Letters from our Alumni

Published in: Update - Issue 1 - 2016 »   
Seated photo of Bunny and golden retriever Leader Dog Dixie. Dixie is holding a dog toy in her mouth

Bunny Tabatt and LD Dixie

Just a quick note to say THANK YOU for all you do for people with obstacles to overcome. I do not consider my mom handicapped, she is ‘handiable.’ With your programs she has independence. Just watching her makes me smile! This is my mom, Bunny Tabatt, with her Leader Dog, Dixie. Thank you again for all you do!!!

Sherrie Otremba
(Daughter of LDB client Bunny Tabatt)

My name is Phyllis Magbanua, my very best friend’s name was Bliss. I am sending this to thank everyone at Leader Dog and Bliss’ puppy raiser for doing a very good job of making Bliss a good working dog. She always knew when it was time to work. I don’t know what I would have done without her all these years.

Phyllis Magbanua and LD Bliss

When I had eye surgery in 2001 and lost most of my sight, I felt afraid of going outside by myself even to walk. Before that, I went every place by myself. In January of 2002, I called Leader Dog about getting a guide dog. By May I was at Leader Dog getting my first dog and I am so glad I did. Bliss was really smart. It only took her once or twice to show her where I wanted to go. All I had to say is, “Let’s go to the bank”—she would know every time. One time we were out for a walk and I wanted her to go down to the next corner but she got in front of me and wouldn’t let me cross the street. I didn’t know what was going on until a lady came over and told me there was a bad accident on the next corner.

Bliss loved to play. She played hide and seek with my son. I retired Bliss in October of 2013 when she started to lose her hearing and her back leg was getting weak.

The first time I met Bliss, I knew we would be best friends. I fell in love with her. But sad to say I had to put my very best friend to sleep on July 20, 2015. Bliss was 14 years old. I really miss her a lot. Wherever she is, I hope she is running free after all the work she put in to keep me safe all those years.

Thank you everybody at Leader Dog for giving me the freedom. Without Bliss, I don’t think I would’ve made it this far.

Phyllis Magbanua


Ken Borchardt and LD Winston

I have been home for a month and am so pleased with Winston. He is so smart and loves people and other dogs. I take Winston on walks twice a day. By the third time of walking a route, Winston has it down pat. We go to the post office and bank. Everyone in the village knows Winston already. I can’t believe how good he is in restaurants and church. He just lies down and goes to sleep.

Beth, my retired Leader Dog, and Winston are best friends.

I can’t thank Leader Dog enough for Winston and the training they provided. When I got Beth, I could still see a little, but with Winston I am completely blind, so the GPS has been a big help in letting me know where I am.

Ken Borchardt

Dear Leader Dog,

Homer LeBlond, LD Jerry and Puppy Raiser Lisa

This email is overdue as it only comes to mind when my mother receives your newsletters. My father, Homer LeBlond, passed away five years ago after a battle with cancer. He had lost his final Leader Dog, Maverick, just a year before his passing. Dad had enough time before his passing to write letters to his family and write his own eulogy. In his eulogy he speaks of his relationship with his dogs. Since Leader Dog became part of our family many years ago with Dad’s first dog, Jerry, I felt that it was fitting to share Dad’s eulogy with you as a final personal story.

(The following is an excerpt from Homer’s eulogy):

“The second phase [of my life] which contributed tremendously for the last 30 years is when I made the decision to get myself a guide dog. The joy, mobility and self-assurance that I felt cannot be measured in the normal way. The fact that you can walk with your mind being free and not to concentrate on every step that you are taking, that in itself is only part of the support that I received from my new buddies. Also, the fact that they seem to understand your moods and are always ready to help you (whether it is to guide you or cheer you up) is another part of the support I received. I can’t put down on paper what my three buddies (Jerry, Charlie and Maverick) have done for me, but from the first day that I accepted a guide dog it was like I had gotten some of my sight back.”

The work of Leader Dog and the profound changes that you are able to bring to people’s lives is something that is difficult to measure, I think that my father summed it up very well in his own eulogy.

Warm regards,

Sue Higgs
(on behalf of the family of Homer LeBlond)