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  • 1. Best Dogs in Sight Newsletter of Guide Dogs of Texas www.guidedogsoftexas.org Fall 2007 A PUBLICATION OF GUIDE DOGS OF TEXAS INC., A TEXAS NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION Got Cows? By; Michelle Pelletier There comes a time in training guide dogs when you encounter something unique. “Huey,” one of our recent graduates presented a nice challenge for us to overcome. “Huey” had been matched with a client who lives in a rural area that would require him to work his client past a pasture that is home for some cows. As you can imagine there Guide Cow? Cow Dog? Guide Dog in Training! aren’t all that many cows in the area of San Antonio where we routinely train dogs. This posed a challenge for Sarah, “Huey’s” trainer. How was she going to train “Huey” to ig- nore cows, and just do his job? We all did some head scratching and then we opened the refrigerator. Got Milk? We all have a fridge with milk, but where is yours from? Ours is from Promised Land Dairy. A local Texas dairy was just what the training director ordered, so I phoned the main of- fice in San Antonio, and asked if we could visit a cow. My guess is they get that request all the time from kids, and from adults who won’t grow up, but from a guide dog? Continued on page 6
  • 2. Page 2 GUIDE DOGS OF TEXAS Fall 2007 visually capable person and how much sensory in- Message from the Executive Director put to all human activity is visual. The guide dog that became my eyes for a day was absolutely out- The vision statement for Guide Dogs of Texas is standing. On our first walk, she stopped so that I straight forward: wouldn’t bump my head on a low-hanging branch “The vision of Guide Dogs of Texas is to provide a trained and then skillfully guided me around sidewalk ob- guide dog for all Texans who are stacles. Now, I better understand only a small por- visually impaired and desire a guide tion of the challenges and circumstances that our dog.” clients face every day. Most of all, I am very proud An integral part of our vi- of our staff and I am grateful for their compassion sion entails the application of that is an integral part of the Guide Dogs of Texas’ seven Core Values. The first vision. core value is COMPASSION: We do make a difference in the lives of visually “We endeavor to understand the impaired Texans and we strive to serve all with challenges and circumstances of the compassion. During this season of Thanksgiving, clients we serve and strive to enhance Larry Tuttle I am very thankful for all who join together to help their mobility and independence.” Guide Dogs of Texas accomplish its vision. Our Director of Training, Sandy Merrill, re- turned from a one-day workshop for supervisors this summer and excitedly reported that one of the 2007 Board of Directors best practices introduced in the session could be David Neathery, President applied at Guide Dogs of Texas immediately. It Gail Walden, Vice President seems that in one of the workshop discussions, it Andy Anderson, DVM Charles Johnston was reported that FedEx sends their new employees Steve Cardenas Jeremy McGilvery through their entire facility with a FedEx package John Curney Noe Saucedo sticker attached to them so that new employees are Marilyn Dusek Craig Taylor introduced to all critical parts of their business. She Jean Holt, MD looked at me eye-to-eye and said, “We haven’t done that with you!” A week later, two of us at GDTx were blind- “Best Dogs in Sight” folded for 24 hours and experienced the initial steps Is the official newsletter of of client training, including being introduced to our Guide Dogs of Texas, Inc. guide dog, taking our first training walks and spend- A non-profit charitable organization ing the night in our training household. Meals were approved by the IRS. provided by volunteers just as new clients would experience. Dog handling, care and grooming tech- Editor: Larry Tuttle niques were taught and two of us became “clients Layout: Ernie Landy for a day.” Two weeks later, another two of our Printer: Triangle Reproductions staff experienced the same introduction for 24 Distributor: PC Mailing Service hours. These trial runs allowed our apprentice trainers Guide Dogs of Texas, Inc. is a member of the to gain experience in conducting and managing International Guide Dog Federation. training before clients arrived. Also, as an organiza- tion we were able to fine-tune our protocols and procedures, making doubly sure of all plans. Those were just a few of the anticipated outcomes of the exercise. What wasn’t expected was the deep sense of em- pathy I gained personally for a blind person. I was enriched by realizing how independent I am as a
  • 3. Fall 2007 GUIDE DOGS OF TEXAS Page 3 “Frankie” is a very rambunctious and strong willed What a Privilege puppy that loves to work; I had to remind myself By Kevin Whitehead that he is just a “little boy”. “Frankie” taught me to have more patience than what I already have. What a privilege it is to be part of the PAWSitive In June I received “Kelsie,” she was here just Approach Program at the Dominguez State Jail. It waiting for her turn at advanced training. She is a is gratifying knowing that I’m one of eight offend- black lab and golden retriever cross. “Kelsie” has a ers in the state of Texas that can participate in this unique personality; she started out being very shy very rewarding program. and vocal. She is one of the only dogs I have met I’m in a who can actually yodel. Now that we’ve spent some unique situa- time together, we’ve both become confident in each tion; I’m other. She’s progressing very nicely in her work. serving a She doesn’t even yodel as much. Now we are work- thirty nine ing on how she behaves when we greet people. I month sen- am confident she will make a great guide dog once tence where she completes her training. as the ma- I would like to give a special thanks to Captain jority of Carter, Warden Balli, and everyone at Guide Dogs state jail of- of Texas for all their support and dedication they fenders are put into this program. I would also like to express sentenced to my gratitude to officers Santana and Gutierrez for six to twenty their hard work and support. I believe they genu- -four inely care for this program and do everything possi- months. In ble to help lead us beyond the bars. March 2006, I had the opportu- Did you know that when you shop nity to be interviewed at Kroger, Guide Dogs of Texas Kevin Whitehead and “Kelsie” by Larry can receive a donation. Gelvin and Michelle Pelletier. During the interview Ms. Pelletier noticed my release date of 2009. I will never forget the look on her face; she looked puz- zled at first and then stated, well, that looks bad for you, but good for us. You could help train several puppies during your incarceration. Well, needless to say, due to the length of my sentence I had to wait until March of this year be- fore I could be part of this magnificent program. I have worked with a couple of dogs since becoming part of the program. I started out as a secondary for IT’S EASY “D.J.” “D.J.” was a great dog, he knew all his com- Get a card from GDTx and pre- mands and he also seemed to have a sense of hu- sent it to the cashier before mor. I believe he found it humorous to make you look like a clown whenever possible; that always THEY ring you up! seemed to happen when Mr. Gelvin or Ms. Pelletier Call 1 (800) 831-9231 and we will mail were around. After “D.J.” left for advanced train- ing I started helping with “Frankie.” What a differ- the card to you. ence between the two, it was like night and day.
  • 4. Page 4 GUIDE DOGS OF TEXAS Fall 2007 Guide Dogs of Texas 6th Annual Charity Golf Tournament Blindfold Putting Contest Guide dogs were not allowed to assist contestants What do you get when you combine a beautiful golf course, fabulous weather, 67 golfers looking for an afternoon of fun, a box lunch followed later by a BBQ dinner with many wonderful prizes and silent auction items?? You get the 6th Annual Guide Dogs of Texas Charity Golf Tournament! The date was September 21st and the course was the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Golf Club and Resort. The fun started with a sponsor party on Thursday night. Friday morning golfers had a chance to practice with a “blind” putting contest after collecting their packed full goodie bags and box lunches. Many thanks go out to, not only the golfers who participated, but to the many volunteers who put in lots of time and effort to make the tourna- ment a success. The GDTx committee thanks you all and hopes to have your support next year when we are looking for an even bigger and better tournament.
  • 5. Fall 2007 GUIDE DOGS OF TEXAS Page 5 Players warm up before Tee Off Winning team from left to right: South Texas Veterinary Specialist Team Mike O’Conner, Janine Fellows and Gary (L to R) Steve Griffith, John Melcher, Andy Hensley Anderson and Steve Wagner GDTX would like to thank our tournament Sponsors Pick of the Litter Sponsor: Hole Sponsors: Coverall Cleaning Concepts Frost Bank Investment Professionals, Inc.- Luci Harty, CFP, AIF Northwood Animal Hospital Concord Property Corporation Puppy Pals Sponsors: Stuart-Griffin-Perlitz Foundation Wal-Mart Foundation Golf Galaxy LTC (Ret.) Robert Kelso Bacon Lee & Associates Marla & Corey Ware (In honor of GDTx Ameriprise Financial Services- Staff) Nancy Guhit Curney, Garcia, Farmer, Pickering & Encino Park Veterinary Clinic House, P.C.
  • 6. Page 6 GUIDE DOGS OF TEXAS Fall 2007 Continued from page 1 “Got Cows?” “Huey” did great. He is now a working We were put in touch with a dairyman that guide dog with his new client prepared for keeps Molly 1 and Molly 2, the spokescows distractions from cows! They even posed for Promised Land Dairy. We arranged a for a picture enjoying a glass of Promised meeting for “Huey” and the Mollies to Land. If you see Promised Land products in meet out at the old homestead. We ex- your grocery, I recommend the Midnight pected a nice fenced pasture that we could Chocolate, it’s a personal favorite! walk up to and introduce from a far. Mr. Gordon Kuenemann had a more up close and personal plan. We drove down the winding road to park, and were greeted by Mr. Kuenemann and his two dogs. “Huey” and Donna enjoy a glass of Promised Land milk Guide Dogs of Texas thanks everyone at Promised Land Dairy for their support and for allowing us to visit and meet Molly “Frankie” poses with Promised Land Milk 1 and Molly 2. We look forward to the next opportunity for “cow-training for We talked a little about what a guide guide dogs!” dog does, and why it’s important they learn to deal with everyday distractions, along with the not so routine cow sighting. Then it was time to meet Molly 1 and Molly 2. I expected to take a walk to a pasture, in- stead he whistled, shook the feed bucket and here they came meandering down the trail right toward us! I’m pretty sure Sarah and I were more worried by the huge Jersey cows than “Huey” was, he even walked up to them while they ate. Sarah even petted them, I just took pictures. The trip was a complete success and Watch for our newly decorated vans!
  • 7. Fall 2007 GUIDE DOGS OF TEXAS Austin a little Tales From the Puppy Side longer, to take care of three baby ducks Its graduation time here in the land of puppies. that had adopted We are proud to announce that “Jade,” “Clover” her. Now the ducks and “Kelsie” have joined the dogs in advanced are grown and training. “Clover” can move onto bigger and bet- ter things. Our third gradu- ate is “Kelsie.” She was raised by Ron and Bobbie Adorno in Austin. She was their first puppy. After a brief stay at Bobbie and Ron with the Prison and the “Kelsie” PAWSitive Ap- proach Program while she awaited space at the ken- nel, “Kelsie” will join Jamie’s team. Congratulations Ignacio and “Jade” to Ron and Bobbie for graduating their first puppy! We are always seeking new people to be Puppy “Jade’s” puppy training was finished in the Raisers. If you would like to participate in the PAWSitive Approach Program after starting in a Puppy Raising Program, please contact Michelle traditional puppy raiser home. Ignacio Torres and Pelletier at the training center or via email at Mi- “Jade” made a GREAT Team. Sarah is looking for- chelle@guidedogsoftexas.org. Guide Dogs of Texas Walk of Independence “Clover” and her baby ducks Join with us to be a part of the GDTx Walk of ward to having “Jade” on her advanced training Independence. Buy an engraved paver today! team. Get your order form at “Clover” was raised in Austin by repeat puppy ww.guidedogsoftexas.org or call 210-366-4081 raiser Tracy Schagen who is now on her third and order your engraved paver today! puppy “Toby.” “Clover” will also be on Sarah’s team in advanced training. “Clover” had to stay in
  • 8. Guide Dogs of Texas Join the Fun! 2nd Annual Save the Date: Casino Night February 23rd 2008 Marriott Plaza San Antonio Mark your calendars! This year’s Guide Dogs of Texas Charity Casino Night will be great fun and will help us continue our mission to raise, train and provide guide dogs to visually impaired Texans. Look for more details soon at www.guidedogsoftexas.org Do you know of someone that would like to receive this newsletter? Let us know! Contacts: Larry Tuttle Executive Director larrytuttle@guidedogsoftexas.org Sandy Merri1l Training Director sandy@guidedogsoftexas.org Michelle Pelletier Puppy Raising Manager michelle@guidedogsoftexas.org Ernie Landy Volunteer Coordinator ernie@guidedogsoftexas.org Or Call 210-366-4081 or 800-831-9231 Permit No. 621 San Antonio, TX 78213 SAN ANTONIO, TX 1503 Allena Drive PAID TEXAS U.S. POSTAGE GUIDE DOGS OF NON PROFIT ORG.