Safe and Sound

Yesterday was National Seeing Eye Dog Day. We celebrated this day by visiting a third grade classroom and educating them a bit about guide dogs. Most of the kids in Glen Rose know something about working dogs from knowing me and Walker. They all know our tales of being guide dog pups in training. All the kids who knew me as a pup have moved on to college now. I’m into another bunch of young folks altogether! New ones to educate.

Copy of IMG_1536So we took Electra along in her official coat that says she’s a guide dog pup. We took her coat off while in the classroom so the kids could pet. No petting allowed when in coat! Just like a working dog in harness! NO PETTING! And we took a great little book about a working guide dog to help us tell our tale.

IMG_2353Safe and Sound
by Beth Finke
illustrated by Anthony Alex LeTourneau
published by Blue Marlin Publications in 2007

Theme – Guide dogs

This book is suitable for all ages, young and old. 3rd grade was perfect!

It begins –
Look at me! See the harness strapped to my back? I’m called a Seeing Eye dog. The harness is my uniform, and whenever I’m wearing it, I’m working. I guide my partner, Beth, where she needs to go.

This is Hanni’s story of her job keeping Beth safe in a world full of obstacles. Traffic, crowds of people, holes in the sidewalk, garbage cans, tree branches. Whew!!! It’s a crazy world out there and a guide dog must be ever vigilant!

IMG_2356This book presents a great picture of what it’s like to be a working dog. It’s about the job at hand, but the story is also about the relationship between Beth and Hanni. How they had to learn to trust each other because both their lives depended on that trust. How that trust was the foundation for a deep love. It’s a lovely tale.

At the end of the book there are some factual notes from Hanni about her life from pup to working guide dog. And some notes from Beth about how she became blind from juvenile diabetes and what life is like as a blind person.

There is also a list of references for further reading.
This book is also available in Braille. To learn more about Braille visit this website HERE. You might learn how to write your name in Braille!

The Learning to Give website has some good ideas for ways to use this book in a classroom. You can visit them HERE.

We had a great discussion in our classroom about how working dogs help their handlers. What senses the dogs use to do their job. You could let kids pretend they were blind and try to maneuver around the classroom. And then let someone else be their guide dog.

If there is a guide dog school near you, you might pay them a visit. Maybe even volunteer! Southeastern Guide Dogs has puppy hugging days. And volunteers come in to walk the dogs that are in training. You can find a list of guide dog schools HERE. This is the website for the National Federation for the Blind. You can find out more about blindness there as well.

For more about juvenile diabetes visit HERE.

This is PERFECT PICTURE BOOK FRIDAY. For a list of more Perfect Picture Books visit Ms Susanna Hill’s blog – you’ll be glad you did!!

A guide dog faces all kinds of obstacles! —

Have a Safe and Sound weekend!!!
Your friend
Copy of img311


47 thoughts on “Safe and Sound

  1. Elektra seems to be maturing well, Rhythm. I know kids enjoy stories about working dogs as much as I do. And it is great to teach them little things like the ‘no petting when wearing coat’ rule. It is always tempting as these dogs are so beautifully behaved.

  2. This book is a great read for kids. They are fascinated with guide dogs. Bet this is always in your book bag. Love that T he Today Show has a puppy being prepared as a guide dog and viewers get to watch Wrangler’s progress.

    • This book is indeed one of our staples, Ms Tilton! An all time favorite! We don’t have TV here at the 7 Acre Wood, but I’ve heard about this Wrangler pup! He’s bringing some good publicity! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I don’t know if I missed something, but I’m curious, Rhythm—why is it that you can’t be petted when you’re in your harness? Is it to avoid you’re being distracted while you’re working, or is it more than that. Does it say “Please don’t pet” on the harness itself, since most people (like myself) wouldn’t be aware that they can’t pet seeing eye dogs : /

    • Well, I, personally, don’t wear that harness. I was not destined to be a guide dog. Although I did try. But I can tell you that a guide dog needs to be ever vigilant to keep their handler safe. Any kind of distraction, be it hands reaching out to pet or offer treats or voices calling out or whistling or barking, can be a tough thing for a working dog to deal with. It makes things difficult for the dog and the handler. Most guide dog users do put little signs on the harness that ask the public not to pet. Always ask a handler of ANY dog if it’s ok to pet before you just do it! Does that help?

  4. What a fortunate third grade class! It looks like it was so much fun! What a great book! My son is begging us for a dog these days — so he’ll be especially interested in this one. Learning Braille sounds very interesting and like a lot of fun.

    The Guide Dog resource is excellent! I had no idea that you could volunteer to be a puppy raiser. Maybe when my human puppies get a bit older — we could volunteer. That would be a wonderful way to help and share the joys and trials of raising puppies. Thank you so much!

    • My Mom Person’s first guide dog pup was her son’s 4H project. Raising a pup is a whole family activity and I think that it is kind of addicting. My family has raised 7 pups and even when it makes the Mom Person cry a lot, she keeps bringing those pups home! ๐Ÿ˜›

          • Well, whoops! That was a huge communication failure on my part. I meant (but didn’t say clearly at all), when my kids get older — we are going to foster guide dogs. My husband and I talked about it last night and he thinks it is a great idea! I think it will be incredible even if it makes us cry.

            Ha! This is why I shouldn’t blog while sleepy. ๐Ÿ˜‰

            • Oh! Yes! Raising pups is a great endeavor for the whole family!!! I hope that you have a school close to you. Most guide dog schools don’t like for their pups to be too far from the school. If you don’t have a guide dog school fairly close, you might look into Canine Companions for Independence. They send pups all over. And there are other types of dog professions that need puppy raisers. There is a diabetic alert trainer near us that likes to send their pups out to raisers. You have plenty of time to do lots of research! Good luck!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. If I were that apprentice, I would NEVER PUT ON A BLINDFOLD AGAIN! How terrifying! Thank goodness the dog and instructor were on the ball. And that old lady missed her calling as a stunt driver, honestly.

  6. So fun!! My best friend Lyla’s mom (who dog-sitted me when Mom had surgery) works at the seeing eye school near us in Morristown, NJ. She is awesome. Seeing eye dogs are wicked smart and also awesome!

    Love and licks,

    • Well, it’s kind of like you have cousins or something at the Seeing Eye! I don’t think they would let you in for a visit. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ But has your Mom been there to visit? Those guide dogs do have to pass some pretty tough tests, for sure!

  7. Rhythm,
    Beth Finke here.
    Iโ€™m the author of โ€œHanni and Beth: Safe & Soundโ€ and am absolutely over the moon to discover you use our book during classroom visits โ€“ how flattering!
    Hard to believe itโ€™s been seven years already since that book was published. Hanni is a happily retired Seeing Eye dog now and is living with friends who spoil and love her โ€“ sheโ€™ll be *FIFTEEN* years old a week from today and still has the energy to run through their local forest preserve during regular visits there.
    My new Seeing Eye dog Whitney is a cross between a Golden Retriever and a Yellow Lab. She guides me to classroom visits now, and the kids we visit usually read โ€œSafe & Soundโ€ before we get there so they are ready with questions upon our arrival.
    Seedlings Braille Books for Children published a Braille version of the book, and I bring that along to read aloud to the kids while weโ€™re there โ€“kids seem fascinated with the โ€œsecret code.โ€œ
    The book Hani and Beth: Safe & Sound was a labor of love and its success is due in large part to the hard work of the puppy raisers, trainers, handlers, editors, publisher, and, especially the illustrator who made it happen. THANK YOU for using it during your classroom visits, you make us all feel good.

    • Wow! and BOW WOW! So nice to have you visit Ms Finke!!! And so glad to hear an update on Hanni! We have had this book in our school bag for a long time and I often wonder what Hanni’s life is like now. I hope Whitney does a good job for you. I know how hard it was to leave my Mom Person when I went off to college, and I often wonder about all those working guide dogs who retire and sometimes go to other homes. It must be a hard thing. And then you have to learn to work with a whole new partner! It’s all heart-boggling to me.
      We will continue to take Hanni’s tale to school with us. Now we have kind of a sequel to go along with it! Thanks so much!!!!
      My Mom Person is right now reading your big people book Long Time No See. She’s reading parts of it to me. It makes her cry sometimes. Thanks so much for writing this lovely note to me! I wish you could come visit our school! ๐Ÿ˜›

      • Rhythm, We *do* travel to visit classrooms, and who knows, maybe we’ll be in your neck of the woods sometime and can visit your school for real. I’m writing this note from Louisville, Kentucky, where we’re stuck due to winter storms in our Chicago hometown. Good thing we packed extra food for Whitney! In a few weeks we’re traveling to Wisconsin to visit schools there, and I’m in the midst of arranging April plans to visit kindergartners in Grand Rapids, Michigan. You can keep up with us via our blog and I’ll do the same by following your readingwithrhythm blog. — We’ll for *sure* have something up on our Safe & Sound blog about Hanni this Sunday

        • Well, see, you need to be heading south in the winter and get away from those winter storms! But I guess if you live up there you must like that kind of stuff. We don’t get much snow down here. I sure like it when it does show up though! I am following your blog now and am looking forward to hearing more about Hanni! Thanks Ms Finke!!!! ๐Ÿ˜›

  8. Pingback: That’s 105 in dog years — but hey, who’s counting? | Safe & Sound blog

  9. Perhaps a book will be made of the CCTV footage, it has everything a dramatic tale needs, suspense, a hero and a car chase. I suspect the story may have to be stretched a little when the film rights are sold though.

  10. What a great book! I just saw a seeing eye dog in training at the shopping mall today, funnily enough. He was so well behaved and very patient as a group of children invariably gathered around him and were asking all sorts of questions.

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