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Harness Up

Fall 2000 A publication of the National Association of Guide Dog Users A division of the National Federation of the Blind Editor: Eugenia Firth


President's Message Page 1 by Suzanne Whalen Editor's Notes Page 9 by Eugenia (Gigi) Firth, Editor WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN ... Page 10 PARKING PROBLEMS? by Eugenia Firth Canine Health Page 13 by Dolores Holle, VMD Overcoming Obesity Brad Page 15 by Toni and Ed Eames Swimming Was Her Passion! Page 18 by Toni Eames THE END OF THE VISION Page 21 Editorial by Suzanne Whalen and Eugenia Firth Reviewed by Karla Westjohn, Attorney At Law Brief History of Canine Vision Assumption 4: Anyone can train a guide dog. A Nose for News Page 33 by Toni and Ed Eames MINUTES, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF GUIDE DOG USERS Page 38 Presidential Report Page 43 by Suzanne Whalen National Association of Guide Dog Users Officers Page 44

President's Message

by Suzanne Whalen What a pleasure it was to see so many of our members in Atlanta! I always get a charge out of spending time with longtime, faithful friends! What a delight it was to welcome our new members to NAGDU! We hope you'll be a part of our NAGDU family for years to come! As you can tell from this issue of Harness Up, there really is truth to the old saying: "The more things change, the more they stay the same." Your NAGDU Board remains the same, having all been re-elected to another two-year term. I am your President, and I count it a privilege and a blessing to serve. To those who voted in the election, I am humbled and honored by your vote of confidence. However, I could not administer the affairs of this rapidly growing division without the assistance of our capable Board. Dana Ard remains your Vice-President; Gigi Firth continues as your Secretary; and Priscilla Ferris has to be the best Treasurer any President can have. Since I am also Treasurer of another division within the Federation, I have gained even more respect for the importance of what Priscilla does for us. All three of these ladies put in many hours on behalf of our division. They bring many excellent ideas and much initiative and creativity to the tasks at hand, and they are always ready and willing whenever I call upon them. You have chosen well in re-electing Dana, Gigi, and Priscilla. I take this opportunity to say, here and now, to my three Board members: Thank you, ladies, for everything you do. You make my job as President a lot easier than it would otherwise be. Working with you makes it enjoyable. The change has occurred in the editorship of Harness Up. Increasing professional responsibilities have made it necessary for Karla Westjohn to resign as Editor, and she did so in Atlanta. Karla has edited this newsletter for two years, and I trust everyone will agree with me that the quality of the material which has appeared in these pages is first rate. Karla, thank you for your hard work. I hope you will still find time to write for Harness Up. For that matter, I wish more of you folks out there would write for Harness Up! If it has to do with guide dogs, we want to read it! Karla mentioned to me one time that somebody should write an article about obedience for Harness Up. "Well," I said casually, "why not you?" The result was the excellent two-article series on obedience which Karla wrote. Several members commented to me on how valuable and informative those articles were for them. You don't have to be a guide dog instructor, though we certainly welcome articles from instructors. You don't have to be an expert on anything, though each of us is in fact an expert on his or her own dog if nothing else. You don't have to be the author of a best-seller. You're not writing to impress literary critics or your old high school or college English teacher! Come on! You're among friends here! If you've always wanted to see an article on a particular subject in Harness Up, write it yourself! Or, get together with a few friends and co-author it! I've said it before, and I'll say it again: This is our division. It belongs to each and every one of us, not just to a few people or to the officers or to the Harness Up editor. By the same token, Harness Up is our newsletter. It stands to reason that it will be even better than it now is if it has more authors contributing their individual writing styles and their experiences related to some aspect of life with a guide dog. If variety is the spice of life, then let's all do our part to "spice up" Harness Up. Besides, our new editor needs help. You will notice that the deadline for submitting articles to this issue of Harness Up was later than before. This will be a one-time thing. The next deadline for Harness Up will be set for April 15, 2001, tax day! Initially, Liz Campbell had agreed to serve as Harness Up editor following Karla's resignation. But she has found that she is unable to continue. I am sorry to lose Liz in this capacity. Her idea for a feature called WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN is an example of the creativity she could have brought us as editor. Liz has assured me that she will continue to contribute articles to Harness Up, and I hope she will. Gigi Firth will be our new editor. Those of you who are on the list know what a great job she has done as moderator, and as the writer of many informative posts. Welcome aboard Gigi. I know you will do a great job. As most of you know, we did a number of new things as a division during convention. I want your feedback on how you think it went. Please write to me, in any format, including regular print, Braille, cassette, or computer disk. I do not yet have E-mail (the E-mail address which appeared for me in the last issue of Harness Up is incorrect), but I do have a computer and a Braille 'n Speak. So that you don't have to find them elsewhere in the issue, let me repeat my address and phone number here in this message. My address is 9411 Mixon Drive, Apartment 127, Dallas, Texas 75220, and my phone number is 214-357-2829. Tell me what you liked. Tell me what you didn't like. Tell me if you want to know why we did or didn't have certain policies. Tell me what you think we should not do again. Tell me what you think we can do better. If you perceived a problem, and you have a possible solution, please share it with me. Your comments, suggestions, complaints, criticisms, and compliments will be discussed at our Board meetings throughout the year, and they will help shape the recommendations we make to Mrs. Jernigan and Dr. Maurer. Were the volunteers at the NAGDU Information Table helpful? Were the orientation sessions conducted by instructors from the schools useful? In your opinion, is there a way we can co-ordinate the orientation sessions better in years to come so that even more people who wish to do so can take advantage of them? Did you use the dog-sitting service, and was it helpful? Did the relief areas live up to your expectations? I think we had fewer messes in elevators and other public areas in the hotel than we've had in previous years. I know this is because most people, as always, were responsible handlers. It's also because Ed and Toni Eames broke all their previous records for the number of volunteers they recruited, and because we paid for one more staff person to handle the relief areas and relieving problems. I believe there were fewer instances of unattended dogs left in hotel rooms. When this did happen, and it was reported to me, the individuals involved were very co-operative. I'm sure I will be notified by Mrs. Jernigan about whether or not the hotel staff had fewer problems concerning our dogs than they apparently had in 1999, and I'll share that information with you when I can. To everybody who co-operated and worked to make this a smooth convention, thank you so very much. One problem I saw which we should work on was registration. First of all, there was a big confusion which I guess I should have expected but didn't, so I'd like to clear it up now. I'll clear it up again in an upcoming issue of The Braille Monitor. I'll mention it again in the Spring Harness Up, so here goes. For guide dog users, after you check in at the hotel, the first place we'd like you to register is at the NAGDU Information Table. Please note well: When you stop by the NAGDU Information Table, we will chat with you, we will offer you a bag of goodies, we will offer you flea control only if you need it, we will ask you what hotel you're staying in so we can be sure we have enough coverage for relief issues, but the one thing we will never do at the NAGDU Information Table is ask you for money, unless we have a raffle like we did this year and we're selling raffle tickets there. So when you stop by the NAGDU Information Table, much as we love to see your smiling face, that does not make you a member of the division. Registering at the NAGDU Information Table is not the same thing as registering for membership in the division. Which brings me to the second place we'd like you to register: right before the first actual NAGDU meeting. When you register at the meeting, and you pay your fifteen dollars, and you tell us your address, and you tell us in what format you'd like to receive Harness Up, then, and only then, are you a member of the division. These are two separate and distinct registrations. I say this because at the 2000 Convention, we had several people who, when it came time to register at the meeting, insisted they didn't have to do that because they had already stopped by the NAGDU Information Table in the lobby of the Marriott. This was an incorrect assumption on their part. If you want to join the division, you must pay your dues and register at the meeting. Think of it another way. The NFB has a Federation Information Desk throughout the convention, but just because you stop there to ask for assistance or whatever, that doesn't mean you've registered for convention and bought your banquet ticket. You haven't done that till you've stood in that long line and paid your ten dollars, plus more if you want a banquet ticket. It's the same thing with NAGDU. We want to see you at the NAGDU Information Table; please feel welcome there any time; but to join the division, you must pay your dues and provide us with your address and all that other good stuff. The Seeing Eye donated just the absolutely cutest, most adorable little Labrador retriever Beanie Baby, complete with his own miniature replica of a Seeing Eye harness and an accompanying Seeing Eye mug, into which he fits very nicely. His name is Luke. No, he's not named in honor of Seeing Eye Community Instructor Lukas Franck, as I had thought; the Beanie Baby people actually named him Luke. Apparently, Beanie Babies come prenamed. We raffled him off as a NAGDU fundraiser. We earned two hundred eighty-one dollars in ticket sales and donations, and his new mama is Dana Ard. Congratulations, Dana, and thank you, Dave Loux and The Seeing Eye. We had a serious crisis facing us this year in NAGDU. Whatever else useful we do in this division, and we will do a great deal, solving this one is now and will continue to be right at the top of the list in terms of its significance. There was a place in Villa Rica, Georgia, not far from Atlanta, called Canine Vision. Please read the article elsewhere in this issue. There is a movie called A Clear and Present Danger, and I am not joking in the least when I say that that phrase says it all when you think of Canine Vision. Canine Vision tried to pass itself off as a reputable guide dog school; yet it failed to meet even minimal standards for training guide dog teams, preparation of instructors, and humane care of dogs. Canine Vision posed a threat to the safety of anyone who used or who chooses to continue to use one of their dogs. Canine Vision exploited the blind for publicity purposes in a manner which reflects the kind of custodialism that we in the Federation have fought to stamp out. Years ago, Dr. Jernigan said when speaking of the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped (NAC) that we would either reform NAC or kill it. As history has shown, NAC was beyond reform, and we are well on the way to killing it. The same situation existed with Canine Vision. Please read the accompanying article and judge for yourselves. One thing is certain. As so often happens, the NFB has led the cavalry in this fight. The schools were and are appalled by everything about Canine Vision, and five of them in particular: Guiding Eyes for the Blind, The Seeing Eye, Southeastern Guide Dogs, Guide Dog Foundation, and Guide Dogs for the Blind, are coming to the rescue of Canine Vision graduates, evaluating the teams, providing retraining where possible, and helping graduates replace their dogs when the team cannot be salvaged. As I understand the plan, drawn up under Southeastern's leadership, each graduate will receive a separate evaluation from the instructional staffs of two of the above-named schools. If both instructors feel that the team can be made safe, and the graduate wishes to undergo retraining, the graduate will choose which school to attend. If neither instructor feels that the team can be made safe, the graduate will be told the truth, and can choose either to continue using his or her dog and assuming all risks, or to get another dog from an acceptable school of his or her choice. If only one of the two schools evaluating the situation feels the team can be made safe, that school will offer to do the retraining. In any event, Canine Vision graduates will not have their dogs taken away against their will. For the first time in their guide dog using experience, they will have the chance to make a truly informed decision. But consumers had the highest stakes and the most to lose if Canine Vision survived unchallenged and unchanged, and consumers were in the forefront of finally exposing this school for what it was, exposing it to its own Board and to its community, and making sure it was closed down. I don't suppose I need to tell you which consumer group acted; everyone who is a member of NAGDU should take pride in what our division has done. Gigi and I spoke with Dr. Maurer during convention, and he promised the full support of the NFB. He gave us the green light to go as far as we needed to go in investigating Canine Vision, in publicizing its misconduct, in writing resolutions against it, in doing everything necessary to get Canine Vision either to clean up its act or close down. The only thing Dr. Maurer asked is that we speak and write only the truth, and this we absolutely have done and intend to continue to do. As Dr. Jernigan has so often said, "We want no strife or confrontation, but we will do what we have to do." As I think you will see from the accompanying article, Sally Sue Bradley, the Founder and Executive Director of Canine Vision, absolutely refused to work with NAGDU despite numerous attempts on our part to get her to do so. She also refused to listen to any professionals from established schools who repeatedly attempted to help her improve the quality of her program. We in the National Federation of the Blind absolutely insist on having a voice in all matters affecting the blind. Agencies which purport to serve the blind cannot operate in a vacuum. If we can get them to behave responsibly by negotiation and education, then, of course, we will do that. When this is not possible, we will use all legal means at our disposal, including action in the press and in the courts when appropriate, to see that they either improve their conduct or, if necessary, close down. It's as simple as that. Mrs. Bradley should not have doubted our resolve. Canine Vision is now closed down, and the personal safety and the public image of blind people are better for it. Now a note on another topic. As those who attended the Sunday evening meeting of NAGDU will remember, Dr. Zaborowski and Mr. Gashel came to speak to the division about the Federation's Capital Campaign. Dana Ard made a motion that we consider giving a donation, as a division, only if we could be assured that there would be a dog relieving area on the grounds of the facility so that people wouldn't have to cross the street, as they do now, to go to a city park, day or night, in that rundown neighborhood. I won't go into all the debate that surrounded that motion, or that surrounded Paul Kay's subsequent motion that we as a division give five thousand dollars over five years, but both motions were eventually withdrawn. Mr. Gashel and Dr. Zaborowski said they'd make sure that the idea of constructing a dog relief area at least gets looked into. We ended the discussion when our visitors said that their intention had not been to ask the division directly for a donation. Rather, they were visiting all the divisions, using the division meetings as one more means of making members aware of the Capital Campaign and urging them to think seriously about their own individual pledges. Later, at the banquet, everyone in attendance was invited to make pledges to the Capital Campaign. Folks were shouting out the amounts they wished to give, and Dr. Maurer was repeating them from the head table. Ed and Toni Eames gave a personal pledge, to be used to construct a dog relief area on the grounds of the Federation's property. This pledge was incorrectly credited to NAGDU, and man, did I hear about it! People have been calling me wanting to know why I authorized a pledge from NAGDU when we never voted to do it. Well, good people, I didn't. Furthermore, I wouldn't. Personally, I happen to agree that we need a relief area on the Federation's property. But my personal opinion doesn't matter. My actions as President represent this division. So I am correcting the error, both here and in the Monitor. The pledge was from the Eameses, not from NAGDU. Again, I invite everybody to consider what you personally are going to do with respect to the Capital Campaign, but the division will not be making a pledge from division funds unless you vote to have it so. I will conclude this message on a personal note. I continue to work to try to get well after my fall in a manhole in the park across the street from the National Center for the Blind in Baltimore in February. However, as I write this on October 24, I have experienced some medical setbacks, and am now given a 50-50 chance of walking and standing without pain and without doing further damage. Therefore, if I'm ever going to use a guide dog again, I came to the conclusion that I would have to learn to use a guide dog while working from a wheelchair. This still seems a bit hard for me to believe: I actually took a six-mile walk with Caddo just before my accident; but in this life, you have to deal with things as they are, not as they were, and not as you hope or wish they would be. My dog Caddo, whom I had just gotten a year ago following our 1999 convention, has been boarded and worked for me at The Seeing Eye. The only guide dog school in this country that trains dogs to work with blind people in wheelchairs is Southeastern Guide Dogs, Inc., in Florida. I spoke at great length, many times, to representatives from both schools. I got representatives from both schools to talk to each other. The upshot is that Southeastern is training Caddo to guide me using an electric wheelchair. Caddo arrived there on July 25, and he has been doing fabulously! When I think of the depth and the extent of Southeastern's generosity in doing this, it overwhelms me. Southeastern would have been perfectly within their right to say, "Sorry. Caddo wasn't trained by us. We'll train you with one of our dogs, but we're not trying to evaluate a dog from somewhere else." But they didn't say that. They have been most gracious. They've given him one of their best dogs as a kennel mate to play with. Ironically, his current playmate's name is Buddy. Since Caddo was originally trained at The Seeing Eye, this is fitting, since the first dog The Seeing Eye put out in 1929 was named Buddy. As it turns out, to add to the irony, the Southeastern supporter who sponsored Caddo's playmate Buddy, who is a male Lab, also sponsored a female named Buddy, both in honor of The Seeing Eye's Buddy! If Caddo passes the training, I will go to Southeastern for 26 days of class, plus, they will send an instructor home to Dallas with me for two to four additional weeks of further training. As of now, it looks as though I will be in the class which begins on January 8, 2001. The other amazing thing Southeastern is doing is that they are working with a wheelchair manufacturer to provide me, at no charge, with a motorized wheelchair for as long as I need it. Caddo and I will be the first guide dog team to graduate from two schools during the working relationship. People change schools all the time, for a variety of reasons, but they get a different dog from each school. Caddo and I, on the other hand, will be considered active graduates of two schools at once! That's kind of special! I'll be getting newsletters from both schools, etc. But what is also awesome is that this opens the door, I hope, to more such co-operation between schools. I have spoken to four people in the past month alone who have been blind from birth or early childhood and who, later in adult life, suffered accidents or illnesses which have made it necessary for them to use wheelchairs. All of them had used guide dogs before needing wheelchairs. All of them despaired of ever regaining independent mobility with a guide dog again. When I told them about Southeastern, they dared to hope again. The sad thing is that if I had not already known through a friend of mine who went to Southeastern that they train dogs to work with blind people in wheelchairs, I would never have called them; I did not get this information first from The Seeing Eye. How many blind people are out there with multiple disabilities who could benefit from using a guide dog but who don't know the opportunity exists? I hope everyone has a great autumn and that winter is not too unkind to you. As hot as it was in Dallas this past summer, I can't even imagine the existence of winter, but it will be here before we know it. I'll chat with you again in the spring issue. Until then, may you all have a very joyous and blessed holiday season. Give your furry friends a pat for me.

Editor's Notes

by Eugenia (Gigi) Firth, Editor Most of you know me as the Secretary of your division. President Whalen has appointed me also as the editor of Harness Up. I am glad to serve as your editor, and I hope you enjoy these articles. If you wish to submit articles for Harness Up, I am equipped to accept them in any format you care to use except handwritten print. Computer disks are most welcome because I will not have to input your article by hand. Also, you may send articles to me by E-mail as well. My E-mail address is firthg@primenet.com. My home address is 1019 Martinique, Dallas, Texas 75223. I look forward to reading your articles. As Suzanne said, don't be shy! We're all friends here, and you only have to be an expert on your own dog. Elizabeth Campbell, one of our members, had a good idea. She proposed that we feature, in every issue of Harness Up, a column called WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN? Since I think this is a wonderful idea, one which would benefit our members, I'm going to start the ball rolling with this issue of Harness Up. I wrote an article for our new column on relieving problems with my dog, Dolly and what I did to solve those problems. Although I have been working guide dogs for thirty-one years, I don't claim to know everything there is to know on this subject or anything else. However, I hope what I've written here will give someone else experiencing the same problems with their dog an idea for dealing with it. Let me give you some possible topics we might cover in our new column, just in case some of you out there get itchy fingers to write. We could put articles in the column on sniffing, distractibility, scavenging, discouraging petting and other forms of interference, and other topics which I haven't thought of yet. I need as much help as I can get to inform our members about working issues. Some of you on our list write wonderful posts all the time on subjects affecting guide dog use. Let's let others benefit who can't join our list.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN ...

PARKING PROBLEMS? by Eugenia Firth The term "park," for those of you non-Seeing Eye graduates, is Seeing Eye lingo for the relief area. Over the years, I have used the term as both a noun and a verb. I personally like the term better than "the relief area," so I'll use it throughout this article. Several people have asked me about their dogs' parking problems and what they ought to do about them. Having recently been through parking problems with my new dog, Dolly, let me tell you what I did to resolve them. I know the frustration this problem can engender in the harried master or mistress. Let me begin by describing Dolly's parking problems. While I was in Morristown, she didn't have any. When I got home, however, things developed that were not pleasing to me at all. When I first tried to take her off the leash stage two weeks after returning home, she started presenting me with puddles on the floor. She started doing this whenever I wasn't paying close enough attention to her or when she was excited by play and by new people coming in the door. Also, when we were in the park, she absolutely wouldn't go. We also had a few number two accidents in harness, especially toward the end of the working day if we did too much walking. Needless to say, I wasn't pleased by this turn of affairs, but also I had been through these same problems with my other dogs. I started out by doing all the things that I had done with my other dogs. I restricted her freedom for as much as a week. I stayed out in the park for a long time to give her as much opportunity as possible. I made her walk around to keep her from enjoying the sights of the neighborhood instead of getting the parking job over. Through all of that, I tried to remain patient. After a while, I started calling The Seeing Eye to see if they had any ideas I hadn't thought of trying. I was told to be sure and keep the frustration out of my voice or else I'd make the problem worse. I decided the usual procedure, whenever your dog has violated housebreaking rules, should be followed. This meant that, whenever Dolly had an indiscretion in the house, I'd punish her as much as I dared and then take her immediately to park. Of course, she seldom produced anything out there because she had already done it. However, it was necessary to take her there to relay the message that the house was not the park. I'm sure her puppy raiser had taught her that, but she thought she'd change the rules in my house. I finally hit upon a procedure which seems to be working so far. Since I was spending a lot of time in the park with no results, I decided to force Dolly to perform out in the park. So she would produce enough liquid for her number 1, I started adding a great deal of water to her food. If you have a finicky eater, this procedure won't work, but Dolly dotes on her food and will eat it regardless of what I do to it. I have found that if I do this, I must take her out twice in the morning before I go to work. However, it also has speeded up her park at lunchtime. Before this, I was spending half my lunch period in the park. To control her number 2 accidents, I found I absolutely needed to monitor what she was putting out. I determined, after observing her usual schedule, that Dolly needed to go twice a day on days when she was working. I only had to do this a few times, but I needed to do a procedure which a lot of people call matching. For those of you who don't know, this involves inserting either matches or Q-tips in the same location a vet uses for taking your dog's temperature. I like to use Q-tips because they are softer, and I do this procedure very slowly so I'll know if I'm hurting my dog. If you use Q-tips, you need to use two. This method has the desired effect of opening the proper muscle and letting you control where your dog goes. Some of these new dogs are under a great deal of stress, so they tend to tighten their muscles too much. A lot of walking can stimulate that muscle just when you don't want it stimulated, and an accident occurs. I only had to do this four or five times to Dolly before she got the idea that when she needed to go she'd better walk around in the park enough to get things going. Also, I have found that by adding the water to her food, she will do both on the second trip out to the park. In the past, I have changed my dog's diet to control number 2 accidents in harness. Dolly, however, is already eating a premium food, Iams chunks. Therefore, I decided that this time a diet change was not going to work. It did work with my second dog and with my fifth dog, Bianca. With Bianca, I also did the two park trips in the morning, once when I first got up and then again just before leaving for work. Now let me address another issue, correction for park indiscretions in harness. My second dog, a few times in her working career, was notorious for walking and emptying at the same time. Back then, I used to give severe corrections for emptying in harness. However, I no longer give severe corrections for this lapse. I was sitting in a NAGDU meeting several years back when Brad Scott addressed the group concerning emptying accidents. He pointed out to the group that, if you gave severe corrections for this, your dog would start walking and going at the same time. What he said made sense to me. Unknowingly, I had encouraged my second dog to do this by my actions. Occasionally, even though I have followed the procedures listed above, Dolly still finds it necessary to go. This is especially true during a long walk in the neighborhood. She has learned, because I have given her some voice correction, to give me a signal so that I will know she is in distress. First, she stops suddenly for no reason at all. When I get her going again, she does it again a few feet further down the sidewalk. Usually, I get the point the third time, and I take her harness off. By the way, I always take my dog's harness off for parking so that she gets the message that we must stop and have it removed first before she is allowed to take time off. I believe this procedure helps to discourage accidents in harness as well. It's a good idea to control the parking schedule yourself as much as possible instead of having your dog to control it.

Canine Health

by Dolores Holle, VMD

Overcoming Obesity (Reprinted from The Seeing Eye Guide, Winter 2000.) Now that the holiday season has passed many of us begin to think seriously about our waistlines! While we're at it, we might as well evaluate our dog's waistline, too. You can actually feel if your dog is overweight. Stand over him and run your hands along either side, from just behind his shoulders to his hips. You should be able to feel a distinct waistline just behind his ribcage. If you have to poke and prod to feel something that might be a rib, or if you feel no difference in the width from shoulders to hips, your dog is obese. Obesity is the state of being overweight. It can result in significant health problems and a shortened lifespan. Of concern for dog guides is the development of joint problems like arthritis and stress-induced knee injuries. Other problems include respiratory ailments, increased surgical risk, and heat intolerance. Obesity can be a result of hypothyroidism, but the most common cause is simply eating too much and not exercising enough. Does this sound at all familiar? We humans face the very same issues. If you realize that your dog is overweight, and he hasn't seen his veterinarian within six months, take him in for a complete physical exam to rule out other causes of weight gain (abdominal fluid accumulation, masses or hormonal causes) before starting a diet. The keys to weight reduction for a healthy dog, as for a healthy person, are dietary management and adequate exercise. Don't expect instantaneous results. Depending on how overweight your dog is, it could take from eight weeks to eight months to attain goal weight. Rapid weight loss isn't likely, nor is it desirable. A weight loss of about two percent a week is realistic and healthy. Feed your dog enough to sustain his goal weight, not his current weight. Your veterinarian can tell you what the goal weight for your dog is. You can then reduce the amount of food in his regular diet or switch gradually to a reduced calorie diet. Reducing the regular diet may be all that is necessary if your dog is only a couple of pounds overweight. If your dog is more than five pounds overweight, a reducing diet will probably be advantageous. There are many quality commercially prepared diets on the market. Among these are Hills-r/d, Eukanuba's Restricted Calorie and Purina's CNM Om Formula. Once your dog has achieved his desired goal, you might consider one of the formulations for less active dogs to help him maintain his weight loss. It is best to eliminate dog treats that are part of your dog's daily routine, but if you feel terribly guilty about eliminating them you do have options. Replace treats with pieces of diet kibble, subtract the calorie content of the treat from the calorie content of his meal, or replace fatty treats with raj vegetable snacks. As you may know from personal experience, it's difficult to lose weight without exercise. If your dog is sedentary and spends most of his snuggled asleep under your desk, extending your daily trips or adding additional routes will greatly improve the chances of reaching the desired weight loss goal. A lean and fit dog has a much greater likelihood of a long working life. The exercise will be good for both of you and you'll be partners in fitness. Happy trails!

Brad

by Toni and Ed Eames

Editor's note:

This article was previously published in Dog World, March, 2000.) In this year of 2000, both of us will celebrate the fifth anniversaries of partnership with our Golden Retriever guide dogs Echo and Escort. Trained at Leader Dogs for the Blind in Rochester, Michigan, they were brought to us for home training by then Director of Training, Brad Scott. Although our careers as advocates, writers and lecturers have taken us to more than two dozen states in the last few years, Brad's emerging career path took him half way around the world to Asia. Following his resignation from Leader Dogs in the fall of 1997, Brad embarked on an exciting new venture. The Samsung Guide Dog School for the Blind in South Korea, hired him as a consultant to oversee and prepare their fledgling guide dog training program. Samsung, one of the largest corporations in Korea, is involved in many animal-related community activities and programs benefiting the more than 42 million Korean citizens. Among these are a Search and Rescue Dog? training facility, a by Pet Therapy Program? and a by Service Dog? training program for physically disabled Koreans. In the early 90s Samsung representatives toured some of the guide dog programs in the United States, and then established a training center in 1993. Some farm buildings on the outskirts of Seoul were converted into office space, kennels and dormitory rooms. Several employees of the corporation were selected to initiate an apprenticeship program. Two recruits were sent to New Zealand for training and four others remained in Seoul to be supervised by an experienced American trainer hired for that purpose. Since Samsung was applying for membership in the International Federation of Guide Dog Schools (IFGDS), it needed an experienced trainer on staff. After the first American trainer's contract ended, Brad was hired to continue to steer Samsung toward its goal of membership in this organization established to develop and maintain uniform standards of quality guide dog training throughout the world. On Brad's initial trip to Korea in February 1998, he encountered a major case of culture shock. His housing was in an area far removed from visiting tourists and in the course of his six week stay he only had four encounters with non-Koreans. A Samsung employee who spoke English was assigned to him during his working schedule, but during much of the time he was on his own. As a committed computer user, he spent a lot of time corresponding by e-mail with his family, the two of us and other friends. Struck by the cultural differences, Brad recognized guide dog training had to be modified to fit the Korean lifestyle. Since many Koreans sleep on the floor, frequent grooming was encouraged to limit dog hair at home and in hotels. Dogs had to be highly trained on food avoidance, since Koreans traditionally sit on the floor while eating their meals on low tables. Brad, a mid-Western meat and potatoes man, quipped that it might not have been good training, but good sense on the part of the dogs in refusing to be enticed by the raw fish and spicy food being served! Brad's culinary saving grace was a nearby Hardy's which served hamburgers and French fries. With the language barrier, he gave up on, by Hold the lettuce and tomatoes!? From his first exposure to the program, Brad was struck by the high level of training received by the dogs. Trainers were totally dedicated to their work and constantly looking to Brad for more information and more instruction. Instead of the usual four month training period found in the United States, Korean dogs trained for six to eight months before being matched with a student. The result, according to Brad, was that the average dog in training went out on three to four times as many trips during this period as their counterparts in this country. When the time came for the apprentices to work their dogs under blindfold to get the dogs used to guiding a blind person, they responded with enthusiasm. Brad noted the high esteem in which teachers are held, and was somewhat embarrassed when every time he had something to say, the four apprentices brought out their notebooks and make copious entries. At the start of the program in 1993, suitable guide dog candidates and breeding stock were obtained from the New Zealand guide dog school. One of the hurdles faced by the Samsung training staff and blind students was the public's reaction to large breed dogs. Toy dogs and other small breeds have become very popular in Korea, and many people carry their pets with them into stores, malls and other public places. People were fascinated by the to them large yellow Labradors and Labrador/Golden crosses used in the guide dog program. Wherever Brad, the trainers and students traveled, large crowds of onlookers gathered to watch them work. Despite lack of access laws, guide dogs were accepted in restaurants and stores and on public transportation. Brad suggested that with all of the public education and history of guide dog use in America, Leader Dog graduates had more access problems with restaurants and shops than did their South Korean counterparts. Guide dogs in Korea work under tough conditions. Where there are sidewalks, frequently they are narrow and extremely congested. Since parking in the city is at a premium, cars are parked extending into intersections and pedestrian crosswalks. Sometimes they are even parked on the sidewalks. In some suburban areas there are wide sidewalks with easy street crossings. In other areas, buildings jut out to the roadside, ditches line the side of the road and traffic, including heavy trucks, moves along at high speeds. While Brad walked these routes with his heart in his mouth, the dogs, trainers and students handled these conditions with aplomb! Another challenge faced by the Korean guide dog is the large number of stray and unleashed dogs in many neighborhoods. Brad was amazed at the very low level of dog distraction shown by the dogs going through training. In part, he attributed this to the procedure followed in kenneling the dogs. Kennel space is at a premium, so frequently two dogs share a single kennel. Kennel mates are rotated, so all the dogs learn to tolerate all the others in residence. Brad described walks where there were so many loose dogs it was impossible to shoo them all away. To his delight and amazement, the seasoned guides disregarded the yipping critters running around them and maintained their concentration on the work to be done. An area in which Brad focused his attention was the selection of suitable blind applicants, choosing the most appropriate dogs for them, overseeing the team training process and working on aftercare visits. With over 200 applicants for dogs, the staff can be selective in accepting students with a high level of need and a good chance of success. In one class of four supervised by Brad, two women were college students, another a massage therapist and one a business owner. In another all male class he supervised, one student was a fortune teller, another an acupuncturist and another a massage therapist. In Korea, like some other Asian countries, massage therapy is an occupation only open to blind people. Realizing the success of team training was frequently based on initial experiences of graduates when they returned home from school, Brad initiated a program of immediate follow up. With the large number of instructors for each class, graduates were accompanied home by a trainer who spent a minimum of three days working on familiar routes. This immediate post-class follow up is a model being adopted by many members of the IFGDS. Following Brad's fourth and final visit, the Samsung Guide Dog School for the Blind was evaluated by IFGDS and accepted into full membership. Brad, who is now working for The Seeing Eye of Morristown, New Jersey, as a mid-Western Regional Representative, looks back with great pride in his role of helping this program meet the high standards demanded by the International Federation. He also has fond memories of a dedicated training staff and corporation committed to providing blind Koreans with greater independence, safety and a better quality of life through partnership with guide dogs.

Swimming Was Her Passion!

by Toni Eames Editor's note:

This article was previously published in Dog World, January, 2000.) I didn't want to face the fact that Ivy, my faithful Golden Retriever guide for eleven years, was growing old. Since I could not see the whitening of my Golden girl's muzzle, I was not confronted by the visual image of her aging. She had slowed down, but so had I and we were like perfectly matched book ends. Over the years, Ivy had developed into a meticulous guide, Intuitively recognizing my pervasive fear of losing my balance and falling. Feeling her subtle signals through the harness handle, I confidently negotiated environments as diverse as the subway system in New York City, the buses in Tel Aviv and major airports throughout the world. Her cautious approach to stairs, curbs and uneven footing was the hallmark of the effectiveness of our working partnership. When her caution bordered on hesitancy, I became uneasy and knew there was something drastically wrong. Ivy, the consummate professional, began occasionally failing to stop at curbs and appeared confused when entering a darkened theater from a well- lit lobby. Fearing for my safety, I consulted with a veterinary ophthalmologist and received the devastating news that Ivy had completely lost vision in one eye. This 1993 Delta Society Guide Dog of the Year award winner had continued to expertly perform her duties with such brilliance, I was unaware she was functioning with limited vision. Unwilling to prematurely break the bond, I continued to work with Ivy, Unrealistically hoping her vision would stabilize and we would continue our partnership for many more months. With this thought, my husband Ed and I flew to Washington, DC to attend the joint conference of the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners and Assistance Dogs International. Living up to my expectations, Ivy expertly guided me on the crowded metropolitan streets and within the hotel. However, on the third day of the conference, Ivy's remaining vision drastically deteriorated, and I felt my world was crumbling. Although she was able to safely guide me in the narrow hotel corridors, when entering the open lobby, she appeared confused and disoriented. When I took her out for relief at dusk, she seemed particularly unsure of herself. Not wanting to put pressure on or endanger myself, I relied on sighted human guides and did not ask my faithful Golden Retriever to guide me for the rest of the trip. Following the conference, we were scheduled to visit Ann Strathern, a long-term friend in nearby Maryland. My spirits were somewhat lifted knowing Ivy, a passionate water lover, would have the chance to swim in Ann's pool. Several years earlier, when Ann and her family purchased their property in Maryland, strict rules were established about water rights. The pool was for the exclusive use of humans, while the pond was for the canine corps. Shortly after Ivy became my guide, we took a trip to visit Ann. While I cavorted in the pool with Ann's children, Ivy joined Ann's Golden Retrievers in a fed paddock adjacent to the pool. Suddenly, I heard a loud splash as Ivy, not recognizing the rules of the house, jumped the five foot fence to get her share of water aerobics. Having been placed back in the paddock, Ivy's water passion was not to be denied! If the pool was off limits, the pond was not! Jumping the fence in the other direction, Ivy indulged her swimming passion in the designated dog area. For the rest of that visit and subsequent visits to Ann's home, when Ivy was off leash, I allowed her to cavort in the water. Arriving in Maryland after the conference, I was surprised to learn the rules at Ann's had been relaxed, and dogs were now invited to join humans in the pool. During this latest visit, I was concerned Ivy, with her limited vision, might injure herself trying to get to the water. Not to worry! Since Ivy was familiar with the house and property, she used her residual vision to run around the yard and quickly found the pool. To my dismay, when a floating boat bumper was thrown, Ivy dove after it but often swam right by. Eventually scenting the bumper, she retrieved it and brought it to us on the patio. However, when dusk fell, Ann noted in distress that Ivy was unable to locate the patio steps and tried to reach us by crashing through the bushes. Ann's observations confirmed my worst fears about Ivy's continuing vision loss. Our trip home was bittersweet. I knew the prognosis was not good and plans would soon have to be made to train with Ivy's successor. She had been my loyal guide for 11 years and had accumulated thousands of flying miles. I was teary throughout the flight knowing Ivy's retirement would soon be official. By the time Escort, my new Golden Retriever guide dog entered our family, Ivy had become totally blind. Although she adapted quickly to her blindness, my emotions were rocked hearing her bump into walls as she rushed to greet visitors at the door. The first time she tried to race down the stairs at meal time, she stumbled and slid down several steps. However, from that time on, she adjusted her pace and never had another close call. Ivy learned to heel on my right as Escort assumed the guiding role at my left side. Whenever possible, Ivy accompanied me to meetings, restaurants, theater productions and friends' homes. However, when Ed and I were away from home overnight, a corps of dog sitters had to be found for Ivy who could not accompany us. When Helen Shea was the designated dog sitter, Ivy was in ecstasy. Like Ann, Aunt Helen had a pool and dogs were allowed to use it! Although Ivy would have preferred to use the pool during our Fresno winter, she was not allowed to indulge her swimming passion until the weather warmed up. Finally, that magic day arrived when air and water temperature were right. Fearing for her safety, I set about re-introducing Ivy to the pool. Ed, Helen's daughter Beth and I got into the water and called Ivy to us. She cautiously negotiated the steps into the pool and swam several feet away. We called her back to the steps, then let her swim further away. After two or three lessons, Ivy demonstrated her confidence by swimming the length of the pool. Later that afternoon, as we humans dried off on the patio, Ivy emerged from the pool and embarked on an incredible investigation. In awe, Beth described Ivy's movements. Using her nose as a blind person would use a long cane, Ivy carefully negotiated the perimeter of the pool, apparently measuring and memorizing the length and width of its boundaries. Having completed her task, she returned to the stairs and effortlessly glided back into her watery haven. Her message was loud and clear to me: you have never allowed your blindness to interfere with your ability to follow your dreams, and adopting your attitude of independence, I too can pursue my passions!

THE END OF THE VISION

Editorial by Suzanne Whalen and Eugenia Firth Reviewed by Karla Westjohn, Attorney At Law Villa Rica, Georgia, is a quiet country town. As if in keeping with the tranquillity that exists there, there is even a street in Villa Rica called Lake Paradise Road. With all due respect to the civic pride of Villa Rica's citizens, there is nothing, or so it would seem, that would merit national attention for Villa Rica, Georgia. In fact, like thousands of other tiny towns, Villa Rica might never have been noticed by the blind of the nation at all, except for the fact that, right there at 1535 Lake Paradise Road, a facility existed which was so deplorable that it could not be ignored. Fortunately, largely because of the activities of NAGDU, this facility, called Canine Vision, which passed itself off as a legitimate guide dog school, is now closed down. The Canine Vision Board of Directors voted on October 2, 2000, to dissolve the corporation and to strip its Founder and Executive Director, Sally Sue Bradley, of her corporate seal, her corporate checkbook, her corporate credit card, her corporate charter, her seat on the corporate Board, and all other trappings of corporate power. After advice and guidance from NAGDU, the Canine Vision Board further voted on October 18, 2000 to allow Southeastern Guide Dogs, Inc. to acquire the assets of Canine Vision. NAGDU has been asked by all parties (Mike Sergeant, Executive Director of Southeastern; the Southeastern Board; and the Canine Vision Board) to participate in negotiations affecting the transfer of assets. There is some benefit, in terms of lessons to be learned, for us to pause, in the aftermath of Canine Vision, and to study exactly what the Canine Vision program was, and under what assumptions it operated. We need also to consider the following questions: (1) What could we in NAGDU have done differently, years before, so that this poor excuse for a guide dog school could have either been reformed or closed down much sooner, thus minimizing the danger to blind people? (2) What could the other guide dog schools have done differently? And, perhaps most important of all: (3) What must be done to ensure that another substandard guide dog school never sees the light of day? Brief History of Canine Vision In 1993, Sally Sue Bradley, a nurse by profession with no prior guide dog training experience, founded Canine Vision. She has been its Executive Director ever since. In the ensuing seven years, Canine Vision has, according to Ms. Bradley, paired 18 blind people with dogs. However, all the records from 1993 to 1996 have mysteriously disappeared. This includes all reference to Anita Brown and her dog, Dakota. They have been expunged from the record, as though they never existed. Ms. Brown served on the Canine Vision Board from the school's inception until 1997, when she finally resigned in total disgust and frustration. She was the school's first graduate, having completed training with her dog, Dakota, in 1996. NAGDU has contact with several of the graduates, both active and inactive, and we have compared notes with Southeastern to locate as many active graduates and applicants as we can. We have assisted Southeastern to develop a public service announcement for radio and television to locate applicants or graduates, should the records be incomplete. Canine Vision's history was marked by much turmoil, upheaval, and transition. Except for Ms. Bradley herself, no single employee, including trainers and kennel staff, has worked there since the school's beginning. The same is true of the members of the Board of Directors. Only two or three of the 14 Board members who were eligible to vote on October 2 and October 18 had been on the Board more than two or three years at most. Board members would resign in frustration, and Ms. Bradley would just replace them. In fact, two weeks before officially closing Canine Vision, the Board voted to fire Ms. Bradley as Executive Director, but to allow her to remain in place as a voting member of the Board and in charge of fund raising and public relations. After this vote, half the Board resigned! NAGDU had to intervene, convince these folks of their legal liabilities and their responsibilities to their graduates, and persuade them to rescind their resignations and return to the Board, which they all did. Elaine Smith, a Canine Vision graduate, also worked to convince them to return to the Board and resolve this situation once and for all. This was supposed to be an oversight Board: overseeing the overall program (though not, of course, the day-to-day operations), helping to raise funds, and helping to determine policy. NAGDU needed to educate this Board. The Board members actually asked us what a guide dog is supposed to do. They didn't know that there are standards that trainers at reputable schools must meet in order to pass their apprenticeships. However, to their great credit, once we began assisting them, they ultimately stepped up to the plate and voted to allow Southeastern to acquire the assets of Canine Vision. Let's look at the underlying assumptions which governed Canine Vision's program. Assumption 1: Blind people are afraid to venture very far from home. During all of Suzanne's telephone conversations with Ms. Bradley, she repeatedly made statements such as the following: (1) "Our Georgia blind are less sophisticated than you are." (2) "Our blind people are afraid to leave home." (3) "There is no other school that will take our blind people from Georgia." Note that this last statement got amended and revised over subsequent telephone conversations and meetings. Future versions would be: "There is no other guide dog school in the South," "Northern schools won't take people from Georgia," and, "When our Georgia blind go up north, they are forced to do subway work and work in all that snow." Interestingly, it is not that Ms. Bradley didn't know about the existence of another Southern school, Southeastern Guide Dogs in Palmetto, Florida; she did. In fact, she raised puppies for Southeastern prior to founding Canine Vision. She had the idea that Southeastern should build a satellite school in Georgia, with her at its head, and she came, uninvited, to their Board to propose this. Of course, at that time, Southeastern was itself new enough so that it wasn't the right time for them to consider expanding, so they turned her down. Never to be deterred, Ms. Bradley had the effrontery to demand next that Southeastern's Board give her some of their assets so she could start her own independent school in Georgia. Of course, Southeastern's Board rejected this request. Therefore, this proves that Ms. Bradley deliberately misled her Board into thinking that blind people in Georgia had no alternative but to attend Canine Vision. This assumption about the fear of the blind to venture very far from home surfaced again during the face-to-face meeting with Ms. Bradley and two of her trainers, Debbie Boone and Cat Klass, in Atlanta. Gigi and Suzanne and Ed and Toni Eames attended that meeting. We repeatedly asked Ms. Bradley and her staff how Canine Vision dogs were taught to work safely in traffic. No matter how many times we rephrased the question, to be sure they understood, neither Ms. Bradley Cat Klass, would was hired as a supervisor of trainers, could give us even one training method or strategy they used. Ms. Klass, even told us that you teach a guide dog traffic safety the same way you teach it to a hearing ear dog, because deaf people driving a car need to be alerted to the sound of emergency vehicle sirens! Finally, Ms. Bradley said, "Well, I just drive like a crazy Georgia driver. I try to hit the dog." When our wide-eyed shock at this admission became apparent, she then informed us, if you can believe this, that traffic training was not really an issue. Why, you may ask? Ms. Bradley provided the answer: "Our graduates live in small towns," she said. "All the drivers know them and stop for them." Ms. Bradley failed to mention that she had some graduates in Atlanta. Ponder that one. Blind people are never supposed to do the normal things like go to college or travel on vacation or take jobs in big cities. Unfortunately, we have all heard of self-fulfilling prophecies. Most Canine Vision graduates, in fact, travel alone very little, if at all, and this fact is what has kept them alive. But this has less to do with their blindness than it does with the fact that their dogs were so poorly trained. NAGDU has received many inquiries from mobility instructors and rehabilitation professionals concerned about the quality of Canine Vision's training and dogs. We have also received many reports from Canine Vision graduates and their family members about dogs leading their handlers right out into traffic, in front of moving vehicles, and the handlers having to be grabbed and pulled to safety by family members or friends. Sammy McClain, now a Guiding Eyes graduate, told us about this happening to him with his first dog which was from Canine Vision. We received a report about this happening to another graduate as well, and we suspect there are more incidents. Anita Brown reported to us that her dog, Dakota, routinely failed to stop for stairs, thus dragging her down them. Furthermore, forget about what we would call follow-up from the "school." Time after time, we were told, by former Canine Vision trainers and graduates alike, that when graduates would call the school with questions or to ask for help, they would be shouted at, berated, and told that their problem was due to "user error," and that the school had "done its job." Sometimes, however, another procedure was used by Canine Vision for follow-up which was called "fine tuning." This meant taking the graduate's dog back into the kennels, doing who knows what, and giving the dog back after a while. We know of at least one graduate whose dog has been "fine tuned" more than once. All of this makes a remark made by Ms. Bradley during one phone conversation with Suzanne very chilling. She tried, not for the first time, to point up the dangers of Ms. Bradley's program posed to blind people. Ms. Bradley's response? "Well, no one has been killed yet." Assumption 2: Blind people need special amenities to brighten their lives. The most outstanding example of this was Canine Vision's Sensory Garden for the Blind. During Suzanne's last phone conversation with Ms. Bradley, just before convention, Ms. Bradley invited her to take a tour of Canine Vision. She said, "I'll even let you sit in our Sensory Garden for the Blind. It's so peaceful and tranquil out there. It'll make you feel great." Examination of Canine Vision's Web site as it existed at that time indicated that Ms. Bradley planned to spend seventy-five thousand dollars on this Sensory Garden for the Blind, which would feature, quoting from the Web site: "special plants for the blind." Seventy-five thousand dollars could easily have paid the salary for a qualified Director of Training for a year. In banquet addresses, we've heard about a lot of "special" needs which people think we have: special textured flooring, curbs, subway platform edges, and other surfaces; special doorknobs; specially designed toilets; and having medical professionals come out to our homes to work up special furniture arrangements for our safety, just to name a few. We've learned from Canine Vision Board members that a great many people put in many hours and spent much money to bring the Sensory Garden for the Blind into being, including people like the Master Gardeners and the folks at the County Agricultural Extension Service. When Gigi walked through it, after climbing an incredibly steep hill, it was mostly dead weeds. Come to think of it, it's a good thing for the blind that the whole idea died, too. Assumption 3: Blind people ought to be exploited to raise funds for the agency. This deplorable concept is not new. But Canine Vision had it down to a fine art. The school advertised that it provided dogs free of charge to the blind. However, graduates were required in many cases to either pay substantial sums of money to the school before receiving dogs, or to make arrangements so that others would contribute generously to the school on their behalf. Also, after completing training, graduates were often strongly urged to appear at fundraising or publicity events for Canine Vision. In one case, according to Cat Klass, a graduate being asked to appear at a fundraising dinner was actually expected to pay for her own food. When she didn't have the money to do that, she had to borrow it from Ms. Klass. In another instance, a graduate, Sammy McClain, was picked up by Ms. Bradley and taken to a gathering of the press. His dog worked so poorly that one of the reporters asked what was wrong with the dog. Ms. Bradley answered that the dog "wasn't feeling well" that day. An applicant to Canine Vision with whom we spoke, Rhonda Partain, withdrew her application for a dog because she became aware of the immense pressure she would face to do public relations and fundraising for the school, and she chose not to be involved with it. Ms. Bradley continued to try to push her into getting a dog for several months. We should note here that there is absolutely nothing wrong for a person who is pleased with services received from an agency to decide on his or her own to go out and publicize that agency's good work or engage in fundraising on its behalf. The objection here is that Ms. Bradley intimidated people into feeling obligated to do it. Whether correct or not, the perception of some graduates is that they did not want to do anything to displease Ms. Bradley for fear that their dogs would be taken away. She has threatened this several times, and on one occasion of which we are aware, she actually tried to order the puppy raiser to seize a graduate's dog, that of Angela Johnson, because she was angry with the graduate. The puppy raiser refused. Assumption 4: Anyone can train a guide dog. As evidence of how pervasive this false notion was at Canine Vision, we present the following facts: (1) At the time it closed, Canine Vision had only one qualified trainer on staff, Yvette Mann. Ms. Mann had in fact completed her three-year apprenticeship at Guiding Eyes. None of the other trainers employed when the school closed had ever learned their craft at a guide dog school. At the time of our convention, Canine Vision had no qualified instructors, yet Ms. Bradley insisted on continuing to train guide dog teams. She only needed one qualified instructor to start her program. This instructor could have, over time, trained apprentices. Ms. Bradley was unwilling to invest the time and the money needed to accomplish this goal. However, if Ms. Bradley had invested the money for the Sensory Garden for the Blind and used her resources more wisely, she could have afforded to obtain and keep a qualified instructor. (2) At various points in its history, Canine Vision did have a few qualified instructors, from time to time, who stayed for a period of a few weeks at most, but Ms. Bradley would never leave them alone and let them do their jobs. She, who knew nothing about guide dog training, kept interfering and second-guessing their decisions about which dogs should be rejected and which should be placed. When they could see that they were fighting a losing battle, each of these few qualified instructors resigned. The case of Bob Roberto is an example. Ms. Bradley told us and her Board that she had fired him because he attacked a kennel person. However, the experience of Elaine Smith, a Canine Vision graduate that he trained, contradicts this story. He trained her and her dog from start to finish. Since she was newly blind at the time, Mr. Roberto basically taught her mobility, and now she does with her dog all the things which most of us take for granted. He had told Ms. Smith that he was planning to leave Canine Vision, but that he wouldn't leave until she was safe. Also, other Canine Vision personnel never got a chance to ruin this team because he gave her his home phone number and offered to fly back to give her follow-up. (3) There were apparently no minimum qualifications or standards for being employed as a "trainer" by Ms. Bradley, and there were certainly no standards for remaining on the job. Consider the example of Mark Ainesworth. Many former Canine Vision staff, as well as graduates and applicants, reported Mark Ainesworth to us for dog abuse. One graduate, Sammy McClain, alleges that when his dog made a work error in training, Mr. Ainesworth balled up his fist and punched the dog hard in the ribs. Another person, Suzanne, the former vet tech at Canine Vision, told us that Mr. Ainesworth dragged a young dog, Inez, across a gravel parking lot so roughly that her feet bled; she has permanent scars on her feet from the wounds. Suzanne is now caring for Inez. Kim Newman, a former Canine Vision trainer, also told us Inez's story. When he was caught by Sammy McClain's wife reading their mail, Mr. Ainesworth told her that he is a schizophrenic and had run out of his medication. Mr. Ainesworth and Ms. Bradley went together to the home of a Canine Vision applicant, that of Shirl and Barbara Jennings. According Mrs. Jennings, Mr. Ainesworth reeked of alcohol and was obviously drunk. Her husband has severe balance difficulties. She asked Mr. Ainesworth not to take her husband down the hill that was near their home. She alleges that Mr. Ainesworth shoved her violently out of the way and growled, "I'll handle this!" Whereupon he allowed the dog they had brought for Mr. Jennings to drag him down the hill so that he fell. Mrs. Jennings alleges that Ms. Bradley simply watched what happened. She said nothing to Mr. Ainesworth, nor did she intervene at all, not even to warn Mr. Jennings about gutters and other things he could trip over. She also made no move to try to protect him from falling. In fact, the Mrs. Jennings told us that when her husband did fall into a gutter, Ms. Bradley laughed. The question might naturally be asked: How did Ms. Bradley, as the Executive Director of Canine Vision, deal with these situations when they were brought to her attention? Did she fire Mr. Ainesworth, or otherwise discipline him? Quite the contrary. Ms. Bradley told Mrs. Jennings that Mr. Ainesworth was one of her "best trainers." She also said that Mr. Ainesworth had just received the news that very morning that he was going to be legally blind in four years, and he was devastated and cried all morning. It should be noted that Ms. Bradley claimed in a newspaper article that she, too, is legally blind in one eye. We all agree that the prospect of vision loss when a person does not have the right philosophy and adequate blindness skills can be very frightening. But it is never an excuse for rude, violent, or abusive behavior, or for being drunk and out of control at work. (4) Not all of Ms. Bradley's trainers, of course, were abusive. The vast majority were and are well-intentioned people who, nevertheless, hadn't the slightest notion of how to train a guide dog. Some of these trainers became desperate for help to learn how to do their jobs. Larisa Scharikin is a qualified guide dog instructor with eleven years experience, eight of them at The Seeing Eye and three at Southeastern. She told us she has a friend who worked for Ms. Bradley training dogs. She would call and ask what to do to train a dog for guide work. Ms. Scharikin answered her questions, but also tried to persuade her friend to stop training the dog she was working with at the time. Finally, when Ms. Bradley asked this Canine Vision trainer to work with a student, she panicked and quit. Ms. Bradley paid little attention when the trainers repeatedly pleaded with her for proper training. On the rare occasions when she did listen, she took what can only be called stopgap measures. On one occasion, she invited a qualified instructor to come down and give a couple of weekend seminars. Another time, she sent a few people from Canine Vision to Kansas Specialty Dog School for a week. In one telephone conversation with Suzanne, Ms. Bradley told her that an instructor actually "certified" her "head trainer," Lisa, by evaluating her work based on videotapes she had sent him! She also stated that she knows what guide dogs are supposed to do, but doesn't know how to make them do it; she defers to her "certified head trainer." At our meeting in Atlanta, Ms. Bradley at first denied having said all this to Suzanne. But then she rephrased the question, asking, "Didn't he certify Lisa after she sent him videotapes of her work and he was able to critique and evaluate her performance?" Ms. Bradley answered, "Yes." Incidentally, we invited the instructor alleged to be the "certifying agent" to this meeting. He was in attendance for most of it, and he set the record straight: he never got the videos, and he stated that he couldn't and wouldn't certify another person even if he had. For one thing, only California has a licensing system for guide dog schools and instructors. For another thing, the apprenticeship program at all schools meeting the standards of the United States Council of Guide Dog Schools takes three years and is very rigorous. Ms. Bradley told her Board that there are no real standards for the preparation of guide dog instructors. She also led her employees into believing the same thing. For example, Ms. Bradley led Debbie Boone, a woman hired to be an apprentice trainer, to believe that she could become a "certified instructor" either by working for Canine Vision for one year or by training five dogs. Outlandish as it may seem, Ms. Boone told us when we toured Canine Vision that instructors at other schools only have to train three dogs to be "certified." (5) Two of the former Canine Vision trainers, Kim Newman and Julie Laipple, expressed confusion about the inconsistencies in their job duties. They would be given dogs to train, and in some cases they would train the dog with the student, and in other cases they would train the dog to a certain point, and then the dog would be taken away from them and turned over to someone else. Sometimes they would be told that a "certified trainer" would handle the dog's placement and training with a student. Judging from their accounts, expectations would seem to be neither consistent nor predictable. What training was provided was abysmal. One graduate, Anita Brown, told us that during the entire course, she never crossed a street with her dog. Have you ever been to guide dog school without crossing a street? Another graduate, Fiona Page, was instructed by Canine Vision that, when she went to speak to schoolchildren in a library, she should turn her dog loose and let her run around in the library so the dog would become comfortable with her environment. (6) Salaries for Canine Vision trainers were unbelievably low. We have a copy of a letter written by Ms. Bradley just prior to the school's closing indicating the pay had been raised from five to twelve thousand dollars. Even this small sum was not guaranteed. Trainers went before the Canine Vision Board on September 18 to complain that they hadn't been paid in months, that in some cases they received only a third of their salaries, and that in many cases they had not been reimbursed for mileage, as promised. Some trainers also told us that Ms. Bradley said to them on more than one occasion, "I'm angry with you. I'm not going to pay you this week." They have also reported to us that Ms. Bradley often refused to pay for supplies and veterinary care for sick dogs, so trainers sometimes took dogs to their own personal veterinarians when they needed care. Now that we have analyzed the assumptions governing the conduct of Canine Vision in general and Ms. Bradley in particular, let's turn to the questions we posed near the beginning of this editorial. (1) Question: What could we in NAGDU have done differently? Answer: We should probably more correctly be asking ourselves, "What can we do differently now?" Canine Vision came into being in 1993, as we have said. With the exception of Priscilla Ferris, this current Board was elected in 1998. Our first year in office, we focused primarily on rebuilding the division's membership and improving our relationship with existing schools. We didn't pay as much attention as perhaps we should have to relatively new, start-up schools. When Canine Vision came to our attention, Casey Curran was on staff. Suzanne knew her; she had been her instructor at The Seeing Eye when she received her fourth dog, Iliad. Ms. Curran is a very good instructor; Suzanne figured the program was in good hands. It never occurred to us that, if Ms. Bradley on staff an experienced instructor like Ms. Curran, that she would allow anyone else to train guide dog teams. It also never occurred to us that Ms. Bradley was being irresponsible by interfering in the training process. Gigi received in the mail a flier discussing the dog guide teams trained by Canine Vision. At the time, when she shared this information with Suzanne, we thought that Ms. Curran had trained these guide dog teams. It wasn't until we talked to graduates that we found, to our horror, that this was not true. Ms. Bradley contacted Suzanne and invited herself to our 1999 convention in Atlanta; Suzanne had no problem allowing her to come and no reason to suspect anything amiss. She did think it strange that every time she called Canine Vision to advise Ms. Bradley about meeting topics and for other reasons related to convention, a different person identifying herself as "kennel manager and admissions director" answered the phone. She also found it odd that Ms. Bradley was still working her full-time job as a nurse in a hospital while at the same time serving as Executive Director of this guide dog school. Should bells have begun to ring in our brains? Probably. But they didn't, at least not very loudly. It wasn't until February, 2000, when we learned that Ms. Curran had been run over by a van and severely injured and that she had left Canine Vision, that we began asking ourselves, "Okay. Who's training these dogs?" Until the time of convention, in an effort to answer this question, Suzanne and Ms. Bradley had several telephone conversations which left Suzanne increasingly concerned, especially since Ms. Bradley repeatedly refused to return phone calls. After convention and after our meeting in which we asked Ms. Bradley to give us a commitment that she would stop training students and dogs and stop accepting applicants until she had a qualified Director of Training, and Ms. Bradley refused to give us this commitment. We decided to begin to investigate Canine Vision. We first contacted rehabilitation and mobility professionals to see what they knew about Canine Vision and its graduates. They in turn referred us to graduates and to other professionals. They even asked us to write a fact sheet to be distributed to rehabilitation counselors throughout Georgia so that counselors would have factual information about all aspects of guide dog use to present to consumers. For a long time, we called graduates, applicants and others as they were referred to us. However, when it became clear that NAGDU intended to do something about the situation at Canine Vision, people began calling us. So what lesson can we learn from this? We didn't have any contact with Canine Vision until six years after they started. It took us another year before we shut them down, because for many months we assumed all was well in Villa Rica. We will not allow a new school so much leeway without close monitoring. We shall demand to know the credentials of their trainers. We shall also make sure they keep qualified instructors while training students. We shall ask for evidence that they have applied for assistance from the United States Council of Guide Dog Schools. (2) Question: Could the guide dog schools have done anything differently? Answer: YES! YES! YES! We contacted every school in the United States Council of Guide Dog Schools. First, we wanted to find out what they knew about Canine Vision, and what they could do to rectify the situation. Second, in view of the fact that Ms. Bradley was lying about a professional instructor "certifying" her dogs and trainers, we wanted to warn the other schools not to become involved with Canine Vision. We advised them not to allow Canine Vision staff to visit their facilities or to go to Canine Vision to conduct training seminars or for any other reason. We found out that the schools were all aware enough about Canine Vision to be concerned. In fact, they knew about Canine Vision long before we did. What they said was disturbing. They told us that the Council could do nothing about Canine Vision because Canine Vision was not a member organization. They also wanted to avoid the image of big school "going after" little school. They feared that Ms. Bradley could sue them. They felt that consumers should practice "buyer beware": never mind that Ms. Bradley went after the young, the old, the newly blind lacking a positive philosophy, self-confidence, and blindness skills, the uninformed blind. Never mind that she told them they wouldn't have to leave home if they went to Canine Vision. In reality, the majority of Ms. Bradley's students were in no position to make an informed choice. We were told by all the schools that consumers had the most at stake, so we needed to take care of the problem. So what should the schools do differently? First, they should recognize that an inferior school hurts the public image of guide dog teams and guide dog schools as a whole. Second, they should have been much more vocal about publicly condemning and denouncing the substandard practices of Canine Vision. They should have done this through their professional association, the United States Council of Guide Dog Schools. In the absence of government regulation, other industries regulate themselves. This one needs to do likewise. (3) Question: What must be done so that another substandard guide dog school never sees the light of day? Answer: That's not as distant a threat as you might think. On September 27, 2000, even before Canine Vision was officially closed, a new school registered with the State of Georgia. It is called Paws Abilities. It is formed entirely by some of Canine Vision's former trainers, who obviously don't have any better idea of how to train guide dogs now than they did when they worked for Canine Vision. We shall do whatever we can to persuade these trainers to abandon Paws Abilities and apply for jobs at respectable schools. We shall work with Southeastern so that there will be enough publicity about this excellent guide dog program that Paws Abilities will not be able to compete, either for students or for funds. We shall contact the members of the Paws Abilities Board and educate them. Make no mistake. Paws Abilities will close, and the sooner the better, before it has a chance to train even one blind person! Having said that, it would be nice if we didn't have to keep putting out fires! Here is where we'd like your suggestions. Contact us with your ideas. Post them to our list. Bring them up at Convention. How do you think we should stop substandard schools from forming, once and for all? Should we push for guide dog school licensing bills in every state, similar to California's, the way we are pushing for Braille bills? Should we work with the United States Council of Guide Dog Schools and propose to them that we help them change their bylaws or policies so that they can take direct action against a substandard school, whether it is a member of the Council or not? Do you have any other ideas? What are your feelings on this? We must never have another repeat of the travesty that was Canine Vision. The information we gathered from graduates, applicants, family members, mobility instructors, rehabilitation specialists, former contributors to the school, and puppy raisers was heartbreaking. The safety and the public image of blind people demand that something be done.

A Nose for News <

basefont face="times new roman" color="ffff00" size="4"> by Toni and Ed Eames It's good to be back doing our Nose column for Harness Up. Our careers as lecturers at veterinary schools and conferences has really taken off! Under the sponsorship of the Bayer Corporation, we have done presentations at all 27 American veterinary colleges and every major veterinary conference. Many veterinarians do not understand the specific work done by our dogs and occasionally prescribe medications that interfere with a guide dog's ability to stay alert and remain effective. A recent adjunct to our presentations is a video sponsored by Hills Pet Nutrition graphically illustrating the work done by guide, hearing and service dogs. Having done the circuit of all United States veterinary schools, we decided to spread our wings and tackle the Caribbean. Our adventure began on March 29, 2000 when we flew to the West Indies island of St. Kitts via Dallas and San Juan. Our hotel, the Frigate Bay Resort, was lovely and the Canadian manager was welcoming of us and our Golden Retrievers Escort and Echo. Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine put a driver, Patfield James, at our disposal and it was great not having to worry about taxi access problems. Thursday we did two daytime presentations at Ross and had time to socialize with some of the students. Mike Zareski took us under his wing and included us in upcoming school activities. One of these was an awards ceremony for students leaving the island to complete their requirements at veterinary teaching hospitals in the United States. Faculty member DR. Chuck Hutchison read an article to the assembled students written by Toni and published in Chicken Soup for the Cat and Dog Lover's Soul. The article, "A Gentle Goodbye," describes our cat Cameo's nurturant ministrations to Toni and her retired guide dog Ivy on the day Ivy was euthanized. At the end of the reading, the audience was so moved they responded with a spontaneous ovation. When traveling internationally, we contact local Lions Clubs to assist us with sightseeing. This also gives us the opportunity to get to know some of the local people. We were scheduled to take a ferry to the neighboring island of Nevis, but signals got crossed and we missed the boat. All was not lost! Lions Club member Eustace Caines, a very resourceful and persuasive individual, arranged for us to cross the harbor on a cargo boat. The hour-long voyage from St. Kitts to Nevis was spent amidst crates of cabbages, squashes, tomatoes and other produce. The only other passengers were three local vendors traveling to Nevis to sell their vegetables. Independent blind people traveling with guide dogs was quite a novelty to them. One of the women, Katie, was filled with curiosity. The hour sped by as we educated her and the others about the capabilities of blind people. Katie, who was somewhat fearful of the dogs, grew relaxed enough under Toni's tutelage to pet Escort. We lunched at a nearby restaurant with an excellent buffet selection. Eustace acted as go-between to avoid access denials with Escort and Echo. After a bit of local shopping (everything was very expensive), we headed back for the ferry dock where we met two Canadian couples. One of them helped avert a near disaster. As Toni and Escort were about to step on the boat from the gangway, a crew member, trying to be helpful, grabbed Toni's arm, throwing her off balance and causing Escort to begin falling between the boat and the pier. One of the Canadian men reacted with lightening speed, swooping Escort up by the harness and depositing him in the boat. Not realizing he could have been crushed, Escort was calm and placid, while Toni remained shaken for the remainder of the ferry ride back to St. Kitts. Gratefully, the Canadian hero escorted Toni off the boat, avoiding another incident where an over-solicitous Kittitian tried to assist by physically grabbing one of us. Resting back in our hotel room for a brief while, we were off again to do a presentation for the St. Kitts Lion Club. One of the members had been on our flight from San Juan to the island and gave a glowing description of Echo and Escort getting on the plane and folding up under the seats in front of us. Eustace was also able to recount the day's adventures! Back at the St. Kitts airport on April 1, we ran into our first problem. Having experienced no difficulty in entering the country, we were taken aback when a security guard refused to let us through with the dogs. She insisted we had to have special exit papers. Our American Airlines escort was as confused as we were by this refusal. We asked for the guard's supervisor, who seemed equally reluctant to let the boys leave the country. Fortunately, the American Airlines representative persuaded him that we had all come in together three days earlier and our dogs' health certificates were in order! For entry into these Caribbean islands, the only veterinary requirements were proof of recent rabies vaccination and a health certificate completed by our local veterinarian and FAXED to the island veterinarian prior to the visit. We were met at the Grenada airport by St. George's veterinary students, Glenn Brigden and Gretchen Kronsbeind. Our hotel, the True Blue Bay Resort, was the closest thing to paradise imaginable. We had a suite of rooms with a large patio overlooking the Caribbean. As we took turns swinging in the patio hammock, we thrilled at the sound of the lapping waves almost directly under us. Although most of the shops were closed on Sunday, Glenn and Gretchen took us to a beachside market where we stocked up on spice gifts for our readers and volunteers. Ed encouraged fuddy duddy Toni to walk on the sand and get her feet wet. Since the beach was relatively deserted, we let the Golden boys run free under the watchful eyes of our student hosts. While Echo rolled in the sand, Escort cavorted in the Caribbean. Drying off quickly, we returned to the hotel for our next adventure, a tour of the nearby rain forest. Glenn, Gretchen and fellow student Ricardo Ramirez wanted to take us out to dinner after our presentation at St. George's University, and we stumbled on our most fantastic culinary experience of the trip. On our way to town, they spotted a sign on a house proclaiming "Home Cooking." During the course of our eating frenzy, we were offered more than 20 different dishes such as green papaya in cheese, stir fried rabbit, curried goat, stewed conch, mutton, beef stew, fried plantains, lobster salad, breadfruit salad, and several other delights. Patrick, the owner and chief chef, burst our bubble when he told us Escort and Echo were not the first guide dogs at his establishment. He previously served guide dog users from Europe and Australia. However, it appears the Golden boys were the first guide dogs on St. Kitts. Tuesday morning we were packed and ready for our trip home, when we received a call from American Airlines informing us our flight to Miami was canceled and there was no other way to get us off Grenada that day. The other airlines all made stops at islands with quarantine regulations, so we could not pass through with the dogs. Initially, we were upset with the change in plans since we had a number of appointments in Fresno the next day. If you have to get stuck someplace, however, an extra day in paradise at American Airlines expense is not bad! Last winter we joined the NAGDU board at the National Center in Baltimore to discuss ways to expand the responsibilities of the Canine Concerns Committee. We initiated the CCC in Anaheim when we took on responsibility for setting up and maintaining the guide dog relief area, and continued this activity in New Orleans, Dallas and Atlanta. Marc Maurer, Mary Ellen Jernigan, Diane McGeorge, the NAGDU board and the two of us brainstormed for two days about new ways in which we could make the convention less stressful for guide dogs and their partners. On June 29, our entourage of 7 Fresno folks took off for the 2000 convention. Besides the two of us, Debbie Prieto and her mom Delores Delarosa, familiar to those who attended the last few conventions, were joined this year by Debbie's sister Linda Morgan in setting up and maintaining the guide dog relief areas. Fresno friend Linda Haymond joined the group in order to take over supervision and organization of the fantastic corps of volunteers recruited to assist Federationists. Our seventh member, Shirley Harper, is losing her vision and wanted to learn more about blindness issues. Dogs and wolves enjoy traveling in packs, and so did we! It was a lot of fun! Sister Pauline Quinn, our Dominican nun friend from Maine, was our fourth relief worker. Those women sure did work hard, with three hotels and four relief areas to monitor. As a result of our winter meeting, several new approaches were explored. Having walkie-talkies this year made communication much easier and Linda Haymond was invaluable in keeping things in order at the volunteer table. A perennial question unanswered until this year was, "How many guide dog teams attend our annual convention?" In order to get an accurate count, we provided enticements to encourage people to sign in. NAGDU offered a $25 door prize, Nylabone donated large Nylabones as additional door prizes, Hills Pet Nutrition provided bags of yummy dog treats and Bayer supplied free Advantage flea control and decorative scarves. These companies would greatly appreciate your recognition of their generosity. Please call Jane Frame of Nylabone, 800-631-2188, Dr. Chuck Wayner of Hills, 800-255-0449 and Kathy Toney of Bayer, 800-255-6517. A total of 93 teams signed in from nine different training programs. 81 teams came from four programs, The Seeing Eye, Guide Dogs for the Blind, Leader Dogs and Guiding Eyes for the Blind. Not only was this convention a great experience for the human participants, but was also enjoyed by our canine partners. We believe the presence of a volunteer table with telephone access, walkie talkies and a hard working crew of relief workers made this convention a stress free experience for those of us working with guide dogs. We would like to hear your opinion. Please let Suzanne know what you thought about the arrangements for guide dogs at the 2000 convention. Salt Lake City, Utah was the site of this year's American Veterinary Medical Association conference. We have passed through this city many times changing planes, but never had the chance to get to know the city. It was impressive, clean and friendly. We had the opportunity to visit many friends and meet new contacts. The veterinary couple Chuck and Prather Huchison, who hosted us at their home on St. Kitts Island, joined us for dinner one night and we tried to plan another trip to the Caribbean. As usual, Echo and Escort received lots of attention and admiration. Our two presentations were on the morning of the last conference day, but we did get a respectable audience. Back at the Salt Lake Airport, we did a sensitivity training session for Delta Airlines staff. At first it was difficult getting the group motivated to participate, but when we began asking them questions about policies and procedures, they opened up and the session ran overtime! Delta Air Lines is the only air carrier to establish a staff position dealing with issues concerning passengers with disabilities. Walt Baer, Manager of Consumer Advocacy for Delta, spoke at this year's NAGDU workshop, where he outlined the primary elements of Delta's outreach program. A brochure on disabled passenger policies has been developed and is available in alternative formats. To obtain a copy, contact Walt Baer at 404-715-1440. The Heska Corporation, a veterinary pharmaceutical developer and manufacturer in Fort Collins, Colorado, has developed a program called Partners Care. This program was designed to help low-income guide, hearing and service dog partners faced with high cost veterinary care. Several NAGDU members have already benefited from the Heska grant. The following conditions have been established: 1. The veterinarian needs to contact Heska at 800-GO-HESKA or 800-464-3752. 2. The recommended treatment must have a good chance of restoring the working capability of the dog. 3. The veterinarian must attest to the client's need for financial assistance. 4. The disabled person must be a member of the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners, a cross-disability consumer advocacy organization. Membership in IAADP will not conflict with membership in NAGDU. Current new member dues are $15. Send membership dues to Jana Klepsch, 11318 Sioux, Redford, MI 48239. Indicate you are partnered with a guide dog and the preferred format to receive the quarterly newsletter, cassette, print or disc. Further information can be obtained from the web site at www.iaadp.org. Toni and Ed Eames can be contacted at 3376 North Wishon, Fresno, CA 93704-4832; Tel. 559-224-0544; e-mail eeames@csufresno.edu. Editor's note:

To my knowledge, this is the first time our minutes have been published in Harness Up. For those of you who could not attend our last meeting in Atlanta, a motion was passed to publish the 1999 meeting minutes in this issue.)

MINUTES, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF GUIDE DOG USERS

The meeting of the National Association of Guide Dog users was called to order at 07:34 PM on Wednesday, June 30, 1999. President Suzanne Whalen first presented the upcoming events for the meeting and welcomed everyone. She told everyone that there were 11 schools present at the NAGDU convention. She first introduced everyone from the schools' representatives. She named each school and each person present from each school. President Whalen first introduced a new school, Canine Vision, in Atlanta. Next there were announcements. Toni and Ed Eames gave their presentation. Toni first introduced her relief workers, Rachel, Dolores, and Debbie. Toni first described where the relief areas were. Ed and Toni had an emergency recovery kit which was offered to the membership to help assist with situations where the owner becomes incapacitated. The kits are available free of charge, and are carried in a wallet to alert people to a dog's being a guide dog, care giver to be contacted in an emergency, the dog's vet, and other information that might be important in an emergency. Ed talked about Heska Corporation which has set aside a grant to help offset the cost of vet care if the owner is unable to pay expenses; if the working capability of the dog can be restored, then the owner can be approved for a grant. He gave information about the Newsreel Club. Ed and Toni announced a raffle of 10 t-shirts donated by the Heska Corporation to be given away at the end of the meeting. The secretary, Eugenia Firth, read the minutes from the previous meeting. A motion was made and seconded to approve the minutes as read. Priscilla Ferris read the Treasurer's report. Last year's ending balance was $830.39. After deposits and expenses were taken into account, we now have a balance of $1,274.06. The division is going to donate $300 to the Jernigan Fund. Priscilla told about the forms sent with Harness Up this spring and the distribution of them. We got very few back. A motion was made and seconded for the Treasurer's report to be accepted. President Whalen gave a presidential update. She described the activities of the division for the previous year. She explained the division's advocacy efforts during the previous year. The division is trying to start NAGDU affiliates in all states. President Whalen gave her hotel room number and her home address to the members present. She asked people to contact her to help get these affiliates started. She discussed the possible activities in the upcoming year such as having regional meetings like JOB seminars. She talked about our LISTSERV, and Pete Donahue described how to sign up for the list. President Whalen described her trip to the US Council of Guide Dogs Schools meeting that she attended at The Seeing Eye last March. She said that we will not always agree with the schools, but disagreements would be done with respect and professionalism. Next, we talked about collecting recipes for our cookbook being compiled for fundraising. President Whalen then talked about aggressive dogs and the incidents at the last convention. The division presented a policy to the national board on aggression; the national board did not approve the policy, but Dr. Maurer asked President Whalen to address the board at the convention. Dr. Maurer asked the division to bring to his attention problem dogs. She urged the members to talk to people whose dogs are having aggression problems to find out if the situation can be addressed without further measures. She asked members to contact NAGDU officers with the situation if need be. If it happens twice, Dr. Maurer will be contacted. She assured people that dogs just barking some is not the issue. The problem, however, is dogs whose behavior is not controlled and is a problem for others. Next members were asked to contact the officers if they need to be taught how to clean up. The president asked that a motion be made that at the end of the week the volunteers draw names of people who have picked up every time; the winners would receive a $25 prize. No one was interested in the motion, and the motion was defeated although it was seconded. We then talked about abuse and the changing of abuse laws. President Whalen pointed out to the members that cases were not going to be tried at the meeting. Karla Westjohn first spoke on her position concerning abuse and abuse laws. Karla said that the judicial process could be used to remove dogs from owners who are abusive or being used to assist in a crime. President Whalen asked whether Karla knew of laws in other states to protect guide dogs against abuse by others. She said the abuse to property is a method of handling that type of situation. In Illinois, if you abuse a working dog, it is a felony. Mike Jones was next to speak on the panel. He first thanked Ed and Toni Eames for their efforts with the relief areas. He said he was a victim of abuse complaints by others at his workplace. He said that his employees made complaints against him, and that his school did not handle the situation correctly. He said he thought that the anonymity of the complainant should not be protected. He also said that the school should adopt a full disclosure for the graduates of anyone who files complaints with the school against them. He described mock situations of how to handle abuse cases. He also suggested that nonprofit agencies can be controlled by writing to contributors, expressing dissatisfaction with the policy. Reenah Blackwell spoke next on her resolution. Several states have passed laws concerning other people, besides the owner, abusing working dogs. Reenah read her resolution. The resolution proposed that the division support the passage of laws like that passed by New Mexico. She gave statistics on how many calls schools get on injuries to guide dogs caused by other people. After the panel was presented, President Whalen called upon schools to comment on the abuse issue. Lukas Franck from The Seeing Eye said that Seeing Eye doesn't keep statistics on these complaints. Pete Nowicki from Fidelco spoke about the abuse issue. Questions were then solicited from the membership. Also, President Whalen asked people to give their opinion about Reenah's resolution. Pete Donahue described a case in the eighties of a person who was awarded $10,000 because of a dog's death; the judge disallowed it because he did not own the dog; the Federation went back and got this issue addressed. Tracy Carcione suggested that schools put a segment into the class training on how to deal with frustration in working with your dog since the consensus was that frustration can lead to false abuse reports. Susan Jones suggested that the resolution be streamlined and presented next year. June Rose Killian asked if you were from one state, and your dog were attacked by someone from another state, how would that be handled. The issue of the good and bad points of having anonymity for those reporting abuse cases was discussed. The next topic was the progress of the Hawaii suit. The suit was dropped by the national office. It was felt we would be appealing it before the same judges that ruled on the suit the first time. President Whalen asked for people to talk about ways we could bring pressure on the state of Hawaii to resolve this issue. David Loux said that he went to Hawaii, and had a positive experience going there. He had no problem in getting through the quarantine process, and he had no problem with access in restaurants. He said that as more people used this process to go, the state will then relax the rules; the state will find there to be fewer problems than they thought. He felt that the state would stop enforcing the settlement as rigorously. President Whalen talked about the Helping Hands program, a program designed to help people deal with various issues, such retirement, death, the returning of a dog, and other such issues. Rick Fox is the co-ordinator of the program. President Whalen urged people to sign up for the mentoring program. Tracy Carcione gave Rick's E-mail address. Next, some possible projects and thoughts for the upcoming year were discussed. Connie Ryan asked whether the division could start an insurance program for people to buy health insurance for their dog. Dana Ard asked if the division could consider a workshop on stress management in working with a dog. June Rose said that in some states you are required to have liability insurance to have your dog licensed; this includes guide dogs; it was agreed that insurance companies' policies concerning dogs is a growing problem. Kim Samko, who works with Guide Dogs for the Blind assisting students with grief and stress management during classes, volunteered to help with the stress management workshop. Someone mentioned that Guide Dog Users Inc. did stress management for the dogs at their convention. Someone brought up the differences in handling among guide dog users and how those differences cause problems in relationships with others such as employers. Other service dogs and the differences in how they are handled were briefly discussed. Next, Pete Donahue talked about the holiday greeting cards from the schools. He thought the schools should change the greeting cards to show working dogs instead of puppies. Next Lukas Franck described his booth where he is going to demonstrate auditory signals for the Environmental Access Committee. He asked members to come to the booth and see the signals. David Loux made an announcement about The Seeing Eye breakfast. Seeing Eye graduates were urged to RSVP for it. The next issue to be discussed was contact between puppy raisers and graduates. Peter Donahue first gave his thoughts on the contact issue. He is in favor of contact between graduates and puppy raisers. Karla Westjohn gave her views on this subject. Karla expressed the opposite view to Pete's. Joan Corbett from Guide Dogs for the Blind spoke about the graduation ceremony and the contact policy of Guide Dogs. Guide Dogs has the puppy's vet share information about the puppy's medical history. Judy Campbell spoke on Leader Dogs' policy on puppy raiser contact. Leader allows graduates to correspond with puppy raisers and give whatever information they want. Puppy raisers can include their information if they want also. They are in the process of educating their puppy raisers as to when they should tell the graduate to contact the school. They have had some problems with it although not a lot. David Loux presented The Seeing Eye's position. The Seeing Eye does not allow contact between graduates and raisers. Rachel Todd, a puppy raiser, gave her point of view. She said that contact has, for the most part, been positive. She said there were little details that were passed on to the graduate about the puppy's history. President Whalen asked whether the schools have a waiting period between graduation and contact. Southeastern has a waiting period of one year before graduates and puppy raisers meet. Guide Dogs, Leader Dogs, and Guiding Eyes do not have a waiting period between graduation and meeting. Guiding Eyes provides the name and address in the packet given to the graduating student. Next, in the interest of time, it was voted to have the t-shirt raffle at Saturday's meeting. Pete Donahue talked about Harness Up disks. The International Braille Research Center booth has an online depository of electronic Braille books. Harness Up has also been put online. NAGDU is the first division to offer its newsletter in electronic format. The meeting adjourned at 10:53 PM.

Presidential Report

by Suzanne Whalen The year between the two Atlanta conventions was a good one for us in NAGDU. The year following our last Dallas convention had been a time of building: building our relationships with the schools, building our sense of purpose and direction as a division, building upon our ideas, our projects, and our dreams. The year between the two Atlanta conventions was a time for moving forward from the foundations we had laid. It was also a year for growth. In fact, just before we met for our 2000 convention in Atlanta, Miss Rovig at the National Center for the Blind told me that NAGDU and the Deaf-blind Division are now the two fastest growing divisions within the NFB! Isn't that fantastic? As great as growth is, it does bring some challenges. The one that comes to mind immediately is registration for our NAGDU meetings. We've now grown so big that the way we've been doing registration in previous years just isn't working very efficiently anymore. We're considering some modifications, including a pre-registration system similar to that which some affiliates do for state conventions. If you have any ideas, please contact me at 9411 Mixon Drive, Apartment 127, Dallas, Texas 75220; telephone: 214-357-2829. The Board and I will hash out this issue, and I'll be in touch with you so that everyone knows about any changes in our registration procedures long before our convention in Philadelphia. As always, we in NAGDU continue to deal with discrimination when it happens. As one example of things that have come our way this year, Federationists in Missouri resolved an incident involving a Red Lobster restaurant. A woman with a guide dog was treated very rudely by restaurant staff and was seated in a cold room, apart from other patrons. We are pleased that when she subsequently returned to Red Lobster she was treated with the same courtesy due any patron. It is always gratifying when we can work shoulder to shoulder with others in our movement whenever any issue affects blind people, whether or not they use guide dogs. As most of you know from having attended the convention or from reading the Spring, 2000, Harness Up, your NAGDU Board of Directors went to Baltimore for a meeting at the National Center for the Blind during the weekend of February 11-13. Present at this meeting were the entire NAGDU Board, plus Ed and Toni Eames, Diane McGeorge, Dr. Maurer, and Mrs. Jernigan. You know we worked to formulate policies with respect to appropriate standards of conduct for guide dog teams at our conventions. These policies were an attempt to address concerns the hotel had raised with Dr. Maurer and Mrs. Jernigan. Like anything else that's being tried for the first time, there are some glitches that need to be worked out, and we will do it. It is enough to say here, I think, that 99.99999999 percent of us are responsible. We don't leave our dogs alone, whether they are crated or not, in our hotel rooms. We pick up after our dogs. NAGDU is trying our best to help all of us who are responsible by providing services like dog sitting, orientation walks through the hotels, and a NAGDU INFORMATION Table. For the unbelievably small number of people who just don't care, well, we're trying to educate those folks to the fact that their behavior is not welcome at our conventions. This policy may need some fine tuning, but it's the first time we've done something other than just complain, or actually, listen to other people complain, about the piles of poop somebody stepped in, etc. Please tell me if there was anything about the way we did things or the way the hotel staff behaved that upset you. Please also tell me what your suggestions and solutions are and what you liked. A few people have asked me why I took a few minutes at the beginning of each meeting to explain the policies. They felt that they were being lectured at when they are not to blame. That's a valid question. I did it because when I asked if there was anyone who didn't know what I was talking about concerning changes in policy, several people said they were unfamiliar with the changes. My intent is never to lecture anybody, but for people who haven't yet read Harness Up or the Monitor, we needed to bring them up to speed. Thank you to those people who brought the concern to my attention. One other thing that came out of that meeting was that Dr. Maurer wants stories by people using guide dogs for the NFB'S Kernel Books. He wants these stories to be accompanied, where possible, by a picture of the guide dog team. Kernel Books, for those who don't know, are little books the Federation puts out, usually publishing two a year, with the purpose of educating the public about blindness. Education is achieved through stories that deal with people's ordinary, day to day experiences as blind people. There has been a noticeable lack of stories about experiences involving guide dogs. Dr. Maurer would like to correct this lack. So get those potential Kernel Book stories in. Mail to Dr. Marc Maurer's attention at the National Center for the Blind, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230.


National Association of Guide Dog Users Division OFFICERS




President : Suzanne Whalen
Address: 9411 Mixon, Apartment 127
Dallas, Texas 75220
Phone: 214-357-2829
E-mail: President: Suzanne Whalen

Vice-President: Dana Ard
301 Bruce Avenue
Boise, Idaho 83712
Phone: 208-345-3906
E-mail address: Vice President: Dana Ard

Treasurer: Priscilla Ferris Priscilla Ferris
Address: 55 Delaware Avenue
Somerset, Massachusetts 02726
Phone: 508-673-0218
E-mail Address: Treasurer: Priscilla Ferris

Secretary: Eugenia Firth
Address: 1019 Martinique
Dallas, Texas 75223
Phone: 214-824-1490
E-mail address: Secretary: Eugenia Firth

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NAGDU Web Site Links
National Federation of the Blind The National Federation of the Blind World-Wide Web Site
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Guide Dog Access Legislation A World-Wide compilation of guide dog access legislation.
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