey to San Francisco and arrived shortly after midnight, where I picked him up. He was one tired guy and was very happy to finally be in a GDB van once again.

James is staying for a brief time with Foster Care providers in Tiburon, Calif., until he is returned to the San Rafael Training Department. He is most likely destined to return to a career as a working guide with a new GDB graduate.

Guide Dogs for the Blind would like to express our profound gratitude to those whose efforts brought James home: Brian Francis, Director of AGS; Karen Butterworth, Assistant Kennel Manager; Juan Ordonez, Ground Transport Coordination/Translator; Rebecca Hornick, Dog Placement Coordinator and especially, Kathy Minihan, American Airlines, Miami Area and Mario Figueroa, Rosanna Fiejo and Santiago Motta, American Airlines in Lima, Peru. And to one other kind, generous and very special person who knows who he is.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Breeder's Digest, October 2010

Here are the announcements for litters born at GDB during the month of October 2010, and the dogs newly accepted into our breeding program. To see photos of each litter, click on the links below to take you to GDB's Flickr site.

Sleeping yellow Lab 'Provence' puppy
Litter Announcements

Labrador Retrievers
10/3/10 Dylan x Jude – 2 males, 5 females – litter letter “F”
10/3/10 Parson x Catina – 3 males, 3 females – litter letter “K”
10/7/10 Nicasio x Clovis – 5 males, 3 females – litter letter “E”
10/14/10 Parson x Albertine – 1 male, 2 females – litter letter “F”
10/15/10 Parson x Provence – 5 males, 2 females – litter letter “L”
10/18/10 Alonzo x Lania – 4 males, 3 females – litter letter “P”
10/20/10 David x Charisma – 2 males, 6 females – litter letter “R”
10/22/10 Marino x Sarita – 4 males, 4 females – litter letter “S”
10/22/10 Parson x Savannah – 3 males, 3 females – litter letter “T”
10/24/10 Nevin x Pandy – 4 males, 2 females – litter letter “V”
10/26/10 Forte x Sunrise – 2 males, 2 females – litter letter “Y”
10/27/10 Curt x Chenille – 5 females – litter letter “Z”

Golden Retrievers
10/16/10 Guidinglight Wallace x Pilar – 5 males, 2 females – litter letter “M”

New Breeders

Labrador Retrievers
Dolly – raised in CA
Fiji – raised in CA
Fleur – raised in CA
Flicker – raised in CO
Pomona – raised in CA
Sheba – raised in CA

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Here's one of the photos we received during the month of December, both via email (; all submissions can be seen on Flickr), and posted to our Flickr Group Photo Pool. Enjoy!

GDB dogs sport colorful red and green collars and white twinkle lightsThree GDB dogs sport colorful red and green collars and white twinkle lights.

Monday, January 10, 2011


GDB team Terry Blosser and Guide Dog Bryson rode on the Natural Balance Pet Food float during the Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year’s Day. Media coverage is listed below.

Orange County Register (January 3, 2011)
“Right Attitude Can Take You Far”

KSBW-TV/ NBC (January 5, 2010)
“Dog Becomes Woman’s Eyes, Best Friend”

Dallas Morning News (January 5, 2011)
“Raising Future Guide Dogs is Tough Love for Dallas-Area Families”

Coeur d'Alene Press (December 19, 2010)
“A Holiday Story”

KING-TV / IND (December 13, 2010)
“Amazing Guide Dog Puppies Arrive in Rain

Oregonian (December 4, 2010)
“Scene & Heard” (Winter 2010)
“Rescue and Service Dog Pictures”