PINE TREE GUIDE DOG USERS
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Pine Tree Guide Dog User's Group will Saturday the fourth of May.
It is tentatively scheduled for Pat's Pizza located at 292 State Street in Augusta, Maine. The times and agenda will be announced prior to the meeting.
There will be no spring fling this year.
Draft Minutes of the February PTGDU teleconference meeting
A teleconference call was held on Feb. 13, 2013, by the Pine Tree Guide Dog Users.
Present were: President Pauline Lamontagne, First Vice President Lynn Duplesis, 2nd Vice President Gil Whitmore, Board members: Cheryl Peabody, Patty Sarchi, Marjie Awalt and Bud Buzzell. Excused were Secretary Bruce Prindall and Treasurer Anne Poland.
Introductions were done.
Lynn introduced Libby, her new guide dog from Fidelco. Libby seems to be a very good guide dog.
Due to illness, the Secretary's report for Nov. was tabled and will be shared when the draft is available from Bruce.
The Treasurer's report was also tabled and will be shared once it is submitted by Anne. Anne will be able to indicate whether the $200 scholarship which was approved in Nov. has been provided to Amanda Frost, the $100 donation towards Bill Irwin's presentation sponsored by the Mentoring Support Group in Nov. 2012, and reimbursement for the driver who had brought Patty and Bud to the Nov. meeting at Pat's Pizza. In Nov., , the PTGDU's savings account was around $3,000. before these new expenses were incurred.
Anne in an e-mail dated Feb. 1, 2013, had indicated that 15 members have paid their PTGDU dues for 2013. She is still trying to follow up with individuals who have not renewed.
The $8 per person of the $15 must be submitted to Guide Dog Users Inc. (GDUI) by Feb. 15 along with PTGDU's membership list. During the GDUI update, Lynn D., who is the GDUI Treasurer as well as PTGDU's 1st Vice President, shared that the dues checks that are received from State affiliates will be held until the banking issues for GDUI are resolved. The GDUI President Laurie Mehta , has secured pro bono services from a D. C. law firm and the attorneys are assisting with not only banking issues but also advising the GDUI Board to ensure that it is in compliance with its Articles of Incorporation and D. C. statutes.
The new GDUI affiliate liaison is Dana Gantt from Ga. The next Affiliate meeting is scheduled for Thurs., March 14, 2013 at 8 p.m. All PTGDU Board members are invited and call in numbers will be provided.
Pauline has communicated with the paralegal from Hanley and Associates; Hanley and Associates is assisting PTGDU in filing for its non profit status with Maine's Secretary of State's office. The PTGDU Board is in agreement with PTGDU's maintaining its affiliation with GDUI. Based on what the paralegal has shared, PTGDU should maintain the affiliation language in its Constitution and Bylaws. At this time, the Board decided not to approve money for a post office box so the business address will be the President's home address. When the President changes, the address change and filing fee will need to be submitted to the Secretary of State's office. Cheryl shared that she had had to make such a change for ACB of Maine.
Pauline will follow up with Hanley and Associates. The process has been delayed by the challenges at GDUI. No action is currently being taken regarding PTGDU's becoming a 501(C)(3) non profit organization recognized by the IRS.
The PTGDU Board voted not to hold a Spring Fling in May. There was one dissenting vote by Patty to this motion. A regular membership meeting will be held on the first Sat. in May in Augusta-possibly at Pat's Pizza.
Preliminarily a committee with Cheryl, Gil, and Lynn has been set up to explore what will constitute a possible Fall Fling. Some of the questions that will be considered are: Will the White Cane Awareness Day be separate or part of the Fall Fling? Will ACB of Maine hold its convention at the same time and location as PTGDU? Patty has indicated her willingness to participate with the committee members in a teleconference call re: her suggestion that at least one of the activities for the Fall Fling possibly involve a topic which would interest individuals who are deaf blind.
Legislative updates were provided re: LD 765. John McMahon, the Director for DBVI, usually provides information to the Blind Forum which Lynn usually forwards to PTGDU members. Currently, it appears that the new budget does not have funding for several of the positions that were approved last fall.
Patty indicated that she had testified against $20,000 cuts that had been proposed to the Center for Deafness and Hard of Hearing. She said that the testimony had had a positive effect. That is, the $20,000 cuts are not supposed to occur.
The Board indicated support for PTGDU's following up with Maine legislators re: Dusty's Law which N. J. and Pa. have pursued re: having criminal sanctions (not just civil remedies) for dog assaults on guide dogs. GDUI's Legislative Committee is in the process of preparing a template re: Dusty's law.
Lynn shared that she had attended the 2 day Engineering conference in Augusta. She was the only consumer. The focus of the conference was traffic signals. A positive follow up to her attending is that Lynn and a mobility instructor met with an Augusta city engineer and an audible traffic signal will be placed in her neighborhood at a crossing which will make the crossing potentially safer to navigate.
Pauline reported that she and Eunice M. have been playing phone tag re: the status of people with disabilities being able to get transportation to and from shelters. Efforts to connect and determine what the next steps may be will continue.
Lynn D. will send out a Save the Date for a 2 day Emergency Management meeting in April. Please notify Lynn and Pauline if someone from PTGDU will be able to attend and represent PTGDU at this April meeting.
Regarding the PTGDU website, Bruce will be sharing changes to the current website. He expects to have two versions-one text and one regular website.
Pauline will also e-mail Bruce requesting that the PTGDU Board member list be updated, that the May PTGDU meeting date (May 4-the first Sat. in May) have a save the date, and the Feb. 2, 2013 agenda/topics be archived.
Lynn and Cheryl noted that they have discussed that ACB (national) sometimes gets $5 more than once when an individual belongs to more than 1 affiliate. That is, an individual who is a member of PTGDU and ACB of Maine has part of his/her dues going to ACB from each Affiliate. It is not known at this time whether ACB will do anything about this situation. Cheryl and Lynn will update if and when there is additional information.
Lynn indicated that during the past year she has not done any new trainings with hospital/dr. office staff re: staff meeting people who are blind and/or their guide dog teams in a medical setting.
The teleconference adjourned at 12:10 p.m.
Press release issued for the 2012 White Cane Walk
Nearly two dozen people participated in the annual White Cane Walk in Augusta on Saturday, October 13, 2012. This year, walkers with either white canes or guide dogs traveled along Bangor Street, which has been the scene of several pedestrian/vehicle accidents in the last year.
The walk was graciously and generously co-hosted by Karen MacGillvray at Tim Horton's, who provided hot drinks and pastries and by Rod McKenna at Aubuchon Hardware who provided cold drinks and hot dogs.
Walkers represented several local and state organizations including Pine Tree Guide Dog Users, The American Council of the Blind of Maine, and Lions. Along with many walkers from Augusta, some traveled from Clinton, Fairfield, and Winslow.
The Honorable William Stokes, Mayor of the City of Augusta, proclaimed Saturday, October 13, 2012, as White Cane Safety Day throughout the City of Augusta and urged all citizens to obey Maine’s White Cane Law by yielding to Maine’s citizens who use a White Cane or a Guide Dog while crossing Augusta’s roadways. Mayor Stokes walked with the white cane and guide dog users, gaining first-hand experience of how people who are blind or visually impaired are able to navigate busy streets and sidewalks with the assistance of their canes or guides. At the conclusion of the walk, Mayor Stokes stepped up to the grill at the Aubuchon Hardware Store and assisted Manager Rod McKenna in preparing hot dogs, chips, and drinks for all of the participants.
John McMahon, director of the Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired in the Department of Labor, also spoke to the group about the importance of the national and local recognition of contributions made by the visually impaired. He asked all to consider attending an upcoming workshop on accessible pedestrian signals that will be held at the Armory on November 7, 2012.
Door prizes were generously donated from Pat's Pizza, Tim Horton's and others in the Augusta area.
The annual walk is intended as a reminder that every citizen should be aware that the law requires that motorists must yield to a blind person carrying a White Cane or using a Guide Dog.
- Augusta City Council Discusses Pedestrian Traffic
Recently, Lynn Duplessis and Queeg, Pauline LaMontagne and Anouk and Bruce Prindall attended an Augusta City Council meeting where one of the topics was pedestrian safety.
Lynn had an opportunity to speak to the council. Below is an excerpt from the Kennebec Journal On Line
The accidents prompted Mahaleris, as well as Lynn Duplessis, a resident with visual impairment who frequently negotiates the busy city streets with her 12-year-old guide dog, Queeg, to meet with councilors Thursday night to talk about pedestrian safety.
They're looking for ways to prevent more tragedies.
"It is especially difficult to remain safe on Augusta's streets" for someone with visual impairment, said Duplessis, first vice president of the Pine Tree Guide Dog Users. "I'm extremely capable of getting around the city with my cane or guide dog. The problem is the drivers. They pay absolutely no attention."
"When pedestrians are crossing, the drivers don't stop. They're on the phone or they just have tunnel vision and blow right through."
- A copy of the PTGDU membership application
form (in RTF format) is now available for download.
- Useful Information For Air Travelers With A Guide Dog: Air Travel Advice
for Guide Dog Handlers, a document originally issued by the GDUI Legislative Committee in
December, 2010, was recently updated. The updated version of that document now appears in the
GUIDE DOG INFORMATION AND RESOURCES section of this website.
What To Expect If You're Blind Or
Visually Impaired And Use A Service Dog, a complementary document
issued by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in
November, 2010 also appears there.
- A new page, Disability.Gov
Resources, has been added to the PTGDU website.
On that page, you'll find an overview of and links to the different
sections of a Federal government website that provides links to
thousands of resources for people with disabilities.
- PTGDU president Pauline Lamontagne reports on her January 2010
Caribbean cruise and offers practical advice for first-time guide dog
team cruisers. You can read Pauline's story,
Time Cruising With A Guide Dog" as well as many other stories
and articles in the "Our
Stories" section of this web site.
- Bobbi LaChance, a PTGDU member, tells of her presentation about
guide dogs to students of the Poland Springs Academy. You can read
Bobbi's story, "What
To Do On A Rainy Day" as well as many other stories and
articles in the "Our Stories"
section of this web site.
- Hope Paulos, a PTGDU member, recently completed a half marathon in
Florida. Listen to Hope’s
interview discussing the event on the ACB Radio program
"Blind Like Me" in the "Our
Stories" section of this web site.
- Sue Martin adds to the collection of PTGDU members' growing number
of articles about their guides in
Crosses the Rainbow Bridge", an article about the passing of
her third guide.
- PTGDU member Anja Geleney joins the ranks of members who contribute
stories about their guide dogs. Read "From
Cane to Guide Dog" in our Stories section.
- Information about accommodations for service animals at Fenway Park
as well as State of Maine sales tax exemptions has been posted in the
DOG INFORMATION AND RESOURCES section of this web site.
- The current PTGDU Board of Directors:
- President - Pauline Lamontagne
- 1st Vice President - Lynn Duplessis
- 2nd Vice President - Gilbert Whitmore
- 2 year Board Member - Patti Sarchi
- 2 year Board Member - Marjie Awalt
- 1 year Board Member - Cheryl Peabody
- 1 year Board Member - Bud Buzzell
- Treasurer - Anne Poland
- Secretary - Bruce Prindall
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 of Maine, 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 email@example.com.
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
So, what's it like to work and live with a dog guide? Read the
of some of our members and others on this subject.
GUIDE DOG INFORMATION AND RESOURCES
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 to:
P.O. Box 267
Rockland, ME 04841
For additional information, send
Ferne 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
The space for the PTGDU website is generously donated by the good folks
This website is designed to be accessible to users of assistive
technologies such as screen readers and screen magnifiers, to persons who
use dial-up modems, and to persons who use older technologies. The website
does this by trying to comply with the World Wide Web Consortium's Web
Accessibility Guidelines. If you experience any problems with the use of
this website or if you have recommendations for additions or corrections
to its content, please contact Lynn Duplessis at
This web page revised 7/29/2012.