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Guide Dogs For The Blind 101616

Oct 12, 2016|

AN INTERVIEW WITH SUSAN ARMSTRONG, VP OF TRAINING OPERATIONS A GDB AND KATHRYN MARXEN-SIMONSON, A GDB GRADUATE, ABOUT TRAINING GUIDE DOGS, USING A GUIDE DOG, AND THEIR FUNDRAISING EFFORTS.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

This is microscope and Entercom radio Portland public affairs program under blocks of since 1942. Guide dogs for the blind has empowered lives by creating exceptional partnerships between people. Dogs in communities. Guide dogs for the blind is the largest guide dog school in the country and is dedicated to providing high quality student training services an extensive follow up support for graduates. This Amman microscope let's learn more about guide dogs for the blind. I'd like to welcome to the program Susan Armstrong's Susan is the vice president of trading operations for guide dogs for the blind. And also Katherine marks and Simon and to you to name right he also finished third I go to the wind graduate. What about the scope. Thank you so much for having us. I will we have a special guest to Nabisco. Captains don't. He's very quiet. And Obama and I didn't think he's probably working musical and so Susan can we get started with you can you tell us all about guide dogs for the blind. Well Gaddis is fine it is a nonprofit organization. And we provide a highly trained dogs. To empower individuals with visual impairments. In your located here in Portland we are we have two campuses we have one come down and San fell California and then we have another one here and boring Oregon. And did tell me about the dogs how do you what kind of dogs he usenet where you get them and totally trained me. That's and that's a little R&R question yes. Thoughts are with the guys that we we have we we use are mostly Labrador Retriever Ers. We have Golden Retriever is as well and we crossed the two. Elaborate or cooler Cheever cross. Com are dies you know really we start with DNA with our nods we breed all of our own nonstop in California. So with with the Don is that we breed found they need to be at the rate temperament to be guy died. I'm willing to please people. Adaptable to different environments on the also have to be healthy physically to be able to to do the work. And so we really start. Serve from the first week of life. I'm giving them experiences exposing them to different sounds and sensations and also exposing them to people and touching and and things that will help us. When they get to be a guy died in that they're ready to. To be trained and go with the 1% but they trained to cut your facility. Yes so. For the first year of their life they are raised in the cup series in home and not puppy raiser takes them through different experiences. In the community and in their life they teach them how to be nice doggy. As soon as they stopped tuning up their shoes and Honda doing things like that the puppies do that's so we asked them back from the puppy raisers. And then they come to our facilities to be trained for about three months. T given to the puppy raisers steal the puppy in this I think you know it's out of their system yes I am puppy raisers there really the cornerstone of our program we can do without them. The they provide all of these socialization experience on the Dodd means when there growing up. And teaches them how to be an eyesight in the house. I think that they do and they do that bald they're all volunteers. I'm in the volunteer their time and if they really are critical to our program for success. We have a trainer here in our building cranes are national she's an amazing trainer yup she is has great it's always fun to have a dog around to flip the passively in these puppies. When their brand new there to accuse things in the world and they stay. When normal. So why do you use that the breed of dog do you use. While so we're looking for. I'm a guy dying and looking from the treats as far as the temperament the willingness to adaptability. We look for I'm breeds the kind of display that temperament Labrador Retriever is an torturers definitely. Display those temperaments and also there's some practical things as far as size is. As far as if you had a two Ayala has a guy Don the beef. A little bit small. Practically speaking and so we look for and I cited Steiner dons her peak typically between fifteen and eighty pounds. Almond some people like a larger audience and people like a smaller on if you travel lots of times a smaller guy is better for you. Are all. One of the dogs you read to the eventually become an I don't. Now I'm so we read about 800 copies a year at our facility down in California. And about half of those so make it to be guidelines we have answered the the other nuns that. We call them career change topics because they. They don't they get the guys that they may have a career is something else. Which could be a paradigm we also partner with other service our organizations. That trained different service signs to see if our guys that don't make it as a guide could possibly be a service have someone else. What makes a good guide them. Well I think a dime that's willing. To work with that person really. Like semen attention and also dyes that are adaptable to different environments. You know. Our clients come from all walks of life we serve people throughout the United States and Canada. And so they really can have different means and Tsui a dime that's adaptable on two different environments and then Don that's physically and healthy hopi sept. Healthy and sound. That those are two of them mean traits. There that's that that's amazing job the two started an amazing job if so that's an easy job. Let's introduce Katherine marks and Simons and again now you're guide those who blame graduate. What does that mean. A yet received my first guide dog and Nabisco. We graduated. After completing two weeks of training out of the boring campus speak graduated on December 5 so we're coming up on our one year anniversary. Which is really exciting. He ends. Yes so I am a graduate of guide dogs for the blind school. And that's the first and Nabisco is your first dog yes you know I think first and what's your experience been like for the last year. It's been absolutely amazing and with the Nabisco I kin who walk much faster than I was able to. Eaten with Hawaii keen. I AEA. Just in a lot more confident of our navigating the routes that I've never done before Rory taking new bus route. Going places died I haven't done before because I have him instantly. He's probably become the new restaurants yet. The men Nabisco and its just that you just named world it's an acute his name ever had pretty good looking dog eat. Very handsome I get lots not to comment about. How handsome he has. Have you had to do your own training with him in the last year that you kind of yes. And I actually been a really fun process for me because I loving animals animals have been huge part of my life. And they have gotten a lot of animal training experience and in various aspects ends. So guide dogs they give us this guy that has all this amazing training can do all these amazing things but they're really just set the plane. Of just figuring it out and really still are kind of a Billingsley. In terms of why it. Kind of event via skills that we can teach him and so it's been really fun for me it kind of customize the disk go to. To my needs and the united tech he's super Smart he generalize is really well so it took me. To move maybe two sessions to teach him to target. Pedestrian walk buttons. Means he is so he'll take me to use. Pedestrian lock button at a crosswalk and show me where the button is and then once I've Preston and continue on to their past street. Curve. He had targets garbage cans. I youth taught him to play his own harness on. I am and this is all through the use of clicker training and positive reinforcements and that it's it's really amazing what you can teach a dog. And the skills that he's. And when you first got him legacy he's not a blanks ladies at a well trained dog don't need he needs to get accustomed to you to. FBI and definitely. You know the you know take some time delaying each other and it's. You know just continued training you know I get a lot of comments. When I am now with him in public are you training him and it. My initial reaction is that. Yes I mean my initial reaction is. No he's my guy died. Q is it don't think people necessarily pick up on not but. In the sense yes AM training him because I'm still reinforcing for all the good behaviors that he's doing for me throughout the day and keep it really keeping up his training. And you didn't raise some guide dogs are correct yeah. And and throughout pace school or an entirely college they raised. Five puppies for guide dogs for the blind and that's how they first got. Involved with the organization. And I had three of my five graduate is Ken dogs one of them is still working. And it's scientists. Kind of you know loved being a part of the organization. Thumb that's it since you had Nabisco for just a year men but why didn't you have a gun down before. You know it's. One of those common misconceptions I didn't think that I it would qualify for a guide dog because I do have some. Remaining vision. Ian it's. And this kind of tired of using nineteen and and kind of stumbling my way through and just really frustrated and so I'm like with my aid past experience with guide dogs and knowing a lot about the organization I'm like I just want to work at Don Blake. I a year. I want a united side reached out and I just put in my application and I got accepted and then Millie thankful to guide dogs for kind of look at that my whole whole situation and not just. Not just you know one small piece of it. The introduces begins as an Armstrong vice president of training operations again dunks blind. Still what is an application process like somebody to get a dog who says someone. Goes to our website and has dot com and they can apply. And what happens from there is. Someone from our organizational come out to your house and take about three or four hours a few to kind of walk you through what they train program looks like kind of what it. What needs to be done with a guy done to date they are Don as well also they need care and they need love and they need. Food and all those things so talking about the realities of having a guide dog and then they will. Go out with you and see your current mobility skills are so how do you navigate the environment without it on his you need that before he get a dog. And then they'll do some practice actually with June we college you know it's an empty Gaidar harness and a kind simulates what a guy Doug might. Feel like and they use these in the commands to kind of give me an idea of what it might be like when you come in for training. Concert that's that process. And then you know as far as for training there is some. It's it's a rigorous training programs so. He know what what you wanna be healthy when you come into getting I don't as well also all of that. Happens and then. My interceptor program you come in for two weeks of training at either our campus and boring or down and senator fell. And we go through a process we start right from day one you get your dog and we teach you about all the things that. Not only having I don't pitches having died. Including how to play and as some people that had naked guy does have never had a dog before so. We go through that process with them and then. Traveling environments we travel in Portland cheered. Gresham more than a different environments and in California though due to. I'm Sandra fell this city and then down to I'm Temps Cisco. Here's a dog did it every environments different race we go to city is story Oregon and I'll tell in the country were burdens and smaller suburban area. You know that there's a whole bunch of different things different scenarios for a dog to get used to yes so. You know it that's her to the puppy raisers as far as. They're socializing to the environments that there are familiar with the and then when they kind for training we try and do the same thing as far as socialism to different environments but. We're really generalize seeing. The skills and we hope that that happens and as Catherine mentioned as far as. We put. Training into them as far as the general Tom concepts of guy work. But then when they get there are guys they really customize their dime to what they need. And the dogs do get to play as Eric Katzman. Oh yeah yeah they play for a shirt. Nabisco. It you know it. The minute we get home from work in the end of the day has hardest comes off and he is stick you know just a regular pet. Minus a few extra rules eighth immediate force for him. But his favorite thing is to just play Tug and run around the backyard. And play with the other dogs and our talents and interests yeah. Aid they definitely deserve some good play time as he works really hard for me. Tell me about what it's like. Mean he's at work and when he's not a word when he knows when he's working right. Yeah he knows and he's working. And he loves to work absolutely loves it. You know when he is has his harness on and he knows he's worked Kimi he had. You know this really attentive to me this year. You know lays right by my side really quiet. Until if I am working on my desk or in a meeting until I'm ready to go. Rate now he's link nicely and quiet and be easy to. And it's you know and then when he's doing his gag work he's very focused and takes his job very seriously. But then when he is at home just be in the died getting the play is runaround and I Alice Steward on his bones. He'll sneak up on the couch or occasionally yeah. And he just loves to play and Connell and just be a dog. And he knows the difference. When you're playing with him as opposed to when you're having and work with you yet but definitely that's it that's an interesting. Things like that they're Smart enough to figure both those things out because of the out of fantastic training I'm assuming. Yep and think it mean no one other thing is for is a darn. Treat that we look for is Dodd met. I'm so non Serb. More interested in distractions and chasing squirrels and and calls and they think that's so we needed guys that. And that would rather work for someone then chase something on the street is so that's another really important aspect and I think you know a captain inciting not a spurs they get time to play in. And time to relax is an important part of it and that's life as well. Is that kind of instinctual for dogs who sees things though. How do you interviewed during that out of there is okay. I just remembering the other day that you said squirrelly and it reminded me he has to be a big day I was. Elementary school as the name suggests relieved him and we are going back in the building where Iraqi enormous fans and all of a sudden Nabisco just like it's really alert and just looks to raid. And I am late. Quiet and I had somebody would be annihilate. There's a squirrel on the offense and the key it. I was really impressed with him because he just Q look at it and I don't think anybody out you know it's go back to working with okay. As a score book scurry. Is across the top of the offense. She's so funny to think that that's something that. The puppy Ares or spend a lot of time and I'm getting some impulse control because that's really. You know the dog controlling their impulses and I'm and then we spent a lot of time in training. Positively reinforcing them four or not she's in squirrel and choosing to do the work and so. The puppies are spent a lot of time and so did the trainers to get that aspect. Sometimes there's still the squirrel that that takes her to turn it. The dog in a viscous case he can still get his pretty distracted by other dogs but it you know. That's just part of having a guy de Ike they're not robots and it's a partnership Kenya and and I I think that and and a hammer is I'm just as important as having a highly trained on the highly trained him learns well. Here in our area were. We have a lot of cuts a lot of people own pets my dogs all over the place. And Catherine assuming people come up to you and think that new disclosed to pet. Yeah I yeah I do run into that July more of four out Joaquin somebody's walking Barry died. You know and it really a really appreciated when people give us some space. You know maybe go to the other side of the sidewalk for. You know at least kind of stop and we off to the side rather than letting their dogs come up and try to Greek Nabisco because especially because he is still so young. He does get distracted and it's easier for me to handle those distractions when. Either the person keeps keeps going removes the other side. Just so that I can. Keep working anonymous and then and then he isn't working died and that it's you know it's kind of my safeties at risk if he gets distracted. Is it ever okay you to come up and pet. The duke. You know that's really depended on who the handler come to make that decision I think it's been very very important for you know always ask. Both for just coming up in pending in des Doug. Or really any dog for that matter can he wanted to know lets you know. Good it's not all dogs are nice but I mean with the wording I would think I died you know it's just really important task first speeches you know sometimes they won't let people pat him but sometimes I have to see knowledge he used. Being extra destruction die day horrifying and in a hurry to get to meet being heard something then it's maybe not an appropriate time but. How is kind of up to the handler. Susan hill's guide dogs for the blind funded. We are funded exclusively by private donations we don't receive any government funding a so we rely on our generous donors. Two is to survive. Many of you must have some really fabulous generous donors we have Travis Taylor guitars and you know I I think that I'm always amazed. Did community that. That it takes to support this organization. I'm and it includes volunteers and donors and staff and almost people to help this organization run that. It's really an amazing thing. That we do it paradox. If our are listening audience when to help out and anyway how can they get involved while they can they can always donate. Go to our website and I suck com we have rain now I'm in senator follow their building a new puppy summer school puppies with the purpose. Comets can be acidity are. I'm facility for our puppies and to really give them the best start. In their life to and help them be the most successful. I'm obviously puppy raising we have about a hundred raisers and between Oregon and Washington so that's a community as well so that's. Something else that you can get involved with. And then if you know someone that might benefit from a guy dying to mention them to task because sometimes people haven't considered. Having it and Darden may be haven't. It's really exported so that's something else that we asked people to do. And do we talk about the luncheon you have coming up to the fundraiser let's. Yes so we have of the fall luncheon coming up November 4 at the nines hotel. In downtown Portland. And not our website and find out all looked adamant and complete Katherine is speaking about a man who would you talk about. I IA it get to share my story. If you know. My journey as a visually impaired person and money were quick Nabisco. So I am I'm really excited to get to share share my story and money. My insights. With the with the audience. Can you give us the abridged version of your story printed. I insert a long and fabulous story yet slower toward running at a time. We don't have lunch and time is. Eight straight sun. You know I just. This kind of starts so wish. You know I have a visual impairment due to being born premature at 25 weeks gestation. And so you know I've I've grown up with my vision challenges. And it's so I just can't live. Looks my my outlook and it kind of how I've processed through all of fat. And spend and just to make history as a puppy raiser for bank dye eggs men on my Newark with the Disco. It and it. This momentous one that one thing and I think it relates to you know as far as we have a graduation. Every other week on a Tank Johnson that's again I'm someone can get involved and and there are some very compelling stories that you're that you hear. Catherine's on when you come to those events Arafat at each of our campuses. I'm so those are those are another really positive place and the positive inspiring experience for everybody yeah I was should assume Cantonese seem like you just quite inspirational because you do things like human resources. Yes yes I have for a person and in reading since I was nine years old and competed injures Irish do a national level and yeah so and I have had some other really cool opportunities. That I just kind of seek out. If somebody was considering getting a guide dog Katherine. What would you say to them. You know. I would highly recommend it firm. But it is a personal preference. You know I love animals they love working with the animals and of training animals so it really is a natural fit. For me. And that doesn't say that if you don't loving animals and you're not a crazy animal training person that you can't get a guide dog but you have to. You know except that you're gonna be responsibility responsible for you know that died in making sure their needs are mad and you can't just folded up included against the wall you know when you get home and and so it's it is a lifestyle. Insulate style and it's you have to want but. I mean everybody. A lot of guy Doug graduates they get to talk to me they just love their dogs and they love the freedom. And confidence that working with the dog gives them. You bring you grief personally talked to do you see not a signs that you train them but you've lived with powerful and and now you're living with one yeah tier of your good person to talk to conclude that. Definitely have seen. All the sides. Well it's been really interesting and they really want to thank you just letting us know all about guide dogs for the blind has been super fascinating. Susan Armstrong the vice president of training. Training operations for guide dogs for the blind. And Catherine marks and Simon soon guide dogs for the blind graduate thinks should be on the scope thank you so much for having us do you think you. Microscope is an Entercom radio Portland public affairs program. Find your clocks. If you have a nonprofit or public affairs organization that you'd like to let others know about it you can email me my email address is macro Scopes that inter com dot com. Remembered Pinter called start to the and he. And you can always go to this station's website and click on the community link and submit your information there. If you'd like to hear this program again you can visit our website at microscope.