Guiding Eyes for the Blind – Erie Region

Guiding Eyes for the Blind

Erie Region Newsletter

Winter 2007


Be sure to give an extra hug to your canine Valentine!



Play Time


Puppies love activity, especially when it complements their natural ability. Pay attention to their instincts and find something that your puppy loves to do. Playing in creative and stimulating ways helps you bond with your puppy.  Some enjoy a brain-teaser toy (IQube or Twist & Treat) while others love high-energy activities such as a brisk walk, canine sport (Agility) or retrieving a ball.  Some puppies enjoy being challenged beyond fetch but, for others, nothing beats the simplest toy, like a tennis ball. Whatever your puppy’s passion is, get up and find it. Dogs need to have fun, just like people. Your dog will be happiest when he’s doing something that comes naturally…and doing it with you.



Local Heroes - Comings & Goings of our Puppies


Best Wishes to the following dogs and their proud raisers.  Congratulations for a job well done!

§          Tonya gave lots of hugs to her 1st puppy Zed.

§          Richard said farewell to his 4th puppy Hansel. 


Welcome to the newest members of our region:

§          Maxwell was welcomed into the home of Barry & Mary Ellen. He is their 19th puppy.

§          Murray, Denise’s 5th puppy, was welcomed with lots of hugs and kisses.

§          Nathan has found a happy home with Adam & Susan. He is their 1st puppy.

§          Nancy’s 1st puppy, Nugent, was welcomed with big hugs.

§          Windy found a happy home with Penny.  She is Penny’s 8th puppy.

§          Renae welcomed Chico into her heart and home.  She is her 1st puppy.

§          Dodger was welcomed into the home of Jon Wright & Marla. He is their 1st puppy.

§          Howie was happy to join Sara after his long ride from GEB. He is Sara’s 5th puppy.



What’s Behind Her Smile?


Your puppy deserves a smile as sunny as her disposition!  To ensure her grin is a healthy one, take note: her appetite should be hearty, gums firm and pink, teeth pearly and her breath normal.  Chomping on hard chew toys, such as durable Nylabone products, and Kong rubber toys will help maintain a healthy smile, but her teeth need regular brushings for all 42 to stay clean and strong.  Begin brushing at a young age, no later than 5 months when her adult teeth come in. Gradually acquaint her with the process by gently massaging her teeth and gums with a finger coated with - yum! - poultry flavored dog toothpaste. Next rub her teeth with the toothpaste using a piece of gauze so she adjusts to the texture.  Then, gradually transition to using a soft finger tooth brush for a gentle scrub, before graduating to a soft-bristled toothbrush.  Practice frequent, short sessions and always reward her for her patience.

February is National Pet Dental Health Month.  Periodontal disease affects nearly 80 percent of all dogs over the age of 3, according to the American Veterinary Dental Society.  To prevent your puppy from becoming one of these statistics, brush her teeth regularly.  The gold standard of home care is daily brushing.  This is ideal but somewhat unrealistic.  If you brush her teeth three times a week, plaque will be reduced by 75 percent.  Taking care of your puppy’s teeth now can prevent some expensive and painful problems down the road.  Poor dental health can result in tooth loss, chewing difficulties and can deteriorate your dog’s general health. 


Happy 1st Birthday


The following puppies and raisers are celebrating! 

·          Brother and Sister, Hans & Hildy, were born on 11/16/05. Hans celebrated his birthday with many hugs from Diane & Rick while Hildy was honored at a birthday party with Laura and her family.

·          Brother and Sister duo, Wade & Winona, arrived in the world on 12/27/05.  Raisers Audrey & Russ sang Happy Birthday to Wade while sweet Winona celebrated with her raiser Carol.

·          Alec, being raised in the loving home of Kathy & Ron, was born on 1/5/06.  Alec asked for a new clutch ball and his raisers came through!    

·          Mr. Handsome, Iggie, celebrated his big day with raisers Jody & Merlin.  He was born on 2/4/06.  His playmates, Umpire & Daisy, celebrated with a surprise birthday party and a new hickory bone.    



e’ll be beaming in no time.





Web Wise


Calculating a dog’s age by multiplying by seven is old news.  Take the Dog Age test and find out how old your dog really is.  The test is designed to measure your dog’s biological age, based on health, type of breed and behavior.  Then when you’re feeling good about how healthy you’ve kept your best friend, you can check out your own real age by answering a similar quiz about yourself.  Visit (for pooch) and (for you).

Chew on This


Initially, puppies chew because they’re teething and chewing feels good to sore gums. It only becomes a problem when this activity is not directed into appropriate outlets such as safe chew toys.  If you don’t supply suitable toys, your puppy will find other options including shoes, rugs and furniture.  Boredom also causes inappropriate chewing.  The old saying “A tired puppy is a good puppy” is not far from the truth.

Mimicking hunting behaviors, puppies will happily stalk, pounce on and shake a soft squeaky toy.  Some puppies take this natural behavior one step further by ripping them to shreds and ingesting the threads, stuffing and squeakers causing dietary indiscretion, often resulting in surgery and even death. 

Your puppy should have medium or large size chew toys designed for an average or hard chewer. A toy becomes unsafe if pieces are broken off, edges are sharp or the toy is chewed down to a size that can be swallowed.  Keep your puppy safe by reserving playtime toys, such as Tug & Toss balls, for strictly supervised play sessions. This type of ball is great for teaching your puppy how to retrieve.  Retrieving is one of the best ways for a blind graduate to play with his guide dog, providing exercise for a long, healthy life.  If your puppy has a favorite toy, allow access to this toy only as a training reward.  Such great incentives may give your puppy the encouragement needed to get through a difficult lesson. If you purchase a new toy that your puppy ignores, his actions may seem ungrateful, but consider that he may not know how to play with it. Take this opportunity to teach him a game with his new toy.  He’ll enjoy the time together with his best friend…you! 

Puppy-proofing your home, purchasing appropriate toys and providing close supervision remain the key factors in providing a safe environment for your puppy.   



Winter Watchdog


Winter is the perfect time of year for observing your dog’s habits so you can design a backyard environment that accommodates her activities. Dogs tend to choose set patterns for travel in a fenced-in backyard that changes little throughout the year. Wear patterns are visible in the winter environment as leaves, frosts and snowfall make excellent backdrops for observing four-legged paw traffic.  On a rough sketch of your outdoor environment, outline these traffic patterns with lines.  This information will be invaluable in the spring as you start digging and planting.  Placing a flower bed in the dog’s traffic pattern is a recipe for conflict. Dogs accustomed to running down their normal path will continue to do so, even after you painstakingly planted expensive hostas in their path. To prevent destruction and frustration, let your best friend design your garden footpaths. Convert the dead grass areas left by repeated wear and tear to gravel, brick or flagstone pathways. You’ll be more likely to prevent damage to your landscape and you’ll provide a great under footing for your dog to walk on.   



Upcoming Events


Please stop by to lend your support at these events! However, unless you and your puppy are

scheduled to work at an event, please refrain from bringing your puppy with you.


   February 11- Clarence Lions Pancake Breakfast - Audrey & Russ and Wade

                                     March 1 - Little Valley Lions - Denise and Murray

                                        April 2 - Faith United Church - Audrey & Russ and Wade

                                     April 25 - International Guide Dog Recognition Day - Watch for local Mall participation


Please contact Russ or Mary Ellen with any Public Relations Events or Speaker’s Bureau requests.



The Greatest Dog Show on Earth


The Westminister Dog Show is a celebration of dogs in America.  Its popularity has grown since it’s inception in 1877 due to its competitive aspect, variety of dogs and the “alma mater factor”.  Groups and Best in Show will be televised on the USA Network at 8 PM on February 12 & 13.  As you watch all the fanfare and think “My dog can do that!” remember that your best in show is sitting at your feet.  


Working Dogs Compete for AKC Titles


A new titling competition launched by the American Kennel Club (AKC) will test dogs’ abilities in scent and protection work.  Four breeds are allowed to compete in this Working Dog Sport (WDS): German Sheperds, Bouviers, Dobermans and Rottweilers.  The competition has three levels and each consists of exercises in tracking, obedience and protection.  The judges award points based on both a dog’s natural and trained abilities.  Not only does the competition test a dog’s suitability for serving mankind in jobs such as narcotics detection and homeland defence, it also offers a tool for breeders who wish to maintain those characteristics in their lines.



Puppy Jeopardy


Want to win a Bonus Bone?  Below is the Puppy Jeopardy answer in the Health Care category.  The first class participant to provide the correct question at the next class wrap-up earns a Bonus Bone.  Good Luck!

The common name for parainfluenza, a highly contagious viral disease that spreads mainly via airborne particles.