Until the Cows Come Home

I recently did a post about cows and milking time. You can read it HERE if you like. My friend, Gargoyle Bruce, commented that I could read that book until the cows came home! I thought that was funny, but it reminded me that we have a book on our shelf called — Until the Cows Come Home! I love those Serendipity kind of moments!

Until the cows come home is kind of a funny thing to say. In the book, Milking Time, the cows came home every morning and every evening to be milked. But I think that maybe a really long time ago cows didn’t come home so often and now to say “until the cows come home” means a really, really long time. As in – “I’ll be waiting for some rain until the cows come home.”

IMG_1572Until the Cows Come Home
written and illustrated with hand-colored photographs
by Patricia Mills
published by North-South Books in 1993

This is a lovely, quiet picture story of life in the country. Barn and hayfields, sheep and bluebirds, barns full of stacked wood and barns full of corncobs. Grapes on the vines and vegetables in the garden. Flowers in the fields and a quiet river. Lazy, quiet visions – all “until the cows come home.”

There is a note from the author in the back of the book that tells how she took two years to photograph the life around her at her cabin retreat in West Virgina. (It took until the cows came home!) She says of the book – “I hope that in a quiet way this book will open children to the simple pleasures and the great beauty of unspoiled rural life.”

IMG_1574You should check this book out and see for yourself!

Here are the cows coming home in Ft Worth, Texas!

I hope you have a peaceful week filled with quiet pleasures -
until the cows come home!
Your friend
Rhythm
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IVAN

I recently read a most wonderful book called The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. You can read my review of that book HERE. I really liked that book a lot! And a lot of other folks did too. It was (and still is!) a very popular book. Everyone who reads it falls in love with the gorilla, Ivan. The One and Only Ivan is a fictional story about a REAL gorilla. Ms Applegate decided that she needed to tell the REAL story of Ivan. In a picture book.

IMG_1538IVAN
THE REMARKABLE TRUE STORY
of the
SHOPPING MALL GORILLA
by Katherine Applegate
illustrated by G. Brian Karas
published by Clarion Books in 2014

A non-fiction book suitable for ages 4 and up

Themes – gorillas, animal welfare and conservation

It begins -
In leafy calm,
in gentle arms,
a gorilla’s life began.

This is a powerful story for all the ages – young and old alike. It is a true story of a gorilla who was born in the wilds of Africa and brought to the United States to be a sideshow attraction at a shopping mall in Tacoma, Washington. The book begins with a tale of a baby gorilla’s idyllic life in the jungle with Mom and Dad and siblings and cousins. Then the baby gorilla finds himself in a dark box going on a long journey. In the beginning of his new life he was loved and coddled just like a human baby. He wore clothes and ate human food. This was long ago in the 1960s and people evidently didn’t know any better. They didn’t think about whether they were doing the right thing by this little gorilla.

IMG_1541After time, Ivan got to be too big for his fairy tale life and he was moved to a giant cement cage at the shopping mall. There was a window through which he could watch the humans who stared back at him. Long, lonely, boring years passed and then people started wondering whether the mall gorilla was at all happy about his circumstances. These people started to protest and complain and eventually, after 27 years at the mall, Ivan was moved to the Atlanta Zoo where he spent his last years with grass and trees and other gorillas. He died in 2012 – probably a happy gorilla. He was 50 years old.

Ivan’s story as told by Ms Applegate, is pure poetry. It is a brutal story, but one filled with hope and love. Ms Applegate’s words are lyrical and Rhythmic. Mr Karas’s illustrations are softened realism. Magical.

At the back of the book there is more information about Ivan and a letter from one of his keepers. There is also a list of resources for further study.

This is an incredible little book that everyone should read – along with Ms Applegate’s fictional version, The One and Only Ivan.

HERE’s a great interview with Ms Applegate.

And the original NY Times article that sparked her imagination.

Find out more about the book and see a trailer HERE.

Find out more about Gorilla conservation HERE at the International Gorilla Conservation website.

And then go visit your local zoo and study the gorillas!

Now you might want to visit Ms Susanna Hill’s blog HERE for a list of Perfect Picture Books and some great resources to go with! It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday!!

Ivan at the B & I Shopping Mall

Ivan at Zoo Atlanta -

May your days be filled with love and understanding
Your library friend
Rhythm

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Milking Time

IMG_2410There are quite a few animals that live here at the 7 Acre Wood. Dogs and cats and chickens and guineas and goats and a pony. And a couple of donkeys across our fence at the neighbors. But no cows. No cows at all. I don’t know much about cows. I’ve seen them here and there, but have never actually known any. But lots of my reader friends know about cows. Many of them have cows at home. Many of them show cows at county fairs. They probably know more about cows than about dogs! Imagine that?!

Well, we came across a lovely picture book about cows. Dairy cows. Where milk comes from. I don’t know much about milk either. I don’t believe I’ve ever tasted the stuff. But milk is another thing that my reader friends know all about.

IMG_1529It’s Milking Time
by Phyllis Alsdurf
illustrated by Steve Johnson & Lou Fancher
published by Random House in 2012

It begins -
Every morning, every night,
it’s milking time.

This refrain is sung throughout the story. Milking cows is hard work. This is the story of a young girl helping her Dad with the milking duties. She brings the cows in from the pasture, and helps Dad get the barn ready for them so they can be fed and milked. She feeds the pen full of little calves. And helps with all the clean-up chores. It’s kind of a love story – love between girl and Dad and love for the cows who provide the milk.

IMG_1531The text is sing-song and lyrical. There seems to be some Rhythm in milking! “Cuds a-chewing, tails a-swatting, hooves a-pounding, into the barnyard they trudge.” Pure poetry. The illustrations are really lovely, soft and realistic. It’s a soft, quiet kind of book.

This book was a big hit with my readers. They chanted along with “every morning and every night.” They all knew what that was all about.

This is another entry in Gargoyle Bruce’s Small Fry Safari Reading Challenge. I believe it fits in Category #3 – A book with a specific time in the title. You can find out more about this challenge by visiting The Bookshelf Gargoyle HERE. You’ll find the whole list of categories and all the other entries.

You can find out more about dairy farming at the Dairy Farming website HERE.

And did you know that cows like jazz?

I wish for you a tall glass of milk with a little jazz on the side
every morning and every night!
Sweet dreaming to you
Your friend
Rhythm
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Amazing Babes

This has been a week for books in the mail!!! And that mail lady has brought some fine ones! I had a hard time deciding which one to talk about first!

My final choice is a book that I won!!!! :) In a drawing!!!! :) From Danielle Davis at This Picture Book Life!!! :) And it’s signed by the author and the illustrator!!!!  :)

IMG_1526Amazing Babes
A Picture Book for Kids & Adults
words by Eliza Sarlos
drawings by Grace Lee
published by Scribe Publishing in 2013

suitable for maybe 2nd grade and all the way up!
younger ones might enjoy the illustrations

Theme – incredible women! Girl Power!

It begins –
As I grow ——
I want the COURAGE of Aung San Suu Kyi

On our bookshelves here at home we have LOTS of books about “amazing babes.” Women who made adventure part of their lives. Women who inspired generations of young folks with their spirit and heart and courage. Women who left their signatures in the annals of history. My Mom Person says that I am an “amazing babe” in my own right! That’s an interesting thought!

This picture book, Amazing Babes, is a most uniquely, incredible book that celebrates the lives of twenty incredible women. I don’t know how Ms Sarlos decided on these particular twenty, but it is a diverse and fascinating group.

From the back of the book — “Amazing Babes was originally written as a gift from a mother to her son. ……All the women in this book had the ideas, determination, and creativity to bring about change in the world, and in learning about their stories we honour their achievements.”

This is a BIG picture book – 12″ x 10″. The words are BIG, the pictures are BIG, the inspiration is BIG! Each page spread has a picture of a uniquely inspirational woman and a brief note about what she represents to the world – from courage, to compassion, to conviction, to heart, to vision, to fervour, and more. Some of the names are familiar to me. I’ve heard them talked about. But some of the names were totally new. To me, anyway.

At the back of the book there are brief bios of all the women. It all makes you yearn for the whole story! This book will have readers scrambling to find out more! Oh! I can envision the discussions that will be happening! What can be learned from these women? What other women could belong with this group? Who do you know that could be considered “an amazing babe?!”

IMG_1528The illustrations are incredible as well. The pictures, the words, the design of it all! Perfection! A PERFECT PICTURE BOOK for Perfect Picture Book Friday!!

I first learned about this book from Ms Davis at This Picture Book Life. She did an inspiring review about it there and you can visit her HERE.

The book has it’s own website! with more information and a video. Check it out HERE.

A young lady who is featured in the book is Tavi Gevinson who started a style blog at the age of 12 — Here she is with Jimmy Fallon —

Now you might want to visit another inspiring woman, who is not in this book, but maybe should be! — Ms Susanna Leonard Hill who has her own incredible blog where she keeps a list of Perfect Picture Books and some great resources to go with. This is, after all, Perfect Picture Book Friday!!!! :D

And now you can go forth and conquer the world!!!!!
Your wagging friend
Rhythm
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My Feet Are Laughing

My name is Rhythm. The dictionary says that Rhythm is a regular repeated sound or movement. Rhythms can be found in every bit of life. In music, in poetry, in every breath that you take. My Mom Person says Rhythm is the perfect name for me. I love to sing and dance and spread the Rhythms of Joy.

IMG_3726I have come across a lovely book that is all about Rhythm.

IMG_1516My Feet Are Laughing
by Lissette Norman
pictures by Frank Morrison
published by Farrar Straus Giroux in 2006

The title itself is Rhythm to my ears! Laughing feet! Can’t you just picture it?! Feet making a Rhythm all their own?!

This is a book of poetry. Sixteen poems that give voice to the Rhythm of a young girl’s life. A Dominican American girl living in Harlem. Some of the poems are rhyming poems, some are not. But each one has a special Rhythm that flows through the words.

The first poem is called Too Much. Sadie, the young girl with the laughing feet, tells how her Aunt says that little girls should be seen and not heard, so she’s not allowed to join in when the women folk get together to laugh and tell stories. But she knows that one day they’ll want to hear her stories because she just has too much to say.

IMG_1519And she has plenty to say in these sixteen poems! About laughing feet, and little sisters who ask too many questions. About Grandmothers in Heaven and moving to Grandmother’s house with a backyard. About Mami and Pop who don’t live together anymore but are still friends. About her hair that she doesn’t want corralled because she’s afraid it won’t be able to sing. About Love – all kinds of Love. About being afraid of the dark. About being a poet – “the coolest job in the world.” About giggle jars where you store your giggles. And about dancing the merengue with Mami and little sister, Julie.

Mr Morrison’s artwork is full of Rhythm, too! You can see Sadie’s feet laughing and her hair singing! The pictures themselves are singing and dancing right off the page. Perfect for Ms Norman’s lyrical words!

I am submitting this review to The Bookshelf Gargoyle’s Small Fry Safari Readers Challenge. You can find out more about this challenge by visiting the Gargoyle’s website HERE. There are eight different categories to be fulfilled. I am entering this book in Category # 5 — A book with something that comes in pairs in the title.

For your dancing and listening pleasure, I present the “Merengue Dancing Dog!”
I DARE you not to have Laughing Feet after watching this!

Now go forth with LAUGHTER!
Your dancing friend
Rhythm
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:) World Smile Day :) 2014 :)

world smile dayToday, the first Friday in October, is World Smile Day!!! A day set aside for smiling and happiness and being kind to one another. The idea is to create a ripple effect of kindness. One person passing it on to another and another and ………..

I love ripple effects. I know that when I wag my tail at school, every person in that building feels it somehow. Awesome!

This world famous Smiley Face was created by Mr Harvey Ball in 1963. FIFTY years ago!!!! For a history of Mr Ball’s creation you can visit the Smile Day website HERE.

For my part today, I’m going to share with you a fun little smiley book –

IMG_1448Smile
by John A. Rowe
a minedition book
published by Penguin Young Readers Group in 2008

suitable for ages 3 and up

Themes – smiles, kindness, joy

It begins –
Once upon a time in a far away land there lived a king who never, ever smiled. He was called  King Grumpy.

The cover of this book features the cutest little pup with the happiest little grin. Greatness!!

But back to King Grumpy — he rules in Grumpy Land. The Queen is Grumpy and the five princes are all grumpy. Everyone in the land is grumpy. It’s a dark, dark place. Then, little Prince number six is born and chaos ensues! There is something wrong with his little face!!! Call all the doctors in the land! The pup is ill! He might be contagious!!

IMG_1450And contagious he was!! That strange thing on his face happens to be a smile! And over time it spread throughout the castle and then throughout the land. The King started smiling, then the Queen and all the little princes, then all the folks everywhere became happy! Light and Joy filled the land. Prince Smiley “reminded people how to smile again.”

Smiling IS contagious! Try it! Spread the JOY!!

Please visit the website for the Harvey Ball World Smile Foundation for more ways of spreading JOY throughout the world.

Here is an inspiring little story that I came across. It will make you smile!

I have a friend, Ms Barbara Gruener, who is all about Smiles and Kindness and Spreading Joy. She has a website called Corner on Character and every post she puts out there is an inspiration and a call to spread kindness. She recently had a post about a little girl at her school who wanted to spread some of that JOY. Read the story HERE. PLEASE read the story! And then go get some sticky notes. You’ll be glad you did!

big_smiley_face_sticky_notepadYou can find some Smiley Face Sticky Notes at Cafepress HERE.

Make some of these yummy, smiley cookies! You might even think about using bacon instead of chocolate!

Smiley-Face-chocolate-chip-cookiesThe World Smile Day website has a whole list of activities and printable materials to help you celebrate this big day.

Your next stop should be to visit Susanna Hill’s blog where she keeps a list of Perfect Picture Books and lots of useful and fun resources! This post is brought to you by — Perfect Picture Book Friday!

And here’s a little song to sing you on your way! The Smiley Face Song from Mr Harvey Ball! He’s got some Rhythm!

Now go out and spread some joy!
One little SMILE at a time!
Your wagging, smiling friend
Rhythm
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A Poke in the I

My good buddy, Bruce the Bookshelf Gargoyle posed a reading challenge at the beginning of this year. He calls it the Small Fry Safari KidLit Readers Challenge. You can find out more about it HERE on his blog. There are eight categories to this challenge. I have only completed THREE of these quests! So I need to get on the ball! (I would love to do that, if I could only find it!!)

So, without further ado, I present to you a most fabulous book that I would like to serve up for category #8. A book with some form of wordplay in the title.

IMG_1404A Poke in the I
a collection of concrete poems
selected by Paul B. Janeczko
illustrated by Chris Raschka
published by Candlewick Press in 2005

This is a book that we found at my favorite shopping spot – Half-Price Books. And the book is signed by the “selector” Mr Janeczko!!!! Can you imagine giving up a fine book that has been signed by the author!!! Crazy! It is signed “To Jack and Jessie – Keep reading. Paul B Janeczko.” At least I think that is what it says. His writing is a little hard to decipher. Poor Jack and Jessie. I wonder if they themselves gave up this book or if they know what became of it. I wonder about these kinds of things.

Copy of IMG950653But on to the book!! A book of concrete poems!!! I find these types of poems most fascinating!! I have written about other concrete poem books HERE and HERE. This book is particularly fine because it is illustrated by one of my favorite illustrators, Mr Raschka. His quirky style is well suited for these types of poems. Concrete poems are “a selection of words arranged into a particular shape.”  They are “visual poetry.” Hence the title of this book – A Poke in the I!

IMG_1406The book contains a feast of 30 concrete poems from a number of clever poets. The book begins with a note from the editor that explains what a concrete poem is. At the end of the book there is a section that tells where all the poems came from originally and some little bits about Mr Janeczko and Mr Raschka.

This is a most fabulously unique experience of a book and I’ll stick all four feet in the air for a waving High Sixteen!! Go check it out!

You can visit Mr Janeczko’s website HERE.

Mr Raschka on illustrating Rhythmic books -
http://www.teachingbooks.net/author_collection.cgi?id=39

And Mr Janeczko with A Poke In the I

Now you may go forth and create!
But don’t poke yourself in the I!!
Your library friend
Rhythm
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Jacques Cousteau

I LOVE the water! I love swimming in it and splashing in it and diving in it. Ocean, lake, river, swimming pool. Water is glorious!!

My Mom Person loves the water as well. When she was a little girl – and even a big girl – she worshiped a French man named Jacques Cousteau. She watched him on TV, she saw him in the movies, she read all his books.

We recently found, at our library!, a picture book biography of Mr Cousteau. The Mom Person was very excited!

IMG_1380The Fantastic Undersea Life of
JACQUES COUSTEAU
by Dan Yaccarino
published by Alfred A. Knopf in 2009

This is a non-fiction book suitable for 1st grade and up

Themes – Jacques Cousteau, oceans, sea life, conservation

It begins -
Jacques Cousteau loved the sea.
He spent his whole life exploring it.
The ocean was the most incredible
place he’d ever seen, and he wanted
to share its beauty with the world.

This book is a great introduction to the life of Mr Cousteau. Mr Yaccarino’s illustrations have the feel of the ocean about them. In 32 pages, he manages to present a life lived large. We learned about the trials Mr Cousteau overcame as a young man. We learned about his creative genius, about his aquatic inventions that enabled him and his followers to explore the depths of the ocean.  And we learned about his passion for the sea and all the creatures in the sea. I could feel his passion as we read the book. The book offers up quotations from Mr Cousteau interspersed with the text and the lovely pictures.

“When one man, for whatever reason, has the opportunity to lead an extraordinary life, he has no right to keep it to himself.”

IMG_1383Mr. Cousteau did enjoy a most extraordinary life and he did share that life generously. And now a new generation of youngsters can dream about swimming the ocean depths. I only wish that he had thought to invent a diving suit for a dog!

This book would fit in nicely with a unit on oceans or conservation. If you live close to a body of water it would be a fun field trip to go and study what you can see at the water’s edge. I know in my river there are always tiny fish and strange bugs and frogs and sometimes turtles. You might want to watch one of Mr Cousteau’s films.

Here is a little tidbit of what you might see from one of his films –

Here is a tidbit just for fun!

And now you might want to venture over to Ms Susanna Hill’s blog to find her list of Perfect Picture Books and lots of good resources for using those books! Happy Friday!!

Your friend in the water
Rhythm
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The Bravest Knight

Sometimes when I go to school we talk about jobs that dogs have, and about my job as a therapy dog and library dog, and about how I was headed towards being a guide dog but ended up taking a different path.

CIMG3393This sometimes leads to talk about what kids want to do when they grow up. When my Mom Person was little she wanted to be a horse. What?! I don’t think that she has achieved this goal yet. I don’t really understand this concept of “growing up.” The idea of things in the “future” is a little murky to me. My days are centered around the here and now. The future means dinner and maybe some tennis. And those dreams are for NOW! Most little kids think a lot like me. They don’t seem to know how to dream about “some day.” But those bigger kids DO! And they tend to have BIG dreams! Kids are so funny! They ALL say that they want to have lots of dogs! Then there is talk about being super heroes and conquering bad guys. Or being sports stars. Lots of kids want to be firemen. Some want to be teachers. Some want to be farmers or ranchers or rodeo stars. It’s fun to listen to imaginations going wild. Where will those imaginings take them?

We read a book this week about big dreams. About a young boy, who is obviously quite a  reader, looking for adventures.

IMG_1310The Bravest Knight
by Mercer Mayer
published by Dial Books for Young Readers in 2007
originally published by The Dial Press in 1968 under the title Terrible Troll

This is a fiction book suitable for ages 4 and up

Themes would be fairy tales, knights, dreaming big, doing good deeds

It begins
I wish I lived a thousand years ago.
There would be beautiful castles, kings and queens,
good knights, bad knights, fair ladies in danger,
evil dragons from the mountains, and a giant troll
that roars and eats anything.

Are those not the words of a big dreamer! This boy imagines himself being the squire of the bravest knight in the kingdom. I’m impressed that he knows what a squire is! My readers sure didn’t!! See what kinds of doors a book can open?! Anyway, the boy squire envisions all the tasks that he would have to do as a squire and all of the adventures he would be a part of. He would help the knight in times of trouble and the knight would help him. There is quite a twist at the end of this tale that I am NOT going to reveal to you. Suffice it to say that it brought GASPS from my readers!!

IMG_1315This is an incredible picture book! It’s got it all! A fanciful tale with lots of suspense, a fantastic little hero, morals about working hard and taking care of your friends, and some incredible illustrations. I had one little reader on this day who was a real wild child. She would not sit long enough to read one page. But when she sat down with this book, she was mesmerized! We read the whole thing through and she even studied the pictures on every page. It was incredible!

Mr Mayer has a couple of websites that you might want to check out -
One is a gallery of his artwork HERE.

The other website is the Little Critters official website with lots of fun interactive stuff.
You can find it HERE.

Hear Mr Mayer talk about his name — http://www.teachingbooks.net/qlqswpm

This book is a perfect jumping off spot for some dramatics! Playing at being knights and trolls and damsels in distress. What would it be like to live in a castle? What kind of food would the kings and queens and knights eat? What kinds of pets might they have? This young squire has a cat – but no dog! What’s up with that?!

HERE is a link to some great crowns that kids could make for their play time.

And a link to a clever DIY Knight’s helmet HERE.

Susanna Leonard Hill keeps a list of Perfect Picture Books and resources to go along with these books. Fridays are devoted to these perfect books. You might want to check it out at her website HERE.

So, go slay some dragons this weekend and save some damsels in distress. And maybe toss a tennis ball to your best dog –

IMG_1329Your dreaming friend
Rhythm
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National Guide Dog Month

Rhythm in training

Rhythm in training

I’m a little late with this, but September happens to be a special month to celebrate the special works of some special dogs who are trained to assist visually impaired humans. It’s all a GRAND thing! It’s National Guide Dog Month!

To find out more about guide dogs you can check out my post from this time last year – HERE.

Petco is a big sponsor of guide dogs and every year does a fundraising campaign to celebrate National Guide Dog Month. I was actually sponsored by Petco when I was a pup! That means that they made a generous donation to Southeastern Guide Dogs for the privilege of naming one of their pups. That was me!! You can visit their website HERE and find out more about National Guide Dog Month.

img010But today I’m going to tell you about some books. Non-fiction books that will help you and yours learn about guide dogs.

IMG_1268Guide Dogs
by Charles and Linda George
published by Capstone Books in 1998
Content consultant is Carol Lippert Gray – Manager of Public Relations for The Seeing Eye

This is a really nice, easy to read, 48 page book about the history and training of guide dogs. Chapters include – History of Guide Dogs, Best Breeds, Basic Training, Guide Dogs and Their Masters, And Stories About Guide Dogs.

IMG_1267There is also some reference material in the back of the book – a glossary and index to other guide dog material. A very fine little book.

IMG_1261Guide Dogs
Seeing for People Who Can’t
by Alice B. McGinty
a “Dogs Helping People” book published by The Rosen Publishing Group’s PowerKids Press in 1999

This is another fine little chapter book with much of the same information in a more condensed format. Only 24 pages. It also has a glossary and some nice photos. It actually has some of the very same photos as the other book Guide Dogs!

IMG_1269IMG_1265A Guide Dog Puppy Grows Up
written by Caroline Arnold
photographs by Richard Hewett
published by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich in 1991

This book is a little different from the other two. It’s about the puppy raising experience from birth to becoming a working guide dog. The book was endorsed by Guide Dogs for the Blind, a guide dog school in San Rafael, California. My Mom Person’s first guide dog pup came from this school a long time ago.

This is not a chapter book but it is a lovely story. In a way, it’s my story! And it’s one of those books that makes the Mom Person cry when she reads it.

IMG_1263Now you might notice that in my pictures today, I am trying to read these books to Ms Electra. This is her future in these books! But she just can’t be serious for one little minute. Ah, me. What’s a teacher to do?! What do you teachers out there do with the class clowns?!

Well, anyway, I would like for you to know that there are quite a few accredited Guide Dog Schools in the United States. You can find a list of all of them HERE on the National Federation of the Blind website. I think if there is one near you, you should go for a visit this month. Hug some puppies! Meet some future guide dogs! Become a puppy raiser!

Have a good weekend! and enjoy the month!
I’m going to go celebrate with some yummy treats!
Rhythm
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