LD Training7 Santa survives and weekly check in

Good day everyone. Today’s post is pretty short and I promise it’s ok to drink while reading this one, smiles.

Rude wake up call
Ugh, seriously Wren, you couldn’t give me some kind of warning that you were going to wake me up at 3:30AM? I do miss my children, but I at least know what to expect when my baby screams his head off when he wakes up.

Wren decided at 3:30 in the bloody morning that she’d take a major poop inside her crate. Let me tell you that her poops are as bad as Kalvin’s diapers or maybe wurse! I have enough stinky smelling boys in the house Wren, I don’t need you to add to the mix, honest! This of course is after she pooped for me at 8PM and then again at 10:30PM. I hope it’s all out of her system now, because I seriously don’t need that as my alarm clock, thank you!

Santa survived another Wren trip
Drats! I missed an opportunity to get a video of Wren and I working. I misunderstood Linda when she said we should wait on doing the video for the trip. I thought she meant for the whole morning trip, but turns out she meant just for the first round.

This time on the football route we all got to go out by ourselves with the trainers either in cars or standing in certain spots around the football in case we needed assistance.

Wren and I did an awesome job together. We started out a little rocky because I think Wren was looking for a trainer to be with us, but after a few steps we were off for the races.

We only had to stop twice. Once because I think Wren untied my shoe while we were sitting on the bus and I didn’t notice it until we were walking. I got to the curb and Paul was like

Paul, hey May, I think you have a problem, hahahaa.
Me, yes, I think my shoe is untied. It keeps beating me up as we were walking and I think it was hitting Wren at times too.
Paul, chuckles.
Me, bends down to tie my shoe.
Wren, let me help you with that.
Paul, I think Wren wants to help.
Me, yeah yeah yeah, Wren, do ou mind? Please get out of the way so I can tie my shoe.

Finally, got my shoe tied with much help from Wren and we were off again.

Another time we had to stop is because I thought we reached the buses already and I was like, no way, we can’t be near the corner.

Nope, we weren’t, Linda told me that it was a family getting in a van that sounded just like the buses. ***grumbles***

Off we run down the hill again!

Wren did one hell of a job. She didn’t even bother snarling at Santa this time. So, maybe he’ll forgive her for yesterday?

Weekly check in
Wren and I are doing great. Linda had no issues for us that she had to bring up so asked me what I wanted to work on.

For next week we’re going to try and get some food distractions in and hopefully some dog distractions. We’re going to get some night travel in so that I can see how Wren works at night and a Detroit trip.

Much to Wren’s dismay we’re also going to work with the gentle leader just so I know what to expect from her if I ever have to use it. I honestly don’t think I will with her, but better safe than sorry. Linda says that Wren absolutely hates the thing more than any other dog she’s seen with gentle leader training. Oh, what I have to look forward too, lol.

Tomorrow is a day of rest and everyone in class is looking forward to that. Crap, writing this post it just dawned on me that I just missed playing bingo. wEll hell.

Ah well, see you all for tomorrows issue.

LD Training6 Squirrels and Santa

You can’t have a time at Leader Dogs without those awesome, lovely, fun loving squirrels!

Working with phil
I asked for dog distractions, not squirrels. Dogs dogs dogs! Take away these blasted squirrels!

Tara, was first out today and she mentioned that she got dog distractions and I was really hoping I would get some so I could see what Wren would be like since I have them at work.

But nooooooo, I had to go and get those little buggers, squirrels squirrels squirrels! Isn’t it too cold for these little monsters to be out?

I have to say though, that after I got her attention back on me Wren did a great job on finishing out the route. It was our best route so far!

Linda is so totally awesome, but it was nice having a good route without her to show me that Wren and I could work together was we ironed out the bugs. Minor bugs, but it felt good knowing we can be a good team. It’s hard this time around having a trainer that is the trainer of the dog as well. I love a challenge, but whew, it’s work, smiles. My last time here Jessica was not Luna’s main trainer so I didn’t have to work super hard to win her over like I’m having to do with Wren and Linda.

Just in case Linda ever reads this I’m not saying my time is horrible, no no no, far from it. It just means it’s a totally new experience and I’m learning loads more new things to deal with for this match, smiles.

Wren meets santa and gets put on the naughty list

Hahahahahahahahah, so this afternoon we worked with Linda and worked on the football route due to the fact that downtown is getting ready for the Christmas parade on Sunday and it’s a ***huge*** headache for humansa and dogs.

Here’s what happened during our route.

Me, ok Wren, lets go. A nice easy route. I have my victor-trek and treat bag attached to my pants on the right side for easy access and hoping that I get use to where things sit.

***mistake number one***

Me, drats! Stop, hang on Wren.
Linda, it’s ok, just leafs on the ground.
Me, nope, that’s not it, my darn pants are falling off.
Linda, ***laughs at me*** What, feeling a little lopsided?
Me, rumbles! Wren, ok, forward lets try this again.

we get going really good again and . . .

Me, darn it, got to stop again Wren, it’s freaken cold out here and my hands are about to fall off.
Wren, snorts
Linda, I keep forgetting mine on the kitchen counter.
Me, yep, they look really pretty there too, hahaha.

Ok, off we go again and get to the curb.

Me, curses! Stupid, blooded pants, victor and treat bag.
Linda, hahaha, this is the most amusing route. Welcome to everyday life, never know what may hapen.
Me, hmph! Off we go again.

bark bark bark bark

Ah crap, not this too! I wanted a dog distraction earlier today, not now! But, these particular dogs Wren just looked at and kept going when I told her too.

Wren, stops, turns and growls!
Me, what the heck?
Linda, it’s a moving Santa.
Wren, growls!
Me, ok, Wren it’s ok, it’s just Santa. Lets go.
Wren, not moving and continues to stare and growl at Santa.
Linda, it’s ok Wren he won’t hurt you.
Wren, snorts and growls some more.
Me, ok, lets go Wren. REally, Santa won’t get us. Lets go go go!
Wren, another snort and growl and finally decides to leave Santa.

Yeah, I don’t think Wren is a fan of Santa! I believe she is now going to be put on his naughty list and get nothing for Christmas! Man I wish I was videoing this route.

Wish Santa luck for tomorrow incase I end up going there again tomorrow!

LD Training5 Wren thinks waaaay too much

Ok, I have to start this post off by commenting on how totally freaking awesome those sugar cookies I had were or better say still are. I still have loads left and that’s after sharing them too!

For those that have already been to Leader have probably had the taste of some form of these awesome cookies made by Bonnie Luternow. The GDMI’s definitely love them too. I asked if they wanted some when she brought them to me and I had to hope I’d get or at least one back when the container made it’s way back to me, lol.

So, Bonnie, thanks loads for the very tasty sugar cookies. They were a hit!

Ok, on to Wren the speed demon!

So, this little monkey had me all in a panic this morning thinking she ***seriously*** had to go outside. Like right now woman, I can’t wait!

Normally, it’s I get up first, have my shower, get ready for the day and then take care of miss Wren.

Nooooooooo, this morning she was having none of that! She demanded that I take her out before I was ready. She spun around in her crate, she whined, she hmphed at me, whined some more and then had the nerve to bark at me!

Like seriously! What a brat.

So, grumbled the whole time I gave in and took her outside worried that something was wrong or that we were about to have a serious mess to clean up.

She created lake Wren outside followed by a 2-bagger and then had the nerve to give me another little pile that I sadly could not pick up. Um, poop machine, I only had 2 bags. ***sighs*** Why me!

To make it wurse because I was sooooo worried about her, we locked ourselves out of our room!

EEEEEEEEEPPPPPPPPP, now what do I do? There’s no one outside because everyone else ***included*** the other dogs don’t come out until 6:30, not, 6:05. There’s no one in any of the rooms starting at room 21, not until we get to those on the Rodchester wing. I’m soooo not walking that far! Then we have Tru . . .

Oh, duh May, pray that Trudy is ready for the day and see if you can sneak through her door and not piss off her dog since her room is right next door to you!

So, we get back inside and back to our room after I get someone to let us in and Wren goes into the bathroom to where her bowl sits and sits there like

Ok, I’m all better now, where’s my breakfast?

Bah, what a way to start the day!

Morning walk with Wren.

Our morning walk was so totally awesome. Wren and I were not attached to Linda for the first part of our trip. Wren and I walked to the cupcake place with no problems at all. And she didn’t even try to throw me through the door this time! Whew, minor progress in that regard!

Linda did put on the extra collar and leash for the rest of the route just in case Wren needed help getting me to understand what she needed me to do because of all of the lovely booby traps that are set up.

Afternoon walk

Wow, Wren and I did the ***whole*** route this time without Linda attaching to us! Wren did such a good job and showed that she thinks waaaaaay too much. I have to watch the things I do with this girl for sure.

So, those traps I mentioned for this morning were of course still there and I made the mistake of giving Wren a treat after she did a great job showing me and taking me around one. Well, little miss smarty pants figured that

Hey, you gave me one back there, why the heck aren’t you giving me one now? Where’s my treat? Why aren’t you giving me my treat?

I also learned that I can’t unfortunately keep my treat hand in my pocket either so it doesn’t freeze and fall off. Oh no no no! If I do that then the little smarty pants again thinks I’m getting her a treat!

As Linda says, this dog thinks waaaaaaaay too much, lol. I better watch out!

Here’s another thing with Wren that I didn’t even notice she does until Linda asked me about it after lunch today.

Linda, May, how do you get your dog to walk on leash with it just looped over your arm?
Me, um, huh?

And of course, the moment she asked me that Wren decided she’d no longer be nice and tried to get to Linda, hahahaha. linda is her trainer of course whom I’m trying to win her from.

But anyways, I actually never paid attention that Wren walked nicely beside me when the leash was just looped over my arm. She just automaticly did it correctly that I just tell her what an awesome dog she is and we went on our merry way.

So, to clarify. When you just walking your dog beside you, you normally hold the leash closer to the collar or somewhere in that area. Well, when I’m carrying something back to our room from meal time like a drink or something, I put the drink in my left hand and use my right hand on the rail to make sure we find our room. So by doing that I can’t of course hold the leash, so instead I loop it over my arm and tell Wren to heel and off we go.

Pretty smart dog I have here and does well until that Linda comes along, lol.

Tomorrow we work with Phil in the morning since Linda has something to do. I hope that goes just as well. So, until tomorrow, take care all from Wren the speed demon and I!

LD Training4 First Walk with Wren

Whew, I am so sorry that this update is late. I was apparently super tired last night. I laid down and was out like a light.

So, my first night with Wren was rather amusing and I didn’t get much sleep then because I was too busy laughing at her.

Our night was spent with my dog growling and snarling at whatever dream creatures were comingto attack us. Ha, and it wasn’t the nice lets play growling either. It was the I’m going to bite your head off if you get any closer.

My first walk with the super speed demon!

I just have to say that I absolutely without a doubt hate walking in boots with a dog. My balance feels all off.

The morning walk we stayed on campus and did the practice route and I didn’t feel that it went great. We didn’t do bad, but I just couldn’t get my stride going well. STupid boots! I also held her back a little bit because it’s been like 2 and a half years since I had to use those guide dog muscles and my body was yelling at me and demanding that I stop the torture.

Now, the afternoon walk went much much better. I decided to switch to wearing my shoes instead of my boots and whew, what a change!

For the afternoon we went downtown and did some destination work. We learned how to find the cupcake shop.

Man, this is one awesome girl. She learns extremely fast.

She’s like
Me, Wren, left find the door.
Wren, ***speed up and slam on the breaks*** here you go, here’s the door. Now where’s my treat?
Me, ***holds arm out slightly to catch myself from going through the door*** ha, great girl!

And it’s not just doors she does this with. She slams on the breaks when coming to curbs too.

I think I need to take out insurance, but I wonder what kind of coverage I need to ask for?

The only thing Wren and I have to work on is how to read each other. She’s a very light dog so reading her is a bit difficult when she is trying to get move to move to the right. When she pulls left it’s not too hard, but we need work in this area.

After we were all done working and I had her bring me back to our chair she was all excited that she got to work and she did an awesome job that she hopped up on my lap and gave me loads of kisses!

I also think this girl is a mind reader. From the moment I got this girl she sits all nice and calm under the table exactly where I want her to sit. I didn’t have to teach it to her at all.

I’ll be trying a crate with her to see how she does with it so that way if I need to take care of my boys or she needs a break from all the craziness at home she has a safe place.

LD Training3 Lets meet Wren, my little songbird

For those that receive this via email, there is a video in this post. So to watch it you must go to my youtube channel. www.canadianlynx.ca

Joy to the world
The day has come!
I got my Leader Dog!
She is my little song bird.
My tiny black lab.
She’s only 50 pounds
She’s only 50 pounds
The wind is going to blow us away!

Hello everyone to the day you’ve all been waiting for. The meeting of the early Christmas present. My furry four-legged friend!

Why oh why does this always happen to me? I’m seriously cursed or something. my second time at Leader and I’m once again the last in my group to get my dog. And this time I really do mean last. I didn’t get my puppy until almost 2PM! Can you believe that?

I think I wore a hole in the floor in my room from all my pacing back and forth!

So, I have to make a correction. In the video I spelled my dog’s name wrong. I thought Linda said it had an *i* in it, but it does not. It has an *e*. Either way the first thing that came to my mind was two things when I heard my dogs name.

One, the cartoon Ren and Stimpy
2. We have a friend who’s daughter’s name is known by Renny, sometimes called Ren.

But, when I was corrected on the spelling of my litttle precious ones name and when I mentioned her name to my classmates I learned that her name is a type of songbird!

So, lets meet my little songbird shall we?

She is a female black lab and the tiniest thing I’ve ever seen. She weighs only 50lbs and a good wind can definitely blow us to the moon! She is 17 months old and turns the wonderful age of 2 on July 3. Linda told me that this most amusing dog is a first time puppy for her raiser. So congratulations to them for doing a great job with this girl! I hope that they are someplace where the other Leader puppy raisers can reach them and let them know about the video of issue day.

So, are you all wondering my precious girls name yet?

I played a short little guessing game on facebook and twitter to see if anyone could get it and there were only 2 that did!

Lets meet my Christmas Songbird, Wren!

eeeeeep, leave my hair alone!

Oh no, not another Kalvin!

Wren, oo, look something long and hanging down for me to swat at! OO, it swings when I do that. Lets do it again!
Me, no no no, stop that. Here, have a treat instead
Wren, don’t mind if I do. ***chomp chomp chomp*** Great, back to these swinging things. Can I lick them too?
Me, eep, stop that, leave my hair alone! Here, how about a bone instead?

Wait, Wren, that is not a ball!

Ah yes, I’ll take that and toss it in the air and roll over on my back and beat it with my paws! Oo, such great times I’m having!

Ok, I’m done with that, what’s next for us to do, huh, huh, huh? More treats maybe?

Yipes, this dog is going to kill me!

Ok, I thought walking with Luna was bad with her speed walking. Oh no no no, Luna has nothing on this little songbird Not only does she go from 0 to 60 in point 5 seconds, but she then picks up more speed when her target is in sight before slamming on the breaks and trying to toss me through whatever door or off whatever curb may be in front of me, lol.

Can someone send me crash suits please?

Another musical one coming into the household?

So, after dinner we did a little walking up and down the halls practicing walking together and her choosing if she would listen to me, lol, when we came across Justin playing the guitar. He was in the middle of the song when we entered the piano room and all was well until he reached the end of the song.

growl, bark, growl, snort, growl, whine!

Um, what the heck!

Me, Hey Wren, stop that, it’s not allowed.
Wren, growl, snort, growl!
Justin, what was that?
Wren, little barks, whines, bark bark bark!
Me, um Justin, I don’t think you were suppose to stop playing. Hurry up, play some more!
Justin, ***starts playing the guitar***
Wren, sighs and wags her tail. Great, all is right with the world again!

Oh dear, I think this dog and I are going to have some amusing times together! More tomorrow after our first full day together!

LD Training2 The Comical Christmas Class

Wow, what a day! I don’t remember it being so long before. I think they added hours or activities or something!

So, first before I go on about the Christmas class I’m in I want to mention about the story I heard regarding Juno walks.

Sadly the person mis-spoke and what they said was not true. We were told that Juno would be with actual dogs and not a person holding the handle. Too bad because I would have loved it. Maybe one day Leader maybe consider changing to that method?

So, nothing new in regards to juno walks. We’re still pulled along by strange instructors that play Juno.

With that being said, hahaha, my Juno loves pennies and picking up stray tennis balls! How, oh how do I keep getting these amusing Juno’s? Last time I had one that ran into walls and picked up beer cans!

For those that are wondering, my trainer this round is with Linda Fisher and she’s totally awesome! I did warn her about working with me and that I was trouble. But, seems someone beat me to it and warned her about me first. Hmm, should I be scared? Ha, wonder if they pointed her to my blog entries before.

So, this Christmas class is rather comical. Just like my last class everone seems to have hit it off right from the bat. There doesn’t seem to be a non-teasing one amung us. I will definitely be putting up some videos of this group when activities allow. For example, one person has already been warned that the first time it snows I’m grabbing a video of her in it since where she’s from there is no snow! The poor thing! She must have something to always remember her first dog time, right/ Nothing like a roll in the snow caught on video to do the trick? She claims this class will drive her to drinking. Well, our first drinking party is on Saturday so lets see if that prediction comes true!

We also apparently have some dancers and musicians in this group, so hopefully I can catch that craziness too.

I definitely will be putting up a video of my dog day just like last time. So for any new puppy raisers that are now reading my blog entries, be prepared!

Bad bad me also claimed that one client is getting a chihuahua for his first dog and to his dismay other clients, trainers and volunteers started agreeing with that prediction! Think they better fix his harness and leash before tomorrow afternoon!

Yes, with loud ***groans*** from all of the guide dog users we were sad to hear that we must wait until after lunch before getting our furry friends! Oh, the torture!

I’m thinking by the hints Linda gave that a golden is not in my future. So sorry Jaydon, mommy doesn’t seem to be getting a Sammy! It’s going to be a female with attitude! Of course anything can change before that long long time of after lunch, but at the moment, goldens are out of the running!

The youngest in this group is in their 20’s and the oldest is in their 70’s. What a range eh? There are 20 of us in all this week. 14 for guide dogs and 6 for mobility. The client that couldn’t make it yesterday due to mother nature being rude did make it in today. Her welcoming party was a fire drill! Welcome to Leader, now please stand out in the cold! Fire drills in 35 degrees! Where’s the camp fire?

Time to try for sleep. I ahve my play clothes picked out for tomorrow and the non-liver flavored Charley Bears ready for my puppy with attitude! I will win my puppy over from Linda with the much better flavored tasting ones! So, tune in tomorrow for the Christmas Puppy Dog issue part of the program!

LD Training1 Welcome back to Leader Dogs

Welcome back ladies and gentlemen! It’s time for the Christmas edition of training and how exciting it is to be here!

Whew, the day startedoff with me wondering how long I’d make it without sleep, lol. I knew when the time came that sleep would definitely not be in the cards and I was correct. However, I did not count on sick children and 11 month old little monkies playing their part, lol.

I left home about 11AM and made it to Leader around 12:45 or so. Thank you so very much to The Lions Club for giving me a ride to Leader. It was a fun enjoyable trip all the way up.

The weather here at Leader was wet wet and did I mention wet? I asked my friend if maybe I should have bought ice skates and a boat instead of boots to class since in some spots it looked icy and definitely sounded extremely flooded!

***difference from last training***
1. No, lost, luggage! No having to borrow my instructors clothes and wondering when the heck mine would show up or if they would, ha! No walking through an airport that seemed like it would never end. Nope, I got the pleasure of driving up and having my luggage with me the whole way!

2. I’m in the Avon Wing this time around and have already forgotten that I don’t go right when exiting my room to get to the dining room! ***grumbles*** how many times will that happen? I also keep forgetting about the darn chair that’s hanging out between the door and the dresser/desk. Really should move that thing before it kills me!

3. There are now amazon echos in the rooms and man my one at home is faster than the one here. I ask her a question and she has to decide if she’s going to wake up before answering me, lol. Makes me wonder if my google at home would like being friends with this echo?

4. The assigned seating happened tonight at dinner unlike when I was here last when it happened at breakfast. Unless something changes the majority at my table are all from Michigan. How funny is that?

5. Finally, the instructors for this class we don’t meet until tomorrow. Only the volunteers and RA’s are here tonight.

6. Oh, almost forgot. It looks like the internet is much much better than it was when I got Luna. The connection back then was extremely slow when loading pages and when disconnect if you weren’t doing anything after a while which got rather annoying! So far this seems to do much better!

There’s one other big difference regarding juno walks that is different, but I will talk about that tomorrow if the story is actually true. If it is I will be sooooooo excited about that change! My friends that were in classes before now didn’t mention it when they were here unless I missed it. Which is possible with the super chatty fun Whats App group that we’re in!

I have met some pretty interesting people in my class so far, but will talk more about them tomorrow after we do the introduction gathering after dinner. Guide dog training wise there are only 13 of us and 6 for mobility training. There’s at least 5 new guide dog handlers, but will clarify that tomorrow. One person couldn’t make it in today due to mother nature being rude and blocking the roads so they couldn’t get to the airport. Fingers crossed that tomorrow goes better for them!

We of course had spaghetti for dinner and it was ***great*** as Leader Dog food could be! But for now it’s time to try for sleep, my first quiet sleep for the next 3 weeks.

BTW, I wonder how many times I’ll wake up wondering where the kids are because it’s too quiet?

Luna and I are ending way too soon

It’s way too soon to have to be doing this, but here I am. I will be saying bye to my precious pocket rocket, miss Luna moon on Sunday afternoon. She will be returning to Leader and hopefully by no fault of her own be able to find another partner that will love and care for her as much as I did. If not, well, she can go back and torture the new puppies that are being trained for Leader and teach them all bad habbits, right?

A few people that knew the situation before now asked if I would keep Luna and if I could then she wouldn’t be retiring, smiles. But, it wouldn’t be fair to keep her if she is able to be issued back out. Her work is still awesome, hahah, Leader will just have to work out the bad habbits I taught her and if they can match her again with someone that can walk as fast as she does, then why should I deny her that working life that she enjoys?

Luna has been the most interesting pup I have had. We have had many fun stories to share with everyone and I’m glad with her that I got to write them all down and can remember her when she’s gone. This has been the hardest decision I had to make on retiring her due to medical reasons on my end, not hers and fighting to keep her as long as I could, but it was finally a losing battle.

To the Leader Dog puppy raisers, thanks so so much for an awesome little girl. I hope my next pup brings me lots of fun times as miss Luna has done. Thanks for joining us on our adventures from beginning to end and I hope no matter where I end up you join me on the next ride.

Miss Luna moon you show them that you still are awesome and I will miss you terribly. And with that it’s time to curl up and cry! It’s back to that darn horrible blasted no fun to talk too cane!

Trust your dog

You know it amazes me how many times I get hit in the face with that phrase from my own dog in her way.

Today was our first day at Ohio State Marion for classes and even though it’s a small campus it’s a little confusing due to the layout.

Well, I was still very much confused so showed up early to give myself time to get lost. I had my certain landmarks to listen for and to watch out for, but was still pretty nervous.

So, we get inside the building and cruise through the doors and one of my landmarks isn’t running…darn water fountains! Think I need to figure out something else to use, lol. 

Anyways, I tell Luna left after a while since I know we have to go that way and like the good girl she is, she goes left when it’s time to do so.

Well, great, don’t hear my other landmark which is the vending machines, *grumbles* but Luna is still cruising along like she knows where she’s going. She shows me a door, but I didn’t see the sign just a blank wall…erm, this wall doesn’t feel right. Luna I think we missed something.

So, I turn her around and we start walking another direction. hey, there’s the vending machines I was looking for! They were there the whole time just quiet, drats! Ah well, that means we should be by the other exit doors. Forward we go then.

LUna, find the doors, outside!

Heheh, Luna shows me a door, but guess what, it’s not the exit doors! Well, crap, now what?

So, I yet again turn Luna around since I know we’re in the right general area and off we go again. Luna drags me down the hall the way we were going the first time, you know, before I turned her aroun, hahah.

She shows me the door again, but this time a little further over and um, guess what? It’s the direction I needed to be! I just needed to go one more door down to be in the right place.

Me: Oops, guess we were going right the first time, eh Luna?
Luna: *gives me the look of duh* and then sighs at me, like I told you so. Next time listen!
Me: gives her a treat and tell her what a smart great girl she is and we go on with our day.

One of these years I’ll learn to follow and trust my dog when they are more sure than I am. Of course then it will be my luck I end up who knows where, hahaha, right?

Response from Leader Dog regarding the NFB resolution

***warning***

This post is long!

Recently the NFB National Federation for the Blind passed resolution 2015-05 seen below regarding Leader Dog for the Blind

the NFB is calling on Lions to cease funding of Leader Dogs for the Blind until or
unless it rejects NAC accreditation.
WHEREAS, in 1989 the International Federation of Guide Dog Schools for the Blind, later known as the International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF), was formed to create and promulgate standards for the operation and administration of guide dog training programs throughout the world; and
WHEREAS, the IGDF today has over eighty member guide dog training programs around the world, including thirteen in the United States; and
WHEREAS, US-member guide dog training programs include Guide Dogs for the Blind, the Seeing Eye, and Leader Dogs for the Blind, the three largest guide dog training programs in the United States; and
WHEREAS, the standards of the IGDF are well known as a solid model for guide dog training program operation and administration; and
WHEREAS, in January 2015 Leader Dogs for the Blind announced that it had received accreditation by the National Accreditation Council for Blind and Low Vision Services (NAC), an organization formed in the 1960s supposedly to create and promulgate standards for the operation of agencies serving the blind but which, in fact, has never provided a good model for the operation and administration of any agency; and
WHEREAS, NAC has no expertise in the guide dog arena, and any attempt by NAC to accredit guide dog training programs can serve only to undermine the efforts of the IGDF; and
WHEREAS, in the past Leader Dogs for the Blind, recognizing the worthless nature of NAC’s alleged accreditation, resisted attempts by NAC to accredit it and stood with consumers in opposing the shoddy and irrelevant standards NAC attempted to use to gain credibility among the ranks of guide dog training programs and their consumers; and
WHEREAS, Leader Dogs’ past vigorous opposition to NAC accreditation was expressed in part through a letter from Harold L. Pocklington, then-executive director of Leader Dogs for the Blind, to NAC’s president, and published in the February 1986 issue of the Braille Monitor, which said: We believe we can handle our own affairs. If the dog guide training programs don’t respond to your suggestions, it may be they don’t believe the method of accreditation can be done only by you. We believe we can be our own judge of operation, without any help from NAC or a committee NAC might appoint. We are not indifferent, unaware, or apathetic. We just believe if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it; and
WHEREAS, the purpose of NAC has always been to undermine and thwart the right of the organized blind to speak on behalf of blind consumers and Leader Dogs’ affiliation with NAC has the same effect in seeking to minimize the voice of the blind; and
WHEREAS, Leader Dogs receives a significant amount of its funding from Lions International and from individual Lions clubs; and
WHEREAS, any money spent by Leader Dogs in seeking and obtaining accreditation by NAC is a misuse of the support provided by its donors and can only encourage the efforts of an outdated and useless agency, NAC, to attempt to gain financial support from other guide dog training programs that it approaches in its attempts to convince them to accept its irrelevant and meaningless accreditation: Now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this ninth day of July, 2015, in the city of Orlando, Florida, that this organization condemn and deplore Leader Dogs for the Blind’s accreditation by and consequent support of NAC; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization demand that Leader Dogs for the Blind take immediate steps to terminate its accreditation by NAC; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we call on Lions International and individual Lions clubs to cease their funding of Leader Dogs for the Blind until it terminates its accreditation by NAC; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization urge all guide dog training programs to resist any attempts by NAC to accredit them and insist instead that all guide dog training programs in the United States support the legitimate standards and accreditation of the IGDF.

Now this resolution caused quite a heated debate in many groups that have received service from Leader Dogs for the Blind. Why has the NFB decided to attack LDB? Did the NFB attempt to talk to any of LDB graduates or staff?

Some believed that the person that wrote the resolution was a person that had problems with LDB, but if that’s the case this is not the way to go about fixing it! This further gives the NFB the bad reputation it is known for, attacking when they shouldn’t and makes the good things they have done get overlooked.

Personal note…who the heck told this person that using *whereas* over and over again was correct? You seriously don’t need to say it that many times. It’s more likely someone will stop reading after the second or third time that word was said. I cringed each time my computer read it.

Leader Dog for the Blind sent out this response

You may be aware of a National Federation of the Blind (NFB) resolution that was recently passed against Leader Dogs for the Blind’s accreditation by the National Accreditation Council for Blind and Low Vision Services (NAC). Within the resolution, the NFB demanded that Leader Dog terminate its accreditation by NAC, in part because NAC has no expertise in the guide dog arena. Leader Dog’s NAC accreditation is for our Accelerated Orientation & Mobility Training and our Summer Experience Camp, both of which fall under NAC’s expertise. Our Guide Dog Training has been accredited by the International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF) since 1999.

We had reached out to the NFB upon learning about its concerns and the NFB did not respond to our communication. We know that this resolution may create questions for you and we’d like to address any and all concerns.

As you know, our goal is to provide consistent, high-quality service to all of our clients. Over the past decade we have made a significant effort to become a transparent organization that is receptive to outside review and input. Accreditation by third-party organizations, such as the IGDF and NAC, provide objectivity and hold us to industry standards when reviewing the services we offer.

Accreditation is a common practice in many industries and is used as a way to assess how quality is maintained. It provides a non-biased evaluation of the work that an organization does and helps establish standards to continuously improve the quality of service provided. We believe these certification processes provide our current and potential clients with relevant information when deciding who they trust to deliver high quality, state-of-the-art travel-related training.

If you have any questions about this matter and need clarification, please contact Rachelle Kniffen, Director of Communications & Marketing at 248-659-5013 or rkniffen@leaderdog.org.

Rachelle Kniffen
Director of Communications & Marketing
Leader Dogs for the Blind
1039 S. Rochester Rd. • Rochester Hills, MI 48307-3115
Direct (248) 659-5013

Now, seeing this response it tells me right off that the NFB did not do their homework before making their claims. This shows me that they did not think of the other services that Leader Dog for the Blind offers.