Upcoming Events

Fall PTGDU meeting

The fall PTGDU meeting will be held On Saturday, the fifth of November from ten a m through two p m or the conclusion of business, whichever comes first. Unless otherwise noted, meetings are held in the Dunkin Donuts meeting room at 22 Western Avenue in Augusta. The room is available starting at nine a m for those who want breakfast and for some social time. Driving directions and access information.

Twenty sixteen White Cane Walk

The twenty sixteen White Cane Walk to commemorate White Cane Safety Day is scheduled for Saturday, the fifteenth of October, which is actually White Cane Safety Day this year. Current plans are to complete the walk over the same route as last year. We will meet at the Maine State Library on State in Augusta, Maine around 9:00 and refreshments will be provided. If available, the Presidential and Mayoral proclamations will be read (apparently, the governor no longer issues proclamations). Riley Albair from Disability Rights Maine and a guest from the Secretary of State's office will discuss working to get people with disabilities to vote.

After the festivities in the lobby, the walkers will exit the parking lot onto State Street and go north / left. Walkers will cross Capitol Street and continue to Western Avenue. After turning left onto Western Avenue, we will continue to Sewall Street by Amato's and the Muskie Federal Building. We will turn left onto Sewall Street and walk back to Capitol Street. Once we cross to the same side as the Capitol Complex, we return to the starting point.

Summer PTGDU Meeting

The summer PTGDU meeting will be held On Saturday, the sixth of August from ten a m through two p m or the conclusion of business, whichever comes first. Unless otherwise noted, meetings are held in the Dunkin Donuts meeting room at 22 Western Avenue in Augusta. The room is available starting at nine a m for those who want breakfast and for some social time.

Spring PTGDU Meeting

The February teleconference was held on Saturday, February sixth, twenty sixteen from nine a m until nearly eleven a m.

Previous Events

Fall twenty fifteen meeting notes

It was moved, seconded and passed to set aside the scheduled agenda to discuss incorporation of PTGDU to Guide Dog Users’ of Maine as passed in the May, 2015 meeting. There were a few questions, starting with what the costs might be. Pauline mentioned she believed it was forty dollars for the State of Maine and wasn't sure exactly how much the Federal government charges.

Pauline suggested we should also communicate with GDUI affiliate organizations in other states to share information and resources as other states also incorporate.

There was also a discussion of the Appropriations Committee with Gil Whitmore, Cheryl Peabody and Marj Awalt, all of whom attended a session open for public comments. Once the Department of Labor responds to the questions submitted to the Committee, Cheryl will pass those along to the group.

There was a brief discussion about the new money readers and that they are available through Chris Boynton (Circulation/Outreach and Special Services Coordinator) at the Maine State Library on State Street.

It was moved, seconded and passed to accept the August minutes.

The next discussion concerned a letter originally submitted by Leona McKenna and revised by Lynn Merrill relating to a letter for new guide dog users. It expanded into what other audiences might be appropriate such as veterinarians, trainers and schools. The text follows:
“Pine Tree Guide Dog Users (PTGDU) would like to congratulate you on your new partnership with a guide dog and invite you to be one of our members! Some of us are seasoned guide dog travelers and others are fairly new to the game, however, we all understand the joy, the triumphs, and, yes, sometimes the struggles of working with a new guide whether it be your first or your tenth! so, we want you to know that not only is PTGDU an advocacy group but we are here to support and encourage all fellow guide dog handlers!

Please take a look at our website, join one of our meetings, or give one of our board members a call to learn more.

PTGDU, is the Maine affiliate of guide Dog Users Inc, GDUI, and an affiliate of the American council Of The Blind, ACB. PTGDU is a consumer organization that advocates for well trained guide dog teams and for people who are visually impaired and strives to educate people about guide dogs, guide dog teams, and the laws protecting their rights to public access.

By joining PTGDU, you will also become a member of Guide Dog Users, Inc., as well as The American Council of the Blind but more importantly, you will join our circle of friendship and support of fellow guide dog users in Maine. We look forward to your membership!”

There was also a discussion of Bruce making a letterhead for any future PTGDU and GDUM communications.

Pauline gave the GDUI updates.

The legislative discussion beyond the issues with DBVI included proposed changes to “An Act to Amend the Laws Regarding Service Animal Housing Accommodations” or LD 221/HP 153.

The link is: Elections were held and your 2016 PTGDU Executive Committee is:

Pauline Lamontagne President
Lynn Merrill First Vice President
Gil Whitmore Second Vice President
Patti Sarchi Two year board member until November twenty sixteen
Bud Buzzell Two year board member until November twenty seventeen
Marj Awalt One year board member
Leona McKenna One year board member
Cheryl Peabody Treasurer
Bruce Prindall Secretary
The meeting dates for 2016 will be:

February sixth for the teleconference dial in information to be sent later.
May seventh for the spring meeting
August eighth for the summer meeting
October fifteenth for the White Cane walk and White Cane Safety Day is also Saturday the fifteenth.
November fifth for the fall meeting.


Twenty fifteen White Cane Walk

The annual White Cane was completed on Saturday, the seventeenth of October, 2015. Members and guests met at the Maine State Library on State Street.

Refreshments were served and the Presidential and Mayoral Proclamations were read along with a letter from the Governor. Walkers then existed the Capitol Complex onto State Street and travelled northerly, across Capitol Street to Western Avenue. After turning left at Wester Avenue, the proceeded to Sewall Street before again turning left. Once they crossed Capitol Street, the returned to the Maine State Library.

Summer twenty fifteen meeting notes

The Summer Pine Tree Guide Dog Users' Group meeting was held on August first.

Attending were Pauline Lamontagne and Ava, Lynn Merrill and Libby, Gil Whitmore and Vancouver, Bud Buzzell and Josie, Patti Sarchi, Hugh and Marj Awalt, Cheryl Peabody and Gille Ouelette.

After introductions, Lynn motioned and Bud seconded to accept the agenda. Passed.

Bruce went over the May meeting notes.

Lynn moved and Bruce seconded to accept the notes. Passed.

In Anne's absence, Pauline moved and Lynn seconded to table the treasurer's and membership reports. Passed.

Ann has decided not to seek re-election as treasurer. After Pauline asked for volunteers, Cheryl agreed to assume the position and will be running in November.

There was some confusion over lunch as Bruce read the menu and then got MOST of the items. It was moved by Lynn and seconded by Marj to reimburse Bruce and that in the future, each member will be responsible for their own orders.

There was a discussion of the White Cane Safety Day walk upcoming and the details were finalized. The walk will start and end at the Maine State Library on State Street.

Pauline gave an update about the pending legislation around funding and staffing of the Division of Blind and Visually Impaired.

Lynn Merrill attended the ACB convention held in Dallas earlier this year and also worked the GDUI room. GDUI received an American of the Blind award for having the most new members.

GDUI is still working on an issue in California where they are requiring ALL trainers who work in California to do work with follow up visits must be licensed in California.

GDUI has a new election system that is secure. GDUI are now in compliance with the recent Washington, D. C. regulations for non-profits after by-law changes were made. Washington, D. C. is where GDUI is incorporated.

Also at the annual meeting in Dallas was an affiliate round up. There were no issues that came up.

There was also discussion about an approach to PTGDU filing for non-profit status to being with a name change and that way, only a single year of financials would be adequate. We should do much better tracking financials and meeting minutes.

There was a brief discussion of how PTGDU operated un GDUI's tax ID and why it was changed.

Leona wrote a letter to dog school graduates to encourage new members. She may also send the letter to veterinarians.

Lynn motioned and Bud seconded for the board to proceed with incorporating and to be sure members are kept updated. Passed.

There was discussion about a new acronym / name for the group. After, Lynn moved and Bud seconded to use Guide Dog Users' of Maine or GDUM. Passed.

There was discussion of 92 Moose, a local radio station having a Sunday morning talk with Lynn and Pauline about PTGDU and the upcoming White Cane Safety Day walk.

Cheryl volunteered to run for treasurer in November.

Bruce and Hugh are working on the nominating committee for the annual elections in November.

There will be an Empowerment Forum at TB Celebrations in Waterville on August thirteenth. The governor and the commissioner of Rehab Services will be in attendance. Registration is through C. A. R. E. S.
C.A.R.E.S. website is

The next meeting will be on Saturday, the seventh of November at Dunkin' Donuts on Western Avenue.

It was moved and seconded to adjourn. Passed.

Twenty Fifteen Spring Fling

The PTGDU Spring Fling was held on May second two thousand and fifteen from nine a m to three p m. The location was the Senator Inn on Western Avenue in Augusta.

Guest speakers included Mike McClellan, the executive director of the State Independent Living Council (who is also a state legislator) and Becky Barnes from Guiding Eyes.

Meeting notes to be posted.

Twenty fifteen February teleconference

Meeting notes to be posted.

2014 White Cane Walk

The annual White Cane Walk to celebrate the contributions made by blind and visually impaired Americans was held on Saturday, eighteenth of October, 2014.

Walkers gathered at Damons on Western Avenue and were served coffee and donuts by Karen McGillvrey from Tim Horton's. Karen and her husband have sponsored the walk for the last few years.

After listening to John McMahon, the director of the Blind and Visually Impaired, participants travelled down the southern side of Western Avenue with most reaching the Augusta Plaza at 52 Western Avenue before returning to Damons for lunch.


Pine Tree Guide Dog Users (PTGDU) is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to promote the well-being of dog guide users in Maine. Founded in 1997 with some financial support from the American Council of the Blind of Maine and a lot of energy and hard work from our founding members, PTGDU includes folks who are dog guide handlers, folks who raise puppies destined to become dog guides, and folks who are interested in working dogs of all kinds.

Pine Tree Guide Dog Users is an affiliate of the American Council of the Blind, the American Council of the Blind, and of the Guide Dog Users, Inc.


The Pine Tree Guide Dog Users hold quarterly meetings in various locations in Maine. Meetings are scheduled on the first Saturday of February, May, August, and November. Meetings generally consist of a luncheon with a guest speaker followed by a business meeting. All members of PTGDU are encouraged to attend our meetings. If you have an issue that you would like to discuss, please contact our President, Pauline Lamontagne, at


Our members come from throughout the State of Maine and their dog guides have trained at a number of the many dog guide schools located in the United States. Here are some of the schools at which our PTGDU members have trained:


Guide Dogs of America

Guide Dogs for the Blind

Guide Dog Foundation

Guiding Eyes for the Blind

Southeastern Guide Dogs

The Seeing Eye


So, what's it like to work and live with a dog guide? Read the writings of some of our members and others on this subject.


Find links to all sorts of information about guide dogs on this page.


Find links to all sorts of information about resources for people with disabilities on this page.


Show off the Pine Tree Guide Dog Users (PTGDU) logo!

Our yellow lab in harness printed over the state of Maine looks great on our high quality tee's and sweat shirts! PTGDU T-shirts are 100% pre-shrunk cotton:
Adult sizes $15 (S, M, L, XL); Childrens size $13 (M, L)

PTGDU Sweat shirts are heavy duty 50% cotton-50% polyester:
Available in adult sizes only $25 (M, L, XL)

(All prices include shipping and handling)

To order, send check or money order payable to Pine Tree Guide Dog Users' Group to:

Cheryl Peabody
Six Lee Street
Winslow, Maine 04901-7251

For additional information, send Bruce an email.


If you live in Maine and are interested in raising a puppy destined to become a guide dog, you can contact Pat Webber at 207-338-5520 or

Directions to Dunkin' Donuts in Augusta, Maine

For those arriving via the Maine Turnpike / Route 95, take exit 109A. After both exits merge, stay to the right to go east onto Western Avenue / Route 202. Continue for roughly one and a half miles. Just after your sixth traffic light Sewall Street, Dunkin' Donuts is on the right. For those arriving via State Street OR west via Route 202, take the Western Avenue exit and Dunkin Donuts will be visible on your left about one tenth of a mile up. There is a short side street between Domino's Pizza and Dunkin' Donuts with parking near the drive through. The rear entrance has two sets of double doors, both opening to the right as you enter. Immediately after the second door, the bathrooms are on the left. The ladies room is to the left and the men's to the right. The meeting room is on the left about six feet after the bathroom area. Return to the upcoming events


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This web page revised on August second twenty sixteen.