Monday, February 28, 2011

Remembering Ferdie

by Scott Carlisle

On February 21, 2011, Ferdinand, yellow Lab Retired guide, Class 583R, CA joined his friends waiting for him on the "Rainbow Bridge."

Ferdie became my third guide in June 1998 and also took on the duael task of helping restore my confidence as a handler, as I had to retire my second guide after only eight months. Ferdie did both jobs admirably, for was a solid and loving partner for just shy of seven years.

He was retired the end of April 2005 and went to live with a dear friend Larry Robbins and his wife Colleen, who gave Ferdie exemplary love and care right up to the end.

Ferdie passed in Larry's arms, and will always be remembered and missed.

Friday, February 18, 2011

In honor of Paka's service

Yellow Lab retired Guide Dog PakaA little bit about Paka, my Guide Dog who is retired.

I received Paka October 17, 2001 and graduated November 10, 2001. She was an excellent guide for eight and a half years. Together we traveled coast to coast in Canada and I have a lot of praise about her behavior and guidework. Paka even walked with me in the Remembrance Day Parade. I do a lot of volunteer work and it was nice to have her by my side. She was a good friend and she comforted me when I was down. My husband Richard adopted Paka, so she will still be with us.

Vivian Berkeley

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

In Tribute to Sir George Shearing

by Joanne Ritter

Jazz pianist George Shearing with his Golden Retriever Guide Dog, Lee
A part of GDB history died today. George Shearing, internationally famous jazz pianist passed away of congestive heart failure at the age of 91. In addition to his incomparable musical talents, George was a delightful man with a keen sense of humor.

George had one Guide Dog, a beautiful Golden Retriever named Lee, whom he loved dearly. George and Lee traveled together for over ten years, until Lee’s death in 1975. He described Lee as, “a marvelous companion with a great temperament,” and wrote fondly about his experiences training with Lee in his book Lullaby of Birdland: “I’ll never forget the day I could feel the wind in my face as Lee and I walked across the Golden Gate Bridge together. What an exhilarating experience!”

George was a strong supporter of Guide Dogs for the Blind and traveled the country with Norah Hamilton Straus, helping to raise awareness and support through media interviews on radio and television. Norah related, “Between the three of us, it was hard to say who was the biggest scene stealer. I remember one radio show to which George had been invited primarily to play the piano. I was tagging along to put in a few words on behalf of Guide Dogs for the Blind. Well, every time George paused in his playing, I started talking about the school. I had so much to say and so little air time to say it! I guess it would be fair to say I got carried away. The announcer was very nice and let me do it. So did George Shearing. The only thing he was more devoted to than Lee, however, was his music. As we were leaving the radio station after the show, I turned to him nervously and asked how he thought it went. He gave me a good natured smile and said, ‘Next time, Norah, I’d like a little less Hamilton and a little more Shearing.’”

George and his wife, Ellie have supported Guide Dogs for the Blind for many years. He will be missed.

Read this piece in the Wall Street Journal's Remembrance section about George Shearing.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Honoring the memory of GDB Alumnus Seth Webster

GDB graduate Seth Webster hugs his black Lab Guide Dog Bamboo
Seth Webster and his guide Bamboo were regulars on the California campus, giving tours, attending graduations and making friends for GDB in his easy-going way. He was a frequent contributor to our online community. He will be missed.

A video honoring his memory was produced by puppy raisers Matt and Amie Chapman: