Guide Dog News
2007, Issue #3
Year in Review
“My first experience walking with a Guide Dog was the most amazing, freeing experience in my life. It gave me such an intense rush of joy, and I knew in an instant that I would always want to travel with a guide at my side. I’m very passionate about GDB; my new position is a dream that has been 12 years in the making. Every day I wake up and can’t believe it’s really true. I’m so happy to have a job that incorporates my two loves: working with animals and working with people.”
—Stacy Patnode, Class Specialist (pictured, with guide Kaylee); Stacy is among the 13 GDB Alumni on staff.
Other Page 1 photo captions:
; Harmeet Sekhon of Portland, Ore.
; 852 puppies were whelped this year; 85.6 percent of our dogs are Labrador Retrievers.
Letter From the President
My first few weeks as the CEO/president of Guide Dogs for the Blind have been everything I had hoped for and more! As I write this, I am watching from my window as several adorable puppies are being led on leash for perhaps the first time by some of our long term volunteers, and a class of students exploring this beautiful San Rafael, Calif., campus, also for the first time. Today I had lunch with some of those students, and found them to be fascinating and courageous people, eager to increase their independence and mobility by partnering with a Guide Dog. As one gentleman from Texas said, “It is almost like a marriage because we will be there for each other no matter what. We are true pardners.”
The people who make GDB tick are a remarkable bunch. Everyone has made me feel so welcome, and has shared with me many heartwarming stories, as well as their expertise. I have been impressed with the knowledge and dedication of the employees and volunteers, and the commitment and involvement of the exceptional Board of Directors. I had the opportunity to attend the 2007 Napa Wine Gala, an event that was wildly successful largely because of the volunteer Board members and incredibly generous donors. I am eagerly looking forward to the upcoming Holiday Luncheon in San Francisco and meeting many more of our loyal supporters.
Last week I had the pleasure of briefly joining the Alumni Association Board during their annual fall meeting in the California dormitory. The members struck me as strong leaders for our organization and the graduates they represent. Reviewing their diverse backgrounds and outstanding qualifications gives one a sense of the potential power and impact the Alumni Association has, even though they have only been in existence for a couple of years. Their love of GDB and of their canine partners simply shone.
And speaking of our dogs, they are everywhere, and it is a sheer delight to have their calm presence and sweetness woven into the day-to-day fabric of our work. I came to this organization with a strong appreciation for canines, but when I see work our Guide Dogs do, and their impact, my love of dogs takes on an entirely new dimension. They approach their work as part of a person-dog team with an air of determination and confidence. As they walk down the sidewalk outside my office, the two perfectly embody our vision, “Using our power of partnering to improve quality of life. “
It is an honor to be the CEO/president for an organization that for 65 years has made, and continues to make, a tremendous difference for thousands of people who are blind and for those whose lives they touch. Thank you for welcoming me, and for your support as we travel what I hope to be a long and productive road ahead in friendship and collaboration.
Nancy E. Gardner
President and CEO
“As chairman of the board and a board member for nine years, I am the most optimistic about the current operations, direction, and future success of Guide Dogs’ mission than I’ve been since
being involved with this great organization. Our mission is clear and concise, our leadership is well positioned and capable of achieving our goals of providing Guide Dogs for the blind and visually impaired. “
—Ralph Cechettini, Chairman of the Board
“For over twenty years, I worked in a regional eye research, education and clinical care institute. We treated people with serious eye diseases that sometimes led to vision loss and blindness. Over the years I came to understand how meaningful guide dogs were to our patients. Whenever I would stop to ask patients about their dogs, I would see them light up and tell me how wonderful it was to have a guide dog. And frequently, they would tell me about the many incredible guide dogs they had partnered with over the years, each and every one special in his or her own way.
“It was a privilege to be offered the position of executive director at the Oregon campus. Not only am I able to continue my career commitment to working with and for people who experience visual impairment and blindness, I am part of an amazing extended community. This community includes the extraordinary staff on the Oregon campus, as well as my talented colleagues in California and hundreds of committed volunteers. The puppy raisers, breeder keepers, volunteers, board and council members, and donors comprise a talented and dedicated community that allows us to successfully create these meaningful partnerships. Every week I meet students who tell me their stories and express their gratitude to this community for the profound gift of a Guide Dog. And every week I watch the almost 150 dogs (with happy wagging tails) on the Oregon campus as they are cared for, trained and nurtured. I truly believe that I am blessed to work in one of the most inspiring organizations in the world. “
—Sigrid Button, the new Executive Director of GDB’s Oregon campus
; Pictured: Board Chairman Ralph Cechettini, Oregon Campus Executive Director Sigrid
Button and President/CEO Nancy Gardner
”Nothing epitomizes the power of partnership better than the relationship between a blind person and their Guide Dog. It is a partnership based on mutual trust and commitment, where both contribute to support each other in reaching their potential. Your contributions and support have helped us achieve great success this year. Your donation makes a real difference.”
—Ken Stupi, Chief Financial Officer
Here’s how we managed the funds you entrusted to our care.
Operating Expenses: $32.9 million*
; Dog Training, Student Instruction, Student Selection, Travel, Follow-up Services, Food,
Dormitory: $16.3; 49%
; Breeding and Whelping: $2.9; 9%
; Veterinary Care: $3.6; 11%
; Puppy Raising: $2.0; 6%
; Public Information: $0.8; 2%
; Administration: $3.8; 12%
; Fundraising: $3.5; 11%
Sources of Funding: $32.9 million*
We rely heavily on our investment fund and bequests to fund our operations. We have focused our efforts on increasing our funding from annual contributions and have seen, thanks to our many donors, an increase of 10% in this funding source in the past year.
; Bequests Used for Operations: $11,920; 36%
; Trusts: $616; 2%
; Contributions: $5,629; 17%
; Other Income: $1,003; 3%
; Investment Fund: $13,731; 42%
; Total: $32,899; 100%
*Fiscal Year 2006/2007: July 1, 2006-June 30, 2007
Total assets: 2006—$308.6 million; 2007—$373.1 million
All figures are in thousands.
Complete audited financial statement available at www.guidedogs.com.
Year in Review
The National Eye Institute states that blindness or low vision currently affects 3.3 million Americans age 40 and over (one in 28), and is projected to reach 5.5 million by year 2020. The most prevalent diseases causing blindness are age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and retinitis pigmentosa.
While medicine and science are tackling vision loss through prevention, treatment, and technology, Guide Dogs for the Blind offers an option for those who will lose their sight. Thousands of people adjust to their loss of vision and live full, rich lives, while enjoying safety and companionship through partnership with a Guide Dog.
It is our goal to make sure that everyone who has lost their vision will have all the information they need to make an informed choice about their mobility.
; This past year, we were among several organizations that collaborated with Hadley
School for the Blind to develop an on-line course about the guide dog lifestyle. The
course is expected to be unveiled at www.hadley-school.edu by years’ end.
; In tandem with the Glaucoma Research Foundation, we’ve helped spread the word about
available treatment and services in the African-American community.
; With the Foundation for Blind Children in Phoenix, the Junior Blind of America in Los
Angeles, and countless other organizations, our staff, graduates and puppy raisers have
given presentations and workshops and have watched the incredibly positive responses
to our dogs and puppies.
Innovative and Personalized Training for Our Dogs and Students “I can’t remember a time when I’ve been more enthusiastic about the progress we’ve made in enhancing our programs. Our staff has taken a new look at our approach to training both dogs and people and the results are nothing short of outstanding.
“Our newly streamlined application process makes it as easy as possible for students wanting to
apply for Guide Dog training. We’ve also adapted our class training to take into account people’s
individual learning styles, differing goals and unique lifestyles. We now provide our students with the resources and alternatives to structure their learning at their own pace. The students have the ability to review and study material days, weeks, and even months ahead of time. We respect the personal experience they bring to the table, and utilize their expertise and involvement. Armed with information, this interactive environment builds a stronger class experience for each individual.
“Advances in training techniques through the use of food reward and clicker techniques have opened up limitless opportunities for our alumni to further mold their dogs’ behavior to meet their
needs. This exciting work continues to enrich our knowledge of the learning ability of our incredible canines. “
—Terry Barrett, Director of Training Operations
; There were 71 licensed Guide Dog mobility instructors on staff at GDB last year. An
additional 14 people were in various stages of our comprehensive three-year
apprenticeship program preparing to become instructors. Congratulations to our newest
licensed Guide Dog mobility instructor, Patrick Kelly (pictured). To read Pat’s bio, visit
; More than 1,000 applications were processed through our Admissions Department this
; We provided more than 2,700 in-home and telephone consultations to applicants and the
2,122 graduates of our training program.
Caring for Our Dogs
Guide Dogs for the Blind is known throughout the world for the quality of care our dogs and puppies receive. We are committed to their health and well being. Guide Dogs operates veterinary clinics on both campuses, and provides consultation to local veterinarians for the care of our canines.
; We covered $3,583,000 in veterinary costs for the dogs and puppies in our program last
; Advances in Kennel Enrichment keep our dogs mentally alert and physically sound.
“We’re excited to play a role in helping the National Human Genome Research Institute solve the number one killer of dogs—cancer. We have been tracking the DNA and medical histories of our purebred dogs for many years, and, of course, have a great interest in improving and maintaining their health and well-being. Solving the cancer puzzle in canines may help solve the problem for humans as well—and that would be a true testament to the power of our partnership with these wonderful animals.”
—Patti Van de Coevering, Veterinary Clinic Director
Our Stellar Employees
“Guide Dogs is blessed with an employee corps of talented and dedicated professionals. We are delighted to welcome more of our graduates to careers within our organization. Recently we’ve
hired our alumni in roles that do not fit the traditional model. These positions include working with our dogs in the kennels as well as with students in class. Their passion, perspective and expertise have greatly benefited our organization and has strengthened our rapport with the population we serve.”
—Sherry Rogers, Human Resources Director
; Guide Dogs for the Blind has 300 full-time employees (both campuses combined.)
“When we speak of the power of partnership, we also have to praise our great human partners—
our volunteers. What a fantastic group of people! They generously devote their time, efforts, and hearts to our programs. They do so much by working on our campuses; caring for our breeder dogs in their homes; raising our puppies then giving them up so that others may live more fully; doing educational presentations and fundraising events, and much, much more. They are sharing our puppies and dogs with clients and students at agencies and schools for the blind. They are making a real difference for us in their communities.
“In the past year, we have placed 13 K9 Buddy dogs as pets in the homes of children who are blind or visually impaired. By caring for the dogs, the children learn responsibility which can have an impact on the development of their self-esteem. The dog can become an ice-breaker, leading to greater inclusion. In addition, the K9 Buddy program starts a conversation with us that may one day develop into a Guide Dog partnership.
“GDB is blessed to have so many great partners—two legged and four legged. I am very proud to
be part of the team.”
—Brent Ruppel, Director of Canine Community Programs
; Pictured: graduate Melissa Hudson (right) introduces her guide Anya to Nydia Rojas at
Junior Blind of America.
Our Alumni Association
“The Alumni Association is celebrating its second anniversary. We are thrilled to announce that
it’s growing by leaps and bounds! We now have ten Alumni chapters. They include: Oklahoma
City, Florida, Chicago, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Toronto, the Northeast and San Diego, as well as a chapter for graduates who like to take cruises and one for Guide Dog handlers who have disabilities in addition to their blindness. Our next Alumni Reunion is scheduled for Portland, Ore. in 2008!”
—Theresa Duncan, Alumni Association Director.
; Pictured: the Alumni Association Board of Directors; read about them at
GDB Educational Scholarships
In 2005 Guide Dogs for the Blind established a scholarship program to assist tomorrow’s leaders
with their academic pursuits. Recipients of the scholarships include Guide Dog puppy raisers and people who are blind. The program provided grants of $1000 to $3000 to nine exceptional individuals last year. You can read about them on the web at www.guidedogs.com/scholarships.
“We’d like to thank the generous donors who designated their contributions to help fund our GDB Educational Scholarship Program, as well as the many partner agencies and organizations that assisted us in identifying qualified applicants. This is another example of how Guide Dogs for the Blind is using our power of partnering to improve quality of life.”
—Andy Eber, Director of Development
Spreading the Word
“Our thanks to everyone who has helped us spread the word about Guide Dogs in the past year and to those who’ve taken the time to learn more about us through our web site. Our award-
winning site is a model for accessibility, and has attracted more than 22,800 registered users since it was unveiled a year ago.”
—Joanne Ritter, Director of Marketing and Communication
; Please be sure to check out our videos, free e-cards, puppy cams, newsletters and more
; 740 campus volunteers assist with dog socialization and care, administration, tours and
more providing 45,349 volunteer hours (the equivalent of 24 full-time employees).
; Guide Dogs hosted more than 22,500 visitors to our campuses this year.
; 1,400 puppy raisers belong to 137 GDB puppy raising clubs in eight Western states.
; GDB has 170 active breeding stock dogs.
; 2,235 dogs were career changed and placed as pets; many went on to other training
programs for new careers in search and rescue, therapy, police work, homeland security,
or as service animals for diabetics, people with hearing loss, people using wheelchairs,
Norah Hamilton Straus Donors’ Circle Donor Profile: Tricia Blair
“Since I was diagnosed with brain cancer this year, I have thought more about celebrating each
day that I’m given and cherishing the time I have with my family and friends,” said Tricia Blair, of Durango, Colo. “I certainly hold dear each little kiss I get from Indiana, our third Guide Dog puppy, and love the feel of her curly black fur. She and Guide Dogs for the Blind have added such joy to my life! I want to thank all my family, friends and even people I don’t know for contributing to Guide Dogs in my name. It makes me so happy to know that this money is going to such a wonderful organization that is so close to my heart and will help so many.”
For more of her story, visit www.guidedogs.com/blair. Tricia is very excited about Guide Dogs for the Blind’s Outreach Program. To date, more than $180,000 has been raised in her name. If you
are interested in making a donation in her honor, please contact National Major Gifts Officer Janet Benjamin at (800) 295-4050, ext. 4022.
Pictured: Tricia Blair with Guide Dog puppy Sola.
Editor’s note: We were saddened to learn of Tricia’s passing on November 1, just as this issue
was going to press.
Partners in Nutrition
Guide Dogs for the Blind feeds and recommends Hill’s Science Diet as part of our Partners in Nutrition Program. We’d like to thank Hill’s for their continued support of our mission, and for
helping our dogs stay healthy and thrive.
Support Our Canine Heroes Wine Gala
Guide Dogs for the Blind’s fifth annual Support our Canine Heroes Wine Gala and Fundraising
Auction, held in October in the heart of California’s Napa Valley, was a huge success. The event
raised $434,000 to support veterinary care for Guide Dogs’ 4,200 program dogs and puppies throughout the United States and Canada.
Guests enjoyed a reception and silent auction, as well as a gourmet meal and spirited live auction. Auction lots included fabulous destination and experience packages, as well as rare and collectible wines. The highlight of the live auction came during the “Veterinary Care for Our
Canine Heroes” lot, where guests raised their paddles to support the cause. Through the generosity of 65 bidders, this single lot closed at more than $135,000.
Thank you to the following sponsors for making the event a success: Titanium Sponsor Paul Bullard and Laurie Tobias/Paul Bullard Associates; Platinum Sponsor Simpson Manufacturing Company; Gold Sponsor Charles Schwab Inc.; Silver Sponsors Ralph and Caryl Cechettini, JP
Morgan Chase, Meridian Fund, Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley, Shell Vacations Club, Villagio Inn & Spa.
Pictured: Board Member Greg Rice enjoying the live auction at the Wine Gala, with onlookers Laurie Tobias and Paul Bullard.
The Power of Partnership: Friendship leads to inspiration for charitable remainder trust
Joyce and James J. (JJ) Mauro of Turner, Ore., have been huge fans of Guide Dogs for many years. However, it was their personal interaction with GDB’s retired CEO Bob Phillips that inspired them to do something quite significant for the organization.
“Our great admiration and respect for Bob were instrumental in our decision to offer this
deserving organization more support,” said JJ.
The Mauros decided to express their high regard in the form of a generous bequest and the establishment of a charitable remainder trust (CRT). Joyce had attended a CRT seminar by Planned Giving Director Tom Horton many years ago and had saved the information.
“Bob showed us why a CRT made a lot of sense for us,” said Joyce. “We had some appreciated rental property and had grown tired of managing it. By creating a CRT, we could sell the property without paying capital gains, receive an income for life, claim a substantial tax deduction and, best of all, benefit a charity we love.”
Naming Guide Dogs as the remainder beneficiary of the CRT was the easiest part for the Mauros. They have always been passionate about dogs as long as they can remember. They also had a longstanding interest in supporting organizations that serve the blind.
“When we discovered Guide Dogs, it seemed like the perfect fit,” said JJ. “There is such a
positive, emotional part of the GDB mission; it is pretty amazing.”
GDB is grateful to the Mauros for making our mission such a big part of their lives. It’s because of people like Joyce and JJ that we are able to make a profound difference in the lives of those we serve.
Pictured: Retired CEO Bob Phillips with Joyce and JJ Mauro.
We hear you!
The Donor Honor Roll, which would normally appear in the next issue of Guide Dog News, will now appear in the first issue of the new year (look for it in the Spring of 2008). Many of you asked to be recognized for your giving during the calendar year and this change will accommodate your preference. To make the transition, for this year only, donations made over and 18 month period will be recognized. As always, thanks for your generous support of our services.
The new year is right around the corner! Get your 2008 GDB wall calendar from our online Gift Shop at www.guidedogs.com.