My little red tether is my anchor in running with my friends. A beautiful guide dog has been my tether/anchor in mobility and independence for 17 years: 1. Pantera 2. Cricket, and now my beautiful 3. Georgina (Georgie). A life of family and friends is my joy and anchor in life.

The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it. CC Scott

Thursday, July 23, 2009


I am so excited to offer my first giveaway thanks to Sheekoo . As the owner and maker of all the beautiful purses, Mimi states
Sheekoo is a Korean word, loosely translated as "family". Or, as my mother more aptly defines it, "this group right here," as she gestures to those around the dining room table. So Sheekoo means those with whom you break bread--a generous, inclusive word.
She is also passionate about Guide Dogs and is currently raising a Guide Dog Puppy. An act of service that I find absolutely incredible!
I love her products and have already loved the purse hanger, coin purse, and tissue holder. Loved buying the NYC purse for my daughter for her birthday in reference to our fun time in NYC last year. Sheekoo indicates inclusion - something that I believe the Americans with Disabilities Act has made great strides in improving upon in our country for people with disabilities.

The details of how you have a chance to win this beautiful purse set are below:

Cork wristlet, cork squeeze frame change pouch, and cork key fob - All items are made with actual cork fabric. Wristlet features grid pattern natural-colored cork with dark cork bottom. Use the wristlet as a cosmetic bag in a larger purse, or wear the strap around your wrist for days when you only need your wallet, cell phone, and lipstick. Squeeze frame change pouch features same grid pattern cork. Key fob is made of dark cork and can be worn around your wrist. Or throw it in your purse, and it makes finding your keys much easier. Retail value $52.00.

To enter into this Giveaway:

Read the following Guide Dog Etiquette and then,

For one entry - leave your comment with a question or an experience.

For two entries - leave a comment and a link to Sheekoo's site on your blog.

The winner of this beautiful prize will be selected through the random program on August 2nd.


Lisa and pups said...

Thanks for posting about assistance dog ettiquette. It's so nice to have people in public actually know how to act around working dogs. At the ball game the other day a man just GRABBED Ellie's butt and she's already skittish around men. It really set her back... but, we've been working on it - and I think she can overcome. Amazing how resilient these pups are! :D So, YAY.

Retired Duo said...

Hi Becky,

I am an avid reader of your blog, and I've learned so much about guide dogs, RP, and blindness. Thank you for sharing your experiences. One question: how much training did you and Cricket have together before she was officially your dog?

Keep posting! I look forward to reading your blog.

Best wishes,

Becky Andrews said...

Lisa - Thanks for your post. What a story ... poor Ellie. It is amazing sometimes what people will do! We continue to educate right!

Pat - Thanks for your comment and question. A brief answer is I trained with Cricket at GDB for two weeks - my first guide for four weeks. This is a great topic for a further post and will write more soon. Thank you!!

I am excited - you are both entered in the giveaway.

amanda said...

That was really interesting! I am curious as to how guide dogs are trained to resist food offers... what effective methods are used?
oheeyore at hotmail dot com

Dakota's Puppy Raiser said...

I sympathize with Lisa. As a puppy raiser we've had so many people approach inappropriately...of course many do the right thing too! Dakota has actually been patted by a man whizzing by on a bike while we were waiting at a crosswalk; grabbed from behind by some kids(what do you expect when you look like a teddy bear?) and, just yesterday, offered food by the sample lady at the mall food court. (He resisted, yay!) Love the blog, Becky. Keep up the good work!

Becky Andrews said...

Amanda - That is a great question re: food training. I have to say that still amazes me! Cricket earlier today turned her head when a chip was nearby - I rewarded her with a kibble. I will write a more detailed post on this topic.

Becky Andrews said...


Oh my! These fabulous dogs get so many interesting experiences don't they! I am interested in your training a labradoodle!

Anonymous said...

Hi Becky!

I love reading your blog, though I haven't posted anything yet-- I'm much more of a lurker. I came across your blog from the GuideDogs blog, and I've been reading it ever since it was featured.

I'm currently raising a Guide Dog puppy named Porter. He is a black lab, and four months old. Very cute! The two of us live in Salt Lake City, so, fairly close!

I think it's really fantastic everything that you write here; you're quite an amazing individual.

And my comment about Guide Dog etiquette: I'm so glad that this sort of information is getting out to the public. People are so much better at asking before petting, especially with dogs in jackets or harnesses.

I haven't had any problems with people and Porter, though he hasn't gotten his jacket yet. He gets it tomorrow, though! I'm so excited to start taking him out into the world, even if we need to start with really small places.

Keep up the great blogging! I love reading your thoughts on daily life!

Cole said...

I read your daughter's blog alot and occasionally pop on over here :)

I have to give my kids props. It was the last week of school and I was picking them up (normally it the sitter) And there was a search and rescue dog. He had a vest, my children were hesitant. NOT normal for them. They waited until I got closer and could give them "the nod" before asking the owner if they could pet the dog.

We see alot of S&R dogs, and a few assistance dogs. But I just love that my kids saw the vest and respected it.

Maryissewfast said...

Hi Becky,
Thank you for posting the Guide Dog Ettiquette. It's so important to get that information out to people. I caught your soul mate essay on No Bones about It blog and linked to your blog from there. It's hard to believe it's been over 2 years since you were here in Oregon for training. Good to see you and Cricket again. Mary (one of the Oregon GDB Nurses)

Coreena said...

Becky, I love reading about guide dog ettiquette! We recently met a guide dog from GDB named "Izzy" at a religous function. I am a very shy person especially approaching someone I don't know around a large group of people. Max (my husband) finally pulled me up to him and his sighted guide and made me talk to him and it really was one of the best experiences for me as a raiser to meet a working dog out there not at a service dog function. My question for you is, what is your favorite way for people or more especially, raisers, to approach you while in public?

Sarah and the Pack. said...

Thanks for this great post. It seems like every day I educate yet another person about SD ettiquette. But these are the good ones! When people will not listen/have no respect is when it becomes very frustrating.

As a puppy raiser I try to educate while still allowing for some interaction. However, I always explain that people with working guides may not always want/be able to stop, and people should take that into consideration when wanting to approach a working team.

Thanks again for a great post!

OSU 98 said...

Over the years, I have been many places with Sharon where we hear kids scream loudly..."ITS A DOG, MOM, ITS A DOG!" However, one experience sticks out in my mind. We were in Macy's (which we tended to frequent quite often) and a child started talking about there being a dog in line. The mother got down to the child's level and put her arms around her, and quietly explained to the little girl that Truth was a working dog and helped Sharon see. She then went on to explain that while Truth was very cute, she could not pet her, or any other working dog, for that matter, because it was working to help keep their partner safe. I wish all parents would educate their children that way...

Dolphin Girl said...

That a very informative list. Thanks for the info!

Christy Lee said...

I think it is a shame at how many people are not informed about the correct way to approach service animals. It should be a basic "life skill", along with many others that I feel should be taught in a school course (my life skills class would involve balancing a checking account, coupons and saving money, basic cooking skills, basic laundry skills, how to sew a button, manners and etiquette, basic car maintenance...those types of things!) Thank you for sharing that informative link, I enjoyed reading.

Uncles said...

very informative. good to know

E.S.C.A.P.E. to the South Coast! said...

I read through the ettiquette and it seems like common sense to me. I wonder how often you do encounter people who don't know that they shouldn't pet or distract Cricket? I also am curious about how you train guide dogs not to bed! I have a pet dog and he is a terrible beggar (it's my husband's fault!).

Maddie, Betsy, Jorinda, and Petuina said...

This is a great post about dog etiquette. I would hope it is common sense but obviously it's not. The biggest problem I had with people was when a man told me that Gabrina was hungry and needed his hamburger. She even refused it like a good puppy should. Eventually I just let the restaurant. I have also had problems with people telling me that I am going to give my dog long term damage if I continue with leash and collar corrections. Sometimes people need to mind there own business!

Clarissa said...

I had a sweet experience this year with my family at a restaurant. My siblings were so excited that there was a dog next to our table!! They asked repeatedly if we could bring ours next time :)

clarissa at digitaldeacons dot com

Lisa Curtis said...

Becky Thank You for posting all of this information. I never knew all of this about guide dogs. It has been a pleasure reading all of your stories and information. Thanks for the education.

Lisa Curtis said...

Thank You so very much for sharing your story. I did not know very much about guide dogs. Thanks for the education.

Emily and the Labradors said...

That list is great! It seems like in the 5 or 6 years since I've been raising people have become more educated about service dogs, or maybe that is just my happy little dream? People will often say "Oh, I wish I could pet him but I know I can't" to which I often reply that since he is a puppy in training it is sometimes helpful for people to pet him out in public, but they should always ask first. I then try and add that if it is an actual working dog that they really probably shouldn't even ask and should really just ignore the dog. I guess I am thinking about what I would want personally... If I had a guide dog I would rather people not approach me and ask to pet my dog while we were working. As a puppy raiser on the other hand, I enjoy the interaction with the public and the opportunity to educate a little. So what I am really getting at is do you think most guide dog handlers enjoy people (politely) approaching them and asking about their dog, or do you think most would prefer to not be asked?

Emily said...

I love that the first tip is to NOT pet the guide dogs. I've seen so many people try to do this, and they really need to be educated about how to act around guide dogs. Petting can be such a distraction. Thanks for the post!


RP Gypsy said...

Thank you to all of the puppy raisers here who have mentioned that when someone tries to pet the puppy you use the opportunity to teach them what to do when they actually meet a working dog. That's awesome and I really appreciate it!