Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Breeder's Digest for February 2015

Breeder’s Digest
February 2015

Litter Announcements

Labrador Retrievers

Lab/Golden Crosses

New Breeders 

Labrador Retrievers Golden Retrievers
Bacall – raised in CA   Denmark – raised in UT & CO
Ember – raised in CA
Gertrude – raised in CA
Gonzalo – raised in CA
Malibu – raised in CA
Nellie – raised in CA
Nougat – raised in CO
Richard – raised in OR
Spring – raised in UT & CO

Friday, April 17, 2015

Countless Acts of Kindness, Generosity, and Service

By: Guide Puppies of Seattle Leaders Heidi Hespelt & Robin Roselle

We at the GDB puppy raising club Guide Puppies of Seattle recently hosted a Volunteer Appreciation Event during National Volunteer Week 2015. Several other local puppy raising groups were also in attendance: See Dogs, Paws 2 Guide, Paws for Independence, and Puppy Guides of Snohomish County. Our goal was to honor puppy raisers, puppy sitters, and all of our local volunteers that give so generously of their time and hearts. They are a big reason that Guide Dogs for the Blind is successful. Our volunteers help raise puppies that have a purpose in life, whether that purpose is to become a guide dog, or to follow another career path such as becoming an assistance dog for a person with a disability, helping others as a therapy dog, or becoming someone's best friend. All of these paths are important and our volunteers help these sweet puppies to get there.

 Here are a few of the highlights:

  • GDB graduate Marlaina Lieberg and her brand new guide dog, Nisha, spoke on the importance of GDB volunteers. Nisha didn't say much ;), but if you have ever heard Marlaina speak, you know we all thoroughly enjoyed it.
  • GDB graduate Terry Blankenship belted out an "Ode" to his guide dog, Tennessee.
  • Summit Assistance Dogs had a couple of volunteers present and gave a short demo on some of the skills that dogs in their program learn. Who doesn't love a dog demo?
  • Volunteer, Judy Toole shared GDB puppy genealogy charts 
  • Guide Puppies of Seattle provided pizza, beverages, and cookies for everyone. YUM!
  • Fun door prizes and GDB Puppy Raiser pins were given out to attendees.

a puppy raiser gets a kiss on her cheek from a young guide dog puppy

a puppy raising volunteer smiles holding the microphone at the podium

a volunteer holding the microphone on stage addresses the crowd of volunteers (guide dog puppies with their handlers are behind her).

GDB graduated Terry Blankenship holds the microphone belting out an "Ode" to his guide dog, Tennessee (black Lab in harness)

GDB graduate Marlaina Lieberg stands at the podium addressing the crowd of volunteers

GDB puppy raising leader Kelli Reiter stands on stage with GDB graduate Marlaina Lieberg and her guide dog Nisha (black Lab)

Image of the back of the blue and green shirt "Guide Puppies of Seattle" with the Space Needle and cartoon puppies.

two volunteer have a discussion with several volunteer cards on the table.

a puppy raiser speaks with Marlaina Lieberg and her husband.

Table sign that reads "We LOVE our volunteers!"


Monday, April 13, 2015

To Volunteers, With Love

By: Rebecca Hornick

To all the volunteers who support GDB and beyond, Happy National Volunteer Week!

This is a very special week to share GDB’s appreciation to our many volunteers. As the San Rafael Campus Foster Care Coordinator, I have had the privilege of working with dozens of volunteers who support the needs of our foster dogs each year. As I reflect on the significance of this week of appreciation, I wondered, how can we show the immense gratitude we feel to recognize the contribution of our dedicated volunteers? I know we all love CHOCOLATE, but beyond putting out a bowl of sweets, how can this message be given in a way which it is truly felt by each volunteer?

Then I realized that for many volunteers, the act of giving itself provides them a sense of intrinsic value that comes from deep within and continues to fuel their drive and compassion. It seems to me, by reaching this state of personal reward through the gift of giving, is the very essence of human evolution through kindness. By giving of themselves, each volunteer is doing his/her part to make the world a better place for us all. Who wouldn't be moved by witnessing or participating in these selfless acts?  These are not JUST volunteers, but modern day heroes with invisible superhero capes!

Many quotes have been collected over time that speak to the essence of volunteerism and this one addresses that sense of the profound human evolution I see every day through the hard work of our volunteers: “Every action in our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity.” ~Edwin Hubbel Chapin. And another, “What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” ~Albert Pike (Thanks, Carl) and lastly, “We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.” ~Franklin Delano Roosevelt. How true! What our volunteers do today will continue to plant the seeds for success in the future. So there it is; VOLUNTEERISM IS EVOLUTION IN ACTION.

Another quote I found seems to resonate particularly well for those connected to our mission here at GDB: “Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” ~Variation of a saying that has been around since at least 1861, author unknown. And another which has significance here, “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.” ~Edward Everett Hale.

How fortunate we are to work among such kind and giving soul’s on both of our campuses, as well as the volunteer puppy raisers in so many states! Wherever they reside, our volunteers touch lives, strengthen communities, and build connections that reach even farther. “Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.” ~Author Unknown. Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

I would love it if every volunteer, both on campus and beyond, feels the deep and sincere appreciation GDB feels for their contribution. Every effort they offer changes our world for the better, each and every day and GDB thanks you all for the precious gift you give. Volunteers humbly show us every day that we should, “Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” ~William James.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Young Volunteers from San Ramon Valley Guide Dog Club Honored by Town of Danville with Award of Merit

By: Sharon Gitchell

My daughters Grace and Giordan were recently honored by the town of Danville, CA with the Award of Merit. This award was given by the Danville Town Council and Mayor Newell Arnerich at their annual town award and mayoral installation ceremony. 

(left to right) Giordan Gitchell, Danville Mayor Newell Arnerich, Grace Gitchell, and guide dog puppy Vidal (yellow Lab).
(left to right) Giordan Gitchell, Danville Mayor Newell Arnerich, Grace Gitchell, and guide dog puppy Vidal (yellow Lab). 
Our family's involvement with Guide Dogs For the Blind began when our oldest daughter Grace was in 2nd grade. She would spend much of her recesses at Montair Elementary School around her science teacher's (GDB Puppy Raising leader Leslie Graham) guide dog puppies or one of the school's therapy dogs, often walking/exercising them and giving them love and attention. At a Montair school assembly, Grace learned all about GDB and what it means to raise a guide dog puppy. When the GDB San Ramon Valley Guide Dog Club was formed four years ago, Grace begged our family to join as puppy sitters and we have been members who attend the required weekly training meetings ever since. Whenever our family is asked to puppy sit one of the puppies in training, Grace takes charge, cleans her room, and prepares a safe place for the puppy to visit. During any visit, she is responsible for feeding, cleaning up, and practicing training sessions so that the guide dog puppy knows that whomever they are with and wherever they go, the rules are the same. Grace has been responsible for several guide dog puppies ranging from age nine weeks to 17 months old.

Grace's sister, Giordan has also played a large role in the San Ramon Valley Guide Dog Club. Giordan was six years-old when we joined the club, too young to actually work one of the guide dog puppies in training. Since she was a bundle of energy, the club leader put her to work as the club assistant.  As the club assistant, Giordan is responsible for passing out materials like pens and papers, cookies, equipment we use for training, etc. She also helps set up and clean up, always cheerful doing all the tasks that the leaders ask.  We really appreciate the fact that she runs around at the end of every meeting with a dust mop, getting all the hair that 10-15 dogs can shed in an hour. Now that Giordan is 10, she is a regular member and can puppy sit on her own and work with a guide dog puppy at the meetings.  

I am proud of the commitment that both of my girls have made to the San Ramon Valley Guide Dog Club for the past four years. They have spent hundreds of hours at meetings, club outings, fundraising for the club with their own lemonade stands, and puppy sitting on weekends and school vacations. They love being part of this club not only because they love each and every dog, but they know they are helping people in their own small way. Their goal is to raise a puppy of their own when they get to high school and we look forward to that as a family.