Thursday, March 31, 2011

Snapshots! Photos submitted to GDB in March

Here's a photo we received during the month of March: Puppy Guides of Snohomish County partnered with the Louis Braille School for the Blind in Edmonds, WA on Saturday, March 12th to help raise funds to support the school's unique mission. Delta Gamma, a local sorority from Seattle, also sent volunteers. In this photo seven sorority volunteers pose with Guide Dog Puppies-In-Training in their green jackets.

Seven Delta Gamma sorority members wearing plaid shirts and jeans crouch next to six GDB Guide Dog puppies-in-training All e-mailed submissions are posted here on Flickr. You may submit your own photos via email to or post photos to our Flickr Group Photo Pool. We want to see those pictures!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Reading with Chiffon

By Puppy Raisers Sue and Jim Mooney

Chiffon, a GDB puppy-in-training, in her puppy coat lying on the floor while two blond girls read to her
It doesn't seem possible our second Guide Dog puppy, Chiffon, has just celebrated her first birthday. She is a calm, delightful little black Labrador Retriever, and every day with her is a treasure. I am a substitute teacher and volunteer at our neighborhood school.

Most Tuesday mornings, Chiffon and I visit Mrs. Hanson's third grade classroom at Needham Elementary School and work with reading groups. The students are delighted with their furry visitor, and she loves being with them. Our time together has come to be known as "Reading with Chiffon."

When it's time to head over to the classroom, Chiffon instantly knows what I mean when I say, "Let's go to school and see the kids." These students all knew Peppermint, our first Guide Dog puppy, who is now a working Guide Dog in British Columbia. The children love hearing about her latest adventures and look forward to hearing about Chiffon's future endeavors.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The generosity of GDB friends

By Nancy Olivas

So many members of GDB's tight community are givers: many of us give our time, love, friendship, financial support, and more to Guide Dogs for the Blind. But I'm inspired by two of our graduates. These two also happen to be GDB employees—they are Aerial Gilbert and Ken Altenburger.

GDB graduates Aerial Gilbert with Guide Dog Splash and Ken Altenburger with Guide Dog Bristol stand togetherPhoto above: GDB graduates Aerial Gilbert with Guide Dog Splash and Ken Altenburger with Guide Dog Bristol standing together.

Ken had been in need of a kidney transplant, but after family members didn't match, there wasn't a lot of hope of receiving one in time. However, when friend Aerial heard of Ken's plight last September, she volunteered to donate.

So on March 1, one of Aerial's kidneys was transplanted into Ken and both of them are doing fine. Read more in Monday's Press Democrat here:

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

GDB Career Change Dog Deployed to Japan

Black Labrador Retriever Cadillac in a sitGDB Career Change dog Cadillac (now working for the Search Dog Foundation), a male black Labrador Retriever, is among the U.S. search and rescue teams deployed to Japan. The job of Cadillac and the other search dogs is to find live victims, conscious or unconscious, in the debris left by the earthquake and tsunami. All rescue personnel will be awaiting a “Bark Alert” from the dogs, letting them know there is someone in need of rescue. Cadillac and his handler were also part of the rescue efforts in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

May The Force be with GDB

Sound Editor from Skywalker Sound holds boom mic outside of puppy play area as four black Labrador Retriever puppies play with toys
Skywalker Sound visited the GDB campus in San Rafael, Calif. this week to get some "puppy sounds" for their general library that is accessed when a film is being sound edited.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Breeder's Digest, December 2010 and January 2011

Here are the announcements for puppies born and breeder dogs named at GDB during December 2010 and January 2011.

GDB breeder mom Holly smiles as she sits in a plastic pool with her baby puppies

Litter Announcements for December 2010

Labrador Retrievers
12/7/10 Alonzo x Holly – 3 males, 1 female – litter letter “R”
12/7/10 Dylan x Cuesta – 1 male, 5 females – litter letter “S”
12/10/10 Nicasio x Anjou – 4 males, 2 females – litter letter “Z”
12/21/10 Parson x Fritzie – 3 males, 4 females – litter letter “A”
12/22/10 David x Deanne – 2 males, 3 females – litter letter “B”
12/23/10 Kentucky x Bahama – 4 males, 2 females – litter letter “C”
12/25/10 Jenkins x Wallaby – 2 females – litter letter “D”
12/26/10 Forte x Glee – 3 males, 3 females – litter letter “E”
12/27/10 Hurley x Josie – 1 male, 7 females – litter letter “I”
12/28/10 Forte x Elena – 1 male, 3 females – litter letter “J”
12/28/10 Marino x Salina – 6 males, 1 female – litter letter “K”
12/30/10 Simon x Finesse – 6 males, 2 females – litter letter “L”
12/31/10 Jenkins x Denisha – 3 males, 4 females – litter letter “M”

New Breeders in December 2010

Labrador Retrievers
Azul – raised in CA [corrected on 03/25/2011]
Jova – raised in WA
Nordica – raised in UT
Rumor – raised in CA

Litter Announcements for January 2011

Labrador Retriever Litters
1/8/11 Hurley x Rupee – 2 males, 5 females – litter letter “P”
1/8/11 Ozzie x Calistoga – 2 males, 2 females – litter letter “F”
1/13/11 Marino x Leola – 2 males, 4 females – litter letter “Q”
1/18/11 Denzel x Luana – 1 male, 2 females – litter letter “G”
1/21/11 Nevin x Trella – 4 males, 3 females – litter letter “S”
1/24/11 Marino x Brigitte – 3 males, 4 females – litter letter “R”
1/26/11 Nicasio x Athenia – 3 males, 3 females – litter letter “V”
1/29/11 Forte x Gracie – 4 males, 1 female – litter letter “A”
1/30/11 Jenkins x Fleur – 4 males, 3 females – litter letter “C”

Labrador Retriever-Golden Retriever Cross Litters
1/26/11 Jenkins x Tess – 3 males, 4 females – litter letter “T”

New Breeders in January 2011

Labrador Retrievers
Genevieve - raised in CA
Pia – raised in CA

Golden Retrievers
Jonathan – raised in CO

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Newshounds: Guide Dogs for the Blind in the News

NBC Chief Meteorologist Matt Zaffino holds Guide Dog puppy-in-training Zaffino
KGW-TV / NBC (February 16, 2011)
Guide Dog puppy Zaffino was welcomed recently to the Portland area by Oregon's #1 Weatherman and KGW-TV/NBC's Chief Meteorologist Matt Zaffino. In the coming months Zaffino's adventures in Oregon will be documented and aired on KGW-TV/NBC.
“Guide Dog Puppy named after Matt Zaffino”

KGET-TV (March 7, 2011)
“Guide Dogs Act as Eyes for the Visually Impaired”

KGPE-TV / CBS (March 4, 2011)
“Lemoore High School Students Raise Guide Dog Puppies”

My Tales BLOG (March 3, 2011)
“Great things about being blind. Using my Ipod right out of the box.”

KUSI-TV/ IND (March 3, 2011)
“Donated GDB Puppy is part of Paws'itive Teams in San Diego”

Wasatch Woman (February 2011)
“Women of Strength and Purpose”

Chinook Observer (February 22, 2011)
“Ocean Park Students Learn About Blindness”

Oregonian (February 12, 2011)
“Laura and Elm: A woman's darkest hour leads to a new life, a new love and a best friend”

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Snapshots! Photos of GDB dogs in action

Here's one of the photos we received during the month of February; all e-mailed submissions are posted here on Flickr. You may submit your own photos via email to or post photos to our Flickr Group Photo Pool. We really want to see pictures of you and your dogs!

A few Guide Dogs for the Blind puppy raisers from LA Southwest Puppy Raising club stand on the beach with their guide dog puppies-in-training
Photo above: A few GDB puppy raisers from LA Southwest Puppy Raising club stand on the beach with their Guide Dog puppies-in-training. Photo courtesy of Pat Whitehead, LA Southwest club leader.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

An Open Letter to Puppy Raisers

By GDB Graduate Laurel Wheeler

GDB Graduate Laurel Wheeler and Guide Dog Stockard, a yellow female Labrador Retriever

Dear Puppy Raisers,

I wrote a letter to my Guide Dog’s puppy raisers describing how much Stockard has impacted my life. The change in my life has been incredible and I tried sharing my feelings of gratitude with them. I realize many of my fellow Guide Dog users share the same feelings and thoughts I do regarding the sacrifices you have made to raise and prepare our wonderful dogs for us so I wanted to share part of this letter with you.

Many things have changed for me since I came home with my Guide Dog. Before training with her I used a cane. I was able to travel independently, but I couldn't totally relax and enjoy going places because I always had to pay attention to what I encountered with the cane. I also had to watch carefully to make sure I didn't run into anything. I could never relax and enjoy the process of getting from point A to point B. It was always stressful, and as you can imagine, I didn't go many places because of it.

Working with my Guide Dog means I have total freedom now. I have the freedom to enjoy the process of going places. I don't need to worry anymore about obstacles in my way because Stockard takes me right around them. I don't have to worry about people on foot or bicyclists because she moves me out of the way. I can even take leisure walks now because I don't feel stressed about going out anymore.

Stockard has also given me much more freedom and confidence in public. When I used a cane and was in public or in large crowds, it was awkward for me because I felt invisible. I didn't really know what was going on around me and nobody even noticed me.

Now, as soon as people notice me, they don't say "blind girl with a cane, oh my goodness!" They say something like "Oh! Look at the dog! Wow!" or "Wow! I love your dog! Tell me about her!" Stockard is a conversation starter and I'm able to get assistance, or feel part of the group. I don't feel invisible anymore. It's nice to be noticed for your dog first and not your disability.

Stockard has not only impacted my physical well-being, but also my emotional well-being. She has become my best friend. I'm never lonely anymore because of her. She's always by my side, working for me, playing with me and loving me. Having her at my side 24-7 truly makes me happy inside. I haven't always had many friends, or been very involved with my peers. Stockard has helped me go many more places and make many more friends. Words will never describe how much she has affected every aspect of my life.

I don't think we can ever totally express in words our gratitude to you for raising such amazing animals. You put so much work into raising our dogs and helping them get ready for their lives with us. You did a great job and we couldn't possibly ask for better dogs. By raising them, loving them, socializing them, giving them everything you could and then giving them up, you have changed our lives. We can never totally thank you for all you have done. It's truly amazing.

Laurel and Stockard