[nagdu] Re my final school selection

Chantel Cuddemi jawsgirl87 at gmail.com
Tue Aug 9 20:38:39 UTC 2011

Hi Matt, 
 As a soon-to-be guide dog handler, I don't wish to be discouraged from
going to Leader Dogs. I have asked others I've talked to please respect my

Email: jawsgirl87 at gmail.com
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aim: scholarmistress
-----Original Message-----
From: nagdu-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nagdu-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf
Of Matt Weihmuller
Sent: Tuesday, August 09, 2011 4:26 PM
To: nagdu at nfbnet.org
Subject: [nagdu] Re my final school selection

Hi all,
    I am Matt Weihmuller and am a new dog guide user.  I am a recent
graduate of Florida State University, where I received my Masters in Music
Performance.  I don't usually like to  comment on subjects unless I have
something very useful to say.  First of all, good luck to you, Chantel, in
your future training and hopeful  receiving of a guide dog.  It is an
experience that  will most certainly change your life.  Now, on to the
matter at  hand.  I am  greatly troubled and somewhat offended by some of
the comments that have been made on this list regarding the experiences of
some graduates of Leader Dogs.  I have been gblind all my life and used a
cane until February of this year, when I received my Leader Dog, Daisy.  I
have excellent mobility skills and I can tell you that Leader Dogs is one of
the top schools in the nation in my opinion.  Throughout my accademic
career, I was informed by several different individuals that I would be an
excellent candidate for a guidedog, and I did not pursue the matter
seriously until a few years ago.  The reason being that I am a person who
does not make life altering decisions until I have done a great deal of
research and have what I consider to be all the facts from as many different
sources as possible. I am sure we can all agree that receiving a guide dog
is a life altering experience and one should have as much information as
possible before  making the decision of getting one and from where to
receive such a  valuable mobility companion.  During my research, I
contacted every school, and spoke to as many people as I could regarding my
individual concerns about the benefits and drawbacks of getting a guidedog .
After much consideration, I made the decision to attend Leader Dogs because
they were the school that at the time, best fit my individual needs. Now, I
would say   that they were not the  complete "perfect" school, but no
training program can be.  The trainers try to make the best decision about
what dog best matches the candidates' needs and personality.  I am sure they
don't always get it right, but in my case, I can say with most certainty
that I received the best dog for me!  I have traveled all over the state
with Daisy, and she always does a good job to date.  She always stops at
every obstacle, and obeys all commands I give her.  If anyone would  like to
state to the contrary, they are welcome to accompany us on our many long
travels throughout the day.  My point in  saying all of this is that, in my
opinion, there is no "one size fits all" guidedog school.  While, there are
other schools that I am sure are just as qualified, and might be possibly
better than Leader Dog in  one's opinion, doesn't mean that others who
decide to choose Leader Dogs as there school of choice are wrong, and
therefore, shouldn't be discouraged from doing so. I don't really understand
why certain individuals felt the need to severely criticize a certain
school.  Every client is different, and therefore, there will always be
those who have extremely good experiences and those who have extremely bad
ones.  These schools graduate hundreds of teams every year, so just by the
numbers, there are bound to be a few misplaced teams.  Just because an
individual may have been the unfortunate victim of such a bad experience
does not give that individual the right to tell others that it is the
"wrong"  school for them. When you make such comments, you may give new
up-and-coming dog guide users the wrong idea about things.  Furthermore, you
discourage Leader Dog graduates from joining and participating in NAGDU, the
NFB and other such organizations who I believe the soul purpose is to
advocate for the blind.  I am sure many of you may disagree and may even be
offended by what I have had to say today.  I appolygize for my long winded
post, however, I feel very strongly about this matter, and would  please
urge anyone who posts to this list to please think about the message they
are trying to send.  Afterall, at the end of the day, does that message
really help or hender the progress of the matter at hand.  Thank you all
very much for your time.  Take care all.  Warm wishes.
    Matt Weihmuller
    MMP 2010
    Phone: 813-541-4012
    Email: saxmatt7 at gmail.com
    Twitter/Skype/Aim: saxmatt7
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