Guide Dog Foundation Blog

CANINE STRESS: RECOGNIZING THE SIGNS AND SUPPORTING YOUR DOG

It is normal to experience stress at different points throughout a relationship with your dog. Even a highly disciplined family pet can experience anxiety that may inhibit his or her ability to perform trained tasks. We hope to help you gain a better understanding of canine stress, build confidence in recognizing the signs, learn ways to help reduce stress in your dog, and have a better idea of when it's time to ask for help. Read more

Katrin Hawkins: 'I Can Be Independent'

Katrin Hawkins has always charted her own path. For almost 20 years, she successfully ran Maplewood Dog, a dog behavior consulting business in Massachusetts. When her vision impairment had reached the point where it was impacting her ability to navigate and travel, “I decided a guide dog would likely help,” she says. Read on to learn about Katrin's inspiring journey with her guide dogs from the December 2023 edition of The Guideway, the official newsletter of the Guide Dog Foundation.

Crate Training A Puppy

black lab in crate
To crate train or not to crate train? That is a common question for many new dog owners. On the one hand, your puppy needs to have space to move freely as well as social time with you and your family. On the other hand, you need to know that your puppy and house will be safe when you go to sleep at night or need to leave the house for a time. Is there a balance between these two needs, and can it be found using a crate? Read more

Ensuring Your Legacy: National Make a Will Month

August marks National Make a Will Month, a time dedicated to promoting the importance of estate planning and leaving a lasting legacy.
In this blog post, we'll delve into the significance of estate planning, particularly in supporting nonprofit organizations like the Guide Dog Foundation, even after you've passed away.
Read on to learn more.

 

Leaving Your Dog Home Alone 


In a perfect world, pets would never need to be home alone. Whether you’re only going to be gone for a short time or need to leave your dog for hours, it can be traumatic if you don’t prepare your dog to be left alone. Since this is unavoidable for most pet owners, we’re sharing some helpful tips to make the best out of leaving your dog home alone – for them and for you! Read more!

 

Dogs and Fear of Fireworks 


While Independence Day brings about excitement and festivities, it's important to remember that the loud noises and flashing lights associated with fireworks can be distressing for our furry friends, especially service dogs and guide dogs. If this is your dog, too, learn how you can help comfort them. Read more. 

CHARLIE: A GUIDE DOG'S JOURNEY,
An AI-Generated Story



This blog post was produced by ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot developed by OpenAI, based on the following prompt: Write a story about the life of a guide dog from the perspective of a guide dog at the Guide Dog Foundation. Make it warm, friendly, and engaging.

In a matter of seconds, the story below was generated. It includes some light editing from the team at Guide Dog Foundation. We found this particular prompt -- to write as if a guide dog was telling its own story -- was interesting as we continue to experiment with AI content generation.

Now we'll turn it over to "Charlie," the AI-generated guide dog...read on.

Welcome Our Newest Trainers!

We’d like to congratulate Lauren Cobb, Olivia Deschler, and Katie Samuels for successfully completing their three-year apprenticeships and becoming our newest our guide dog mobility instructors. The apprentices first completed a written exam covering a multitude of subjects. After their written exam came the practical exam. Apprentices had to design a guide dog route, and while wearing a blindfold, follow the route using a dog they had trained.
Finally, they completed an hour-long oral exam in front of a panel of subject matter experts. 

To learn more about our newest instructors, please enjoy this Q&A with Lauren, Olivia, and Katie here !

 

New York Volunteer Raises Puppies to Become Guide & Service Dogs



Meet Daily Point of Light Award honoree Ruthann Collins. After medical conditions forced Ruthann to retire from her beloved job as a missioner, she found herself feeling depressed from the abrupt change of completing high-paced work that allowed her to travel the world, to being totally stagnant at her home in Islip, NY. She and her husband had previously floated around the idea of raising puppies one day, so she decided to use her newfound time to start volunteering for the Guide Dog Foundation in nearby Smithtown, NY.  Learn more about Ruthann and her incredible volunteer work here.

The Girl with the Guide Dog


When she was 18 years old, Kelly Zarkewicz became visually impaired as a side effect from medical treatment. But for many years, she resisted getting a guide dog. In fact, she would barely acknowledge her vision loss to friends and family. Instead, she compensated and developed strategies to act as if she was fully sighted. Until she couldn’t act anymore. “I no longer have that anxious tightness in my chest when I walk,” she says. “I used to hate reaching for the cane when I left the house every day, but now I love reaching for the leash. I finally feel like myself again.”  Learn about Kelly's journey here.

Living the Life She Chose


The desire to travel more freely and more safely informed Lachelle Smith’s decision to get a guide dog. She came to realize that with the amount of traveling she does nowadays, the cane was slowing her down. “I had a tendency to run into things more or just was never able to really view my surroundings without a quick scanning. I was constantly moving my head back and forth, and I would get very tense.” Smith’s faith is very important to her. “I believe that my visual impairment is a blessing to my life. There are burdens associated with blindness, but for me, the blessings significantly outweigh the burdens.” Read here about why her guide dog is one of those blessings.

Helping Dogs Overcome Fear


It is often disheartening to discover that your beloved pup doesn’t seem to like everyone they meet. There can be a few reasons why this may happen, but with patience and understanding, you can help them build positive relationships with people. Read more

Fulfilling Her Lifelong Passion


Shawn Makepeace’s vision loss was gradual. She attended regular classes throughout primary and secondary school, but “first I sat in the back of class, then the middle, then the front,” she recalls. “I started borrowing my friends’ notes, then asking for the slides from teachers.” For a while, Makepeace even drove, although, “I probably wasn’t supposed to.” But when she was 17 years old, her world changed forever. "My guide dogs have opened the world for me," she says. "I don't let anything stop me." Part of the Guide Dog Foundation community since 1999, read more about her story here.

Top 5 Cues to Teach Your Puppy


Bringing home a new puppy is an exciting time for many families! They’re cute, cuddly, and they’re usually too young to have picked up many bad habits. In the mix of all the playtime and snuggles, you’ll need to teach your puppy how to be a member of your household. Read more...

Leaving a Rewarding Legacy


As we mark National Make-A-Will Month in August, National Estate Planning Awareness Week in October, and prepare for the year-end season of charitable giving, now is a good time to explore estate planning including making a will. Doing so can provide immediate and long-term benefits to you, your loved ones, and the nonprofits closest to your heart. Read More .

Pet-Safe Cleaning Products 


Keeping a clean house and healthy pets simultaneously is possible, as long as you as a pet owner are aware of the products you're using and where your pets are when you’re using chemicals.  The most important thing to remember is to follow the manufacturer’s instructions... Read More .

History of GivingTuesday


#GivingTuesday is a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of dollars in donations to nonprofit organizations in one day - the day after Cyber Monday. Learn where the idea came from and how this international day of giving has a global impact. Read more.

IS RAWHIDE BAD FOR DOGS?

Dogs and bones have been synonymous since the beginning of time. It’s no secret that most dogs love to chew. It can alleviate boredom and be a great outlet if your dog is stressed. Bones can also be a great way to help keep tartar in check, improving your dog’s dental health... Read more  .

Losing Her Vision But Finding Her Purpose


In 1988, Davida Luehrs was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic eye disorder that causes loss of vision; she was 29 years old. Her life changed, but with the loss of her vision came new purpose. My deteriorating vision was causing me to lose confidence," says Luehrs. "I felt that a guide dog would help with my mobility, my self-confidence, and keep me safer than using a cane." Read more about Davida's journey and her guide dog, Chubb here .

 

Access Laws for Service and Guide Dogs

woman and guide dog
Having a service animal can be incredibly beneficial for citizens with disabilities that require the help of a service animal. However, it is important to understand the laws and regulations surrounding the use of dogs as service animals in public. Read more

New Year, New Goals 

making a list
Another new year is upon us, which brings about a desire in many people to improve their lives in some way. About 38.5% of adults make resolutions, but only 9% actually keep them. Read More

Holiday Pet Safety and Tips


The holiday season is upon us, and we're sharing a few ways you can make the holiday season extra special (and safe) for your furry friend! Read more!

How Often Should I Take My Guide Dog to the Vet?

Guide dogs are working dogs and like any dog, it’s recommended that they go to the vet at least once a year for an annual check-up. An annual check-up normally consists of a wellness exam, in which a physical is conducted. In addition, the vet will document your dog’s physical growth and mention any concerns about their health. Read more about the importance of veterinary care for your guide dog.

Plants That Are Toxic To Dogs

Plants can improve air quality in your home, as well as add color and style. If you have indoor dogs, you want to be aware of which plants can cause harm. Read more

Things You Should Never Feed Your Dog


Take the time to know the dangers certain foods and substances pose to man’s best friend, and keep them away from your dog. Read More .

Is Rawhide Bad For Dogs?


In recent years, dog owners have become concerned about giving their dog rawhide toys for chewing. We're addressing two main areas of concern so you can make the best decision for your furry friend. Read more!