Dog Guide Users of New Hampshire
Next Meeting, July 14, 2018
Our next meeting will take place on July 14, 2018 at the Red Blazer Restaurant in Concord, NH. Mark your calendars now so you won’t miss it. Watch for menu selection information on our list serve. If you are not on our list, please contact Carol Holmes, DGUNH President, at 603-434-6042.
One of our own members, Rick Blair, will discuss domestic and international travel with a dog guide. In addition, dog health blogger, Roberta Chadis, will share her suggestions for keeping our guides healthy and happy in hot weather.
April General Meeting Summary
April’s meeting spotlighted Larry Ashford’s and Takashi Nakaya’s trip to the Chubu Guide Dog association of Nagoya Japan guide dog school. Larry shared his eye-opening tour, generously provided by the school’s managers, at the meeting. Larry gifted DGUNH logoed gifts donated by DGUNH’s president Carol Holmes to Mrs. Mizutani from Chubu Guide Dog association. The items included three red water bottles, a cream baseball cap, bookmarks and a group of pamphlets.
In return, Mrs. Mizutani of Chubu guide dog association of Nagoya Japan gave Larry and Takashi a yellow hand towel with their logo gold writing and a brown lab puppy on it, two sets of guide dog stickers, a large group of pinkish-colored plastic bags emblazoned with two black teddy bears and the saying "Let’s have fun," chocolate chip cookies with dog paw prints on them and a set of very colorful bookmarks with five pictures of lab puppy heads along with a saying "Thank You." At the meeting, these items were raffled off.
Chubu guide Dog association’s first guide dog was a Black German Shepherd. He lost a leg in an accident. A statue showing the dog with three legs has been erected. Larry had an opportunity to have his picture taken while standing next to this statue. After the accident, Chubu guide Dog association began to use Labradors, since people were scared and not used to seeing German Shepherds.
Japan has little open space and many areas are extremely crowded. Because of this, service dogs wear devices to capture urine and feces, avoiding the necessity to stop and pick up after the dog. Mrs. Mizutani, head trainer for Chubu guide Dog association demonstrated the system to Larry. It contains two plastic bags attached to the dog’s body, One for urine and one for feces. The urine bag has a small amount of powder that turns the urine into a solid. The bags can be thrown in the burnable trash.
Chubu guide Dog association trains guide dogs to work on both the left and right side of a person. The reason is that it is very difficult to walk and work a guide dog in Japan due to the high volume of pedestrian and foot traffic. They try to keep the guide dog close to the building as much as possible. This is one reason people are still not used to seeing guide dogs working in Japan.
Larry had an opportunity to be guided by one of Chubu guide Dog association’s male yellow labs. First, he had the dog on his left, like most guide’s in the United States. Later, he had the opportunity to switch the dog to his right side.
Chubu guide Dog association has a kennel area that can accommodate about twenty dogs. Dogs are housed in separate kennels. In the kennels they have a door that the dogs can use to go out into a small yard to relive themselves. Larry pet almost all twenty dogs. Big smile! The school also has two cats used in training the guide dogs.
A very special thank you to Takashi Nakaya for taking all the pictures to share.
Janet Akins Award
In tribute to one of DGUNH’s founding members, this award was created to honor Janet Akins’ contribution and memory. This year we were pleased to give this coveted honor to one of our founding members, Joanie Nelson. Joanie has contributed so much to the DGUNH: she created our logo, built and maintained our initial website, and served as vice-president and treasurer for many years. Joanie has worked hard to make the DGUNH a valuable resource for both users and puppy raisers. Her consistent efforts helped expand the reach of this beneficial support/social group. We were so happy to be able to give this special award to Joanie, such a deserving, long-term member.
Hi! My name is Mollie and I am a Seeing Eye® dog.
I was born at the breeding facilities of the Seeing Eye in NJ on November 1, 2008. I guess that makes me a Jersey girl. There were 2 girls and 6 boys in our litter. Both girls were black while all the boys were tan. As is the tradition at the Seeing Eye, all puppies in a litter are named with the same first letter. As you can guess, our letter was “M.” There was Mitch, Milo, Mo and of course me, Mollie, to name a few.
I spent the first 7 weeks of my life at the breeding facility with my mom and siblings, although during the last week we spent more and more time apart. Then one day, I found myself riding in the back seat of a car, sitting on the lap of a 22 year old girl while her parents drove us to my new home. First stop, the extremely large fenced back yard, which I immediately Christened with my digested breakfast.
This family, known as puppy raisers, provided me with a home for the next 16 months. Initially, I learned basic manners, like not going on the furniture, coming when called, remaining calm and of course, the all-important toilet training. As I grew older, I was introduced to public situations, like crowds, busses, stores, learning to ignore people and other dogs, etc.
Every two weeks we would get together with other puppy raiser families and their dogs to work with seeing Eye staff to check on our progress, learn puppy raising skills and to discuss how things were going. I loved to see the other dogs. Sadly, some dogs were removed from the program due to health or temperament issues.
At age 18 months, I returned to the Seeing Eye to complete my training. It was sad to leave my puppy raising family behind, but I quickly bonded with my new trainer named Chris. He taught me all the skills I would need to be a Seeing Eye dog. After four months of intensive guide dog training, I passed my exam and was paired with Rick in august 2010. Sadly, four of my siblings never made the cut. For the next four weeks, Rick and I trained together. Rick was as new at being a guide dog owner as I was to being a guide dog. Initially, we made lots of mistakes together (Rick more than me, I’m sure) but eventually, we both graduated and it was time to fly off to my new home. Although this was my first time on a plane, the practice seats at my school prepared me and I knew just what to do when we got on the plane. I just curled up under the seat in front of Rick. I love to fly. Rick and I have been to 28 states and four countries in our short time together. Later this year, Rick and I will travel to Texas, upping my total to 29.
You may think that I have a rough life since you only see me when I’m working. But when I get home and the harness comes off, I get to act like a normal dog. I have to canine companions at home, a 15 year old Welsh Pembroke Corgi, and a 5 year old English Springer Spaniel. Besides playing tug-or-war with a rope toy, our favorite game to play is to see who can deposit the most amount of fur on the floors between vacuuming.
I only have one pet peeve (get it, PET peeve?) which is when people talk to me or try to pet me when I am working. You would think it was obvious; when my harness is on, I am working. Even if I am sitting still, waiting for my next command from Rick, if my harness is on, I am working. I know that I am hard to ignore, with my saucer like molten chocolate eyes and my coffee table clearing tail wag, but you’re a lot smarter than I am, and if I can be trained to ignore you, then you should be able to ignore me. After all, my job is to keep Rick safe and any interference by you can compromise that.
Well, it’s time for me to go back to work, or maybe I'll take a nap, so like Tigger says, TTFN, Ta Ta For Now!