Guiding Eyes for the Blind – Erie Region

Guiding Eyes for the Blind

Erie Region Newsletter


Winter 2008




Love is in the Air


Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.  We’re all about loving and teaching our puppies, taking excellent care of them and

spending quality time with them every day.  Let’s say “Happy Valentine’s Day” to our fury friends by giving them extra hugs.

 We can never love them too much!



Winter Precautions


A puppy’s worst enemies during wintry weather are frigid temperatures and nasty winds.  Attention to a few details can help prevent an unexpected winter health crisis for your best friend. 


Prolonged time in subzero water can result in hypothermia for your dog.  Most dogs encounter this situation when they break through the ice and are not able to get back up.  But, wind chill and constant exposure can also lead to hypothermic conditions. The causes of hypothermia are a function of several factors, including the amount of time spent in the cold, body fat, coat condition, ratio of body mass to surface area, ambient humidity and wind speed.  For example, a young puppy will lose heat much faster than an adult dog with a larger body mass. 


Symptoms of hypothermia follow a predictable pattern.  The first symptom will be shivering as the body tries to warm itself.  This will progress to weakness, stiffness and stupor.  In a critical state of hypothermia, the  circulation system fails, oxygen transfer to cells diminishes and unconsciousness will inevitably lead to death from heart failure.  If you believe that your puppy is hypothermic, take immediate action to warm up the puppy.  Take the puppy into a warm location. Vigorously rub the puppy all over with a dry towel.  You are rubbing the puppy, not only to dry him off but to create friction and produce heat and stimulation. This process is much more effective than just wrapping the puppy in a blanket.  You will know that you are making progress by watching the symptoms reverse themselves until eventually the puppy begins to shiver.  This means the body temperature has risen to the point where the brain once again recognizes that he is cold and needs to warm up.  At this point, continue to rub, but begin to focus on the extremities, which are the most vulnerable to frostbite and damage from poor circulation.  Frostbite can occur to the ear tips, eyelids, toes and tails.


The lesson regarding hypothermia is to be ever vigilant for decreases in temperature and heightened wind speed.    Use common sense and adjust your outdoor activities accordingly. Avoid walks on unfamiliar snow-covered land and never walk across a seemingly frozen pond.  If you suspect that your puppy has hypothermia, contact your Area Coordinator immediately.


Attention to grooming is always important.  Damp or matted fur is a poor insulator compared to a clean, healthy coat.  Matted, damp coats do not dry out because air cannot get through the matted fur.  The skin underneath the mat stays wet so it’s like wearing a wet wool coat all winter.  Fur between the toes gathers “ice balls” which allow unwanted moisture to promote the growth of yeast and bacteria, resulting in inflammation, itchiness and lameness.  If your puppy has an ice ball, thaw the ice by holding the paw with your hand, allowing the warmth from your hand to melt the ice.  Keeping the fur between the toes trimmed will help prevent ice build-up.  Drying your puppy’s paws with a towel when you go indoors will eliminate unwanted moisture between the toes.


Here are three final tips. Slippery ice should be removed or avoided to prevent sudden slips or falls.  Spilled or leaking antifreeze containing ethylene glycol must be cleaned up immediately.  Ensure that your puppy has a fresh supply of water at all times.  Eating snow is not a substitute.



Happy 1st Birthday


The following puppies and raisers are celebrating!

Janelle, born on 3/20/07 will celebrate her birthday with lot of hugs from her raisers Audrey and Russ

       Lambert, born on 3/27/07, will celebrate his big day with his raiser Len




National Canine Weight Check


Veterinarians estimate that nearly half of all dogs in this country are overweight or obese.  These conditions can have serious medical consequences, including heart disease, arthritis and breathing problems, just to mention a few.  This February, veterinarians across the country have teamed up for the first-ever National Canine Weight Check.  This month-long program is supported by the American Kennel Club Humane Fund in partnership with Pfizer Animal Health.


Remember to take your puppy to the vet for periodic weigh-ins.  Knowing your puppy’s weight is essential for weight control and for providing the proper dose of medication.  For additional information regarding the ideal weight for your puppy, go to All Puppy Bulletins on our web site.  Any questions should be directed to your Area Coordinator. 







Local Heroes - Comings & Goings of our Puppies


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

§          Tonya said good-bye to her 2nd puppy Finley

§          Goldie gave lots of hugs and kisses to her raisers Kathy, Sarah & Mike.  Goldie is her 1st puppy.

§          Patience, Dianne’s 4th puppy, said good-bye to her raiser


                    Welcome to the newest members of our region:

§          Calista joined the Fox Family.  Calista is their 1st puppy

§          Diane welcomed Bliss, her 6th puppy, with lots of hugs




Pet Food Safety Standards


New federal regulations are in place to strengthen the government’s oversight of pet food safety.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Amendments Act of 2007, signed into law last September, requires Health and Human Services, in conjunction with other veterinary and animal health organizations, to establish new ingredient, labeling and processing standards for the pet food industry within two years.  Other regulations include:

·          An early warning system must be in place by September 2008 to identify adulterated pet food and associated outbreaks of illnesses.

·          Recalled pet food information must be posted on the FDA’s website and must include a searchable database that is easy for the public to access and understand.

·          Manufacturers must report adulterated food to the FDA within 4 hours.  Failure to do so may result in civil or criminal penalties.

These pet food safety provisions were added to the amendment after last spring’s recall of more than 100 brands of contaminated food.



Upcoming Events


Please stop by to lend your support at Public Relations events. However, unless you and your puppy are

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

Check our web site for the list of regularly scheduled classes.


                   1/27/08     Puppy Pre-Placement Class - St. Catherine of Sienna, West Seneca, 1-4 PM

                   2/03/08     Puppy Pre-Placement Class - St. Catherine of Sienna, West Seneca, 1-4 PM

                   2/10/08     Clarence Pancake Breakfast - Russ & Audrey

                   2/10/08     Puppy Pre-Placement Class - Lake Shore Fire Hall, Hamburg 1-4 PM

                   2/17/08     Puppy Pre-Placement Class - Lake Shore Fire Hall, Hamburg 1-4 PM


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




e’ll be beaming in no time.





Different Strokes for Different Coats


The right tool for the job makes all the difference.  Medium, long and curly coats need a pin brush and a comb with teeth long enough to reach through the coat to the skin.  Long, double and heavily shedding coats can benefit from a slicker brush, which helps de-mat and remove dead fur.  A shedding tool or undercoat rake works well for double coats and wire coats while wiry breeds benefit from a stripping knife.  Short coats look sleek and shiny with a rubdown from a furminator glove or rubber curry comb.  An all-purpose tool good for all coat types is a natural bristle brush.





What’s Good for the Goose


Dogs are our sentinels in ways beyond alerting us to a suspected intruder.  Because their life spans are shortened versions of ours, they may experience the effects of environmental toxins and stressors that could later impact our own health.  So, it makes sense not to expose our puppies to the toxins and impurities that we avoid for ourselves and our human family.  For example, if you don’t allow your kids to run barefoot on the lawn because it’s pesticide-treated, don’t let your puppy run on the lawn either.  If your family exclusively drinks bottled water because you have concerns about the purity of your local water supply, don’t fill your puppy’s water bowl from the tap.