Handbook to Help the Blind Decide if the Guide Dog Lifestyle is Right for them

Guide Dog Users, Inc. (GDUI), the largest membership and advocacy organization representing guide dog handlers in the United States, is pleased to announce the recent publication of a revised handbook for perspective guide dog users which shares comprehensive information about acquiring and using a guide dog for safe and independent travel.

The guide, 90 pages in length, and available in e-book and print formats, “A Handbook for the Prospective Guide Dog Handler,” 4th Edition, updates a GDUI publication, called “Making Impressions,” which GDUI members wrote and published a quarter of a century ago. The original manual assisted countless guide dog users with applying for training with and adjusting to working with guide dogs.

Many of those original readers are now working successfully with a third or fourth or even an eighth, or tenth guide dog. Realizing how well their original publication had served guide dog users all over the country and beyond, GDUI has spent the past several years updating the manual to reflect changes in guide dog training methodologies, growth in the community of guide dog users, changes in the number of schools now available to provide training and dogs, and evolving attitudes among the public concerning acceptance of guide dogs as reliable and respected aids for blind and visually impaired people who choose dogs for independent travel.

The informative handbook answers questions not only for the prospective guide dog team, but also for families of people who are blind, blindness rehabilitation professionals and educators, and the general public. Part One, Section One sets the stage with heartfelt accounts from many guide dog users who can speak with authority about the guide dog lifestyle which pairs humans and canines in a relationship, unlike few others, that involves a 24-hour daily bond between dogs and their owners. Then, the handbook covers the whole process of deciding whether a guide dog is the right choice for mobility and safety, choosing and applying to a training program, learning to become a guide dog handler, returning home, and spending the next several years bonding with a dog who is likely to become an indispensable assistant and treasured companion.

The manual outlines the indispensable support that an organization like GDUI can provide to guide dog users during times when their partnership can pose uniquely stressful challenges, for example when a guide dog team experiences denial of transit in a taxicab, or exclusion from a restaurant or other public venue, when a treasured guide dog becomes ill or passes away, or when family or friends don’t understand how the team functions safely and independently.

GDUI encourages readers and members to share the handbook with family, friends, colleagues, blindness and disability advocacy organizations, and other guide and service dog handlers. A Handbook for the Prospective Guide Dog Handler is available as an e-book and in print from Amazon.com, Smashwords, and other online sellers. Purchase the GDUI Handbook

For additional information, contact Penny Reeder, President Guide Dog Users, Inc. 866.799.8436. GuidedogUsersInc.org

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