Golden Guide Dogs Leading the Way
Lots has been written about the benefits of Guide Dogs. But, the best one of all, is
written all over their humans' faces. Persons with our Golden Guides enjoy walking (and
working) with these special partners. Going through a crowd, they can now feel confident
that their four-legged Golden Guide will help them find a safe route. And, they will warn
them of dangers, like overhanging branches or potholes.
Go meet Golden Guide Dogs Anna, Luke and Rebound and their human companions Christina Holtzclaw,
Maia Santamaria and Tonia Claytonthrough, through our wonderful
In the Eyes of the Beholder article and video.
The beginning lives of many of our Guide Dogs are owed to
Puppy Raisers. Nancy Smith raises dogs, many of
them Goldens, to become Guides for the visually impaired. This is
one of her photos showing how she uses her trained dove adults to serve as a distraction
while her Golden Guide Dog-in-Training is practicing a down/stay command.
Stephen Kuusisto, director of student services at Guiding Eyes
for the Blind, has a puppy-raised Guide Dog. In his book,
Planet of the
Blind, Guide Dog Corky became his guiding eyes and changed his life forever. He
pays his "greatest debt of gratitude" to the Burkett family of Fairfax,
Virginia. They raised his guide dog and then they let her go. Listen to him as he shows
how difficult that really is:
Each successful team has a family behind
it who actually raised the dog. Imagine loving an animal for over a year and
then one morning you get up and put it into a crate and drive it to the airport
and send it to the guide dog school. And as you're driving home past the fast
food restaurants and shopping malls, you're crying."
"This dog has been everywhere
with you: gone to work with you, gone to the high school football game. Now what
should you hope for? You're sitting at a stoplight, the tears streaming down
your cheeks. You know there's a chance that the dog won't make it. Maybe this
dog will come home again! Should you dare to hope for such a thing? Is it all
right to think this — at least in private? Imagine that your minivan still has a
blanket on the floor. The car still has some prized dog hair and a faint wet dog
smell. It's okay to hope the dog comes home. Isn't it? . . ."
Here is a delightful video that details a Golden boy named Parker being
raised to be a guide dog.
This is Golden Fargo, a SpokesPooch for
Sounds, an awesome, free radio reading service that is provided through a Community
Outreach Program of Rio Salado College. Both intelligent and handsome, he is a lead dog
that belongs to Cheri Meadors, one of Sun Sounds' listeners. Over 30,000
visually-impaired Arizonans rely on Sun Sounds to read to them.
In November 2002, we met Toni & Ed Eames and saw them provide a talk
to airport personnel on accommodating assistance dogs and their humans. I
fell in love with their Goldens, Escort and Echo and saw just how proficient
they were as they maneuvered better than I through the terminal. I was
thrilled to learn that they loved the goodies (both food and toy) I brought for them.
Actually, the gifts really came in handy as there were layovers at the various connecting
flights that had to be made. The toy helped relieve boredom and the treats supplemented
dinner as they had to stay in an airport hotel that night due to fog.
It was sad to learn in March 2004 that Ed and Toni's senior boys had
experienced much sickness, and Escort sadly earned his Golden wings and left Toni's side.
Echo was suffering the effects from a brain tumor and was retired to family member
So, Ed and Toni have a new Golden boy, Latrell, and girl, Keebler, to guide their lives,
as shown above. It can be extremely difficult
when transitioning between partnerships, when beloved guide
dog companions have left their humans' sides. This difficult
issue is addressed in Rebecca's emotional piece,
Discussions. Learn lots more about our wonderful Guide
Dogs through the following print, web and video resources.
Sadly, the Assistance Dog Movement has lost one of our greatest
champions. IAADP's President,
Co-founder, Ed Eames, Ph.D. passed away on October 25, 2009.
Read more about his life here.
Want to see how tough it is to learn to walk
with a Guide Dog? Check this out. This video was
filmed at the Kennel Club Building in Stoneleigh
Park. Richard Michael explains about the 'Guide Dog
Golden Retriever Jerry does a wonderful job, don't
See Your Name In Braille
TaleTell: Your own Stories of Golden Guides
Meet some wonderful, hard-working 4-footed Guide
And, if you have a Golden Guide tale to tell, just send it
along with photos to: b