Meetings and Events
Each year, the Dog Guide Users of New Hampshire (DGUNH) holds three to four general meetings (which includes an annual meeting) plus a Christmas party. Anyone who might be interested in getting a dog guide or service dog is welcome to attend the meetings and learn about what is involved in becoming a service dog user. The Dutch-treat lunch meetings are held at the Red Blazer Restaurant in Concord, NH. The meetings are held on Saturdays from 1:00 to 3:30 PM. Regularly, speakers are brought in to address concerns members might have with their dogs. There is always time for discussion on various dog-related topics anyone might want to bring up. Puppy raisers come regularly to the meetings and are a vital part of the membership.
The annual meeting takes place in April and the agenda includes electing Board of Director or Officer positions and delivering the annual report to the membership.
Special meetings of the membership may be called by the President or elected officers or by written request of five (5) current members of DGUNH.
Meeting Attendance and RSVP
Approximately one month before a planned meeting, an announcement is posted to the group’s list-serve along with proposed agendas. In order for the restaurant to properly configure the meeting room, it is desired that all attendees RSVP. Members can do this by simply replying to the posted meeting announcement. Non-members can send an RSVP email to the DGUNH president.
2019 Meeting Schedule
- April 20 (Annual Meeting)
- July 27
- October 26
- December 7 (Christmas Party)
October 2018 General Meeting Summary
The October meeting was Puppy Raiser Appreciation Day. Without puppy raisers we wouldn’t have guide and service dogs. We had a good attendance of puppy raisers. Thank you to all!
Bill LeBlanc, coordinator and puppy trainer for Guiding Eyes for the Blind, explained the ins and outs of raising a puppy. He also talked about the commitment puppy raisers make and some of the training that takes place.
Scott Mace, coordinator and puppy raiser for Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) told us how CCI puppies are raised to become service dogs, and the commitment each puppy raiser makes.
July 2018 General Meeting Summary
In case you missed our July meeting, Rick Blair, a well-seasoned traveler and member of our group, spoke about domestic and international travel with a guide dog. He gave excellent tips on how to navigate with your guide dog. He also gave 5 steps for reducing travel stress:
- Planning and Preparation
- Security and Landing
We also heard from Roberta Chatis, Dog Health News Blog from Salem, MA. She talked about keeping our dogs healthy in hot weather. We sure needed that advice with the hot summer we had.
April 2018 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.
January 2018 General Meeting Summary
If you missed The January, 2018 general meeting, you missed a fascinating overview of dog guide use in Japan. Takashi Nakaya, our special guest speaker, detailed puppy raising, training for both guides and users, and guide dog discrimination in Japan. Takashi provided travel tips and suggestions for assistance for guide dog users who will be travelling to Japan. In addition, Takashi brought signs, gloves, keychains and light-up collars from Japanese guide dog organizations, which were raffled off to meeting attendees.
Reading of Proclamation
A small group of consumers and advocates gather monthly to identify events that will inform and educate. This culminated on October 25, 2017 with a personal reading of the proclamation from Governor Chris Sununu where he recognized October as "White Cane and Dog Guide Users Awareness Month." The Proclamation was read to an audience prior to the Governor and Council meeting. It took place at 10:00 AM in the council chambers at the State House in Concord.
Squam Lake Pontoon Boat Tour
About forty dog guide handlers, puppy raisers and four-legged counterparts gathered together on September 10, 2017 at Squam Lakes Natural Science Center in Holderness, NH. We enjoyed a descriptive cruise of Squam Lake on two pontoon boats, and then some gathered for lunch afterward at Walter’s Basin. Beautiful weather and a great time was enjoyed by all. It was a great chance for Puppy Raisers to be motivated about their goals in training and also for Dog Guide Handlers to be reminded about all of the hard work that helps to form their dog guides.
The boat captains regaled attendees with historic facts about the area and its wildlife. Most notable is that the Movie 'On Golden Pond,' starring Henry Fonda was partially filmed on Squam Lake.