Monday, April 25, 2011

Snapshots! Photos submitted to GDB in April

The Puppies with Promise puppy raising club received five new puppies Easter morning so they got some great Easter hunt pictures! The new puppies are: Janine, Juniper, Lancelot, Kent and Padma. The older dogs are: Amos, Halima, Lupine, Natasha and Tony.

Submitted by Kathy Prendergast.

All e-mailed submissions are posted 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, April 22, 2011

Thank You for the New Puppy Coats and Toys!

Golden Retrievier puppy in a green coat, sitting on a blanket and surrounded by toysOur puppies are sporting new green coats thanks to our sponsors, Natural Balance Pet Food, Inc. and Petco.

Speaking of new – our kennels are a lot brighter these days with colorful new toys for the puppies to play. Thank you to the many donors, puppy raising clubs and corporate supporters who have helped us replace needed puppy toys. Special thanks to Natural Balance Pet Foods, Inc., Central Pet, Nylabone, and JW Pet.

We couldn’t have done it without you!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Breeder's Digest, February 2011

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

GDB black Labrador Retriever breeder mom Bettymae lying in a baby pool nursing her puppies
Yellow Labrador Retriever puppy from GDB breeder mom Bettymae's litter
Black Labrador Retriever puppy from GDB breeder mom Bettymae's litter

Litter Announcements for February 2011

Labrador Retriever Litters
2/4/11 Jay x Tilda – 1 male, 1 female – litter letter “B”
2/10/11 Nevin x Damsel – 1 male, 2 females – litter letter “D”
2/12/11 Nevin x Norma – 1 male, 6 females – litter letter “J”
2/15/11 Forte x Beverly – 5 males, 3 females – litter letter “L”
2/20/11 Alonzo x Sadie – 4 males, 5 females – litter letter “K”
2/20/11 Parson x Bettymae – 5 males, 4 females – litter letter “M”
2/21/11 Nevin x Genova – 3 males, 4 females – litter letter “R”
2/23/11 Marino x Della – 2 males, 3 females – litter letter “T”
2/24/11 Jenkins x Dia – 1 male, 2 females – litter letter “N”
2/26/11 Flamenco x Ultra – 6 males, 3 females – litter letter “S”
2/27/11 Dutch x Rozzie – 1 male, 2 females – litter letter “W”

Labrador Retriever-Golden Retriever Cross Litters
2/18/11 Taylor x Malou – 6 males, 4 females – litter letter “P”

New Breeders in February 2011

Labrador Retrievers
Cognac – raised in NV
Delhi – raised in CA
Mochi – raised in CA
Nikita – raised in CA
Pisa – raised in OR

Golden Retrievers
Jingle – raised in CA

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thank you Conner and Troup 160!

By Jeannine May

Group photo of Troop 160 standing in front of GDB sign at Oregon campus An Eagle Scout, Conner House (with his parents alongside), and other scouts from Troop 160 volunteered at the GDB campus in Oregon for a beautification project. They put down bark dust, cut blackberry bushes, and made clean up bag stands for the relieving areas.

Thank you Conner and Troup 160 for all of your hard work. The campus looks GREAT!

Monday, April 11, 2011

An Open Letter to the Thousands of GDB Volunteers

Morgan Watkins with his retired Guide Dog Fantom and his current Guide Dog Will, both Golden Retrievers Too often, we don’t even realize just how powerful the touch of a volunteer can be. Sixteen years ago, I made the phone call that changed my life.

I had grown tired of finding trash cans with my white cane, coffee tables with my shins, and tree branches with my face. I was weary of navigating convention centers and trying to make new business connections with people I could not spot in a crowd. A cane is such a poor conversation starter.

Although my growing blindness never bothered me, I did aspire to the freedom I used to enjoy when I could race between gates in an airport or zip quietly down hallways at work. Sixteen years ago, I called Guide Dogs for the Blind. However, if it had not been for one volunteer, I might have never made that call. As my vision continued to fail over the years, I occasionally thought of how useful a guide dog might be. I had seen blind men and women, with their guide dogs, moving quickly through buildings and on sidewalks. As far as I knew, I would have to lose the remainder of my vision, to be totally blind, before I could partner with a guide dog. I didn’t know just how little I knew.

Before that fateful phone call, while on a business trip in Northern California, a good friend who worked in Silicon Valley asked me if I’d like to meet her family. I had heard wonderful things about her parents, how after their own children had grown, they had adopted many young children, all with significant disabilities. Her parents wanted to share their good life with some special kids. I went with her to her parents home and got to meet some truly extraordinary people. While there, I also met the mother’s sister. My friend’s aunt showed up with a puppy and I was intrigued by her story as well.

Her aunt was raising a puppy for Guide Dogs for the Blind. I learned about how volunteers made these puppies very special, giving them the early love, respect, and social skills to enable their future training at this West Coast school. I had never heard of Guide Dogs for the Blind, but I fell in love with the program as I listened to this volunteer share her story, her puppy’s story, and the story of GDB. That very special puppy raiser changed my life. Had we never met, I might have waited another decade to get a Guide Dog. Had we not talked, I might not have come to our school. Because of one puppy raiser, I took a chance, came to San Rafael, and discovered that I could see again through the eyes of my first guide, Fantom.

To all of you, during National Volunteer Week, I want to thank you for your dedication to a mission that makes a huge difference in the lives of so many blind men and women. Because of your volunteer spirit, we have phenomenal foster care providers, dedicated dog walkers, and wonderful puppy testers and socializers.

Because you give of yourselves, we benefit from your efforts at the gift shops, the telephone console, on our Board, and in the Accounting Office. Because of you, we have great docents giving tours, safe drivers taking our students to churches and synagogues on the weekends, and the best breeder custodians and puppy raisers in the world. Because of all our volunteers, thousands of blind men and women have enjoyed greater freedom and independence.

Thank you for caring. Thank you for supporting this mission. Thank you for your gift of self. And, to a very special Aunt Barbara, thank you for bringing me to GDB.

Warm personal wishes,
Morgan and Will

G. Morgan Watkins
Acting President and CEO Guide Dogs for the Blind

Friday, April 8, 2011

Newshounds: Guide Dogs for the Blind in the News, March 2011

Guide Dogs for the Blind has been featured in a number of news stories recently and we want to highlight the following articles for you. First is an article about two of GDB's graduates, Ken Altenburger and Aerial Gilbert. Ken had been in need of a kidney transplant and friend and fellow Guide Dog user Aerial donated one of her kidneys to him.

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.

Petaluma Argus Courier
, March 23, 2011
“Sight-Impaired Friend Donates the Gift of a Lifetime”

In other news:

Lodi News
, March 30, 2011
“Lodi Newcomer Hy Cohen Advocates”

Seattle Times, March 29, 2011
“Northwest Wanderings: A Special Way of Seeing the World”, March 29, 2011
“Big Changes for Little Caleb”

Statesman Journal
, March 17, 2011
“Dogs Part of Rescue Effort in Japan”

Orange County Register
, March 10, 2011
“Irvine Dog Graduates Fourth Guide Dog”

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Guide Dog Instructor Featured in Shoe Ad

Guide Dog Mobility Instructor Polly Dugan and a GDB Guide Dog in harness are featured in a new ad for Keen trail shoes. The video is posted here on YouTube (1 minute).

GDB Guide Dog Instructor Polly Dugan crouches next to a yellow Lab Guide Dog in his harness Learn more about what it takes to be a Guide Dog instructor for Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Friday, April 1, 2011

A Tribute to George the Cat: Resident Puppy Socializer at GDB

A head shot of Geoge the Cat, a grey tigger-stripe cat
After nearly a decade of service, “George the Cat” retired this month and was adopted by GDB employee Vicki Edwards, where he will enjoy his golden years. In 2001, George was adopted from a cat rescue by Guide Dogs for the Blind and became the resident “puppy socializer” on the San Rafael campus. During his tenure, George helped to socialize thousands of future Guide Dogs. Thank you George for all of your hard work!

A small black labrador retriever puppy snuggles up with George the Cat
A yellow labrador retriever rests his head on George the Cat
George the Cat and his new owner Vickie Edwards