[Nfbmo] {Disarmed} Debbie is in the news

Gary Wunder GWunder at earthlink.net
Wed Jul 20 22:17:47 UTC 2011

Hi folks. Debbie Wunder has made the news. I am pasting in the story and
including the note she got from Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Debbie Wunder with Duran


by Jim Price

 Debbie Wunder with Duran

Her first dog guided for six years but had to be retired. It was more than
13 years later when she finally got her second Guide Dog. 

"That first walk after all those years was great," she said, her face
beaming. "I do just fine with my cane, but it was so wonderful to walk three
times as fast. The wind was blowing in my face and I didn't have to worry
about every little step. My husband, who is also blind, calls having a Guide
Dog the 'Cadillac of mobility'."

Debbie Wunder, 56, of Columbia, Missouri, was relaxing for a moment during
the second week of her two-week training class in Oregon. Snoozing on the
floor at her side was black Lab Duran, her new partner. It had been eight
days since she first met him. "He was a wiggling, licking, bouncing bundle
of happiness. It was great."

Debbie was born with congenital cataracts. She said she had multiple
surgeries by the time she was 5 but still had trouble with her vision. She
was 9 when her parents enrolled her at a school for the blind in St. Louis.
"Things were different back then. If you could walk the two blocks to the
first intersection and get yourself across without being hit by a car, then,
it was thought, you didn't need a cane. We kids loved that, because we
thought we looked foolish with a cane. It wasn't until much later that I
realized I looked a lot more foolish tripping over everything." 

She was in her twenties when she first got involved with the National
Federation of the Blind (NFB), and is now a local chapter officer. "I got a
lot of support from other blind people in that group, and I began to
understand it was okay to be blind. I didn't need to try to cover it up."
Her husband, Gary is editor of the NFB's newspaper, The Braille Monitor. 

She didn't get serious about cane travel until after the birth of her first
child. "I was 22 and suddenly I started worrying about getting across the
street safely. "And it wasn't until 1991, as her vision was steadily
declining, that Debbie finally decided to get a dog. "We were living in
Springfield and I was taking classes at the college. It was a three mile
walk with a lot of rough ground to cover." Soon she was off to GDB for four
weeks of training with Lee, a beautiful, happy Golden Retriever. 

"She was a great guide and we were a good team," she said, smiling at the
memory. "Unfortunately, she developed early dementia and I had to retire her
after about six years of guiding. At the time, my youngest was only three
years old and I just couldn't be away that long to get another dog." It was
back to the cane.

Then a few years ago, her vision got dramatically worse. Despite seven
surgeries in two years, her sight is pretty much gone. "It was actually kind
of relief," she said. "I had been on a roller coaster where I could see a
little, and then I'd lose it. It would get better, and then it was gone
again. It was finally good just to settle down and learn to live with it. I
have great support from my kids and my husband and everything will be fine."

Back home, Debbie is very active with the NFB. Recently she took a group of
blind middle schoolers on an outing that had them riding a zip line and
climbing a 30-foot rock wall. "It was all about building their confidence
and showing them they could do more than they thought they could." She also
is an independent sales contractor for a company that makes a hand-held
reader device that works with cell phones.

Debbie does a lot of traveling and Duran will be doing his part to help.
"I'm amazed at how fast we are becoming a team," she said, reaching down to
scratch behind one of his ears. He opened one eye, just to make sure it was
her, then sighed deeply and went back to sleep. "This new two-week class at
GDB is wonderful. With new training techniques like food rewards and
patterning, the dogs learn so fast. It's been a very positive experience for
both of us."

She said Guide Dogs for the Blind has a wonderful reputation in the blind
community. "There are other good companies, but GDB really sets the
standard. They are always a step ahead of the rest. I wouldn't go anywhere


From: Debbie Wunder [mailto:debbiewunder at centurytel.net] 
Sent: Tuesday, July 19, 2011 4:03 PM
To: gwunder at earthlink.net
Subject: Fw: July e-news from GDB

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Joanne  <mailto:JRitter at guidedogs.com> Ritter 
To: 'debbiewunder at centurytel.net' 
Sent: Tuesday, July 19, 2011 3:20 PM
Subject: FW: July e-news from GDB

Debbie - Your story's been posted on our website and in our newsletter. --


 <http://www.guidedogs.com/site/R?i=JrDJcZrtJ12hjyU-K7Ql5w..> GuideDogs.com
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 Chew on This! e-newsletter from Guide Dogs for the Blind

 Debbie and black Lab guide
Traveling Smoothly
"I do just fine with my cane, but it was so wonderful to walk three times as
fast," Debbie Wunder said of her first walk with black Lab guide Duran. "The
wind was blowing in my face and I didn't have to worry about every little
step. My husband, who is also blind, calls having a Guide Dog the 'Cadillac
of Mobility'."  <http://www.guidedogs.com/site/R?i=gjtvVQmDIvm7IlEmAdia4A..>
Read her story 


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One Step at a Time 

Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu once wrote, "A journey a thousand miles begins
with a single step." This puppy's
<http://www.guidedogs.com/site/R?i=bjuSI27H6sf0TDvFwzX3Eg..> exciting
journey is just beginning, and it sure looks like fun! 

 <http://www.guidedogs.com/site/R?i=yD6hdlIB8sVpH3PXsDj1_g..> Scott and
yellow Lab

A New Beginning

Recent GDB graduate Scott Hammer was generous in his praise for all involved
in making his new partnership with his yellow Lab Turner a reality.  But he
had an extra-special, heart-felt message for GDB puppy raisers: "You are the
ones that make this program work!" Watch
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 <http://www.guidedogs.com/site/R?i=TJZZaqMKST3ybEfiX3DA7w..> Michael and
yellow Lab

Saying Goodbye to a 9-11 Canine Hero 

Roselle, the yellow Lab Guide Dog, who led her partner, Michael Hingson from
his office on the 78th floor of the North Tower and away from the collapsing
buildings to safety on September 11, 2001, has died. She was 13.  Read
<http://www.guidedogs.com/site/R?i=bTJTpa8OA0phGp1NjXMnNQ..> about her
amazing life.

<http://www.guidedogs.com/site/R?i=No1muVdOt9xqNrARkkelZA..> GDB coffee mug
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Fifteen years ago, after losing her sight to retinitis pigmentosa, Becky
Andrews was wondering if she could ever lead an active life again. After
getting hit by a car, she realized it was past time to do something about
it. Now she enjoys the gift of freedom, joy and independence of traveling
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 Golden in puppy coat

"Lynmar was a wonderful pup to raise! He was our 'surfer dude' - always
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teeth brushed, nails cut, coat combed - he was loving every minute of it! He
now lives as a working guide in Foster City with his partner, Gene, and the
two of them have many great adventures!" -- Joelle Aguirre 

 <http://www.guidedogs.com/site/R?i=P9XRFe-7aWQ-O27H4rflCA..> Send an ecard
with Lynmar


 Newshounds <http://gd.convio.net/images/content/pagebuilder/newshounds.jpg>

Newshounds - 
Got a nose for news?

Listen in as NPR's Education Reporter Larry Abramson visits
<http://www.guidedogs.com/site/R?i=goe3Ned3kmH_pa_GDUc7bA..> with a class in

We catch up with Captain Sully and his wife Lorrie as they share their love
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 Susan and yellow Lab

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Susan Krieger describes what it's like to have partial sight - the joys and
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 Natural Balance team with yellow Lab puppy and Golden guide

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