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About this Blog

This is the unofficial web site for Guide Dog Handlers All Ways, a special interest alumni affiliate of Guide Dogs for the Blind Inc. We are an alumni chapter made up of individuals who have disabilities in addition to blindness that affect how we work with our Guide Dogs.

We hope you enjoy reading our stories. If you would like to comment on one of the stories posted here, click on the link below the post which reads "Leave your Paw Print." Type your comment in the form .

Thanks for visiting!

Message From Hibiscus

We even let the dogs write in this blog-a-thon. We didn't want to leave anyone out.

***

MESSAGE FROM HIBISCUS…

Snuffle! Snuffle! Ruff! Ruff!

Mom went to go get a cup of coffee. She has been writing on this computer for ever, but maybe while she is away, I can write my story.

I live in a nice house with my mom and Primrose. Primrose used to work for Mom like I do now. She is old and tired and says her bones hurt now. She would still like to go with Mom like I get to do, but she knows she can’t. So, She stays home and watches out for our house.

Mom says I am a special dog. Before I became Mom’s guide, I lived with Kelly and her family. Kelly taught me how to behave and do my obedience. She taught me that it was important for me to go potty outside. I got to go all sorts of places with Kelly when I was a puppy. When it was hot, Kelly would let me chew on ice cubes and even gave Mom a picture of me at a party with a whole block of ice to lick and chew between my front paws. I had fun with Kelly and really really loved her, but one day she had to take me back to Guide Dogs where she said I would be going to Doggie College. I was really sad for a while because I was used to living in a house and being with my people. Now, I had to live in the kennels at Guide Dogs. They are nice as far as kennels go, but kennels aren’t houses Grumpf

Soon, I met nice people at Guide Dogs who came to play with me. They introduced me to other dogs who were my age who had had to leave their people too and come to Doggie College too. The nice people let us dogs play together a little. There were toys for us to play with. Sometimes, we even got treats for doing exactly what the people taught us to do. ! Those were so good. Hmmm! It made me want to do what they taught me even more. The teacher who worked with me said I was a really good dog and was even special.

Then, one day, I met two new people named Mary Jane and Rich. They told me that I could come home with them because I was going to have some puppies of my own. I would have to have a nice quiet place to stay while my puppies were getting ready to come

Life was so good with Mary Jane and Rich. They took me lots of places. We sometimes came back to graduation at Guide Dogs to see other dogs like me who had finished Doggie College and got to go home with their forever people. I also went with Mary Jane and Rich to a puppy club to keep my obedience up so I would continue to be a good dog.

I spent about a year with Mary Jane and Rich who were so good to me, and I had two litters of puppies. My puppies were such good babies. I loved them and took good care of them until I went back to stay with Mary Jane and Rich. I am so proud of my puppies.

After my last litter of puppies, Mary Jane and Rich took me back to Guide Dogs. They told me that it had been decided that I should go back into training to be a guide dog. I wasn’t too sure about this because I loved Mary Jane and Rich, and I didn’t want to leave them. They were good to me and loved me, and I loved them too. But, one day, I found myself back in Doggie College.

When I got back to Guide Dogs, I met another lady. Her name was Lucy. She was nice, but she was strict with me, and I didn’t always like that. I sometimes got to play with my other doggie friends who were also in college, but they were younger than me and kind of silly. All the young dogs used to bother me and make me cross. So, I would take my bone and jump up on the grooming table where I could be alone and chew my bone without the little rascals bothering me.

Lucy and I worked really hard together. Lucy taught me how to really walk in my harness and how to go around obstacles and stop for curbs and cross the street. She even taught me how to get out of the way of a car who might hit us.

We kept working hard until one day when Lucy came to get me and brought me to a new place. They told me that it was the Guide Dog Dorm. They brought me into an office. Lucy petted me just a little and the other trainer, Jeff took me and brought me over to a lady who was sitting in a chair. I sat down right next to her and she talked to me and petted me. I think I decided I really liked her and put my head up and gave her a sneaky kiss. Her name was Dianne. I now call her Mom because she takes care of me and Primrose like we were her dog children.

Mom took me back to her room where she spent time petting me and talking to me. I was kind of nervous because I didn’t know what all of this meant, but Mom tried to reassure me. We spent time with Lucy when I had to heel with my new mom. I did a good job because I liked the way Mom gave me my commands and treated me and praised me for doing what she asked.

The next day, Mom put my harness on me. I was so proud to wear my harness because I knew how to use it to help a person be safe since I would have to see for my person. It was fun to walk with Mom. She liked all I did to help her. We had to get coordinated together because sometimes, Mom would tell me, “Forward!” but then hesitated a second as I moved forward. This was because Mom also walks with a cane. I really don’t like her cane, but she says it keeps her from having so many bad falls. So, I learned that when Mom said, “Forward!” I needed to start and then wait just a second for Mom to move with me. Soon, we were taking walks together by ourselves. Mom gave me lots of love and spent time brushing me and making me happy. She played with me a little and fed me, and I could tell she loved me and would take good care of me. She even took care of my sore ear that I had. Yah! I got a little ear infection. Mom says that dogs like me get those sometimes and just took good care of me. I wanted to go home and live with her because I thought Mom would be my forever person.

Finally, Mom and I went home. Actually, Primrose and my Auntie Dawn came to pick Mom and me up from Guide Dogs to take us home. Primrose was nice to me. She was happy to see Mom too . Primmy had to get used to being the stay-at-home dog, but she was glad I could take over guiding Mom because she was tired and has achy-breaky joints now. I love Primrose. She doesn’t feel like playing very much, but she is always there and is nice to me.

Mom and I had quite a bit of work to do so I could learn how to guide Mom in our home area, and Trainer Marc came to help us. But Mom says I have done a good job.

We did go back for the Guide Dog graduation, and I got to see Kelly, Mary Jane and Rich again. I was happy to see them all because I still love them, but I love being with Mom now.

I have continued to learn just what Mom needs, and though Mom has had a couple of falls, she has told me that those weren’t because of me. I sure hope not because I don’t want anything to happen to Mom. Mom takes good care of me and has told me that all of my puppies are now working guides just like me. She tells our friends that I am the best of the best because I gave Guide Dogs my beautiful little puppies.

I guess the real message here is that I am a very happy dog and have given proof that it is, in fact, possible to do it all. I was a good mom to my babies, and I now have a career as an incredible guide dog. At least, that is what Mom tells me I am!

Mom is now coming back to get on this computer. So, I have to get off here, but I hope she will let you read my message because I am a very happy dog!!!

Hibiscus, one of Dianne’s Flowering Canines

Put your paw here to donate to GDB



One Scary Story

This story was written by Dianne, one of the GDHAW members. It's just a sampling of the type of stories you will see during our blogathon which will take place on November 14 right here on the GDHAW blog.

The members of GDHAW hope that all of you, and your dogs, are having a fun and safe Halloween.


ONE SCARY STORY…

Ok, Friends, it is time to turn down the lights and cuddle up for me to tell you a very scary experience I had one evening recently. You will want to pay attention closely and be very careful or this might just happen to you when you least expect it.

While putting clean sheets on the bed on one October evening, I got the last corner on the bottom sheet tucked down when I reached out to smooth the sheet and felt something under the sheet. It turned out to be a good size lump. I investigated further to try and determine what this great big mole-like lump might be. All of a sudden the great big lump moved. By this time, I was really shaking and concerned. Then, that great big lump stood up, turned around, and shook its collar. That great big lumpy bump was kind of playful under there. This indeed was one really scary critter for this quiet household and definitely had me quaking in my shoes for sure. I thought about this for a while, trying to decide whether or not to let the moving lump out or not. Maybe, I should just leave it there so it couldn’t come out and terrorize the rest of the world.

I decided I needed help with this frightening lump and called my retired guide, Primrose to bring her level of expertise and calm to the situation. With Primrose standing guard, I reached over and petted the lump. It wiggled and wagged its tail and jangled its collar. By now, Primrose has just about had enough because all she wanted was to go to bed, but if we didn’t get rid of this lumpy bump under the sheet, neither of us would sleep to night.

So, I very carefully and slowly lifted the corner of the bottom sheet just the tiniest little bit. The lumpy bump put out the tip of a wet pink nose and snuffled. I lifted the corner of the sheet just a little more, and the lumpy bump twitched her tail again. I lifted that sheet just a little more and out popped the head with two great big brown eyes. As I lifted it a little more, the neck and shoulders came out with furry little angel wave wings. Again I lifted the corner of the sheet and out popped Hibiscus the Wine Country Bed Rat who happily ran around the bed room wagging her tail feeling proud that she made herself into a Halloween spook and made her person chuckle and laugh!

Dianne and the Flower Power Dogs



MY DOG NURSES

I have to share this with all of you because it is just too cute.

I woke up very early this morning with one of my absolutely horrible sick
headaches. I tried doing the things I have been told to do for these. They
are somewhat sinus related, but then, they become sick headaches, and I do
mean sick.

Well, just about nothing worked. I even got into the shower, thinking the
steam in the shower would help. After that, I crawled back into bed, hoping
I could just go off to sleep again for a while.

Primmy was on the foot of the bed, nudging my feet with her nose and finally
put her little head on my feet. Poor little Hibiscus who hasn't been through
this with me before was beside herself and didn't know quite what to do. She
had jumped off the bed, but was kind of looking at me as if to say, "Oh! Ma!
what should I do?" I invited her back up on the bed along side me, and she
sat there touching my hand with her paw like she was patting me to feel
better. I reached out and put my arms around her and she just kind of melted
into my arms and stayed there for quite a while as I tried to rest.

This headache garbage went on for most of the day until my doctor girl
friend brought me something to finally cut the pain thankfully. Now, I think
I might just live. But, my dogs were just too cute and so loving. I don't
know what I would do without them.



Dianne and the Flowering Canines,
Hibiscus and Primrose



Cane Tool Tip

CANE TOOL TIP.

In other posts on this blog, I have explained that due to a weakened left
leg and some balance issues, I utilize a balance cane along with my guide
dog to travel. Balance canes can be purchased through many drug stores and
are usually fully adjustable. Some have curved handles and others have
handles which are molded to fit the hand more comfortably and are normally a
shiny metallic color.

I was terribly resistant to doing this for a while feeling that I wasn't old
enough yet to need a cane. On top of that, on going out with a girl friend
of mine, we were asked if I was her mother, and one of my niece's friends
asked her whose grandmother I was which made me cringe. These comments along
with the situation did nothing for the ego, but the fact of the matter is
though I am not old enough to be my girl friend's mother, I am old enough to
be a grandmother even though I am not. So, once I got over the bruises to my
ego and started really looking at how the cane helped me, I had to admit
that it made a huge difference in my mobility in that I could walk more
solidly along side my guide dog without having the falls I had experienced.
These falls were tremendously upsetting to my dog and bruised more than my
fragile ego not to mention making for the possibility of breaking a bone or
worse.

During the part of my recent training with my current working guide dog,
Hibiscus, which was done at home, I had the capable assistance of GDB Field
Manager Marc Gillard. As we worked, Marc commented to me that he would
prefer that my cane be painted white with the traditional red tip like the
traditional white cane because he felt it would make Hibiscus and I more
visible to drivers as a blind pedestrian. Marc indicated that he knew these
existed but had no idea where to find such a thing. I had had no idea that a
balance cane used by someone who is legally blind could have the traditional
white cane markings. I told my Field Manager that I would undertake a search
to locate and purchase what he suggested since it sounded like a good idea
to me. I believe that anything which makes us more clearly visible to the
hurried driver is a benefit toward our safety as a pedestrian.

On starting my search, I just happened to call Light House for the Blind in
San Francisco at (415 431-1481). I figured they might be able to point me in
the correct direction for finding this type of cane and lucked out on my
first call because they, in fact, carry this type of cane. Made of a very
sturdy metal, painted white with red tip, the cane I use has a very
comfortable curved handle. The structure of the cane is such that it is
heavy enough to give support to my balance issue and yet isn't too heavy to
manage. The cane can be adjusted for its height and costs in the
approximately $35 range. A version of this curved cane typed handle is also
available with a thumb notch, though I found that notch a problem as it
rubbed my hand in a place that was uncomfortable for me.

There is also a folding version of this cane with a pistol-grip style
handle; however, since I am short at about 5 feet 1 inch, I found I couldn't
adjust this particular cane as well for my height. I also noted that since
it had two springy cords strung through the cane to help hold it together
and give it strength, it had a tendency to make you feel that springing
double cord in the handle which I found annoying and distracting to my other
responsibilities in travel. I felt this cane was plenty strong enough, but
the fact that it is hollow with the two cords strung through it gives it
altogether a much less secure feel for me personally. A taller person who
needed the ability to fold this type of cane or the person who would need
the cane intermittently would probably be pleased with this version of the
cane.

In closing this entry, I offer this as a suggestion. If you are finding
yourself faced with the need to enhance your balance as you travel, shop
carefully with your physical therapist and doctor to purchase what will work
best for your own physical needs and don't forget to consider tools which
will help you be seen more clearly by drivers who are hurried and not always
as attentive as they should be to pedestrians along their way.

Dianne Phelps and the Flowering Canines,

Hibiscus and Primrose



The Retired Life

THE RETIRED LIFE.

As I travel throughout my community, I am often asked what happens to our
guide dogs when they can no longer work. I explain that there are a number
of options for our retired dogs. Some dogs get to retire in the homes of the
people who raised them as puppies. Some of our dogs are found loving homes
by GDB. Some are placed with friends or family of the handler or as I have
chosen to do with my previous dog, they stay in the home of the handler.

Then, people often ask if having two large dogs isn't a lot of work, and I
tell them that while it is a little more work, the joy of having two
extremely devoted and loyal dogs in the home far outweighs any extra work
made by the extra dog. In other words, I dearly love having both dogs with
me.

In doing this, the first thing that has to happen is that the skilled GDB
training staff must select a working guide for us who will be comfortable
living with another dog. Then, during training, the handler must work hard
to establish her place with the new working guide, and let the new guide
know exactly what is expected with regard to behavior. On returning home, ,
careful introductions are made and since both dogs know what is expected of
them, life with two beautiful guides is off and running.

Another question I am often asked is whether or not my retired dog misses
going out or wants to go out with the new dog. Often, this is a concern for
us as handlers, but I think when a dog is retired with joint and back pain
due to arthritis after a full seven and a half year career like my Primrose,
it is more a worry for the human handler than for the dog who is retiring.
As humans, we try to assume our dogs are thinking the same things we are
about feeling sad when leaving them home when the real fact of this is that
the older retired dog is probably, for the most part, quite relieved.

It is really hard work to be a guide dog. As a guide dog, behavior has to be
just so when going out into public along with the huge responsibility these
dogs carry to get us down the streets, across streets, onto public
transportation, and in and out of buildings. Day after day during their
careers. Traffic has become heavier and more erratic over the years,
creating far more stress for our dogs nowadays than ever before. So, when
retirement comes, especially when it means a warm loving home and care, the
retired dog is happy to accept it.

Fortunately, since I am retired as well, my retired dog doesn't have to be
left alone for periods of time which are too long, and because my retired
dog is still considered part of the family, there are occasions when I am
able to take her along with me to a family gathering or visit to a close
friend who loves her as much as I do. Primrose has learned to walk on my
right side or sometimes with a friend or family member. There are a few
restaurants within our community where there is out-door seating and pet
dogs are allowed. This means that Primrose still gets to go out occasionally
and just enjoy the part of being a guide that she enjoyed so much, being out
and being admired for being a good dog.

Yes, I am very proud of my two beautiful dogs. Hibiscus is working as an
incredible working guide even when Primmy is tagging along on short trips,
and on those times when Primmy stays home, Hibiscus and I both look forward
to the tail wagging greeting that we are certain to receive on our return.
Both dogs get love and praise for their invaluable places in my life, and I
wouldn't trade this wonderful opportunity to have both devoted dogs with me
for anything in the world.

Dianne Phelps and the Flowering Canines,

Hibiscus and Primrose



2008's Gratest Gifts

Once again, it is the end of another year, a year which has sailed by faster
than any before. I am looking forward to the new year, but I always like to
pause for a moment to consider what the year has brought to my life. Along
with this, someone asked me yesterday if Santa Clause had treated me well
this year which also made me stop and think.

As a family because of the economy concerns, we kept tight controls on
gifting this year, opting, instead to make more out of being together as a
family for a good visit and a shared meal together This made Christmas of
2008 just what I had hoped for. In other words, Santa brought to me just
what I wanted for Christmas.

However, my most special gifts of 2008 came at the end of April, 2008. It
was time, once again for me to make another one of those guide dog changes
in my life that we all hope won't come too often. For me, this task was
filled with some trepidation, though I anticipated the best possible
outcome. The outcome was my beautiful Hibiscus, yellow Labrador Retriever
who came to be my guide. The second of these special gifts was being able to
continue to provide a home for my retired guide, black Labrador Retriever,
Primrose.

Over the year since April and May when Hibiscus and I were trained together,
Hibiscus has proven herself to be a dog who couldn't be more perfect in
every way for me right now. She has become more confident in her work of
guiding me and becomes more loving and sweet each and every day we spend
together.

Primrose has adjusted to her life as a retired dog and loyally and
faithfully looks out for our house when Hibiscus and I have to go out. When
we return home, Primrose is always waiting at our door with big tail wags
and slurpy dog kisses to greet us which make homecomings quite special.

The three of us have visited family and attended family events when Primrose
could go with Hibiscus and me, and a friend of mine and I often will eat at
a restaurant where we can sit in an outside serving area where pet dogs are
allowed. This gives Primrose the opportunity to still get to go occasionally
as she was used to doing.

So, today, as we get ready to greet 2009, I am thankful for my two most
special gifts of 2008, having Hibiscus enter my life to serve as my working
guide and having Primrose stay in my life as my faithful and loyal retired
guide. I can think of no greater gifts of joy to receive at any time in
life. Together, the three of us will spend a quiet evening on New Years Eve,
looking forward to a new and bright new year filled with good. And positive
experiences.

So from our house to yours, Hibiscus, Primrose, and I would like to wish all
of our friends a very happy and prosperous new year!!!

Dianne and the Canine Flowers,

Hibiscus and Primrose



She's Back!: Dianne's Story

I had just turned 50 years old. Life was good. I had worked in my own business for nearly fifteen years and had just upgraded equipment. We had weathered business slumps, but things for the year 2000 looked optimistic. I had had my current guide dog for a year and eleven months, and she had been good from the day I brought her home.
Anticipating a positive future, my beautiful yellow Labrador Retriever named Krista and I headed out to deliver work to the physicians for whom I transcribed medical reports.

It was a beautiful sunny December day, and walking with Krista filled me with a sense of freedom and joy. We visited the offices we needed to for that day. Krista and I headed out of the last office and started across a driveway between the medical building and hospital. My dog and I needed to cross the drive way to return to the sidewalk. I assessed the traffic and told Krista, “Forward”. Suddenly, I felt Krista working very hard to move us. I did not understand her for a moment. She attempted to move sideways and quickly forward, I believe until my next memory of being face-down on the ground. I am not sure that I felt pain or anything else at that moment. I knew I had to call Krista to me. I did not want her to run off somewhere and not be cared for if it was possible. Soon, paramedics surrounded me and rushed me into the emergency room at our hospital which was only a few yards from where this accident took place.

Apparently, as I made the decision to enter the driveway, a delivery van traveling from behind the hospital was making its way out via that driveway in excess of 25 miles per hour in a 15-mile-per-hour zone from our left or the dog’s left side. I had not heard the truck when I gave Krista the forward command or would never have given it. It is guessed that the driver was looking down at something in his truck and never even saw us until he hit Krista. This placed Krista and me at just past center of the front of the van, but with the speed the vehicle traveled, no movement by Krista and me could take us out of harm’s way.

A full life of education, work, participation in family and community along side six faithful guide dogs had been changed instantly and permanently for me, and my beloved guide dog, Krista, had died saving my life. I sustained critical life-threatening injuries, including multiple skull fractures, collapsed lung and flail chest and internal organ injuries requiring major surgery. . Recovery from this incident presented me with challenges I had never expected to encounter in life along with blindness, but it was having the faithful assistance of yet another guide dog which made it possible for me to face these challenges and regain my life.

During my recovery I discovered that my left ear felt as if it were plugged with cotton. At first, I was told this would clear and that I had had some bleeding in the brain from multiple skull fractures. As time went on, however, that plugged up feeling in my ear just would not go away. Taking telephone calls on that side where I had always used the telephone made voices sound as if they were coming through a tin can full of cotton. I had difficulty understanding speech at times. I could no longer walk straight across a room even if I was familiar with the location. Then, during physical therapy, we discovered that my balance was touchy and just about any missed step could result in my falling over. Some of this was due to weakness from being confined to bed to recover from major internal and lung injuries, but this didn’t go away either.

After a period of time, I was then told that my hearing had been irreparably damaged, possibly from the concussive blow to that side of my head and/or the swelling of my brain with right frontal bleeding as a result of the skull fractures. I was told this would never return and that the balance problems I was having were benign positional vertigo caused by damage to the vestibular or balance center of my left ear.

I took time to regain strength and acquire mobility instruction to get back out into the neighborhood and traffic to relearn to interpret those sounds in order to know when to cross streets again. Gradually, I was able to begin doing my own errands for the second time in my life such as shopping, banking, paying bills and all of those chores we all have to do.

After ten months of recovery and hard work, I received my seventh guide dog, Primrose, an extremely high spirited and intelligent black Labrador Retriever in October, 2000. With Primrose, my recovery continued, probably, looking back in hindsight, for six of the seven and a half years of her guide dog career with me.

At first, because of my weakened state physically, Primrose and I could only take short walks and outings. Then, I would have to rest for a couple of days. Along with this physical demand on my weakened state, there were some emotional fear related issues to conquer with being in traffic. I know once we got linked and molded well as a team that I could trust my dog, but I didn’t and still don’t trust traffic at any time or in any place.

Primrose patiently stood by me as I would catch my foot in a simple crack on the sidewalk and fall over. She stood by as I then underwent physical therapy to straighten out what I would kink up when I fell. Primrose also stood by my side as I would wait through not just one, but possibly three traffic cycles to be sure I was making the right decision to cross.

Then, finally, at about six and a half years of Primrose’s work for me and after yet another lousy fall, I underwent some physical therapy which was specifically designed to assist people with gait disturbance at which point I learned that along with my balance center disturbance involving my left ear, my left leg had been weakened in comparison to my right. At this time, I decided along with my medical team that the sensible thing to do to keep me on my own two instead of all four with the guide dog was to add the use of a balance cane for support during those times when the sidewalk considers coming up to slap me in the face.

My friends will tell you that I fussed and fumed and anguished over this decision. I was 57 years old and really didn’t want to begin looking and feeling like a little old lady fading fast, especially if I couldn’t do it in a bright red convertible sports car of some type, but my doctor had given me words of ultimatum, “You can’t continue taking these falls because it isn’t a question of whether you might or might not break a bone or bones, but it is a matter of when and whether such an injury might make mobility even more complicated and stressful!”.

So, I picked up my balance cane and really started walking with Primrose for the first time during her career. Yes, we had been going and doing. We moved in to a new home with a patio, mostly for my pampered hard-working pooch. We had traveled to Alaska where we met sled dogs and cruised back to Vancouver B.C. We had traveled to Orlando, Florida to Disney World and to Mexico. We had a terrific time making those trips. However as Primrose and I walked and tried to enjoy doing those things, I was always tense. That free feeling and light feeling of travel with a guide dog had never come back, and Primrose was doing everything within her paw power possible to give me my life back again once and for all.

After picking up the balance cane, that wonderful freedom gradually started to take hold again, and the trip we took to Mexico after that was far more enjoyable. Not only did we enjoy the walk through a couple of airports confidently along our way, once we arrived in Mexico, we didn’t just stay in the resort, we walked to other restaurants and places to shop in the area, and I was free once again. Primrose had finally accomplished what I now see as her goal in service as my guide. She had placed life firmly back into my hands after a horrible and tragic twist in life.

Last fall, after so successfully doing this gift of love for me, Primrose began to slow down, and it was determined that she is developing arthritis in her spine. Now that it was easier for both of us, it was time to retire another companion and ask a new dog into my life to keep that life Primrose has given back to me firmly in my hands.

In December, 2007, I once again called GDB to begin the application process to receive my eighth guide dog. This time, I had to explain that while I could do all required of me to travel with a guide, I now, not only had the hearing problem I had when training with Primrose, but also had to have a dog who could tolerate the use of a balance cane in my right hand and require little, if any physical correction with the right hand.

I was interviewed extensively about my concerns and about my specific needs in my community. I was also asked to demonstrate with Primrose exactly how we managed with my balance cane and with the hearing aid I intermittently use in my left ear, and then, the wait began while the expert staff of GDB searched for just the right dog for me.

I finally received the call that we all wait breathlessly for and was scheduled to report for training on April 27, 2008. On the second day of training, I met Hibiscus, an incredibly beautiful yellow Labrador Retriever. She had already been exposed to the use of a walking cane and had just the right pace and attention to detail necessary for me to feel secure on my feet and move about freely.

My instruction was tailored to cover as many things as possible which would be necessary in our work together at home. After my time in class on campus, I came home where a few more days of customized instruction continued.

While my new guide dog, Hibiscus, and I have much to do to become a fully integrated team, I have no doubt at all that we will do it. We, at this point, continue to have a touch of instructor follow-up to assist in this. That follow-up will indeed insure that the incredible bond which started almost two months ago is a thrilling and total success so that Hibiscus and I can continue to go about our life together, taking some exciting trips together for many years to come.

In retirement, the loving, faithful and loyal Primrose remains in my home to enjoy her retirement, the very least I can do in return for her hard work as my guide.