Best Dogs in Sight
Newsletter of Guide Dogs of Texas
A PUBLICATION OF GUIDE DOGS OF TEXAS INC.,
A TEXAS NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
time together, we’ve both become confident in each
other. She’s progressing very nicely in her work.
She doesn’t even yodel as much. Now we are work-
ing on how she behaves when we greet people. I
am confident she will make a great guide dog once
she completes her training.
as the ma-
I would like to give a special thanks to Captain
Carter, Warden Balli, and everyone at Guide Dogs
state jail of-
of Texas for all their support and dedication they
put into this program. I would also like to express
my gratitude to officers Santana and Gutierrez for
six to twenty
their hard work and support. I believe they genu-
inely care for this program and do everything possi-
ble to help lead us beyond the bars.
2006, I had
Did you know that when you shop
nity to be
interviewed at Kroger, Guide Dogs of Texas
Kevin Whitehead and “Kelsie”
can receive a donation.
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.
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
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
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
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
Anderson and Steve Wagner
GDTX would like to thank our tournament Sponsors
Pick of the Litter Sponsor: Hole Sponsors:
Coverall Cleaning Concepts
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-
Nancy Guhit Curney, Garcia, Farmer, Pickering &
Encino Park Veterinary Clinic House, P.C.
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
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!
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
“Clover” can move
onto bigger and bet-
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”
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-
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!
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
Guide Dogs of Texas Join the Fun!
Save the Date:
February 23rd 2008
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
Do you know of someone that would like to receive this newsletter? Let us know!
Contacts: Larry Tuttle Executive Director email@example.com
Sandy Merri1l Training Director firstname.lastname@example.org
Michelle Pelletier Puppy Raising Manager email@example.com
Ernie Landy Volunteer Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org
Or Call 210-366-4081 or 800-831-9231
Permit No. 621 San Antonio, TX 78213
SAN ANTONIO, TX 1503 Allena Drive
GUIDE DOGS OF
NON PROFIT ORG.