[Community-service] Guide Dogs and volunteerism

Greg Aikens gpaikens at gmail.com
Mon Mar 23 00:38:09 UTC 2015

I am also a dog user and have participated in many kinds of service. I agree with Julie’s explanation. Just as there are some activities I don’t take my dog too, e.g. loud concerts, sporting events with fireworks, the gym, there are service projects that I take my dog and some I decide its better to give him the morning or afternoon off. This will vary greatly between dogs and handlers. 

I did more community service with my first guide than with my current one. Examples of activities I usually took my guide to include after school tutoring, big brothers/big sisters events, card night at a nursing home, making meals at the Ronald McDonald house, and sorting donations at a food bank. During these activities he sat quietly at my feet and aside from some curious kids, people forgot he was there. Service activities that I generally did not bring my dog to included spending the night at the homeless shelter and serving dinner/breakfast, doing a dog wash event with the humane society, doing any kind of yard work, and events where we did a lot of cleaning. I was more likely to leave my guide at home if I was going to need to be using both my hands and moving around a lot. The kitchen at the homeless shelter was pretty tight and not the best space to bring a dog. I found it easier to do yard work without having to keep up with my dog, making sure he wasn’t in the way of anyone etc. I guess that if it were the kind of activity that was not convenient to have my dog at my feet all the time, I would rather let him stay home than tie him up somewhere nearby and wonder if he was anxious or if others were interacting with him inappropriately.


> On Mar 21, 2015, at 8:33 PM, Julie McGinnity via Community-service <community-service at nfbnet.org> wrote:
> Hi Darian,
> Yes, I have volunteered for various things in my time as a guide dog
> user.  I think for each person it will be different.  Depend on the
> nature of the work and the personality of your dog, you may choose to
> bring your dog to some activities and not others.  I'll be a little
> clearer.
> My first dog is happy to be left on her own.  She never minded being
> put in one spot while I moved things, carried things, or participated
> in an activity without her.  I even think she preferred it sometimes.
> :)  But when I chose to use her while doing a community service
> activity, we worked well together.  I remember one event we worked was
> a toy drive.  She and I did a great job flying around the office
> collecting toys and sorting them.  Well, she didn't sort them, but the
> flow of the sentence worked better the way I have it.
> My current dog...  well, it would be easier and more convenient for me
> to leave him in his crate at home or in an office by himself if I must
> be away from him in a room doing some sort of manual labor.  He
> doesn't do well if he can see me but not interact with me.
> Of course, I have taken volunteer performing, receptionist, and
> teaching jobs.  I had no problems with my guide dog in those
> positions.  But in situations that require building (someone correct
> me if I am wrong because I don't know a hammer from a wrench and
> shouldn't be given either,) I find it easier to bring the cane.  It's
> one less thing to look out for.  And you can bet that sighted people
> will be more concerned about you being there in the first place than
> simply learning to use their voices so that you always know where they
> are.
> Our chapter is currently working with a food bank on their policies
> concerning service animals.  There are policies that come from health
> departments that will bann service animals from facilities where the
> general public is not allowed if food is being prepared.  But I would
> recommend that you get such policies in writing and refuse to take
> excuses.
> I think that's all I've got!
> On 3/21/15, Darian Smith via Community-service
> <community-service at nfbnet.org> wrote:
>> Hello all,
>> I was wondering, are there any guide dog users on this list and if so have
>> you done any type of volunteer service?
>>  if so, what was it like and how did your guide dog factor into it?
>>  Thanks,
>>  Darian
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> -- 
> Julie McGinnity
> National Federation of the Blind performing arts division secretary,
> Missouri Association of Guide dog Users President, National Federation
> of the Blind of Missouri recording secretary,
> graduate Guiding Eyes for the Blind 2008, 2014
> "For we walk by faith, not by sight"
> 2 Cor. 7
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