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Guide Dogs for the Blind 042918

Apr 24, 2018|

AN INTERVIEW WITH CHRISTINE BENNINGER, CEO OF GUIDE DOGS FOR THE BLIND, ABOUT THE WORK THEY DO RAISING AND TRAINING GUIDE DOGS FOR THE VISUALLY IMPAIRED, AND ABOUT 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 and Gary blocks them. If your dog lover you're gonna get some great information on this show because it's all about guide dogs for the blind. On the show this time I would like to welcome Christine many here she is the CEO of guide dogs for the blind hate Christine. Hey scary and I should be here and I'm excited to hear about guide dogs for the blind where we start. Well I don't have a blind date is the largest tight school in North America. Second largest in the world. We. Currently graduate between 30350. Teams a year. And actually were the only guys school anywhere in the world. That completely supports our teams after graduation through. Community support as well as such very support for teams. And you're location in California and you also have won here are very close to Portland in boring Oregon. We do 25 miles southeast of Portland and now we you to have to be up from within let you know that we have guide dogs for the blind being puppy raised around our building all the time it's so funny how hot dogs around. The. I love it I love it. You get to hear the love. So tell me how did you get involved in guide dogs for the blind. You know. IE prior to coming to guide dogs for the blind I spent seventeen years of the CEO less humane society Silicon Valley prior to that I was with Hewlett-Packard but. I've always. Says no. You know completely a trance where the power of the human animal bond. I saw that at the humane society but guide dogs for the blind is human animal bond on steroids is unbelievable. And he would our dogs do for our clients. How did this get discovered that. That dogs can be so helpful. You know it actually started in the military so. You guide dogs for the blind was starting in 1942. And we started basically as a way to help returning veterans from World War II who is employed in the war. And the ducks have been used in the military for a very long period of time. And it was the military trainers his pride you know something there's something that we can do occur. Where. People who are blind to be able to work with dogs that have dogs be there I didn't. And be able to you know help them get countries the world basically. With the heat no doubt that he says the dog and can't the point person. Do you strictly just train dogs to help bumbling people and visually impaired people or or. Other ways to. No I've got guys for the blind only focuses on individuals were blind visually impaired. And something that probably most people don't know is. Guide work. Is ax absolutely the most complicated form of service work. And the reason for that is the dog I have to be trained how to make independent decisions. For there they're person. All other servers work is taking command. And just. Being able to wrote weak performance and they end. Our dogs we have to be trained to evaluate whether a command is going to keep their person safer not anti didn't say. That demand. If that's going to put their person harm's way. That that takes that special dogged it takes special training to do. That sounds pretty amazing that it that a dog can make those decisions. Tell me about the training process. This this world from very young age for it. That training actually starts when the puppies or three days old. So of all of our puppies 900 puppies the year aboard fine art camera felt campuses in California. We have staff and volunteers to add three days of age start working with the puppies there actually called Cutler's. That's a pretty great job. And what you do that you sit with mom and you hold those puppies. And you've got huddle then you touch it. So that these puppies are ready at three days of age are starting to feel comfortable around people there's nothing scary about a person. And we're starting to work on body's sensitivity. So you attach ears. This time the that because of the guide dogs the have to be wearing a harness and they have to be used to be touched. When that the puppies and start to be more mobile we actually start. I'm introducing those putts with mom and the rest of the litter to different sites down the outside world. It's starting to build the confidence that those babies because. In order to be a guide that's the number of line. Saying that they have to be ordered be as successful tie guy does is confident because they have to be confident enough. Anticipate that coming. So those babies. Work with with staffed and trained volunteers for the first 810 weeks of their life. And we're really working on building that confidence then introducing them to as much of the world and we can't. And then they go out to our puppy raisers we have 2000 puppy raisers and attend western state. That's Far East his taxes and and our puppy raisers are organizing the puppy club. And that's because there are. Supported by a guy dot com staff. And that there is the very specific protocols that are puppy raisers. Goes through in raising that puppy. And the objective for the puppy raisers is to. Continue to introduce those puppies to use the world old. Is to teach them their health standards. And then when they're between fourteen and sixteen months of age they come back to whenever campuses. And they go through there. Twelve weeks of guide training where they lowered corporate guides skills. And then they're not here to. With their person and today. Their person's and the guy god actually spent two weeks. Trading. On whatever campuses just history together. While woods quite a process. It is huge crush it absolutely is there certain breeds of dogs that you train. There are things so we he used Labrador Retriever is Golden Retriever is and then we also briefly crossed between the two. And I think lots of times people think about he. German shepherd as the traditional guide dog. And you German shepherd. I initially we're used to. As a guide dogs because those were the dogs that were used in the military and those were the types of dogs that military trainers knew how to train. But over the years actually we have migrated away from the German shepherd. And there it is is because German shepherd what. Have a tendency. To have very high car hitting quality. He's done. And guarding is that necessarily Alex has significant pieces to be your guide dog eat you you don't want to keep people away from your person. You want to engage the community. That's part of what a guy does because. Lying is this something that's very isolating so you wanna dog that's going to engage with your community. And gladly go and retrieve reserve perfect for that. They let people. They're leaders they want to do you know plead their person. And that the our dogs that are very food motivated and all of our training is. Basically positive reinforcement. Treating them that you just who grew war and so there's a perfect dogs for this kind of. Christine tell me what it's like for the dog with. What if you could put yourself into the mind and body of the dog what are they going through what what's their experience. You there's I think a lot of them. Around. Guide dogs people think you know oftentimes I tell people who work for guide dogs for the blind making out a little you know you guys do great work that our electoral for Smart for the dogs. And they never get a chance just to be dogs. And that's not the case. Actually. First of all you know laps legal papers loved to work. But he actually all of this do all of this one purpose of life for a our dogs do as well. Effectively. Our dogs absolutely loved being with their person twenty force haven't. I mean I forward out of my nose if they would love it if they could go with me all that they sleep. At. But dogs loved that because they're packing animal. And the amount of time that actually dog works is actually see you know a very small part of the day because the question is you know when you think about. How often are you. Having to get out during the day and goat some water because that's really what that guide dog does is it helped me get from point a to point B. Basically. The answer is is that you're not doing that we force that. So when the dog is you know not working they're off duty. And when their oft stated they get to be just talk. And they are there kids do C lab the Golden Retriever. Do they get to go to the park can do things like that too. Late run around and play fetch is that part of God's existence. They do they do. One of the things so glad. We are cautious about we caution our. Clients about it is it. That. You know again it's really important today that a guy died is able to maintain. It's a confidence in the world so you have to be careful about who you're introducing your guys got to do because if you're introducing it. A guy got to a dog that is potentially aggressive. And attacked the guy dunk. They can lose their confidence. Is it being able then to do their job and if they lose that confidence they can't keep their persons case though. You know many. For our clients it has he has friends with other dogs that. You know the guide dog plays to it but we don't encourage people to take. Their guide dogs just to a dog park and you don't know. Who else is there and you don't know the temperament of those others off. But we absolutely do what you are guide dogs just to be dogs can get out and play it and do it talks didn't. The dogs are very aware whether guide dog is very aware when it's working and what's not working is that right. That's correct. And the you know that too cute for the guide dog is when it goes in the harness. So I'll leave I would love watching me you know the different and the dog's personality when the heart just goes on their own business if focused. I'm being you know taking their person from point a to point B. They're not being distracted by other things that are going on around them. When that harness comes off. They're just believe laughter and Golden Retriever is oftentimes not how will be. I thought. A different I know but labs Golden Retriever is able to seem like such sweet personality dogs. They are there absolutely are. So how much does it cost to get a guy Doug Newsom and listening wants to apply for 100 legal mop up process. Though all the first services are free. And that and I think it's really important to I emphasize that because. There are. A number. Organizations that provide service dogs and they charged exorbitant amounts of money. To get a certain dog anywhere between twelve years twenty and 60000 dollars to get pick to get at certain times. Part of our mission is. Basically. Not being discriminatory as to you know who can get a guide dog. You know it's not just for people who can afford it is were on anybody don't need to. Though all of our services are free that includes transportation and unity school in back home. Include the dog and then it also includes all of our poll of services including we cover all of the Kutcher caught him. For our dog's owner talks to reinsert it. And as far as how do you get a guy don't. You apply didn't school. Just the way that you would apply to any other school you can go to our web site WWW. Dot guide dogs dot com. There's an application form. And we're basically looking for forty things. For somebody who. Can get a guide dog one is that you are leak week wine and you don't have to be completely blind. And attacked a 70% of our clients are what are called visually in here. But you have to be. Legally blind and what that means is. You know witness corrective lenses. Used skill are not able to essentially traverse. You know the world without some sort of help. You have to have a need to go somewhere on a daily basis. So whether that's to work whether that has to. You know go down the street and meet friends for cost C. Whether that's just you know something I wanna get out and about every single day either for exercise. But you know a dog needs to be worked every day. So if basically. You just once a week wanna take your guide dog out and you wouldn't meet friends for church. That's it. That won't work in Chicago was his skills. Of the third thing is that you. Have to already have what are called orientation and mobility skills so. You have to already understand how to. Get through life as an entity within visual and her. Understanding the blind clues to understanding. You know how you get from point a to point B. No guide dog is not achieving yet to stop you can't stand at a quarter and they take me to Starbucks. You have to know that Starbucks is a few blocks down. And it's the third store on the lap stint. The you have to know how to keep. So they eat Gator dog construction. When you've done that a few times your dog knows now where it gets dark. And we'll take you there. But the first time around you already have and how to get there. And then the important thing is that you have to live somewhere. That is going to be confused over support guide dog and what's meant by that is is that. We've had to turn people away. Who. Oftentimes they're living in more rural environments. Where. There's a lot of story aggressive dogs in their neighborhood so. If everytime you walk out your front door your dog is worried about being attacked he talks can stop work. But to we have dogs that are working in he has. City environment. Suburbs and meet all kinds environment study to test these taken farm for a guy. So you're able to offer all of this for free you must have some pretty great funding tell me about the funding for guide dogs for the blind. And so gaga accessible it is completely foreign visit. By individual donations. We get no government funding. Were completely. Depending upon the support for community. So that's why it's something like ten days. Interview. We're so appreciative that because the more that we can do to raise visibility around permissions. Around the different that are Michigan makes and the need to support that mission by having our community's support guy ducks it's a blind. The more people we consider. So thank you for today. Absolutely. Annual fundraiser coming up tells about the pinot pups is what it is. It's called you know poking yeah we have fund raiser it's a gala event if it can be held on Saturday evening may twelfth has. It's gonna be at the Cumberland art museum. And it is it great event that this is really fun because that's. Isn't an opportunity to be happy because opportunities to be so puppy in training. As well as working caddied for. And we will have a silent auction will have on a live auctions. And all the funds that are raised. On May twelfth all goes towards supporting her passion. Where can people get tickets and more information about the Pino and pups. Sure they go on to our website is www. Guide dog dot com the tickets are 150 dollars he. And you could order them you don't write off write off our website and I would suggest. You know. Actually ordering them to do because they're going quickly. Oh that's a good thing. Yeah I agree that we've really tapped into is two things that are extremely important to the Portland metro area that is dogs in Pina. Think The Beatles. Got a very important to. Yeah I'd like that acts I think it's important to a lot of flights. But that. We have some pretty fantastic Pino an hour in our wine region. Yes you do yes you do and we will have a number of wineries there actually pouring their pinot. So it'll be a great event. Could you tell some more about the campus out in boring. Where can people go visit out there. Guess they Canada. That we have tours on a daily basis on every other Saturday. From the 133. We actually have a graduation. And if you really wanna learn more about. Guide dogs for the blind and actually see our mission in action. I highly recommend going to graduation. Every single graduation is. Will touch your heart to. The they're all different because each one of our clients and different and as they tell their story. It's just to it is heartwarming to hood to learn about who they are and the different that a guy god is making in their lives. The only commonality is that you always need Kleenex. So when you come. Brinkley good. All of our graduation date her her weapon right you don't need to make a reservation. And actually the boring community is a beautiful community. To come out to visit so it's only 25 miles southeast of Portland. Technically on Saturday it's pretty easy to get out there. And you know I'm hoping people will come out learn more about it and actually the armed nations actions. They're really I've I've driven by it many times I haven't stopped and they've driven by its on highway 26 all the way up to on the way up tuned to Mount Hood. So it's it's a beautiful drive and a great place to go especially in spring time go have a look out in the in the countryside and stop and see the dogs. If somebody wants become a popular RAZR or trainer how'd they do that is to I'm assuming training requires some training. Right so in order to be on what's called a qualified guide dog trainer. You have to go through three full years of a partnership as guide dogs for the blind. It's not anything product. It ordered to do you know train our dog and trade our clients with our dogs. And understand blindness for. It's a pretty complicated process to understand all of that so in order to be calm. A trader at this credits. Because it's three full years of apprenticeship. With a guide dogs for the blind and to be a fully productive trainer it's two years after that. So it's five years of investment before you're fully productive instructor. Which regards to being a we'll be back with seven it is in you we actually employ all kinds of people with all kinds of different backgrounds. The instructors so you don't necessarily have to be somebody who's had a lot of dog experience or you're not necessarily somebody. We need to know a lot about one man. But you need to be somebody is interested in learning about posting up. And disinterested in working with some pretty amazing individuals who are clients. And as far as being a puppy raiser. Again we have over 200 happy clubs and the excuse me ten western states. You can go on to. Our web site and actually. Fill out an application. To be a puppy raiser. And what somebody who they would give you call will invite you to the party quit beating. You'll get a chance to actually lead certainty a puppy cluttered work. In process and learn more about what that process is. Being a puppy raiser were. Extremely grateful for. The individuals who choose to raise her puppies. Wow it. Is there some things that touches ones heart and makes a huge difference it also with a lot of work as well. And so you'll learn all about death by going to have a club meeting and he's seen that work action. I don't think there's anything shooter than the face of a young puppy a lab puppy there'd just they that face frame up but what. I very that's I did it doesn't matter what kind of a mood here and the mini speed up puppy and you cuddle with that happy you're and they didn't. Have. Let face along with those giant policy there is kind of tumbling over themselves. Our casino and are less manager lets argue about the information like the website and the date again for the U puppy and you know European own pups. Are you know our web site is www. Guide dogs dot com. And our pitino in public gala event is going to be may twelfth. Add to the Portland art museum starting at 6 PM. There's going to be agree to fair. And luck to you is the greatest. Can't believe they are a couple Christine this has been really great it's been fun talking today. Thank you very much scarier I really appreciate the opportunity. We've been talking with Christine bay and anger. CEO of guide dogs for the blind. Mitchell's go fees and Entercom radio Portland public affairs program. I'm Gary blocks and if you're involved with a nonprofit or public affairs organization or if you have an idea for an upcoming show I'd like to hear from you. This is a microscope PDX dot com and submit your ideas you can also go to the station's website can submit your information there. Thanks for listening to veterans go out and enjoy the rest of your weekend.