Harness Up Fall, 2003




A Publication of the National Association of Guide Dog Users A Division of the National Federation of the Blind Editor: Eugenia Firth


TABLE OF CONTENTS







EDITOR'S NOTES

By Eugenia Firth



I usually feel I have had some difficulty in gathering materials together for Harness up. However, this issue virtually wrote itself, and I had trouble deciding whether to leave material out of this issue.

If your school has something nice to tell, I invite you to send it as The Guide Dog Foundation and The Seeing Eye have done. It's wonderful to contribute positive events to Harness Up to offset all the trouble that's about.


President's Message

by Suzanne Whalen


Hello again, fellow NAGDU members! The fall weather is glorious in Dallas. I have often said that, if we could sell in six-packs the weather we enjoy from mid- September to mid-November and again from mid-March to mid-May, we wouldn't have any budget problems in this city. We pay for this with those many hundred-plus-degree days we endure every summer.

Speaking of summer, we naturally reminisce about our national convention. I'd like to highlight three events at the convention. The first two won't appear in the August- September Convention Roundup section of the Braille Monitor. The third does appear there.

First, NAGDU has a new Web site! Pete Donahue is doing a terrific job constructing it. This is a truly significant development for our division. Our Web site will be a marvelous vehicle for doing research on a wide variety of guide dog related issues and access laws, both in the United States and around the world. Please read Pete's article about the NAGDU Web site elsewhere in this issue.

Second, The Seeing Eye announced that it will now train dogs for graduates who use wheelchairs, on a case by case basis! This announcement was made twice: at The Seeing Eye's graduate breakfast, and also while Mike Moran was giving the school's update during the seminar "A Guide Dog in Your Life." Guide Dogs for the Blind is also beginning to train graduates in wheelchairs on a case by case basis. Of course, Southeastern Guide Dogs is continuing to provide this training, and not just for their graduates but for any qualified applicant. I hope The Seeing Eye and Guide Dogs for the Blind will eventually have enough success with graduates that they, too, will feel confident enough to take on other students in wheelchairs. Of course, Southeastern is the school which pioneered training of blind wheelchair users. I'm deeply grateful to Southeastern for training Caddo and me. I'm also profoundly humbled and grateful for the role Caddo and I have been privileged to play in bringing the freedom of increased independent mobility to blind wheelchair users. I'm very proud of The Seeing Eye and Guide Dogs for the Blind for their very responsible and professional approach. They studied all factors and they are beginning by serving people whom they know. I was honored to conduct a community demonstration for the training divisions in both schools. I hope to be invited to do the same at more guide dog schools.

Please put yourselves in the place of blind wheelchair users. According to the estimates of one study conducted by the National Institutes of Health for Smith Kettlewell, there are approximately 90,000 legally blind people in the US who use wheelchairs for part or all of the time. Just to play with numbers, let's say that one-half of one percent of those people have the ability and desire to use a guide dog. That would be 250 people! Southeastern is currently serving about 2 students per year who use wheelchairs. I don't know what their current goals are since they have a new Executive Director, but when Mike Sergeant was still there, they talked about working toward the goal of eventually training a maximum of 5 wheelchair users per year. Hypothetically, dividing 250 potential applicants by 5 per year, that would result in a 50-year wait for some people. Of course, the numbers of blind wheelchair users applying for guide dogs could be more or less than 250. But this hypothetical example doesn't even take into account the needs of existing guide dog teams using wheelchairs! Most of us will eventually need to be trained with successor dogs.

Most blind people have to wait a few months at most for successor dogs. This is especially true for people who have no additional disabilities. If you can't imagine having to wait several years for your next dog, and you want to help make quality training available for blind people in wheelchairs, please know that Caddo and I will answer anybody's questions to the best of our ability, and we will conduct demonstrations wherever we're invited. Please encourage your school to ask us to come. Even though your school may not be able to add training for graduates using wheelchairs to its program right now, the staff can still benefit from learning how it works.

The third convention highlight is the resolution on informed choice. I encourage everyone to read carefully the resolution itself, the background information, and other pertinent material in The Braille Monitor. I also encourage everyone to read carefully the article "Informed Choice: Some Questions," which appears elsewhere in this issue. As you can imagine, I have received many calls, letters, and many questions about this resolution. Our own NAGDU treasurer wrote the resolution along with Jim Gashel. Several members asked whether she had at any time sought input from the NAGDU board and, if not, why not. I can answer the first part of the question (no, she did not) but not the second part (why not). I realize that any Federationist can submit any resolution and isn't obligated to get feedback from anybody. I also realize that, though the resolution never actually said it, one of its purposes is to defend Alan Harris, whose agency is under attack in Iowa. As President Maurer said in a letter to me, "We gave our definition of informed choice a little more comprehension than we had previously given to it. The informed choice resolution was a clarification of existing policy, not a new or radical step." But Priscilla knows that NAGDU has had a long-standing interest in our centers' policies toward guide dogs. I believe it would have been a courtesy, if nothing else, to notify the NAGDU board and membership about plans for the resolution and the reasons for it.

In the article "Informed Choice: Some Questions," I have included letters between Ed and Toni Eames and President Maurer. Some of you have seen Ed and Toni's open letter on the NAGDU list. Ed and Toni have decided to leave the Federation because of their very strong feelings against this resolution. I am very pleased that they contributed their "Nose for News" column to this issue, and I hope they will continue to do so. I know we will all miss them as colleagues. Aside from that, however, the most dramatic effect of their departure is that we will no longer have their outstanding services in creating and staffing our convention relief areas. It is true that I have helped recruit volunteers in some of the cities where we have met, and Gigi and I have done most of the matching of sitters with dogs during the banquet. But the Eameses have unquestionably done the lion's share of the work. Every year, they have spent hundreds of hours contacting kennel clubs, breed clubs, and other potential sources for volunteers. They have located suppliers for the wood chips and other materials needed. The National Center builds the boxes each year, but the Eameses have been responsible for ordering all the supplies. The paid staff was hired and trained by the Eameses, and because the Eameses are no longer associated with the Federation, those staff people won't be back either. All the work associated with the relief areas, the NAGDU Information Table, and the dog sitting service now falls to Dana, Gigi, and me. For future conventions, the Eameses have generously agreed to give us the names of the contacts they have established in cities like Louisville, Atlanta, and Dallas where we have previously met. But whenever we meet in a city for the first time, we'll be charting new territory. We'll appreciate any help we can get with making phone and e-mail contacts to find volunteers before convention. Following Ed and Toni's advice, we'll begin doing it in March or April. If you do it much earlier than that, people will forget, or they won't know what they'll be doing the first week in July. We'd also appreciate any time you can give to working the NAGDU table during convention.

I am happy to report the demise of Praise, a guide dog "school" in New York State. Here is the text of a press release which speaks for itself in explaining what happened to Praise. The Guide Dog Foundation produced this in Braille at my request, but it was actually issued by the Department of Law in New York City and the Department of Law in Albany. Here it is: For Immediate Release, August 1, 2003 Department of Law 120 Broadway New York, NY 10271 Department of Law The State Capitol Albany, NY 12224 For More Information: (212) 416-8060 LONG ISLAND COUPLE INDICTED FOR CHARITIES SCAM and WELFARE FRAUD Charged With Looting Charities They Created To Help BLIND CHILDREN

New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and New York State Welfare Inspector General Paul Balukas today announced the arrests of two people on a 46-3.t indictment charging that they stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from local, state, and federal welfare agencies.

Defendants Barbara Abernethy, 42, and Steven Southard, 55, of 104 Round Swamp Road in Old Bethpage, set up three not-for-profit corporations to operate schools for blind children. Between 1997 and 2002, they collected over $200,000 in charitable donations from hundreds of contributors, including the Pall Corporation, the Charles B. Wang Foundation, Barry Manilow, the Ron and Sheryl Howard Foundation, the Hicksville Fire Department, and from numerous individuals who reside in the area.

However, according to the indictment, the schools did not graduate a single seeing-eye dog. Instead, the defendants opened bank accounts in the names of the not-for-profits and used the money as if it were their own, spending more than half of what they collected on personal expenses.

The pair is also charged with defrauding the Nassau County Department of Social Services, the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, and the Social Security Administration. It is alleged that the couple stole more than $100,000 in welfare, disability and social service payments from these government agencies by concealing their income from the charitable foundations.

"These defendants used these charities for their own enrichment," Spitzer said. "We intend to hold them accountable for their actions. My office will continue to work with other state agencies to root out fraud and abuse."

Inspector Balukas added, "My office has repeatedly called upon government agencies that contract with non-profit organizations in New York to increase the oversight, reporting requirements and accountability of these organizations. The defendants created and operated their non-profit organizations with the real purpose of stealing thousands of dollars intended to benefit blind children."

Among the charges contained in the indictment are one count of Scheme To Defraud in the First Degree, four counts of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, seven counts of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, Repeated Failure to File Income Taxes, and Welfare Fraud in the First Degree.

The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Spitzer commended the following state agencies for their assistance in the investigation: the NYS Workers' Compensation Board, Office of the Fraud Inspector General; the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance; the Inspector General of the Social Security Administration and the NYS Office of Children and Family Services.

The case is being prosecuted by Pat Russo, General Counsel to the Office of the Welfare Inspector General, who has been designated a Special Assistant Attorney General, under the supervision of Assistant Attorney General Vincent O'Reilly, Deputy Bureau Chief of the AG'S Criminal Prosecutions Bureau. Also providing assistance with the investigation were Assistant Attorney General Charles Smith of the Charities Bureau and Supervising Investigator John Serrapica. From the Welfare Inspector General's office, Chief Investigator Robert L. Waters and Investigators Gabriel Camacho and Ismael Zayas also assisted in the investigation.

There you have the press release. Ironically, you will notice that the defendants are not being prosecuted for placing blind people in potential danger. If they had not been accused of stealing money, nobody would have thought to investigate what they were doing.

NAGDU didn't have anything to do with Praise's demise. We can't take even partial credit for it, as we can with Canine Vision and Paws Abilities. I wish that were the end of the battle with substandard programs, but it's not. We helped close down Canine Vision, and Sally Sue Bradley started Georgia Guides. It looks like Praise is gone, but to our knowledge, Mike Dalton, clueless as ever, is still "training" guide dogs in Colorado. Please read the interview with Irene McAlister elsewhere in this issue. The problem of getting rid of substandard programs is very similar to something my mother used to say about flies and mosquitoes: "For every one you kill, five come to the funeral."

I want to be clear about this, especially for new members who may misunderstand and think NAGDU is against all small schools or all new schools. That is not the case. We have no problem with schools, whatever their size and age, as long as they can provide adequate follow-up. We have no problem with schools, no matter their size or age, as long as they have qualified instructors and refrain from training students until they do. Guide Dogs of Texas is a prime example. This school waited until it had the resources to bring in an experienced instructor from the United Kingdom. He has brought in others.

Of course, the advocacy never stops, because acts of discrimination continue against people using guide dogs. One particularly memorable case involved a couple whose apartment manager kept grilling them as they were moving in, emphasizing the "No Pets" rule and asking if they were sure that neither one of them had any intention of getting a guide or service dog and threatening to evict them if they did. The man has decided he wants to apply for a guide dog. They called me, wanting both reassurance and chapter and verse information about the specific laws which applied in their state. I did pretty well with the reassurance part. However, when people's legal questions get too technical for my non-lawyer brain, I turn to Karla Westjohn. As most "Harness Up" readers know, Karla is one of our members, and she is an experienced attorney. She helped out in resolving this case. She has assisted in a variety of ways with other cases throughout this year and in past years. Karla has donated much time and effort and expertise to this division and to helping the officers deal with guide dog users who find themselves in a variety of situations. I have thanked her privately for this, but never done so publicly in "Harness Up." I am doing so now.

Does your state have a NAGDU affiliate? What is it doing? What advocacy work has it done? What does it do to educate the public about blind people in general and the relationship between a handler and his or her guide dog in particular? "Harness Up" is one place you can brag and share your great ideas with the rest of us, and we would love it! The editor of your NFB state affiliate's newsletter might love it, too. I know, most of our fellow Federationists use the long white cane as their method of mobility, but editors are always looking for well-written articles. By way of reminder, Dr. Maurer is always looking for well-written Kernel Book stories. Besides there are always opportunities to educate our brothers and sisters within the Federation family. The Dallas Progressive Chapter is great! None of us who work with guide dogs has ever gotten any flak about it. It makes me sad when I get a call from someone who is between dogs, and one or more people in the person's local chapter have made comments such as, "It's good to see you using a cane; I knew you could do it!" or, "I hope you're not planning to get another dog." I have occasionally spoken to young people who worry that if they get a guide dog, it could hurt their chances for a scholarship or hinder their chances to rise politically within the organization. Thankfully, I don't get these kinds of calls often, but it shouldn't happen at all in this movement. We shouldn't have to feel the need to apologize about our mobility choice to other blind people or to anyone else, for that matter, whether we use a dog or a cane. We shouldn't allow another person to dictate to us when to use a dog or cane, when to retire a dog, or whether to get another dog. I have suggested to people that the next time somebody says, "I hope you don't get another dog," they hold their heads high, smile, and say something like, "Oh, you bet I'm getting another dog, and I can't wait! Have a nice day!"

Please wish everyone in your family a safe, blessed, and happy holiday season from me. I'll see you again in the spring.


Informed Choice: Some Questions




by Suzanne Whalen At our convention last summer in Louisville, a resolution was passed reaffirming the Federation's support for the concept of informed choice. The Rehabilitation Act, as amended, gives consumers the right to choose the providers of their rehabilitation services. The consumer makes this choice based on as much factual information as he or she can get about each program being considered. Stated very simply, the resolution defines our organization's view as to the correct interpretation of "informed choice." According to our position, it is desirable and even essential that clients choose where they want to go to receive rehabilitation. However, our organization believes that Congress never intended for clients to be able to pick and choose what they will learn once they enter a rehabilitation program. Guide dogs are specifically mentioned in the resolution. This means that after the program requirements have been explained and the student nonetheless chooses to enter, he or she cannot change the policy if the center does not allow for the use of guide dogs during the class day. Following passage of this resolution, there has been, to put it mildly, considerable discussion. Computer lists have been buzzing. I have stopped counting the phone calls and letters I have received. Some communications have been from cane users who couldn't understand why so many dog users are upset over the resolution. Most calls and letters have been from guide dog users, and they have posed some serious questions which deserve serious answers. Perhaps the most important of these questions is, "What are we going to do?" Well, let's start by considering who the "we" in this case is. If we interpret the "we" to mean the National Association of Guide Dog Users, the short answer to that question is: nothing. As we all know, resolutions are policy statements of the National Federation of the Blind. The convention is the supreme authority of the Federation. Local chapters, state affiliates, and national divisions do not make national policy, and they cannot go against national policy. Of course, NAGDU, as a division of the Federation, will support and uphold Federation policy. But let's look at the "we" in another sense. The Federation is a democracy, and each of us is a citizen within that democracy. Some might ask: The resolution has passed. What's the point of discussing it now? Those who opposed it had their chance to express their views during the debate at convention. The vote didn't go their way, and now they should just quit complaining and move on. The point is well taken. However, in a democracy, citizens abide by the laws, but if they don't like something, through proper means they talk about it and work for change if they feel that's needed. President Maurer has said that some members are taking offense where no offense was intended. Through continued discussion and dialogue, perhaps we who don't agree with the resolution will gain a different perspective and will come to understand that no offense was meant. On the other hand, by listening to what we have to say, those who wrote the resolution, and those who support it, may see that some of our questions and ideas have value. Perhaps they will realize that there were considerations they hadn't thought of. President Maurer has told me he feels the discussion about guide dogs is worth having, and he and I have been engaged in dialogue that is mutually candid and courteous. I am working on an article for The Braille Monitor at the same time that I am writing this. I am motivated to write the Monitor article because of two factors. The first is the resolution and the concerns about it (my personal questions and concerns as well as those presented to me by many, many other people). The second factor is Jim Omvig's article in the October Monitor. As I understand it, there are two key points to his article. One point is that people who disagree with the informed choice resolution are not really qualified to speak against it if they have never experienced rehabilitation at a center following the Federation model. The other point is that, if you travel with a cane, you know you have accomplished it independently and have done it all yourself, whereas, according to Mr. Omvig, if you travel with a guide dog, you would be inclined to ask yourself, "Did I do this or did the dog do it?" Mr. Omvig, to my knowledge, has never used a guide dog. Therefore, one might argue that he is not in a position to know what goes through the mind of the handler. My first response to this article was indignation and maybe even anger. I now view it as one more opportunity to inform our colleagues in the movement about a topic on which many of them lack accurate information. One thing I feel I must emphasize is that those who voted against the resolution are not attacking the movement. The movement will only be better and stronger when the lines of communication are kept open. Asking questions about a resolution, or even disagreeing with it, doesn't automatically make someone a disloyal Federationist. Some cane users have asked serious questions that deserve answers. They've asked me whether NAGDU is saying cane travel is not important. (No, we've never said that, and we're not saying it now.) They've asked me whether our centers would have to hire guide dog instructors to train the dogs. No, of course not! The staffs at our centers are not experienced or knowledgeable enough to judge the work of a guide dog team. Furthermore, our centers are not in the business of breeding and training dogs and matching them with students, just as the guide dog schools aren't set up to do rehabilitation. All we've ever advocated is that when there's a problem, they encourage the graduate to call the guide dog school.) One thing is for sure, though. Especially when a student is working with a young dog, problems could very well result for that team if the student is either forced to leave the dog locked up somewhere or forced to heel the dog all day while using a cane. An instructor from the school that trained the team (not from one of our centers) may very well be needed to repair that damage. When students attend programs that allow them the freedom to use their dogs for a substantial part of the day, problems are far less likely to occur with the team. This seems a good time to clear up a major misconception held by several of the resolution's supporters who have contacted me. The argument goes something like this: When you go to a school like The Seeing Eye, they don't let you use canes at all (which is not entirely true, of course). Our centers run a cane mobility program, these folks say, so why would anyone want to use a dog while in training there? Here are the problems, as I see them, with that line of reasoning. When you go to guide dog school, you're there for about a month for a first dog. You are focusing on only one skill: traveling with a guide dog. On the other hand, when you come to one of our centers, you typically spend several months there. You are not there just to learn cane travel. As important as it is, cane travel is only one of many skills our centers teach. The others include Braille, computer training, cooking, wood shop, rock climbing, housekeeping, doing laundry, etc. To call our centers merely a "cane mobility program" is misleading and it severely undervalues what the centers actually do. Guide dog users have asked some thought-provoking questions as well. I have paraphrased examples of some of the questions which occurred most often: (1) I went to Rehab Center X in the sixties. It was accredited by NAC. They forced me to kennel my dog. Why are we doing something that NAC agencies once did? (2) What if a sheltered workshop or a rehab center (not one of ours) denies somebody the right to use the guide dog during the day? Will the Federation defend and support this person? (3) How many of our centers, and how many other centers run on the Federation model, employ current guide dog users as teachers? Are these employees allowed to use their guide dogs, if they wish, as they travel throughout the center and into the community during their work day? What can be done to increase the number of people employed at our centers who currently use guide dogs on a regular basis? (4) What happens if I want to go to a specific rehab center, and the counselor tells me there's no money to send me? True, I can appeal, but that can take forever, and my training is put on hold. (In fact, Dana Ard, during her time at the microphone, called informed choice an "unfunded mandate." She should know. She works closely with blind students herself. It sounds good in theory, but with the economy as it is today, how well does it always work in practice?) I believe that Dr. Maurer and I will dialogue about these issues and many others. I know other NAGDU officers and members will continue to engage in constructive discussions with Federation colleagues. Whatever happens, I'm sure we'll still be talking about all this in the Spring "Harness Up" and at this summer's convention. At the conclusion of this article, there is a series of correspondence between Ed and Toni Eames and President Maurer. The Eameses wrote an open letter explaining their reasons for leaving the Federation. President Maurer replied to this letter, and they replied to him. 3376 North Wishon, Fresno, CA 93704-4832 Phone: (559) 224-0544 Fax: (559) 224-5851 E-mail: eeames@csufresno.edu July 14, 2003 Open Letter to NFB From: Ed and Toni Eames Since moving to California more than 15 years ago, we have been actively involved in the Federation at the local, state and national level. In Fresno, we have each served as president of the local chapter and currently Toni is vice president and Ed is treasurer. Our activities include fund raising, blindness awareness education and advocacy. For the last several years, Ed served on the NFB California state board and we have co- chaired the Guide Dog Committee. Ed has chaired the state scholarship committee for the last four years and three years ago we did a joint presentation at the state convention. At the national level, both of us have been field representatives and log approximately 20 hours a month on national activities. This includes advocating for blind prisoners and fostering the NFB political agenda. Both of us attended a leadership seminar validating both our value to the organization and commitment to its growth. Three of our articles have been published in kernel books and two were the title articles. Since 1996 we have taken on responsibility for setting up and maintaining the guide dog relief areas at national conventions. That commitment resulted from a challenge issued by Dr. Jernigan at the 1995 California state convention, when he said that if we thought we could do a better job than the hotels were doing, prove it! We did beginning in Anaheim and received kudos from him at the banquet for our efforts. We are sorry to say that these activities will now end. As a result of the passage of Resolution 2003-101, which places those of us choosing partnership with guide dogs in the status of second class citizens, or more properly, second class Federationists, we are leaving the organization. This is done with deep regrets, since NFB has been a major part of our lives for the last 15 years. Although we have heard it argued that the resolution only refers to informed choice, the fact that guide dogs are mentioned as one of two practices and policies namely the use of sleep shades and guide dogs, leaves little room for misunderstanding of the intent of this resolution. Informed choice, as defined by 2003-101 means that a consumer has very little in the way of choice. If the training center has a policy against guide dogs on the premises or no guide dog use while the student is in the program, the choice is either to break the partnership or so constrain it that the team's efficacy is undermined. To us, saying to an applicant for rehabilitation services, you have the choice of leaving your preferred mobility tool behind or go elsewhere is the equivalent of a restaurant or hotel manager saying we have a no dogs policy, but there are lots of other nice restaurants or hotels you can go to! The concept of consumer empowerment, another basic tenet of the Rehabilitation Act, is negated by 2003-101. From Peggy Elliott's exhortation to pass the resolution, it appears that only organizations, not individuals, have the right to challenge agency practices and policies. This runs counter to all we believe in and undermines the notions of informed choice and consumer empowerment. When Toni did an internship at the Queens, New York Lighthouse in 1968, she was required to kennel her guide dog in the basement during the work day. This extended separation had a negative impact on both Toni and her guide dog Charm. As an individual, Toni tried to get the policy changed, but was basically told, abide by our rules or go elsewhere. The Lighthouse probably interpreted this as informed choice in the decades before Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the ADA of 1990. Subsequently, the policy was changed and guide dogs were welcomed in this institutional setting. More recently, we have been advocates for a blind prison inmate named Willie Lee Johnson (see articles in Braille Monitor). During the decade Willie was incarcerated in California prisons, he filed many complaints against the practices and policies of the California Department of Corrections (CDC). As a result of his individual efforts, CDC changed its policies concerning access to libraries for blind prisoners, training for jobs in the prison system, inmate use of white canes, access to Braille and cassette materials, etc. Despite living in one of the most repressive institutional settings in our country, Willie proved that an individual can make a difference and get things changed. Unfortunately, 2003-101 states that individuals cannot change the environment in which they receive rehabilitation services. If this position is followed, those receiving rehabilitation services would have fewer rights than convicted felons! Federation philosophy has been expressed in a number of phrases exemplifying its basic tenets. Among these are: "We're changing what it means to be blind" and "With proper training, blindness can be reduced to a mere nuisance". The Federation's battle cry for security, equality and opportunity resonates as the ideological basis of the organization. 2003-101 is a fundamental violation of these basic themes. In the resolution, comparison is made between rehabilitation agencies and colleges. As a retired professor of anthropology, Ed takes great exception to the misreading of the history of higher education in the last century. The notion that college students have no influence or power over course offerings and personnel issues disregards the student movement of the 1960s and its aftermath. As a result of the struggle for student power, Ed sat on curriculum and tenure and promotions committees with students, who had considerable input in the decision making process. The goal of a college education is to provide a broad range of knowledge to its graduates. Thus, within the language requirement, students have options. They can take French, German, Spanish or even sign language. The goal of a rehabilitation center is to provide a wide range of blindness skills for its graduates. Thus, within the orientation and mobility requirement, students should also have options. Although learning to use a cane is an important skill, it is not synonymous with independence. We need to assure newly blinded individuals that they can leave their homes and be mobile, whether they choose to do so with a cane or a guide dog. In thinking about and discussing the unique features of NFB training centers such as those in Louisiana, Minnesota and Colorado, we concluded it was the inculcation of positive attitudes, rather than the mastery of particular skills that was distinctive. Many other centers have excellent training in Braille, computers, cane mobility and daily living skills, but NFB centers foster feelings of empowerment, independence and enhanced self esteem. To deny a segment of the blind community, namely those partnered with guide dogs, the opportunity to develop these positive attitudes runs counter to everything we believe the largest consumer advocacy organization of the blind in the United States should stand for. Several points need to be made about informed choice and rehabilitation training centers. 1. If the state does not have the money to send an applicant for services to the center desired, then there is not much choice. 2. If a center that welcomes guide dogs is geographically distant from home and family, the applicant is forced to choose between the guide dog and the family. 3. As the NFB model takes hold across the country under the RSA leadership of Commissioner Wilson, choices will become even more limited. Since the NFB rehabilitation training center model is being promoted as the best, and restrictive guide dog policies are also promoted, informed choice will diminish. Once again, it is with deep regret that we leave the Federation, an organization we have participated in and supported for 15 years. However, we cannot take the pledge to support all Federation policies when we believe Resolution 2003-101 suggests guide dogs are an inferior mobility mode when compared with canes, and, therefore, those selecting guide dogs, become part of a second class segment of the blind community. Subject: Marc Maurer response to our open letter The following response to our open letter was received by fax from Marc Maurer. July 17, 2003 Dear Ed and Toni, I have received your resignation letter from the Federation, and I accept the resignation you offer. I regret that you have misunderstood the informed choice resolution and that your letter misstates what the resolution says. You say that this resolution declares those who use guide dogs to be second class citizens or second class Federationists. The resolution does not say this; furthermore the resolution does not suggest this; consequently your characterization of it is incorrect. It seems reasonable to me that a training program may decide to teach mobility with a dog but not with a cane. It seems reasonable to me that a training program may demand of its students that they use the training method then being taught during the entire time the students are in training. Such a requirement is similar to the immersion programs for teaching languages. Immersion techniques for teaching certain skills have long been regarded as valuable in the teaching process. Among other things, this is one principle embodied in the informed choice resolution. You may believe that the guide dog schools should be required to teach mobility with a cane, but I suspect this would alter the program they have to such a degree that they would be fundamentally changed. I suppose informed choice might be twisted to argue that the school must make fundamental changes to its travel-training program, but this might cause hardship to the guide dog schools. Such discussion, I gather from your letter, is of no moment. At your request, I will remove your names from all committees and withdraw all other appointments you have received in the Federation. I appreciate the positive contributions you have made, and I wish you well. Sincerely, Marc Maurer, President NATIONAL FEDERATION OF The BLIND 3376 North Wishon Fresno, CA 93704-4832 Phone: (559) 224-0544 Fax: (559) 224-5851 E-mail: eeames@csufresno.edu July 27, 2003 Dr. Marc Maurer, President National Federation of the Blind FAX: 410-685-5653 Dear Marc, We are in receipt of your letter of July 17, 2003. Thank you for taking time away from your busy schedule to respond to our open letter. There remains a fundamental difference between our views of informed choice and the purpose of rehabilitation programs and agencies. You state, "You may believe that the guide dog schools should be required to teach mobility with a cane, but I suspect this would alter the program they have to such a degree that they would be fundamentally changed. I suppose informed choice might be twisted to argue that the school must make fundamental changes to its travel-training program, but this might cause hardship to the guide dog schools." In no way do we believe that guide dog schools should be required to provide mobility training with a cane. That is not their purpose or their historic mission. However, a number of them have added orientation and mobility specialists to their staffs or encouraged guide dog trainers and instructors to acquire such additional training. In fact, Leader Dogs, Escort and Echo's alma mater, provides cane mobility training in an intensive week- long program designed for applicants whose mobility skills are deficient. Several graduates of this program have gone on to partnership with guide dogs, and in one case the applicant felt his cane skills had become so improved that he no longer wanted to consider working with a guide dog! Many guide dog schools encourage newly arrived students to orient to the building and grounds by using their canes prior to being matched with their dogs. If the exclusive purpose of rehabilitation centers were to teach cane travel, and if they were known as white cane centers, we would have to agree with an exclusionary guide dog policy. If a student is a competent traveler with a guide dog, rehabilitation emphasis should be placed on honing other blindness-related skills, including the use of the white cane. Like all blindness- related skills, including Braille, a student's willingness to put in time and effort to master the skill becomes the basis of competence. Another major difference between guide dog schools and rehabilitation agencies is the source of their funding. Federal and state money support rehabilitation agencies, while guide dog schools rely on donations from the public. Therefore, the issue of accountability has to be viewed in very different contexts. Sincerely, Ed and Toni


NAGDU's New Internet Presence

By Peter Donahue


When Suzanne Whalen became NAGDU's President in 1998 I talked to her as to how we could have a presence on the Internet, and the World-Wide Web. The first of these endeavors, the establishment of NAGDU's discussion list hosted by NFB Net went on- line in the fall of that same year. Since then it has grown in to one of the most active discussion forums for guide dog users. Now that we had a discussion group on the Internet the next logical step would be to create a home for our division on the World- Wide Web. That dream was realized on July 1st, 2003, when the NAGDU World-Wide Web Site went live spreading the news about NAGDU's activities and further acquainting Web Surfers with the work of both NAGDU, and the NFB. The site has also opened up new ways for guide dog users and other interested persons to receive information never available to the masses in guide dogdum in years past. The story of how this all came to be is chronicled in this article. In the past there was a resistance to the idea of NAGDU's entry in to the Internet and the Web. Some individuals believed that such an endeavor was a waste of time, and division resources. As you read this article you the reader can decide as to whether these people were right or wrong. Discussions of creating a Web home for NAGDU took place off and on between the years of 1998 and 2003. We discussed the idea at several NAGDU Business Meetings. I shared with the division membership how a web site could benefit our division as well as guide dog users and their friends by offering information to them never available before. Finally in 2001 the National Association of Guide Dog Users voted to establish a World-Wide Web Site. However several more complications further forced the delay of the construction and launch of this new and dynamic resource. The first of these was the matter of who would construct the Web Site and maintain it. Mean while events in my personal life during this time further delayed the project even more. President Whalen sought to find someone to serve as Webmaster, but no one volunteered to take on the task. Once again President Whalen discussed this project with me last fall. I told her that I would be more than glad to construct the NAGDU Web Site as I had had prior experience building and maintaining the International Electronic Braille Library, (IEBL.) This was a project of the International Braille Research Center, (IBRC.) Hence I knew a thing or two about constructing web sites. Studying this subject in college has allowed me to further hone my web page creation skills. Finally in May of this year I received the green light to begin constructing our web home. We would launch the site on July 1 of this year. David Andrews offered to host our web site on the NFB Net Server. This has allowed us to save on hosting fees, and we have a great amount of flexibility where server resources, disk space, and other web site functions and utilities are concerned. When deciding on what to call the site one must register the name with a domain registration service. Your domain is where you can be found on the web. Your complete web address is called a Uniform Resource Locator, (URL.) The most common domains are .com, .org, .net, .gov, .edu, and others. The nature of your organization determines what domain name you should have. Since NAGDU is a non-profit organization it rightly has an .org domain name. NAGDU's complete URL is: http://www.nfb-nagdu.org At about the same time I received the go-ahead to build our web site the Webmasters of the NFB established a discussion group on NFB Net and we began discussing various matters such as identifying our affiliated states, chapters, and divisions as a part of the National Federation of the Blind. Our URL does that. The URL: http://www.nfb-nagdu.org Tells site visitors that the organization, The National Association of Guide Dog Users, (NAGDU), is an affiliated division of the National Federation of the Blind, (NFB.) We are working to get this naming convention adopted by all NFB State Affiliates, local chapters, and affiliated divisions. NAGDU has taken a leadership roll in helping this to happen. Once we registered NAGDU's Domain we needed to begin building the web site. Normally when one obtains hosting for a web site one uses a service, which provides this, and other Internet services. Most of the major Internet Service Providers, (ISP'S) host web sites as a matter of course. But what happens when the host you are using is not a full-fledged Internet Service Provider, (ISP.) One must have a way of making a link between the domain and the host where that domain will reside. Enter Domain Name Server, (DNS) Hosting. Since we are using a host, which is not an ISP, it was necessary for us to obtain DNS Hosting in order to link our URL with the NFB Net Server. We accomplished both things with the help of a good friend of David Andrews who handles many administration functions for NFB Net from his office in Canada. Just getting this thing up and running caused it to become a multi-national effort. When you're in this business there's no telling where it will take you. Now that we had a working host and a secure Internet connection the next thing was to begin building the web site itself. To do this we assembled a committee of folks to construct web pages, and to find content for the site. Those who attend the NFB's National Conventions know that NAGDU has what it calls a Canine Concerns Committee to over-see the care and use of relief areas set up for guide dog users at our national convention sites. This is one of the many activities carried out by this committee. I suggested to President Whalen that the committee charged with building NAGDU's Web Site be called the Internet Concerns Committee. This name stuck and we have a committee of about 12 persons who have assisted in one way or other with our web site. Most members are from here in the United States. However we have one member in Canada, and two members in Australia. Though not a guide dog user herself, Maria Chapman of Glen Innes New South Wales Australia has been extremely helpful in finding links to various Australian, and other countries dog-related web sites. These will be included in our links area expected to be on-line later this year. Likewise Jennifer McEchan of Canada has provided many useful links to me for inclusion in that area of our web site. This one area we wanted to get up and running once the site went on-line. Besides the Dog-Related Links Area and pages containing general information about NAGDU the Internet Concerns Committee identified two other areas to develop for our web site. Both of these are currently active and will be undergoing a facelift in the months ahead. The Harness Up Area contains issues of our biennial newsletter going back to the fall of 1998. Most of them are on-line in both text, and electronic Grade II Braille formats. They can be read on-line, or you can download them for off-line reading electronically, or hard-copy versions can be produced. By the time you receive this issue of Harness Up We will have the first of the audio versions of this newsletter on-line for you to listen to, or to download. This way you can listen to it on-line, or if you want your own copy on audio CD you'll be able to download the .mp3 file and burn it to an audio CD. Alternatively you'll be able to load it in to your favorite .mp3 player and listen to it on the go. Others in the blindness community have audio programs one can use in these ways. NAGDU can once again lead the pack in including audio content on it's web site to be used in various ways by listeners. If any of you have older issues of Harness Up and can send them to me for inclusion on the web site that will be very much appreciated. Another holy grail of mine is to somehow recover the fall 1999, and Spring 2000 Issues, which were lost due to a computer crash. If any of you have either of these issues in text, or on tape please send them to me so we can begin the recovery process. The third area of our site is the guide dog-related legislation area. And it's not just any old guide dog legislation area. Most guide dog schools provide their graduates with booklets pertaining to guide dog laws in the U.S or Canada. For many years I thought of how neat it would be to have a place where one could research guide dog access legislation of other countries. For many years the United States and Canada were the only two countries that had laws giving a blind person the right to enter public establishments accompanied by their guide dog. Times have changed, and today a handful of nations now have similar legislation. At present one will find guide dog- related laws for the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom on our web site. New Zealand will be joining them in the next few weeks. Bermuda, and Puerto Rico will follow soon after. In all cases each legislative section includes laws pertaining to the importation of guide dogs in to these countries as well as Federal, and State/provincial legislation concerning the rights of access for guide dogs and their blind handlers. We'll be adding substantially to the United Kingdom's area as we have recently received the UK's Disability Discrimination Act that contains provisions for rights of access for guide dog users. This is legislation similar to our Americans With Disabilities Act, (ADA. Like the UK Australia has a similar law also called the Disability Discrimination Act, (DDA.) No such legislation exists in Canada, but New Zealand has two pieces of national legislation containing provisions for access to public facilities by guide dogs and their blind handlers. These are provisions of the Human Rights Act, and a piece of legislation called the Dog Control Act. All of these will be on-line by the time you receive this article. Since more of us are traveling internationally with our guide dogs we felt it important to include legislation, which addresses the importation of dogs in to various countries some of which have stringent importation requirements, and post arrival quarantine periods. Part of taking a successful vacation abroad is knowing all you need to know before you go, or however the U.S. Customs Service used to say it. Now when you're planning a trip across the country or to another country you can read or download the importation regulations and any state, provincial, or federal rights of access legislation for the country you plan to visit from one place. Each country has an agency that oversees and administers the importation programs for those countries. In Canada it's the Canadian Food and Inspection Service, (CFIS), here in the United States that responsibility is handled by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC.) Hawaii's quarantine program is operated by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture. Likewise the agency charged with operating quarantine and inspection programs in Australia is called the Australia Quarantine and Inspection Service, (AQIS.) By the way it's pronounced with a long a sound, and contrary to what the Jaws for Windows Screen Reader would tell you it's not pronounced a kiss. The agency in New Zealand charged with this responsibility is the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, (MAF.) The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, (DEFRA) oversees the quarantine programs for the United Kingdom; namely Great Britain. We have included all of the import regulations for guide dogs entering these countries as they now have provisions to allow guide dogs to enter without having to undergo quarantine. You must obtain the necessary paper work from these agencies, and submit the required documentation to them in order to obtain a permit to import your guide dog in to these countries. You will also note that the program by which a guide dog can bypass quarantine is known by different names. In Australia it's called Quarantine Surveillance. In Hawaii it's called a Dispensation, and New Zealand takes the cake by calling it a Biosecurity Clearance. Guide dogs can enter the UK without quarantine under the newly established Great Britain Pet Travel Scheme. It's my information that Norway and Sweden have had bypass programs for guide dogs entering those countries long before it became an excepted practice. If anyone has the specific regulations, or can tell me where I can find them we'll include them in our legislative area in the year ahead. I believe that all of this is to say that we have a very powerful tool with our web site as we can assemble information in ways we never could in the past, and keep it current, and up-to- date so visitors have the most current data on various guide dog-related issues. In the months ahead we'll be going through the site's pages to clean up grammatical matters, and to make it easier to manipulate the site's appearance, and to update links when necessary. Hyper Text Mark-up Language, (HTML) is the language used to create the site's pages. It was developed specifically for creating content for the World-Wide Web. The most common practice is to enter HTML tags and elements for the appearance of pages on each individual web page. However when one wants to change something site wide such as the background color one must do that on every page in the web site. This is a time-consuming and tedious task to say the least. However there is a solution called a Cascading Stylesheet. This is a file created to control the appearance of all pages of a web site from a main control center if you will. All of the pages are linked to the Cascading Stylesheet. Rather than using elements in the HTML Tags a class name is entered instead. In this way we can change the appearance of a site's colors, text size, font, appearance of tables, and frames all from one place. Likewise we're developing a way to keep links updated site wide without having to update them on every single web page. Building a navigation bar that loads when each page is loaded allows us to accomplish this with ease. Thus if we want to add an area dealing with a particular issue of interest to guide dog users and want the link for that part of the site to be accessible from any page we would simply add it to the link bar and it's done. Alternatively we may decide to include this information in an all ready existing area of the site. For example there is currently a proposal being put before the UK'S Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, (DEFRA) to allow guide dogs coming to England from countries like the United State to fly in the passenger cabin with their blind handlers. Currently all animals entering the UK by air from countries classified as long haul countries must fly as cargo. The United States is currently classified as a long haul country. Guide dogs coming to the UK from some European Air Destinations can accompany their blind handlers in the passenger cabin provided the flight is under 5 hours. This is very unfortunate and discriminatory as despite the feeling that guide dogs could not handle the stress of a flight longer than 5 hours it has been done over, and over again. We know this to be true as we hosted a blind person from Australia who flew here with her guide dog. The flight from Melbourne Australia to Los Angeles is about 14 hours. The flight went without incident. Once we receive the documents, which were submitted, to DEFRA and the British Government urging them to change this narrow policy we'll post them in the UK portion of our Laws area of our web site for all to read. It's amazing to see just how far we've come where protecting the rights of guide dog users when compared with the rest of the World. Constructing this web site has given me and others of the Internet Concerns Committee a first-hand look at how far we've come in this area. While constructing this web site I've unearthed other interesting facts some are dog related, and others not. For example when creating the links page for the various guide dog schools, and World-wide I might add I discovered that guide dogs have caught on in places you wouldn't expect to find them. For example Japan has quite a number of guide dog schools scattered throughout the country. Like the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association in the UK, a similar organization exists in France called the French Federation of Guide Dog Schools. Belgium, Germany, and Switzerland also have a large number of Guide Dog Schools. Did you know that Le Bourget Field is still in operation? This is the airport where Charles Lindberg landed after his historic trans Atlantic crossing aboard the Spirit of St. Louis in the 1920s. It's located outside of Parris and handles air cargo and air charter service. It's amazing what you can unearth when constructing a web site. This resource can help to bring guide dog users from around the World together in ways not possible in the past. NAGDU has attempted to establish a mentor program to encourage networking among guide dog users. A page explaining the mentorship program is posted on our web site. An advantage of this program over the NAGDU Discussion List is that one can submit specific criteria one must meet for networking to occur. For example someone may want to connect with other guide dog users who attended an NFB training center. Once the mentorship database is up and running we can invite guide dog users from around the world to include their information in this database. Then if for example someone might want to meet a guide dog user from Iraq who has a Yellow Labrador Retriever they can submit these criteria to the mentorship database. If the database finds a match the person doing the search will be given the contact information of guide dog users who meet the specified criteria. When promoted and managed properly web sites can go a long way to building communities of people with like interests and concerns. Our web site will do that in the months and years ahead. Has all of this effort been worth it? I was able to obtain some usage statistical data from David Andrews and will share it with you below. The period covered in this report is from July 1 to October 8 of 2003. I'll explain what these numbers are as we go. They'll be given both as digits, and percentages: Hits: Hits are registered whenever someone attempts to log on to a web site's URL. During the period given above the NAGDU Web Site received 7902 hits. This made up 84% of the site's traffic. Files: This is the number of files downloaded by site visitors. During this period 160 files were downloaded making up 2% of our traffic. As more downloadable material is posted to the site this number could sky rocket; especially as more dynamic content is made available for downloading such as the audio version of Harness Up. Pages: Pages or page views are the number of pages that were read by site visitors. During this period we had 409 page views accounting for 4% of the site's traffic. Visits: Visits are recorded when someone logs on to a web site. We had 406 visits making up 4% of our site traffic. I should mention here that although the number of visits is lower than the number of page views it should be kept in mind that visitors will log on to view multiple pages of a web site. Sites: This is the number of sites visitors were able to reach from our web site. There are links to both the NFB's national web site and the NFB Net Site. This number will jump once our links area is fully operational. From the NAGDU Web Site visitors linked to 508 other web sites accounting for 5% of our traffic. This suggests to me that many folks were able to reach both the NFB National Web Site, and the NFB Net Site via our web site. Those who joined the NAGDU Discussion List via our web site may also be included in this figure. As NAGDU's activities become more widely varied, and NAGDU extends its reach to the guide dog community new uses will be found for our web site to help us achieve our organizational goals, and to create a greater sense of community among guide dog users and interested individuals. The NAGDU Internet Concerns Committee will continue to make improvements to the site's appearance and functionality, and will explore new ways to enhance its content. We strongly urge folks to visit us often to learn the latest news of what NAGDU is doing to create new opportunities and to win new rights for guide dog users, and to work with the National Federation of the Blind to change what it means to be blind.


They Made It Right

By Eugenia Firth



Harness Up readers may remember the situation we described concerning Irene McAlister and her experience with Mike Dalton, a totally unqualified trainer in Denver. Irene had been referred to this "trainer" by a Guide Dogs of America instructor, a man whose judgment she had good reason to trust. He had been a class supervisor at her first school. This also meant that he could do a good job of matching and home placing her current dog, Genna, a 57-pound Golden Retriever. The dog given to her by Mike Dalton was named Rusty, also a Golden Retriever. He was well behaved in the house, but was distractible while in the harness provided by Mr. Dalton. Irene said that Rusty did understand obstacle clearance, although she got little opportunity to practice it during the "training" they received or later. He did know to stop at curbs, but was constantly playing in harness. This is to be expected since they worked for a grand total of three days with Mr. Dalton. Irene estimates that the time spent in "training" totaled about six hours. The only "work" they did was around the neighborhood, and never once did they go into stores, malls, or other buildings. Naturally, traffic checks did not comprise part of the curriculum. Becoming frightened for her safety and that of her eight-year-old daughter, Irene stopped working Rusty. He is now living with a man who wanted an adult dog who had some obedience training. Of course, Genna and Irene got the real thing. Genna is two years old. Since Guide Dogs of America knew that she would be a home placed dog for Irene, she received special care in training. She was taken home by an instructor who has small children. One of the instructor's children would walk with the mother while she worked Genna. This gave Genna practice in walking with mother and child together. Also, since Irene works as a receptionist at a day care center, the school could accurately determine Genna's behavior with small children at home. When Irene's instructor, Bob Wendler, arrived, the team worked with him for ten consecutive days. Every morning for two hours or more, they could be seen working the streets of Denver. They went to the mall, grocery stores, her vet, and her daughter's school. They took the child to school every morning, and picked her up in the afternoons. After five days, Irene was allowed to pick her daughter up from school as a solo. The school is two blocks from her apartment, so this was a good start for a solo. Of course, Bob did traffic checks. Her daughter was not allowed to go on the traffic check trip, but she did work with them on several of the other trips. Her daughter is blind also, so Irene has taught her to back up immediately should her mother back up from a car. They also went to the Colorado Center for the Blind. While there, Bob was asked to address the students concerning guide dogs. He explained the basics to the students. There was a Leader graduate present, so Bob did not make his comments school specific. He suggested that students considering a guide dog research the school they wish to attend to be sure that school could meet their needs. Irene has kept her retired dog who is thirteen. The dogs get along. They sleep together. Genna, however, gets all the toys since the old dog doesn't want to play much. When asked if there was any aggression, Irene said that once they had words over a pop tart Irene accidentally dropped. I asked Irene about her opinion of home placement compared to school training. She thinks school training is easier since one does not need to consider one's job, household chores, and other day-to-day living concerns. However, she did think that home placement had the advantage of less down time since there was no need to wait for other students to complete routes. Once their training was completed, pictures were taken for the puppy raiser. Since Guide Dogs of America has puppy raiser contact, Irene is to receive this information so that she and the raiser may talk to each other. Usually students receive follow up after one month. Since Irene received home placement, this was not done. However, she expects to receive follow up next spring when the school comes to work with another student near her area. We would like to commend Guide Dogs of America for correcting its mistake. The school turned what could have been a tragedy into a really nice experience for Irene. When asked why she had not asked Mr. Dalton to leave her house, Irene said that he knew just enough to be dangerous. Having been a Guide Dogs for the Blind puppy raiser and having spied without permission upon their instructors, he learned enough to fool Irene into thinking he was qualified to train her dog. Irene went on to say that she did not know what to expect from home placement. Now she does.


Booker Foundation Grants $2 Million For Genetics at The Seeing Eye




Editor's note:

This article appeared in The Seeing Eye Guide, Spring, 2003, and is reprinted with permission.) The Trustees of the Jane H. Booker Charitable Foundation have awarded a grant of $2 million to The Seeing Eye to establish the Jane H. Booker Chair in Canine Genetics. Booker Foundation Trustees Milton A. Mausner, Esq. of Red Bank, New Jersey and U.S. Trust representative Linda Franciscovich said the gift reflects Mrs. Booker's long time support of The Seeing Eye mission. Mrs. Booker, who lived in Middletown, New Jersey, died in 1994 and under the terms of her estate created a foundation to provide for her favorite charities. She was a supporter of The Seeing Eye for 26 years. "We are pleased to establish this chair in Mrs. Booker's name to reflect her commitment to The Seeing Eye and to attach her name to the scientific scope and worldwide importance of The Seeing Eye's program in canine genetics," said Milton Mausner. Under the terms of the grant, The Seeing Eye has created The Jane H. Booker Endowment Fund for Canine Genetics. Income from the fund will help underwrite the expenses of the canine genetics program. "Mrs. Booker was inspired by the impact Seeing Eye dogs have on the lives of people who are blind and her gift to us, through the Foundation, makes it possible for us to always provide the best dogs possible to them," said Kenneth Rosenthal, president. "We are honored to receive this outstanding support." Dr. Eldin Leighton, who heads the school's genetics program, is now The Jane H. Booker Director of Canine Genetics. "The Booker Foundation gift is especially important to The Seeing Eye's continuing success because it ensures that resources always will be available to employ the most advanced thinking in canine genetics," said Dr. Leighton. "For over 20 years, The Seeing Eye has been applying principles of population genetics to improve the ability of Seeing Eye dogs to work as guides. This wonderful gift ensures that this effort will continue in perpetuity." The Seeing Eye breeds its dogs to possess the characteristics necessary to successfully guide a person who is blind. Those include a sound temperament and hips of high quality. Through The Seeing Eye's membership in the Council of U.S. Dog Guide Schools and the International Guide Dog Federation, Dr. Leighton meets with canine geneticists worldwide and presents papers at meetings of the Council and the Federation. Dr. Leighton's research abstracts on breeding are located on The Seeing Eye website www.seeingeye.org and available to others worldwide. "This is the first chair established at The Seeing Eye to secure the important work of key initiatives that advance the school's mission," said Rosemary Carroll, Director of Development and Public Affairs. "The Seeing Eye hopes to establish chairs in canine health management, instruction and training, and finance administration." Caption: Dr. Eldin Leighton, The Jane H. Booker Director of Canine Genetics


Press Release from Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind




Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, Inc. 371 East Jericho Turnpike Smithtown, New York 11787 (800) 548-4337 Fax (631) 361-5192 www.guidedog.org R. Michael Sergeant Joins Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind (June 13, 2003) The Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, Inc. (Smithtown, New York), is delighted to welcome R. Michael Sergeant to the Guide Dog Foundation team as Southern Regional Manager, a new position. He joins the staff effective July 8th. "I have had the pleasure of working with Mike for many years," said Wells Jones, the Foundation's Chief Executive Officer. "Mike's skills are well known in the guide dog field." As Southern Regional Manager, Mike will be based out of the Tampa Bay (Florida) area. "I am very impressed with the Guide Dog Foundation's programs and services," Sergeant said. "They do a wonderful job of breeding and training guide dogs, and helping people who are blind. I am delighted and excited to be on the team." Mike's territory initially will include Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina, and other areas as needed. He will conduct home trainings, applicant interviews, and aftercare visits. Mike also will provide other forms of outreach and support to our blind and visually impaired consumers--and potential consumers--in the Southern region of the US. The need for this position arose during the Foundation's recent Strategic Planning Process, which mapped out the organization's future plans, Jones explained. "Mike's coordination of the Southern Region will help the Foundation efficiently and cost- effectively serve a larger number of consumers," he said. Since 1946, the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind Inc. has provided guide dogs free of charge to people who are blind and seek the increased mobility, independence and the companionship a guide dog provides. Its programs are provided completely free of charge, supported by contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations.


Security with Dignity

by Suzanne Whalen


Anyone old enough to understand news reports knows that, since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, security at US airports, train stations, and bus stations has been heightened. No one questions the need to make travel as safe as possible. However, there are some facts we must accept if we choose to continue living in a free, open society. One of those facts is that there are no absolute guarantees. Another fact is that the dignity of law-abiding travelers must be respected. Unfortunately, there have been too many cases where passengers with disabilities have been subjected to humiliating treatment during security searches. As President of NAGDU, I have received phone calls and letters in which irate travelers have shared such experiences. Personally, I was once forcibly removed from my wheelchair. I was not behaving belligerently. I treated the screeners courteously, and I was prepared to cooperate with them in every way. Nevertheless, I was dragged to my feet without ever being asked whether or not I could stand. (It's a good thing I can stand for short periods of time. Otherwise, I would have fallen to the floor.) During the subsequent search, which occurred right there in the public security area of the airport, every part of my body was touched. I do mean every part of my body, including areas that would be considered private. In addition to the calls and letters I have received, I know that such degrading treatment has been the topic on the NAGDU list and other lists. Therefore, the editor and I thought "Harness Up" readers would be interested in an interview shared with graduates of The Seeing Eye. The interview was presented on tape as part of The Seeing Eye's 2003 summer message to its graduates. The interview took place by telephone between David Loux, The Seeing Eye's Manager of Field Operations, and Sandra Cammaroto. In addition to making herself available for the telephone interview, Ms. Cammaroto visited The Seeing Eye in September, 2002. She is the Senior Program Specialist with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). She is responsible for developing and implementing policies as they pertain to screening passengers with disabilities. She prepares the policies and sees that the contract organizations and agencies that present this information to screeners do so appropriately and accurately. In 2000, The Seeing Eye prepared a poster focusing on security checkpoint screening. TSA has adopted the procedures outlined in this poster. We thank The Seeing Eye for giving us permission to present information excerpted from this taped interview. Before we present highlights from the taped interview, we'd also like to present a useful phone number: 800-778-4838. This number is available from seven o'clock in the morning to eleven o'clock at night, seven days a week. This phone number has been publicized by the Department of Transportation, and, according to David Loux, it is under-utilized. By calling this number, you can get direct assistance about specific situations you have encountered. By calling this number, you can also obtain information about the Air Carrier Access Act, and other general information. You may also request written materials, and request assistance in filing formal complaints. One key point made clear in the interview is that an important goal of TSA is to ensure that there is consistency in the screening procedures used at all checkpoints. Ms. Cammaroto said, "One of the things that TSA has done, as I said, in working with the disability coalition and your organization is come up with protocol of how we can do things so that everything is the same every time at every airport everywhere. For instance, one of the main goals of the program that we teach the screeners, and we have taught fifty thousand screeners nationwide how to do this, is to never separate the team, to keep the team together, the person with their dog guide, as they go through the process, and allow the person to determine how it's best for their dog to go through the system. For instance, that the person would either let the dog go in front of them, with them, or behind them. But at that time, they're maintaining control of their dog guide as they move through the walk-through metal detector and through the process." After emphasizing that screeners are specifically instructed that they may not require a handler to be separated from his or her dog, Ms. Cammaroto said, "What's important about that is the team stays together, and this is what we've taught our screeners as well. So their expectation is that when a person who's blind that has a service animal comes through, they expect that that team will stay together, and they're not going to separate you. If they do, that's something that TSA wants to know about, and you should be letting Dave Loux know." I interrupt her quote here to express my own opinion that, if you are not a Seeing Eye graduate, you should let your own guide dog school know when you have a problem at a security checkpoint. It is true that The Seeing Eye's poster inspired the protocol on which the screeners are trained. However, this doesn't mean that the other schools are not interested in helping their graduates solve access problems. Ms. Cammaroto continued, "We really stress the importance of keeping that team together." Dave Loux then pointed out, "Another statement which maybe we can address as fact is to say that a service animal handler cannot be requested to remove equipment or pouches from their service animal." Ms. Cammaroto agreed, adding, "That's a really big improvement. I think a lot of people have told me that that was a problem in the past, that the belongings were taken off the dog guide and put through the x-ray and then the dog would be signaled that they're off work and wander away. So now we tell screeners, and we tell persons who are visually impaired or blind, that under no circumstances should the belongings on the dog be taken off. That means capes, the halter, the harness, backpacks, anything that's on your dog, should not be removed from your dog, and instead, what will happen is, once you and your dog have gone through the walk-through metal detector, you're going to alarm. That's because the harness and the halter on the dog does have metal. So that will happen, and what will happen at that point is that the screener will come and they will do a hand wanding of the person and then they will also screen your dog by doing a visual and physical inspection. They will do a pat down with the hands on the dog. They'll look at the harness and the halter and if there's any backpack or anything on the dog, they will open those up and look inside to make sure, just to review those." During this discussion of visual and physical inspection of the dog, three additional and very critical issues were raised. First, the inspections are external only. The use of invasive procedures to search the dog's internal body cavities is never, ever permitted. Gigi told me months ago about someone's battle with airport security screeners who wanted to give the dog an enema to make sure that the dog had not been forced to swallow contraband, similar to what human drug smugglers sometimes do. Prying the dog's mouth open to look inside is also not permitted. The second critical piece of information is this: Before performing physical and visual inspections of the outside of the dog's body, and before opening pouches or backpacks on the dog to inspect their contents, screeners must always ask the handler's permission. Based on my experiences, this regulation is one that needs more consistent implementation. The third critical item is something I didn't know until preparing this article. Before touching the passenger, the screener must put on rubber gloves. The screener must also wear gloves while touching the service animal and while touching the passenger's belongings. Some passengers have been alarmed, thinking that the gloves meant the screener was about to examine the dog internally, as a vet would. As already mentioned, internal inspection is never permitted. The requirement for gloves does not need to cause concern. Therefore, if a guide dog user, perhaps in a misguided attempt to be helpful, removes the equipment from the dog, or drops the leash, or hands the leash to someone else, or invites the screener to examine the dog internally, this may confuse the screeners and may confuse other passengers as well. Ms. Cammaroto emphasized that it's best to stick with the protocol on which the screeners are trained. This protocol is outlined in the Transportation Security Administration's web site, www.tsa.gov. If you look under "Tips for Persons with Disabilities," there is a section on visual impairments and persons using service animals, including dog guides. You will find the protocol there. Ms. Cammaroto explained that, if a passenger is wearing an outer jacket, that should be removed and sent through X-ray. After that point was made, David Loux asked the question about private screenings. Sometimes, for example, passengers are wearing medical devices such as pacemakers or insulin pumps, that set off the alarm. The screeners must investigate every time that alarm goes off. In order to do that, they might have to ask a passenger to lift the shirt, for example, so they can see the medical device. They sometimes ask passengers to go into a room for a private screening. The point to this section of the interview is that passengers may not be forced to undergo a private screening. It is their choice, and they can either choose to be searched in a private setting or in the public security area. If you wish to contact David Loux by e-mail, his e-mail address is dlouxseeingeye.org. This interchange between David Loux and Sandra Cammaroto is informative, and it shows real progress. We have a long way to go before people with disabilities can breeze through security with the same ease and lack of apprehension that most passengers do. But we've taken some very positive steps in that direction.


Flea and Tick Control: How You Can Win the Struggle

By Dolores Holle, VMD


Editor's note:

This article appeared in The Seeing Eye Guide, Spring, 2003, and is reprinted with permission. Dr. Holle is the Attending Veterinarian and the Director of Canine Health Management for The Seeing Eye.) The battle plan against fleas and ticks has historically been a three-pronged attack against the stages of flea life on your dog, in the internal environment (including home, office and car), and in the external environment (like your yard or dog run). The recent advances in flea control products has place the emphasis on preventing flea infestations on "on the dog" products. Close attention to faithful administration of these products combined with good housekeeping practices in the internal and external environments often helps one avoid the need for treatment of these environments. The Flea The female adult flea lays tiny white eggs on the dog. These fall into the surrounding environment. A single flea can lay as many as 28 eggs per day, which can lead to a rapid population explosion! After an incubation period of two to twelve days, the eggs hatch into motile larvae, which feed on dry blood, flea feces and other organic matter. They burrow into carpeting, upholstery, floor crevices and love outdoor shady moist areas like beneath bushes and in flowerbeds. The larval stage usually lasts from two to three weeks. Moderate temperatures and high humidity favor more rapid development. The mature larva spins a cocoon and enters a pupal stage. Again, depending upon temperature and humidity, this stage lasts another two to three weeks. The adult flea emerges from the cocoon and seeks a host for its first blood meal. Mating and egg production follow, and the cycle is repeated. For each adult flea on a dog, we estimate that there are about 99 in developing stages in the environment. In any control program, we must therefore have an emphasis on "the next generation"! The Tick Ticks are found in the eastern states, the Upper Midwest, the Pacific Northwest and parts of Texas. Ticks thrive in shady, moist environments with tall grasses, brush and woodlands. Ticks actually lie in wait, using an organ that senses heat and carbon dioxide, and jump onto unsuspecting animals and humans as they pass. Ticks transmit the widest variety of pathogens of any blood sucking arthropod, including bacteria (e.g. Lyme Disease causing Borrelia burgdorferi), rickettsiae (e.g. Ehrlichia canis and Rocky Mountain Spotted fever), protozoa (e.g. Babesia), and viruses. They can have very complicated life cycles, which can involve developing through various life stages on or in a number of different species of animals. Your dog We find both flea eggs and adults on the dog. It makes sense to use both an adulticide to kill adults, and an insect growth regulator or insect development inhibitor to prevent eggs from developing into larvae. It is especially important to kill adult fleas on dogs that suffer from flea allergy. It is the saliva of the flea, introduced into the dog as the flea takes a blood meal, to which the dog is actually allergic. Ticks attach themselves to dogs for blood meals. Control on the dog can be achieved by spot application of a monthly product (typically between the shoulder blades where the dog is unable to lick it off). The internal environment All stages of flea life are present indoors. Reduce the number of eggs and larvae by vacuuming thoroughly and frequently (at least twice each week). Special emphasis should be placed on the area(s) your dog spends time. These might include under the desk, the floor of the car, next to your bed, in his own dog bed, carpeted areas, etc. When you wash your dog's bedding use hot water. The external environment All stages of flea life are also present outside. Remember that moderate temperatures and high humidity favor growth. In very hot, dry climates, eggs and larvae will die rapidly in all but protected areas. These include shaded areas and damp ground under bushes and shrubs, or under leaves and litter, these are the same areas that are favorable to ticks. Raking and removing leaves, litter, grass clippings, or other debris will help to minimize the flea friendly areas. Decorative fencing can be used to keep your dog out of these areas. Additional tips ? Every dog and cat in your family needs to be treated. If you treat your dog guide and ignore the cat, you're living dangerously. ? Be sure that any products you use on cats are labeled as safe for use on cats. Some products are for use on dogs only and could be harmful to cats. ? Have sound advice on the safety and efficacy of the products you choose. Some combinations of products can be hazardous to your dog's health. ? Discuss your plan with your veterinarian. He or she will be able to guide you through the myriad products on the market, and will know which products have been working well in your geographic area. The following is a listing of a variety of useful and widely available products. Your veterinarian will be able to answer questions regarding these products and others available in your area. Topical Spot Treatments Advantage® This is a topical application for monthly use, its active ingredient is imidacloprid, which has only adulticide activity. It is not labeled as effective against ticks and contains no insect growth regulator. Advantix ™ This monthly topical application has the same active ingredient as Advantage® with the additional permethrin. The addition of permethrin enables the product to repel and kill Deer, Lone Star, American Dog and Brown dog ticks and mosquitoes. The permethrin also kills flea larvae in the dog's environment. This product cannot be used on cats! Frontline® Top Spot ™ This contains the active ingredient fipronil, an adulticide. It is effective against adult fleas and Deer, Lone Star, American Dog and Brown dog ticks. It contains no insect growth regulator. Frontline® Plus This contains the same active ingredient as Frontline Top Spot™ with the additional benefit of an insect growth regulator, methoprene! It is effective against adult fleas and ticks and prevents flea development. Revolution® This is another monthly topical. It has the advantage of preventing flea eggs from hatching in addition to being an adulticide. This product is also the only topical heartworm preventive, is effective against some intestinal parasites, ear mites, scabies and certain ticks, but so far it is not labeled as being effective against the Deer tick, which carries Lymes disease! Oral Insecticides Capstar ™ This is an adulticide product containing the active ingredient, nitenpyram. The product starts acting within 30 minutes of administration. Most fleas are gone within 4 hours on dogs and six on cats. Fleas must be taking a bloodmeal to come into contact with this product. It is often used in the case of an infestation to do a "quick kill" of adults. One application lasts for 24 hrs. Program® This insect development inhibitory product can reduce the number of fleas in the dog's environment by preventing the development of fleas. It has no adulticide activity and should be used in conjunction with an adulticide such as Frontline Top Spot, Frontline Plus, Advantage or Advantix, especially in flea allergic dogs. The active ingredient in Program, lufenuron, is also present in a combination product called, Sentinel®. Sentinel is a flea development inhibitory and heartworm preventive product, which also is effective against a number of intestinal parasites! In the event that despite your best efforts you find yourself facing an infestation, or if you are in a high risk area and prefer the added security of premises treatment, there are safe and effective products available for your use. Be sure to read all directions, and follow all of the cautions advised on the product. Indoor Environmental Products Siphotrol® Plus II Area Treatment This aerosol spray contains both an insect growth regulator and an adulticide. Virbac® Knockout™ Room and Area Treatment This aerosol spray contains both an insect growth regulator and an adulticide. Fleabusters® This is an internal environmental sodium polyborate product which many of our graduates have praised as being highly successful in preventing indoor infestations. Outdoor Environmental Products Knockout ™Yard Spray Concentrate Ectokyl® These yard sprays contain insect growth regulators and should be concentrated in shaded areas, such as under decks or stairs.


A Nose for News

By Toni and Ed Eames


Two years ago, we received notice of an international conference planned for April 2003 in Stellenbosch, South Africa. Within minutes of having our reader read the letter, we decided to respond to the call for papers. Still basking in fond memories of our 1998 trip to SA, the prospect of renewing old acquaintances was irresistible! An intriguing element of our traveling lives is the recurring coincidence of meeting people prior to making a trip to their part of the world. Meeting South African veterinarians Quixi Sonntag and Helen Zulch at an international veterinary conference in British Columbia in August 2001 was one such occasion. As soon as our presentations on maintaining the guide dog/blind person team and international travel with guide dogs were accepted by the International Mobility Conference, we went into major planning mode! Through contacts with the animal health care community, we obtained sponsorship from Hills Pet Nutrition. Since Escort and Echo had recently been switched to Hills Brain Diet for Senior Dogs, this seemed like a natural fit. Helen was instrumental in obtaining an invitation to speak at Onderstepoort veterinary school and Quixi was invaluable in breaking through the myriad governmental requirements allowing Escort and Echo to accompany us into the country. In addition to the usual rabies and heartworm tests, SA requires a slew of expensive blood tests. Import papers had to be filled out which made us nervous, since they were designed for pets traveling in cargo. Quixi's contacts with the import and agricultural veterinary departments assured us that the appropriate authorities were aware of our plans. As a newly-inducted member of the Lions Club, Ed contacted some of the Lions Club members in Stellenbosch and Cape Town. We also made arrangements with Gill Taylor, the tour guide on our previous trip. At Gill's suggestion, we selected a three- day sightseeing tour. A major concern was our physical comfort, or lack thereof, on a 14.5 hour flight from Atlanta to Cape Town. Contacting South African Airways (SAA), we made them an offer they couldn't resist! In exchange for presentations to their staff about disabled passengers traveling with guide, hearing and service dogs, we asked for an upgrade to business class. Receiving confirmation from SAA training supervisor Paige Maddams, the deal was struck! Now knowing we would be comfortable, negotiations on behalf of the dogs were initiated. Arrangements were made to have an SAA staff member in Atlanta take the dogs down the service stairs for a relief break on the tarmac just prior to boarding. Similar plans were put into place on our arrival at Cape Town. When departure day arrived on March 28, 2003, we left for the Fresno airport with great anticipation. Accompanying us on this exciting venture was friend Debbie Prieto, of guide dog relief fame at national conventions. We all spent the night in Atlanta with friend Helene Goodman, who is like a niece to us. Getting an early start the next morning and sharing a bagel breakfast with Helene and her fiance Mike, we were off to the airport. Fortunately, as we entered the chaos of Atlanta International, a friendly voice greeted us. Stanley, a Complaint Resolution Officer had attended a session we did for Delta Air Lines and helped chauffeur us through the check-in process and security screening. On entering the international terminal, we really felt we were on our way! Filled with excitement and anticipation, we were pleased to meet Ken Rosenthal, CEO of The Seeing Eye, also on his way to the conference. As usual, Escort and Echo attracted the attention of some friendly folks. Renowned animal trainer and television personality Jack Hanna was traveling to SA with his wife, daughter, friend and camera crew. Eva, a dog-loving SAA employee, introduced herself and assumed the role of dog walker. Quickly returning from an excursion to the tarmac, she excitedly reported both boys did everything! Reassured, we boarded the plane and took our seats. And what wonderful seats they were! With lots of leg room for our feet and the dogs, with seats that significantly reclined, big thick pillows and blankets, we settled in for an extremely long, but comfortable flight. In Cape Town we were greeted by Kevin, another enthusiastic SAA employee. We were whisked to a relief area alongside the terminal for the dogs, then through customs and immigration. Cape Town Lions Club member Arthur Bernstein warmly greeted us and drove us to Stellenbosch. During the 45 minute drive, he described the surroundings and Debbie was stunned by the level of extreme poverty she saw in the ramshackle tin shacks lining the road. Many native non-European houses have dirt rather than grass surrounding them to more easily spot snakes in the vicinity. As we entered Stellenbosch the scenery changed to beautiful old trees and stone-lined irrigation channels. Stellenbosch, a university town, is one of the oldest cities in South Africa and classes are conducted in Afrikaans rather than English. Settling into our room at The Avenues guest house, we fed the dogs and were off to our first social event. Some Stellenbosch Lions joined us at the Mug and Bean, a popular university coffee house. The dogs were warmly greeted and offered a bowl of water. As lovers of weak coffee, we were impressed with a choice of strong, medium or weak brew. Following this refreshment break, we introduced Debbie to the joy of gift shopping in an African market. Back at the guest house, we unpacked and enjoyed the incredibly warm hospitality of hosts Wilma and Nevil. Confirmed dog lovers, they encouraged us to allow Escort and Echo free run of their beautiful fenced-in garden. As we enjoyed a cup of tea on the garden lawn chairs, the boys explored the area, sniffing out the scents of Wilma and Nevil's four canine kids. For the next three days we were involved with the conference. Taking time out, we did a presentation for Hills at a hotel in Capetown to an audience of more than 100 veterinarians, humane society officers, veterinary technicians therapy dog handlers and service dog partners. Not realizing that South Africans have their own sense of time, we kept wondering when we would get to speak! Finally, at 8:30 p.m. we were introduced. To our amazement, no one left the room until we were finished at 10:30! One of the things we miss since leaving New York City and moving to Fresno is an authentic Jewish delicatessen. It's strange to go all the way to Cape Town to have a wonderful lunch of chopped liver, chopped herring, potato pancakes, rye bread and bagels! What a feast! Arthur Bernstein and his wife Fifi knew just the place to get these delicacies and we joined them at their home to devour these delectable dietary items. Following our Stellenbosch and Capetown stay, we flew to Johannesburg. Quixi met us at the airport and drove us to her home and showed us to our rooms in her guest house! How luxurious to have a house all to ourselves. The only thing missing was a television for Debbie! Echo and Escort had ten fenced-in acres to run around, and they had a blast! Quixie's husband runs a boarding kennel for cats and dogs and specializes in preparing pets for overseas transportation since many of his clients are diplomats who are constantly being reassigned to new overseas posts. Toni got a cat fix by visiting with some of the residents at the cattery. For us, the highlight of the trip was being able to interact directly with lions and elephants. Our tour guide stayed behind with the dogs while we had our hands on experiences. At the elephant sanctuary, five young females between the ages of 5 and 9 years had been rescued from Botswana, a neighboring country and were being cared for. Sitting on the patio drinking juice before the formal tour, we were startled by a weird sound. Two tiny curious mongooses raced across the deck and jumped on the dogs. Not realizing these were inoculated pets, we feared for the safety of our teammates. Not to worry, these critters were friendly, disease free and fascinated by our boys. They live with a chihuahua, and must have thought the Goldens were giants! As we examined the ears, trunks and tails of the five girls, we must have looked like the proverbial blind people trying to describe what an elephant looked like! Actually, we've interacted with elephants before at our local Fresno zoo and the San Diego wild life preserve facility, but this was different! We were in South Africa, not California! We even got to stroll with the elephants as they meandered up a hill to a feeding area. On another day while Gill watched the dogs, Debbie guided us to the lion enclosures. Unlike TP who was an extremely descriptive guide at the elephant refuge, our lion tour guide was not too informative, but we did learn a bit about the residents. The cubs are taken away from their mothers at three weeks to be bottle fed by the staff. In this way, they quickly accept human care and human touch. In the first enclosure, we held and played with six 5-7 week old cubs. Debbie was reluctant at first, but soon cuddled a wooly body. One little guy immediately began suckling on Toni's fingers. These babies have huge feet, small tails and somewhat rounded ears. Only male lions have manes, which they acquire at age two. We learned lions have black at the top of their heads and the tip of their tails, so they can see each other while traveling in the bush. Our next lion encounter was with six month olds. Ed stood, while Debbie and Toni sat on the ground. They climbed all over us licking and mouthing, but when they began chewing on Toni's purse, she thought it best to stand up! After this hands on experience, we walked through the park while Debbie oohed and aahed over the majesty of these glorious creatures. Although it was thrilling to touch the cubs, it was sad to learn that many of the residents would be sent to hunting lodges to serve the distorted needs of some human hunters. On a tour through a wildlife preserve, we got a special thrill when a male elephant in musk, seeking a female elephant, stood just feet away from the open vehicle we were in, swinging his trunk and stamping his feet. Our Land Rover stayed put until the elephant unblocked the road. During the rest of the tour, our guide spotted all sorts of deer and antelope, giraffe, rhinos and hippos. It was fun listening to the gurgling of hippos as they emerged from underwater to breathe for a few minutes and then submerge again. On the last day of our excursion, we visited a cultural exhibition where members of five different tribes had constructed thatched huts and demonstrated many aspects of traditional life. Escort and Echo guided us through these sites, but when we participated in a tribal concert featuring extremely loud drums, Gill took them outside where they could rest comfortably while we danced and chanted with the performers! Our final days were spent at the South African Guide-Dogs Association (SAGA), where CEO Ken Lord welcomed us. A group of six students had just arrived hours before us and we enjoyed getting to know them. Unfortunately, they were not matched with their canine teammates until we left for home. The trip home was easier in a way, since the plane stopped for refueling at Cape Verdi and we were able to get the boys off for relief after only nine hours in the air. Since we were again upgraded in return for doing presentations for SAA in Capetown and Johannesburg, the flights were easy on us and the dogs had plenty of room on the floor. A great trip and great memories! Shortly after returning home we went to visit Dana Ard who was training with her successor dog black Labrador Vergie at Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Raphael. Little did we know how soon Ed would be in the same position! Following our visit with Dana, vice-president of NAGDU, we were scheduled to do a presentation at the University of California at Davis veterinary school. We took the opportunity to have Echo seen by a staff ophthalmologist who was appalled at the deterioration in Echo's eyesight. He felt Echo's sight in the left eye had diminished to an extent that he was no longer safe. Shocked by this assessment, we felt our ability to keep Echo working was no longer prudent and Ed began applying to guide dog schools for a successor. Ed had two requirements, he wanted a Golden Retriever and to be trained at home. Guide Dogs for the Blind offered to provide a Golden and home training, so Ed began training with Latrell a week before the Louisville convention and completed training after convention. Like many of us going through this type of transition, Ed wondered if he hadn't been premature in his decision to retire Echo. All such doubts were set aside when Echo began showing reluctance to continue in his guide role during the convention. Following full retirement, Echo seems absolutely content to let Latrell take on this task while he stays at home or accompanies us on walks or to friends' homes on leash and out of harness. Working with a new guide is always traumatic, but two-year-old Latrell is fitting into the family nicely. He has already been on several trips with us and his behavior on planes, in airports and in hotels is exemplary. As many of you know, we decided to leave the Federation after the Informed choice resolution was overwhelmingly passed at the convention. This decision was not a hasty one. It's sad to leave an organization one has been a part of for many years. After the publication of the October 1995 issue of the Monitor, many guide dog partner Federationists left the organization. We decided not to, and work for greater acceptance within NFB of those of us choosing to work with guide dogs as our mobility aid. At the November 1995 California state convention, Dr. Jernigan was the national representative, and he and Mrs. Jernigan attended the Guide Dog Committee meeting which we chaired. We had an open, frank and somewhat heated discussion with Dr. Jernigan at that time about the NFB leadership's position toward guide dogs and guide dog partner Federationists. It was at that time that he challenged us to take on responsibility for maintaining the guide dog relief area in order to decrease an element of concern and conflict between cane and guide dog handlers. Having no experience in setting up and maintaining a relief area for more than 100 peeing and pooping dogs, we turned to the experts. The person who oversees dog shows throughout California, after overcoming his suspicion that we were going into competition with him, described how he set up relief boxes in indoor facilities. Using his suggestions as a model, we developed our own version. It was so successful at the Anaheim convention in 1996 that Dr. Jernigan gave us an enthusiastic endorsement in his banquet remarks. Thus began our careers and the inauguration of the Canine Concerns Committee. Over the years we have expanded our convention related activities to include the recruitment and training of a corps of local volunteers and providing gifts for those choosing to register at the NAGDU desk in the lobby. We have also enjoyed working with Suzanne Whalen and the other officers of NAGDU. We have expressed our objections to the informed choice resolution elsewhere in this issue. We want to say that we will miss you at future conventions. Toni and Ed Eames can be contacted at 3376 North Wishon, Fresno, CA 93704- 4832; Tel. 559 - 224-0544; e-mail eeames@csufresno.edu.


Welcome To the Dogs

by Suzanne Whalen


Of course, we know that there are state and federal laws in place to guarantee access to public places for people with disabilities using assistance animals. Yet, there is so much turnover among taxi drivers and among workers in stores, hotels, and restaurants. Anyone partnered with a dog for any length of time knows that, sooner or later, you're bound to meet up with someone who doesn't know the law and will deny you the right to enter and receive service with your dog. If you refuse to leave, the employee may call the police. You'd think there would be no problem after that, but, unfortunately, there are no guarantees that all police officers know the law. Some do not. That's why our hats are off to the California Hotel and Lodging Association. They have produced two outstanding training videos. One is intended for owners and managers of hotels, motels, inns, and restaurants. The target audience for the other video is local law enforcement. I first saw these videos at the 2002 convention of the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners (IAADP). I was a presenter at this convention, having been invited to demonstrate working with Caddo from my power wheelchair. Jim Abrams, the Executive Vice President of the California Hotel and Lodging Association, was also a presenter. He showed the two videos and explained that he is looking for funding so that these videos can be disseminated nationwide. I knew NAGDU members would be interested in seeing these videos, so we showed them at the business meeting in Louisville this past summer. The response was very enthusiastic! The videos are well paced. With apologies to all attorneys out there, sometimes material designed to educate people about the law can be presented in a manner that is so dry and boring. I was recently part of a group asked to evaluate some training videos on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and frankly, I had a hard time staying awake! On the other hand, sometimes there is so much effort to be "cute" in video presentations that the accuracy suffers. These videos avoid both those pitfalls. The information is very clear about what questions the employee or police officer may and may not ask, what is considered an assistance animal, and the rights and responsibilities of both the guest and the business. In both videos, the scene is first enacted with the guest being denied service, and later the situation is resolved. Jim Abrams would like to hear from NAGDU members. He welcomes feedback on the videos. He has some ideas for funding sources, but we can share our ideas with him if we wish. He sent me one copy of each video, and did not charge me. I am assuming (though not guaranteeing) that if you request copies of either or both videos, you will also receive one copy of each one you request free of charge. Perhaps as a local chapter project, we can arrange times to show the video intended for police officers to your local police. In the same manner, we can ask to attend the meeting of our local or state Hotel, Motel, and Lodging Association, and show the video there, or make presentations with the video at local hotels and restaurants. Jim Abrams's contact information is as follows: phone: (916) 444-5780. Fax: (916) 444-5848. Address: PO Box 160405, 414 29th Street, Sacramento, California 95816. e-mail: jabramschlaonline.com It's a positive sign when an industry association takes the lead in educating its peers, and also reaches out to law enforcement. The more people can spread the word, the faster the word will be spread. Hopefully, the access we enjoy will be greater, and the hassles we endure will be fewer.


REGULATIONS ON SERVICE ANIMALS U.S. Department of Transportation