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In 1993, Guide Dogs for the Blind, San Rafael, California, flew 'Nevin', yellow lab breeding sire, to Guiding Eyes for the Blind, Yorktown Heights, New York, to breed 'Kiki', yellow lab breeding dam. Nevin is Eve's father. Kiki is Eve's mother.
After 'Eve', 'Eden', 'Ella', 'Elsa' and 'Emma' were weaned from Kiki's warm, nourishing breast milk and were enjoying the games that puppy siblings play, they had to say good bye to Kiki and their brothers. In a stock swap, the 'E' sisters were transported to the puppy training kennels at Guide Dogs for the Blind, San Rafael, California.
After thorough examinations, Guide Dogs for the Blind issued Kiki's five female puppies to trained puppy raisers for one year of loving socialization and obedience training.
Margo Wilson's Home
Terra Bella, California
Eve, in her favorite spot in front of the wood stove.
Notice unchewed nyla bone. Eve was not a chewer.
Ten week old Eve went to live with puppy raiser, Margo Wilson, in Terra Bella, California. Margo is a counselor at Porterville High School in Porterville, California.
For one year, Evie experienced the world of work, secondary education, classrooms, counselor's office, meetings, noisy children changing classes, transportation and restaurants. Eve was exposed to the noise and motion of bicycles, skate boards, pedestrian and vehicular traffic. Margo taught Eve essential commands like 'Eve Sit!', 'Eve Down!', 'Eve Come!', 'Stay!', 'Eve, Lets Go!', 'Leave It!', 'Off!' and 'That's E nufff!!!'.
Eve took every opportunity to jet, through Margo's back gate, to the barn, where she porked down food Margo intended for her barn cats. When Margo called 'Eeee Veeee?', she returned -- after saying hi to the horses and chasing a cat or two.
At Porterville High School, Eve's initial introduction to 'open' stairs (stairs without risers) may have been a little too fast and furious. When Eve flatly refused to climb them, some of the students changed her name to 'Evil'. After phone consultation with Guide Dogs for the Blind, Puppy Training Department, Eve was transported back to Guide Dogs for the Blind for formal, riserless stair training. Then Eve was sent back to Margo to complete her puppy raising.
Later, Guide Dogs for the Blind recalled Eve, spayed her then returned her to Margo.
Margo came to love pretty Eve so very much. It was a sad day when Margo had to return Evie for formal training to lead a blind person. However, Margo knew that Eve, and the other guide dog puppies Margo had raised, had important destinies.
Guide Dogs for the Blind thoroughly monitored Eve's health including examining her eyes, ears, teeth and coat and continually evaluated her behavior.
Several IAs, Instructor Assistants kept Evie clean and well groomed. They supervised Eve's play with her kennel mate and with several other dogs, in Eve's string of fifty dogs, in the 'community run'. Each month, twenty four, of a string of fifty dogs, team train with a blind partner. The other 26 are either held over for a personality and circumstance match or for further training or are career changed.
A team of four IAs and a certified instructor / class supervisor formally trained Eve.
They tightened a few loose knots in Eve's obedience training and general behavior.
This team taught Eve how to safely maneuver a blind person around barricades, open manholes, trash cans, street signs, wheelchairs, persons on crutches, persons with clanking body braces, blind people with white canes, blind people with guides and last, but not least, babies in strollers. It is very, very important that your guide chooses NOT to lick a baby's face. It is highly desirable for your guide to decide for themselves that it is NOT in their best interest to wolf down a small child's cookie or the weiner from their hot dog bun. It is NOT good public relations when your guide sucks down a scoop of ice cream from a child's cone.
This instructor team taught Eve how to safely guide her blind handler around vacated vehicles parked across sidewalks whether engines were idling or engines were off.
Eve was taught to refuse to approach a running vehicle with a driver. Eve will stop her handler 8' to 12' from such a vehicle. Eve senses that vehicles have a turning radius and that some drivers may not see you with your guide.
Eve was exposed to the danger of unexpected vehicles approaching intersections from her 'blind side' and turning sharply into her intended path while crossing - after she has gone over 'the down curb' and is in the intersection.
Eve was trained how to safely guide her handler around challenging obstacles normally encountered in everyday life. Guide Dogs for the Blind team/class trainers taught Eve how to stop and wait for a command to proceed, at overhangs, such as tree limbs growing too low over sidewalks and bushes growing into walking paths. Eve was taught how to safely guide across various kinds of lighted and unlighted intersections; down uneven sidewalks; along sidewalkless streets; and down country lanes and roads. Eve was taught how to guide in crowded restaurants and in grocery stores without sampling food from shelves, tables and the floor. She was taught 'food refusal'. Eve only accepted food from her handler.
During Eve's formal training, Robert, in Mesa, Arizona, knew nothing about Eve or Eve's world. He was totally unfamiliar with service animals and was struggling with the downsides of white cane mobility.
Patrick, an O&M (Orientation and Mobility) Specialist (Patrick's spouse is blind and uses a white cane) and, Kathy, an Independent Living Skills Specialist, realized Robert's social life took a huge plunge because most people have not been taught how to interact with a person ambulating about with a white cane, finding it more comfortable to scurry out of a blind person's way to avoid any contact with the white cane user. At various Arizona employers, Kathy introduced Robert to several successful guide dog teams, including guide dog Barkley and her master. Kathy wanted Robert to understand that canine assistance could be a much faster, safer, and friendlier way to travel.
Chuck Farrugia, from Guide Dogs for the Blind, Field Services, insured Robert's O&M (Orientation and Mobility) skills were sufficient to handle a guide dog. Chuck also evaluated his ability to bond with and to provide proper care for a dog. Chuck outlined the great responsibilities of guide dog handlers. Chuck taught Robert the guide dog commands. Then, Chuck, walking on Robert's left, holding a real harness at a realistic level, simulated a guide dog named 'Juno', in honor of one of the first guidedogs. Juno is an ancient roman / greek Goddess. Juno (Chuck) cruised the neighborhood via Robert's newly learned commands. After the final command set, 'Juno, Inside'; 'Goood Boyeee Juno', Chuck told Robert he was pleased with his ability to handle Juno. Chuck said that dogs are carefully selected to match the personality and circumstance of their blind handler. He said, 'if the board approves you to team train with a formally trained guide, we may have a match for you in weeks or it may take months, even over a year to match you with a guide.
Six months later, Robert, with twenty-three classmates, lived in a dormitory on Guide Dogs for the Blind's San Rafael, California campus. For a month, students were rigorously trained to assume the great responsibility of properly caring for and handling a formally trained guide dog.
Under blindfold, a guide dog instructor apprentice, Kathy O'Connor, lived with and trained with the blind students. Jaz, a female german shepherd guide, was assigned to Kathy. Petite Kathy never noticed that her bed was short sheeted by mischievous students. Kathy's, sets of clothing, carefully preselected by her before blindfold, somehow became terribly mismatched to insure that, she looked as blind as everyone else.
The first day (Sunday) was spent orienting students to the very clean, highly maintained dormitory; the lovely green campus, complete with bull frog pond and to all the services provided by Guide Dogs for the Blind.
The following three days of Class of 544 was 'Juno' training with guide dog Instructor Assistants (IAs) Emily Scott, Beth Hamiliton and Nick Aguilar, and with certified Professional Guide Dog Instructor Keith Tomlinson. Keith was class supervisor.
On the afternoon of the fourth day, Wednesday, all trainees were given basic information about their dogs. 'Robert?... Thomas?' 'Yes'. 'Your dog's name is Eve.' 'She is a yellow labrador retriever.' 'Eve is 24 1/2" tall and weights 76 lbs.' Robert was shocked. 'Eve'? 'Eve'? What kind of name is that for a dog? I'm not Adam. He was certain he would receive a male german shepherd with a name like 'Thunder', 'Lightning', 'Flash' or 'Storm'. What exactly is a yellow lab? Never saw a yellow dog. How can a dog be yellow?
That night, 'Guide Dog Introduction and Assignment Night', Emily led Robert to the music room. Emily said, 'Robert, I'm going to the kennels to bring Eve to you.' 'Don't try to pet her or talk to her until I say it's ok.' 'First, let Eve sniff you up and make friends with you.' 'On her own terms.' 'Let her do it all.' Minutes later, Emily returned to the doorway with Eve, a buttermilk white dog with fawn ears and fawn tail tip. Emily unleashed Eve. Eve bolted over to Robert, stood with her front paws on his thighs, knocked his pith helmet off, licked his dark glasses off his face, and licked and licked and licked his eye sockets with her abrasive tongue like she knew precisely what the problem is and lovingly intended to fix it. Emily said, 'Instant bonding!' 'Robert, that was instant bonding, I've never experienced that.' 'Forget what I said Robert.' 'Here's a new leash for her.' 'Leash Eve.' 'Take her to your room and enjoy.'
Beside his bed, Robert discovered a new, white, synthetic fur rug and tie down for Eve.
Robert's roommate, Jamie, received Ichabod, (Icky) a robust, handsome, male yellow lab.
There were yellow labs named Eve, Gordon, Grettel, Harley, Ichabod, Irene and Jingo. There were black labs named Alf, Macro, Melon, Missy and Misty. Want some water, Melon? There were german shepherds Jaz and Johna.
That first night, March 8, 1995, Eve snoozed away beside Robert's bed, soaking up Robert's sweet talk and gentle strokes until about 4:30 am. Around 5:30 am Robert awoke. Frisky Eve was ready to boogie. Robert trembled in fear, worrying about how Eve could possibly assist him in safely crossing busy, noisy intersections in downtown San Rafael. In the often very heavy rain, heavy equipment operators were ripping up and replacing streets and underground conduits. Robert's stomach was feeling kind of queasy. He did not show for breakfast so Emily came to find him. Emily said, 'Robert, I will be right there with you and Eve every step of the way.' 'It will be ok.' 'You must leave Eve for a few minutes - she will be ok without you.' 'You must eat something.'
All new blind handlers leashed their guide dogs and visited their portion of a large, relieving circle. 'Eve, do your business!', 'Gooood Girrrl, Eve!' 'Lookie there!' 'She did her business!' Then, new leather harnesses were issued. That Thursday was the newly formally trained guidedogs first time to work with their new blind masters.
'Eve... find the door, let's go outside!' Eve showed me the east doors of the dormitory. Outside, on top of the east end steps, Robert said, affectionately, 'Goood Girrrl, Evie, Goood Girrl.' 'What a good little puppy woman!'
'Eve, find the stairs, show me, let's go down.' 'Goood Girrrl.'
'Eve, hop up to the curb!' Eve went forward a few paces and stopped, showing Robert the curb and watching Robert's left foot probe the curb. 'Goood Girrrl, Evie', 'she knows where the curb is', 'Goood Girrrl'.
'Eve, raah eat.' 'Find the door.' (GDB mini bus) 'Show me.' 'Good Girl, Eve.' 'You know where the door is.' 'Good Girl.' 'Eve siitt.' 'Good Girrrl.' 'Ok, let's get on the bus.'
Downtown, San Rafael, in the comfortable Guide Dogs for the Blind's lounge, sixteen rookie masters brushed, combed and loved up their new canine companions while waiting for one of four instructors to accompany them on a well guided tour of downtown San Rafael, California.
'Ok Robert, warm Eve up with her obedience exercises!'
'Eve, Come.' 'Goood Girrl.' 'Eve, Sittt.' 'Goood Girrl.' 'Sss taaa eee!' 'Eve, Come.' 'Goood Girrl.' 'Eve, Sittt.' 'Eve, Down.' 'Eve, Sittt.' 'Eve, Down.' 'Eve, Sit.' 'Eve, Down.' 'Eve, Sit.' 'Sss taaa eee.' 'What a Gooood Girrrrl, Evie.' 'You're a Goood Puppy.' 'What a good little puppy woman.' Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle... Lick, lick, lick... Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle.
'Ok Evie girl, let's put on your harness.' 'Eve, Come.'
'Eve, find the door, let's go outside.' 'Good Girrrl.' 'Eve, Forward.' 'Goood Girrrl.'
Eve guided Robert down the lounge walkway, toward the curb of busy Fourth Street. What if she doesn't stop? What if we go over the curb and into the traffic? Robert's tension built until he felt like he was lugging a crushing weight on his shoulders.
Eve stopped so that Robert was about one foot from the curb. She patiently waited while he positioned himself even with Eve's shoulder and his left foot explored the curb. Tapping the curb with his left foot, 'Goood, Girrl, Eve', 'Goood Girrrl' - 'she knows where the curb is.'
Robert thought... Please God, have Emily tell us to turn right - there are too many obstacles to our left. 'Robert, have Eve guide you L-E-F-T.' 'Eeeve, lefft.' Eve safely guided him around signs and trash cans, insuring safe clearance. 'Gooood Girrrrrl, Eve', 'Goood Girrrl.' Licketty split, down the sidewalk, past store fronts, they went. Eve stopped at the down curb at the next intersection (Fourth and 'E'). Heavy equipment drowned out the sound of traffic. Robert could not hear the traffic stop moving across his intended path and start moving along his intended path. Emily said, 'Robert, I'm right behind you.' 'Just tell Eve to go F-O-R-W-A-R-D.' 'She doesn't want to get run over.' 'Eve, Forward!' After a short hesitation for the traffic conditions, Eve guided Robert over the down curb and into the intersection. She stopped right in the middle of the intersection. Oh, no!, Robert thought. Emily said, 'Eve just paid for herself, this guy just made a California stop and is turning right in front of you.' 'Natural traffic check.' Eve safely continued across the intersection, stopping quickly for Robert's left foot to find the 'up curb'. Two paces after the 'up curb', Eve stopped, waiting for a directional command. Emily said, 'Robert, Eve is a lot smarter than you are.' 'She knew to stop for a change of direction or forward.' 'You forgot to say 'Halt'.' Robert kneeled down, hugged Eve and kissed her on her side lips. Then, he stood, as tall as a short person can, and said, 'Eve, Forward!'
Eve guided Robert past more store fronts to 'the down curb' of the next intersection ('D' and Fourth). Safely on the other side, two steps past 'the up curb', Robert said, 'Eve, halt!'. Eve stopped for another hug and kiss and compliment and command.
Crossing the third intersection, Robert felt that crushing weight lift off his shoulders and relaxed. Safely on the other side, Eve halted for more affection and the next command. Eve's master realized Evie girl was a well trained, trustworthy, safe sighted assistant and faithful companion.
Eve short stories...
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July 10 1995
Jeannette E. Tompkins, PHS math teacher, and
Eve's puppy sitter for Margo Wilson
564 N Drew West Street
Wendy Lynn Thomas
with career change Journal, career change Jill,
second guide dog Lane, guide dog puppy-in-training Bagel and
retired guide dog Eve.
Eve licking Angus MacKinnon's Face
after Hayden's Graduation.
L-R Robert Marvin Thomas, Angus MacKinnon and Rich Naegeli.
L-R Lane, Eve, Hayden and Flagstaff.
Hayden is guide dog puppy #7.
Flagstaff is guide dog puppy #8.
June 04, 2005
11 years old
Slideshow of Lane and Eve
Foundation for Blind Children
'Eeeeve Forward! La! La! La!'
guided a sweet young lady from Tucson, Arizona from 1995 - 2002.
Robert gets to visit with Elsa's handler when she and he attends Guide
Dogs for the Blind, Graduate functions or Arizona Guide Dog User Group
meetings in Phoenix, Arizona. In 2002, Elsa returned to Guide Dogs
for the Blind, Inc. with terminal medical problems. A puppy raiser
brought Elsa from Tucson, Arizona to Phoenix to catch the puppy truck on
its return trip, with puppies going back for formal training, and retired
/ ill guide dogs headed back for medical attention and/or adoption.
These photos are of Elsa waiting to return on the puppy truck. I
would have brought Eve to the puppy truck to visit her sister - if I had
only known. When the young lady, Elsa's master, sees my Evie she
says, 'Oh, my Elsa, my Elsa, you're my Elsa', as she tenderly loves on
Eve. Elsa is deceased.
Joe Godal, Reading, Pennsylvanna...
Fascinating website. I fell in love with Eve. Wonderful pictures. Bob- I'm glad you lost the pith helmet. It didn't enhance your appearance at all. LOL
We had a woman in our church with a guide dog and I was always fascinated by the dog. I was always getting rebuked 'Don't touch her.' 'She's working.' It was a major feat for me to abstain.
You certainly have been through much, my friend. I can't even begin to imagine. But, it is apparent that your life has been considerably enriched by your canine friends and Sandy. I would be most privileged to resume our friendship, as well. Elena sends her regards. I prayed for you and Sandy this morning (whether you like it or not! lol). Let's stay in touch.
Joe Godal. My mentor, confidante, pastor, seminary teacher, evangelism explosion leader, and friend while attending Church of Redeemer / Redeemer Theological Seminary, Mesa, Arizona.
After life long study and experiences with major flavors of Abrahamic Religions ending with christian calvinist reformation theology /dogma, nagging questions remained including... Who is God? Did God create all the known cosmos and creatures? Is God sovereign over all of 'His' creation, if so, to what extent? Is 'He' sovereign over the affairs of man, if so, to what extent?
Unable to discover substantive evidence; realizing the tremendous leaps of faith required, I rejected all supernatural, including 'the seventeenth savior' / 'sixteenth copycat savior' of the world' - 'Jesus' aka 'Jesus Christ'. Tossing the Abrahamic Religionist noose and all that baggage and tension, I have finally become a much happier rationalist, humanist, freethinker, naturalist, trusting scientific methodology to discovering truth.
I benefitted from my friendship with the altruistic, fun loving, cheerful Joe Godal and his family. Joe is an undaunted, sola scriptura, sola fide, sola gratia, sola Christo (through Christ alone) and sola Deo gloria believer - actually just a sola Christo believer. I earnestly tried all of that but it fit me like Joe's clothes would fit me.
memories of Joe include his deep level of transparency; sincerity; compassion;
honesty; weekly breakfasts on Country Club Drive in Mesa, Arizona; Joe's
officiation of Michelle's, my first born's, 'reformed', 'five point Calvinist',
wedding to my specifications; couples retreats at Friendly Pines in the
Prescott Forest; lengthy theological discussions; prayer partner; traveling
companion; catholic franciscan mountaintop retreat companion; and sleeping
together with garlic breath lol on a huge boulder under Yosemite Falls.
Robert M. Thomas
Academic Professional Faculty Emeritus
Arizona State University