Thursday, January 30, 2014

Alumni Connections: Introducing Mommies with Guides

By: Melissa Hudson, Chapter Coordinator & Tracy Boyd, Mommies With Guides Alumni Chapter President

As promised in a previous blog post, here is an overview/introduction to our newest Guide Dogs for the Blind Alumni Chapter. They were unanimously voted in by the Alumni Association Board of Directors at our last Board meeting on December 7, 2013. Congratulations and welcome to the "family"! 

Mommies with Guides is the newest Alumni Chapter with Guide Dogs for the Blind. We are located in the Greater Metropolitan area in beautifully, green Portland, Oregon. We meet once a month via conference call and at least four times a year at mutually decided upon locations. Currently, Mommies with Guides is comprised of women who are: all guide dog handlers and mothers (some are married and some are single), but by no means is this chapter an exclusively a "women's only chapter". We welcome and strongly encourage: dads, grandparents both male and female, as well as those who are blind and considering having children to join our chapter.

Mommies with Guides has provided a source of support for its members, not only for the trials and tribulations of everyday life but rather, the nuts and bolts of keeping the proverbial wheel of life in motion. This chapter has provided a platform where our children can bond and build friendships with other children who have parents who are blind. Members can share challenges, give advice or just lend an empathetic ear to things like: relationships, child rearing, eye diseases, pain management and even guide dog concerns and joys.

Most of us can say we know a blind person, some can even say they know a guide dog handler, some even know a blind mom and/or dad, but how many people really know more then one blind parent who has a guide dog? We only really knew one other than ourselves before meeting these extraordinary ladies. We are more than a group of blind, inspirational, guide dog using mommies, we are bound by the ties we share. Our blindness does not define us we are women, we are mommies, we are one hundred percent partners to those we love and we are life changers all through the use of a guide dog!

The founders of this Alumni Chapter are four phenomenal women: Rhonda Patrick (Treasurer), Kelsey Sparks (Secretary), Joy Ross (Vice President) and Tracy Boyd (President).  Please "Like" our Facebook page "Mommies with Guides" and join our Alumni Chapter - we'd love to have you!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Newshounds: Guide Dogs for the Blind in the News!

Yellow Lab Desiree of Puppy Pilots makes a special connection with a boy who is visually impaired as a woman smiles next to them.

Desiree Changes a Life as a K-9 Buddy
http://www.sequimgazette.com/news/article.exm/2014-01-03_desiree_changes_a_life_as_a_k_9_buddy

Homeless Families Get a Special Visit from Canine Therapy Teams
http://www.dovelewis.org/news-events/media-releases/homeless-families-in-vancouver-get-a-special-holiday-visit-from-portland-ar/8152

Deputy Assists Two GDB Graduates in Freezing Conditions
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQf4cYZXAbo

Great Day Houston: Paws for a Cause
http://www.khou.com/great-day/videos/gdh_1-8-14_seg5-239281281.html

Eastern Sierra Welcomes New Guide Dog Puppy
http://www.sierrawave.net/28116/puppy-in-town/

The Fresno Bee: Ruff Job
http://shopping.fresnobee.com/SS/Page.aspx?secid=140649&pagenum=33&sstarg=&facing=false

Sierra Magazine: Second Site - Graduate and Blind Hiker Trevor Thomas
http://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/201401/Trevor-Thomas-blind-hiker-Appalachian-Trail.aspx

Woman's Puppy Love Shows in Devotion to Dog Shows, Guide Dogs for the Blind
http://www.marinij.com/novato/ci_24980231/novato-womans-puppy-love-shows-devotion-dog-shows

Hometown Heroes: Couple Finds Fulfillment Raising Guide Dogs for the Blind
http://www.contracostatimes.com/contra-costa-times/ci_24781420/hometown-heroes-danville-couple-find-fulfillment-though-raising

Photo description above: Yellow Lab Desiree of Puppy Pilots makes a special connection with a boy who is visually impaired as a woman smiles next to them.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Alumni Speaker Series: Disaster Preparedness

You never know when or where the next emergency or disaster will occur, and just as you make emergency plans for yourself and your family, it’s important to include your guide dog in those plans. Make it your New Year’s resolution to learn about emergency and disaster planning from an expert who is also a guide dog handler during the next Alumni Association Speaker Series call being held on January 9, 2014. We will discuss what to do and how to plan for emergencies like floods, fires, earthquakes, hurricanes and/or terrorist attacks.

We are pleased to welcome disaster planning expert Jenine Stanley, who has worked with guide dogs for her own independent mobility for over 25 years and currently serves as Consumer Relations Coordinator for the Guide Dog Foundation and America's VetDogs. She has a long history of work in the disability field including: areas of transportation, ADA compliance and technology. Jenine has worked in radio, producing award-winning documentaries for both public and internet radio. She is also a member and staff officer of the Coast Guard Auxiliary where she has served as Public Affairs Officer and Materials Officer at the flotilla and division levels. As part of this work, she has taken courses with FEMA on disaster preparedness and First Responder responsibilities during natural disasters and terrorist attacks.

As part of her work in supervising the Guide Dog Foundation's Alumni Council, Jenine has organized presentations on disaster preparedness for assistance dog handlers and advised graduates on procedures for such events as mass shootings in public places. Jenine lives in Columbus, Ohio with her current guide dog, Swap, a male Labrador/Golden Retriever cross, her husband Kent and their two cats.

Save the date: Thursday, January 9, 2014 at 7 P.M. (Eastern) and 4 P.M. (Pacific)
Instructions: toll-free number (US/Canada) 1-877-668-4490; Attendee access code 202 900 74

In order to have your questions answered during Jenine’s presentation, please send your questions to Maile George either during or prior to the presentation.
mgeorge@guidedogs.com

Also, if you have ideas for future Speaker Series calls, please send your suggestions to either Theresa Stern or Becky Andrews.
tstern@guidedogs.com
bandrews@guidedogs.com