LEAD ON by forrests


									LEAD ON
Magazine of

The Seeing Dogs Alliance
An Alliance of Blind people and Professional Dog Trainers Issue No. 7 – Spring 2004 Editors Lindsey & Mike Pannell

Charity No: 510224 Registered Office 116 Potters Lane, Send, Woking GU23 7AL Tel: 01483 765556 Fax: 01483 750846 Email: info@seeingdogs.org.uk Website: www.seeingdogs.org.uk

Dear Members and Supporters, Welcome to the first “LEAD ON” of 2004. It is nice to see that winter is leaving us and spring is just around the corner. Those of you who have the Braille copy of this magazine will note that it is now embossed in a double-side format. This will save both time and money, and we hope it will make it easier to read. If you wish to contact either the Secretary, or the Editors of “LEAD ON”, you will find all the details on the back page “NOTICE BOARD”. Information about fund-raising can be obtained on the same contact number or address as for “LEAD ON”. As you will see from our article on fund-raising, used postage stamps are raising a reasonable amount of money for us. Please let us have your stamps so that we can continue this trend. You can send them to the fund-raising address or, if you are coming to the AGM, bring them with you. The cut-off date for items to be included in the next issue is 15 July, 2004, and we look forward to receiving your contributions.
Lindsey and Mike Pannell

Hello everyone, this is Chris Parker, your Secretary. First of all, a reminder about subscription renewals. Subscriptions for 2004/5 become due on 1 April and will cost you the princely sum of £5. Some of you didn't renew your subscriptions last year and have been switched to the supporters category. After the AGM, we shall be reviewing our policy of sending “LEAD ON” to anyone who has shown an interest in the Alliance, whether they have actually done anything to help the organisation or not. We shall probably only send it to those who have helped us, either financially or in other ways. Members will, of course, automatically receive a copy, so if you wish to be guaranteed a copy, please pay a subscription. Remember, just saying you are sending a donation is not the same as becoming a member; you have to actually say you wish to be a member and are sending a subscription or renewing your subscription. You can send a donation as well as a subscription; anything in excess of £5 will be counted as a donation unless you specify otherwise. Also, if you send us at least £10 within a 12 month period and you are a basic rate taxpayer, don't forget to give us permission to claim 28% of your donation from the Inland Revenue under the Gift Aid scheme. There is a Gift Aid form on our website, www.seeingdogs.org.uk, which you can complete and send us electronically, or you can print it off and post it. Completing this form will enable us to claim Gift Aid on all amounts of at least £10 a year until you withdraw your permission.

The other subject to mention is the AGM, which takes place on Saturday, 15 May, in Meeting Rooms 2/3 at the RNIB, 105 Judd Street, London, WC1, commencing at 2pm. Members will receive an official notice six weeks prior to the meeting. We thought we would bring it forward this year to the afternoon of our May Trustees' Meeting, as June, when we have held the last two years' meetings, is a difficult month for holidays. Suzy Rogers-Hartley, a Canine Partner user, will be attending with her dog, Lex, to give us a talk on the organisation, which trained her dog, Canine Partners for Independence. Suzy is a wheel-chair user, so I'm sure we will learn a lot about how these dogs can help their owners. If there are enough people present, Mike and Lindsey Pannell will also be organising a raffle. We would, therefore, be grateful if you could let us know if you intend to come. We would urge you to make every effort to be there, if only for Suzy's sake, as there's nothing worse than giving a talk to a half-empty room. Members and supporters are welcome, but only members will be allowed to vote for any resolutions.
Talking of the AGM, don't forget also that we still need more Trustees. Nominations for Trustees must be sent to me by 15 March. They must be seconded and you must obtain the consent of anyone you nominate. If you would like to be a Trustee, but don't know anyone who is prepared to nominate and second you, please get in touch. We do like to interview prospective Trustees to check whether they would be suitable - in fact it is encouraged by the Charity Commission - and we like to invite them to a Trustees' Meeting if we intend to co-opt them prior to them standing for election at the AGM.

We are continuing to try to find a Puppy Rearing Supervisor, so that we can start acquiring puppy rearers and puppies. We do have someone who has worked for GDBA in another capacity, so she needs to learn about training puppies. She is young and keen to learn, and she is in the process of selecting a suitable animal behaviour course to attend in the autumn. In the meantime, we will continue to look at pet dog trainers and will consider advertising in dog magazines, provided it is not too expensive. If you know an experienced puppy walker who is available, who you think would be able to supervise other people looking after puppies, please let me know. That's all I have for now. I hope to see lots of you at the AGM. Chris Parker.


It is with regret and great sadness that the Trustees have to announce the sudden death of Susan Villanueva. Sue was a Trustee from April 2002 till May 2003, when she resigned because she wished to give her full attention to her studies in Kentish History, in which she had undertaken a part-time course at Kent University. She gained a Certificate and Diploma in Kentish History, and was well on the way to obtaining her Degree – quite an achievement for someone without sight. While she was a trustee of the Alliance, Sue was also Editor of “LEAD ON” for a short time. As well as this she did much to help raise funds. She organised and ran the first Seeing Dogs

Flag Day and joined in a sponsored swim with three friends, helping to raise £500. Sue remained a supporter of the Alliance to the end. Sue had a determined spirit and did not see her blindness as a barrier to whatever she wanted to do. She had a sense of humour, too, and could laugh at herself when things went wrong because of her lack of sight. Her four guide dogs worked well for her and she loved them all. Sue had many friends, to whom she was loyal. Nothing was ever too much trouble for her if any of them needed help or support. This applied to her family too. Sue was always keen to improve the lot of other disabled people, and to this end had, in recent times, become vicechairman of the disability group, Independence and Access Matters. Sue will be much missed by everybody who knew her. She was and will remain an inspiration to us all. Our condolences go to David, her husband, and all her family.

Fund-raising in 2003 was very disappointing. Despite constant pleas in “LEAD ON” to members and supporters to

run events and boost our bank balance, no matter how small, east Kent is still the only place where fund-raising is happening. At the risk of becoming boring, I will say once more: the Alliance can only succeed if there is money to pay Puppy Rearing Supervisors and Instructors. Come on, Let’s make 2004 a bumper year for fund-raising. You can contact us, Lindsey and Mike Pannell, for advice, or posters and flyers to help you advertise your event. You will find our contact details at the back of this magazine. You may remember that in the November edition of “LEAD ON”, we advertised our own Christmas cards for sale. The sale of these made £109. Next Christmas we will have new designs and hope to sell more cards. We will let you know what we have available in the summer edition of “LEAD ON”. At the beginning of December Mike and I ran a stall at a local church Christmas Fayre. This raised £32. The sale of used postage stamps made a further £38. A big thank you to Julie and Ian Welsh, who sent a good number of stamps to us. Geoff Parker also gave us some foreign stamps and local people have contributed. Mike and I have started to plan events for this year, starting with our Annual Coffee Morning on April 3. We are also looking into the possibility of holding a sponsored walk. We will let you know how we get on. Lindsey Pannell

by RON STEVENSON In January 1976, I went to the Leamington Guide Dog Centre to be trained with my second dog, Rana. She was a beautiful German shepherd bitch who had already been out as a working guide dog, but was now back at the Centre after having been retrained. Prior to going for training, I had received a phone call from her trainer, telling me of the circumstances which led to her being reallocated. Rana proved to be a wonderful guide dog. She was so intelligent and affectionate. If I needed to pass through a door, she would put her nose right on the door handle; and if she wanted to go out of the house she would actually lift her harness off the hook and bring it to me! She was, indeed, the Rolls Royce of guide dogs! Sadly, she died after only six weeks. She began to lose weight rapidly, and on investigation at the Royal Veterinary College in Bristol, it was discovered that her pancreas was only one third normal size. What a sad life poor old Rana had. In June of that year I returned to Leamington to train with my third guide dog, whose name was Pippa. She was a lovely little labrador/golden retriever cross. As I am a six-footer

with a pair of size nines, the trainer wondered if I would be too much for Pippa to cope with. So, at his request, I travelled to the Centre and spent a weekend with her. With the trainer in close proximity, I took “our Pip” for several long walks, and to our surprise she was completely unaffected by my size and extra long stride. It was a weekend well spent, and I returned to London full of anticipation at the prospect of having Pip as my companion. She proved to be a wonderful guide and couldn't do enough to please me. Her tail never stopped wagging - even when she was asleep! Like Shane and Rana, I used to take her into Hyde Park for a free run. We entered the park at Speakers' Corner, then walked down the main path that runs parallel with Park Lane to a spot where I could let her off. There she would play happily till it was time to return to the office. One morning I heard the most ferocious growling, and thinking that some security guards were exercising their dogs there, I urged Pippa on. After her usual playtime we made our way back to Speakers' Corner, and as we approached the main gates I heard the growling again. It was quite loud and seemed to be coming from every direction! Quite worried, I again urged Pippa on and, thankfully, made it out of the park with the seat of my pants intact! Recounting the episode to my wife that evening, our attention was drawn to the radio programme in the background. Radio London's presenter, Robby Vincent, was asking his listeners to

phone in with their comments on "King Kong!" Apparently the Cumberland Hotel, located at Marble Arch, just opposite Speakers' Corner, was celebrating its Golden Anniversary, and to mark the occasion it had linked it with the first showing of the film, "King Kong.” They had constructed a replica of the giant gorilla, which was scaling the front of the hotel. There were loud speakers situated all around Marble Arch, through which they were broadcasting the amplified snarls and growls of King Kong!!! Being a retriever, Pippa loved to carry something. So, contrary to all the rules, I used to let her carry an old leather glove. I found that when she was carrying something she was happy; and when she was happy she worked better and wasn't interested in scavenging, the plague of most guide dog owners. Unknown to me, I used to pass the surgery of a famous Mayfair vet, Barry Fogel, en route to and from the park. In one of many books about his life working with animals, "Pets and Their People," there is a chapter on working dogs. His favourite is a golden retriever guide dog, which he sees through his surgery window guiding its blind master with a glove in its mouth! One lunchtime Pip and I were making our way to her play area. I could hear a military band in the distance and suddenly realised that it was coming towards me. I discovered that both sides of the main path were lined with thousands of people

and that it was impossible for us to get out of the way of the fast approaching band! In an emergency, leave it to your dog, So, I did. Pippa decided to sit down in the middle of the path so that when the band was upon us, it had to split down the middle and take a detour round each side of us - trombones, trumpets, big base drum, etc - whilst Pippa sat their quite unabashed, with her glove gripped firmly in her mouth! I often wonder if anybody took a snap of that incident; it would have made a lovely photograph. Sadly, Pippa died at the age of ten, just a few months before my retirement. It would have been nice if we could have enjoyed my retirement together, but it wasn't to be. She died from leukaemia and left me with a broken heart. Nobody but a guide dog owner can fully appreciate the bond of mutual trust and love developed and strengthened during their years together. And although Pippa was my third dog, the feelings of desolation and utter sadness at her loss were just as heartfelt as when I lost Shane, my first dog. My wife, Maureen, had, in the meantime, been to the Guide Dog Centre in Wokingham for her second dog, Bramble. She was a lovely little Border collie/golden retriever bitch, much smaller than Kim, her predecessor, weighing in at less than fifty pounds. She had the most beautiful coat, sporting nine different colours. They ranged from jet black through gold, tawny brown, cream, grey and white and various mixtures.

Her tail was long and silky, and it would wag gently from side to side in long sweeping strokes. She and Pippa loved each other, and there was nothing nicer than to see them free running together in Trent Park. Bramble now has a new pal, Howard, my fourth guide dog. I had been without a dog since Pippa had gone, and during a visit to the Redbridge Training Centre in North London, a group of local guide dog branch supporters were being given a demonstration by a sighted trainer in blindfold and one of his dogs. They were negotiating an obstacle course and when the demonstration was over, the Controller of the Centre came over and asked if I would be prepared to show them what it was like as a real blind person. I agreed, of course, and off I went with my newfound friend. He was terrific. His tail never stopped wagging: I could feel it brushing the underside of my wrist and we sailed through the obstacles without touching a thing. He then took me straight back to Maureen and gave her a big lick! We both commented on what a lovely dog he was, and as far as we were concerned that was the end of that. I had requested that my next guide dog be a small one, as I was now in my sixties and didn't relish the prospect of carrying another ninety-pounder up and down the escalators! During another visit to Redbridge on the occasion of a public open day, I was approached by one of the trainers. She

reminded me of the demonstration I had given on my previous visit, and told me that that particular dog was still in kennels awaiting allocation. She told me that he had already been out as a guide dog, but that his owner, a retired Headmaster, had sent him back because he used to crunch up his plastic plant pots!!! He had been in kennels for several months and had lost a lot of weight, and being such an intelligent, active dog, was pining away. She was aware that I had requested a smaller dog, but in the circumstances she asked if I would consider having this dog, as we seemed to work so well together. It didn't take Maureen and me long to decide that I would have him, and we have never regretted it. It was soon after qualifying with Howard that we decided to move out of London, but where to, that was the question! Moving two hundred and fifty miles to a place, where we didn't know a soul, took a lot of courage and forward planning. After much research, we found just the property we wanted, a bungalow in a quiet road, close to local shops and bus routes to other main shopping areas, five minutes’ walk from the beach and a couple of open fields at the bottom of the road, idyllic for us, Bramble and Howard.

Dog owners among you will say ‘Amen’ to this one!

Dear Dogs,

may I explain some things? When I say to move, it means go someplace else, not switch positions with each other so there are still two dogs in the way. The dishes with the paw print are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Please note: placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim to it becoming your food and dish; nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest! The stairway is not a racetrack. Beating me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn’t help, because I fall faster than you can run. I cannot buy anything bigger than a king size bed. I am very sorry about this. Do not think I will continue to sleep on the couch to ensure your comfort. Look at videos of dogs sleeping, they can actually curl up in a ball. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other stretched out to the fullest extent possible. I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out the other end to maximize space used is nothing but doggy sarcasm. My floppy disks are NOT miniature Frisbees. My CDs are NOT miniature Frisbees. For the last time, there is not a secret exit from the bathroom.

If by some miracle I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, try to turn the knob, or get your paw under the edge and try to pull the door open. I must exit through the same door I entered. In addition, I have been using bathrooms for years, canine attendance is not mandatory. The proper order is kiss me, then go smell the other dog’s rear end! I cannot stress this enough. It would be such a simple change for you.
(Taken from a parish magazine and copied with permission)

Registered Office 116 Potters Lane, Send, Woking GU23 7AL Tel: 01483 765556 Fax: 01483 750846 Email: info@seeingdogs.org.uk Website: www.seeingdogs.org.uk



01227 374270 leadon@seeingdogs.org.uk



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