Guide Dog User Resources

The Community Association of the Blind (CAB) dedicates this page to guide dogs
everywhere. CAB has created this page so that guide dog handlers and puppy
raisers can share their stories. Here at CAB we know just how important it is to
be a puppy raiser or a guide dog handler.

CAB would like to hear the experiences or stories of the many guide dog handlers
and puppy raisers too. It doesn't matter what school your dog came from or how
many dogs you have had. Send us your story with a picture of your dog and CAB
will post it on this web page for the whole world to see.

Puppy Raiser Corner:

Story #1
Puppy Raisers: Shonnie & Clinton Jones
Raised guide dog: Livingston

My experience as a Puppy Raiser was incredible! I started out wanting to raise a
puppy after going through a lot of training with my pet lab Shadow.

I actually worked with a trainer who was connected to Guide Dogs of America who
suggested that I become a puppy raiser. I looked into it and thought about it
for about a year before deciding to do it.

I am the biggest dog lover you will ever meet! And yes the thought of giving up
a puppy after you raise was heart wrenching to me as so many people would ask
How can you do that?

The more I thought about the opportunity to help another human being on this
planet the more I thought it was something I should do.

The more I thought about how perfect it would be to be a part of something like
this, the more I wanted to do it. And the more I thought about having a dog, the
greatest of all animals be the gift that I could give to another was amazing to
me.

I ended up with the opportunity to raise a yellow lab that I named Livingston.
Livingston is a great dog with a sensitive heart which is full of love and
devotion. Now of course I fell in love with this puppy! He was the smartest
animal and He actually taught me more than I could have taught him.

I got to one point where I thought forget this, I love this dog way too much to
give him away and I began to hope that he would not pass his tests. Then of
course my heart came back and I just prayed that whoever ended up with
Livingston would be worthy of such love and devotion from this animal.

As I continued to train Livingston we went everywhere together. We went to
restaurants, Disneyland, shopping, college, and when I got married, Livingston
was there. It was neat to be able to educate people on what a Guide Dog was and
why they are so important.

The time did come for Livingston to go onto the higher training he needed to
become a full fledged guide dog and I cried my eyes out! I did my duty and took
him to the Guide Dog school even though I contemplated how to get out of it at
that point.

Soon enough I got word that they had someone that could use Livingston and my
heart dropped. I just hoped and prayed that Livingston would be with the perfect
match for him and for that person that needed him! Of course I included my
prayers that I would be able to see Livingston and get to know the person who
would love him like I do.

Maybe some day he would come back to stay with me when his service was done.

Livingston was a little unique because his first match ended up not working out,
neither did his second match.

Now this was starting to feel like torture to go back and forth between me and
the possibility of the person who needed him more than I did. Then I got a final
call that, the perfect match had been found.

Finally I got to see Livingston matched up with his person, his name is Mark.

Mark lives in a city not far from mine and was close to the same age as me too.
I was nervous to meet him and just kept up the hope that all I had prayed for
would be so.

I was met with nothing but relief! To see Livingston happy to serve another and
give that person the love and devotion that they also needed in this life was
amazing!

Mark is now a friend of mine, my husband and I consider him family and we always
will. Giving up Livingston was one of the hardest things I have ever done but it
was by far the most satisfying event in my life.

Things worked out exactly how they were meant to be and I am a better person for
having been a part of it. My love to Livingston and now to Mark also will always
be. I am proud of them both and grateful to have them in my life.

Sincerely,

Shonnie Jones

CAB's Guide Dog Handler Corner:

Story #1
Guide Dog Handler: Priscilla Arvani
Guide dog: Amelia

My guide, Amelia, has opened many doors of opportunity; has given me the
strength and courage to get out and enjoy life just as everyone else does.

My most difficult time was when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. My Amelia
was there for me all the way, emotionally and physically. She was my driving
force to beat it. I had to have radiation therapy five days a week, for seven
weeks.

Each day when we arrived in front of the hospital door, Amelia knew where we
were. All I had to say was Amelia, take Mommy to the room. After a few trips,
honestly, I didn't even have totell her which hallway we had to turn into, she
knew the way.

I don't think I could have faced my breast cancer as I have for Amelia was my
driving force to lick this beast. For I knew Amelia would need me as much or
more as I needed her.

Our journey still continues with fun and happiness. We have traveled to many
places and have met many wonderful people who have the greatest admiration for
all guides like Amelia.

The trust you gain, the love you receive, and the enjoyment
of companionship is unexplainable. If and when Amelia's journey as a guide
comes to a close, I will most definitely seek for another partner to walk with
me to reach the different avenues of adventure that is left for us as a team to
explore.

For then my amazing Amelia will switch to my right side
while my new partner is on my left, I then will know and have the angels
of God guiding me safely and happily.

Priscilla Arvani

Guide Dog Schools:

Guide Dogs Of America:
www.guidedogsofamerica.org
(Sylmar, CA)

Guide Dogs Of The Desert International:
www.guidedogsofthedesert.org
(Palm Springs, CA)

Guide Dogs For The Blind:
http://www.guidedogs.com
(San Rafael, CA)

Freedom Guide Dogs For The Blind Inc.:
www.freedomguidedogs.org
(Cassville, NY)

Guide Dog Foundation:
www.guidedog.org
(Smithtown, NY)

Guiding Eyes for the Blind:
www.guidingeyes.org
(Yorktown Heights, NY)

The Seeing Eye:
www.seeingeye.org
(Morristown, NJ)

Guide Dogs of Texas Inc.:
www.guidedogsoftexas.org
(San Antonio, TX)

Leader Dogs for the Blind:
www.leaderdog.org
(Rochester, MI)

Pilot Dogs:
www.pilotdogs.org
(Columbus, OH)

Southeastern Guide Dogs Inc.:
www.guidedogs.org
(Palmetto, FL)

Guide Dog Users Inc.:
www.gdui.org
(National Guide User Group)