Upcoming Events

For those who haven't seen it yet, Bill Greens Maine featured a piece which aired on WCSH in Portland and WLBZ in Bangor discussing the distinction between service animals and comfort animals. Mr. Green interviewed PTGDU President, Pauline Lamontagne and First Vice President, Lynn Merrill. It will hopefully educate some business owners and others who might not understand the distinction.

Fall PTGDU meeting

The 2016 Fall PTGDU meeting will be held at Dunkin' Donuts on Saturday, the fifth of November. The conference room will be available starting at nine a m and the meeting begins at ten. Driving directions and access information.

Agenda for the 2016 PTGDU Fall Meeting

Location: Dunkin' Doughnuts, Western Ave., Augusta, Maine 04330 (next to Domino's Pizza)
Time: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. (Meeting room will be available at 9 a.m.) Food is on your own.
Action required: Please bring a check or cash for your 2017 PTGDU dues for $15.00.
Proposed draft agenda:
Old business
Review August minutes (Bruce Prindall )
Treasurer's Report* (Cheryl Peabody has e mailed the treasurer's report and has an excused absence for today's meeting.
Membership report Current membership remains at seventeen.
Review of Oct. 15, 2016 White Cane Safety Day in Augusta, ME (White Cane Committee)
-Voting machine
-Donated food/Door prizes
PTGDU website update(s) (Bruce)
GDUI updates (Lynn, Pauline, & others)
-Affiliate news
--new affiliate liaison
-National Convention Reno in 2017
DBVI -SRC Updates (Lynn and others)
Update on ACB of Maine
Report on NFB of ME convention (Lee/Pauline)
Possible incorporation of Pine Tree (Guide Dog Users of Maine (GDUME)
-$400 donation from Helping Hands
Maine Legislative issues (if not already covered)
-Update re: possible bill affecting DBVI
- re: funding of shortfall for independent Living Services
Status -re: letters to Guide Dog Schools & others (Melissa & Jim King & Cheryl)
Update re: August 3 meeting with college prep. students to which PTGDU was invited.
Elections (Nominating committee-Bud and Bruce)
New business
PTGDU teleconference call on Sat., Feb. 4, 2017
Time: 9:00 A.M. ?
Number and pass code will be provided early in 2017.
Other meeting dates in 2017:
May 6
August 5
November 4
2017 White Cane Safety Walk
-Date Sat., Oct. 14 or Oct. 21?
Bill Green re: pets/comfort animals trying to pass themselves off as service dogs in places of public accommodations
Other media contacts
Tues., Nov. 8, voting day
Other announcements
-Bowlers who are blind

Previous Events

Twenty sixteen White Cane Walk

The twenty sixteen White Cane Walk to commemorate White Cane Safety Day was held on Saturday, the fifteenth of October, which was actually White Cane Safety Day in 2017. The walk covered the same route as last year. We met at the Maine State Library on State in Augusta, Maine around 9:00 and refreshments from Dunkin' Donuts, Hannaford and Bagel Maine-ia were provided. Councilor Cecil Munson read the Mayoral Proclamation and Bruce Prindall read the letter Cheryl Peabody received from the governor and the Presidential proclamation. Riley Albair from Disability Rights Maine and Julie Flynn from the Secretary of State's office discussed working to get people with disabilities to vote and brought an accessible voting machine.

After the festivities in the lobby, the walkers exited the parking lot onto State Street and went north. Walkers crossed Capitol Street and continued to Western Avenue. After turning left onto Western Avenue, participants continued to Sewall Street between Amato's and the Muskie Federal Building. They turned left onto Sewall Street and walked back to Capitol Street, through the Cross Building parking lot to return to the Maine State Library.

2016 Summer PTGDU Meeting

PTGDU meeting - 2016/08/06 In attendance were Pauline Lamontagne and Ava
Lynn Merrill and Libby
Gil Whitmore and Vancouver
Cheryl Peabody
Patti Sarchi and Jeff
Bud Buzzell
Marj and Hugh Awalt
Leonna McKenna
Bruce Prindall

After introductions, Patti discussed her training with Jeff in very hot temperatures in California.
Added Empowerment Forum to agenda - no other changes were made to the proposed agenda

Old business
Bruce had emailed the May meeting notes. May 2016 meeting notes are below.

Lynn motioned and Bud seconded to accept the minutes. Passed
Cheryl gave the treasurer's report.
Lynn moved and Leona seconded to accept the report

Cheryl gave a membership report. We currently have seventeen members. Lynn mentioned that Heath and Rachel Claven have suggested they will join once they receive their service animals.
Bruce emailed Jim and Melissa about the task they volunteered for in November, twenty fifteen but has not received a reply. This relates to the letter orginally drafted by Leona McKenna and revised by Lynn Merrill and Pauline Lamontagne. It is intended to introduce PTGDU to new users of service animals, trainers, veterinarians, etc.
White Cane Safety Day Walk update fifteenth of October, twenty sixteen
Cheryl: Maine State Library from nine a m until we're done Thanks to Chris Boynton
Voting machine and Secretary Of State's office
Voter registration and Disability Rights of Maine
Bruce: He and Leona are working on a list of businesses they want to solicit for breakfast
Mayor's assistant was mailed a request for a proclamation. Lynn mentioned that the mayor generally reads the proclamation at the last business meeting before the walk.
Bruce also mentioned he had emailed an invitation the entire City Council as well
Bruce will also watch for the presidential proclamation and be sure to bring a copy to the walk
Cheryl: Volunteered to contact the governor's office for a letter.
Will send a 'blurb' as to how long PTGDU has been walking in Augusta rather than at the Iris Network
Patty asked how many walkers we usually get and it was agreed to be around fifteen each year
* Next year will be the twentieth anniversary of the starting of PTGDU.

Legislative issues:
ACB of Maine has formed a committee which includes Brad Strauss, Chair of DBVI SRC, Cheryl Peabody, representative from PTGDU, Walter Woitesek, representative from NFB of Maine, Carolyn Bebee representing consumers, Leona McKenna representing ACB of Maine and Mel Clarrage, President of ACB of Maine.

One of the goals of the committee is to look into where the Blind Services should reside within the State of Maine system.

Web site updates:
Links on web site rechecked and corrected including the entire Government page
Font size change option not yet implemented
Can't find Constitution or By-laws - Lynn mentioned it does exist and will get me a copy.
Updated membership form to change from Ann Poland to Cheryl Peabody as the recipient of membership fees
and Lynn's and Pauline's email addresses corrected.
Still working on getting broken links fixed and adding the skip to content page on every page as well as a detailed report of questions.
Links to California site are broken. CA seems reluctant to revoke the portion of the law that requires an instructor of a guide dog school to be licensed in CA for the instructor to provide follow up instruction from an out of state accredited guide dog school.
Survey put on hold while site is completely checked.
Header (included) skip to content, logo and font size adjustment
Footer with date, webmaster, etc.

GDUI Updates:
Lynn was re-elected treasurer of GDUI.
Very successful convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Next year will be in Reno, Nevada and the midwest in twenty eighteen.
GDUI has a need for volunteers for various GDUI committees, including a chair of the fundraising committee.
Affiliate news:
The Guide Dog User's of the Empire State requested affiliation with GDUI, Inc. but their request was denied.
The existing Guide Dog Users' of New York charter states that new affiliates must form below them rather than directly under GDUI.
Maria Hansen is president of Guide Dog Users' of New York and second vice president of the GDUI, Inc.

Incorporation of PTGDU as a 501(c)3 non-profit.
Leona had asked Pauline to follow up with Mel Clarrage, president of ACB of Maine about some type of agreement where PTGDU could use the ACB 501(c)3 numbers while assuring any funds raised by PTGDU would stay with PTGDU. Pauline did speak with Mel; however, it was decided that the latter is not a viable option. Neither group has an attorney who specializes in non profits. ACB of ME only has an accountant. Cheryl does have their accountants information. Pauline has also been in touch with the organization of non-profits but they do not offer help in applying for 501(c)3 status however there is lots of helpful information at their web site. She has names of a few Maine attorneys who deal with non-profit applications. Pauline can complete some of the documents but has a few areas she wants a 501(c)3attorney for others. There was a discussion about PTGDU receiving three hundred dollars in seed money from ACB when PTGDU formed. These funds have been repaid. Pauline mentioned that she checked with the Secretary of State and they have no documentation under Pine Tree Guide Dog Users' Group so Pauline wants to see if we can go through without a name change. Leona mentioned that we might consider using ACB until we can get our own number. There are legal concerns based on IRS regulations for non-profits. Pauline wants to discuss the best option with a lawyer to see if we can incorporate and get 501(c)3 while maintaining PTGDU name without the need for historic minutes and other documents. The board has already approved up to five hundred dollars to combine with the four hundred already designated to go toward incorporation. Leona suggested that perhaps we should form a subcommittee and get an informational meeting to see how to proceed. Lynn and Bruce volunteered to help Pauline on that subcommittee.

ACB Update
Cheryl mentioned annual convention on October 22 at the Best Western at three hundred and seventy five Main Street in Waterville. No other news.

National Convention
Lynn wasn't able to attend and thanked PTGDU for offering to help. Pauline mentioned ACB radio and that a number of meetings have been recorded and available. You can also listen to ACB recordings by calling six o five four seven five eight one three o. Then select the recording you want to hear. Information about GDUI events is part of the report distributed by Penny Reader, president of GDUI. All future (convention) meetings for all groups will be recorded by ACB for free. Lynn mentioned that Maine actually has a large membership compared to many other states. Massachusetts has the largest membership. GDUI has about five hundred members.

New Business
Winter meeting is at Dunkin' Donuts on Saturday, November fifth. We can meet at nine for socializing and the meeting begins at ten a m.

Meeting with incoming college students.
Along with representatives of ACB and several guide dog schools, Cheryl spoke to students about the advantages of joining PTGDU. To date nobody has called but there were several dogs in training who took much of the attention.

Nominating committee for board positions.
All positions are up except for the two year term currently in mid-term, Bud Buzzell. Bud and Bruce will work together to contact incumbents and see if they are interested in re-election. A memo will be sent with the list of incumbents, their position and Bruce will work with Bud to get the slate for November.

Vista - Bi-weekly meeting by phone from four thirty to six on the first and third at the Iris Network.

Empowerment Forum
There will be an Empowerment Forum on August eighteenth. Travis Mills, a quadruple amputee veteran, is amotivational speaker. It will be at the Hilton Garden Inn in Auburn. Registration is through CARES. The C.A.R.E.S. website is

Patti announced that she is the new president of the Portland chapter of NFB and they are hosting the NFB convention in Portland, Maine at one eighty five high street on September twenty fourth. One guest will be the president of ACB.

Bud motioned and Marj seconded to adjourn. Passed.

2016 Spring PTGDU Meeting

Old Business
February minutes read - Leona motioned and Patti seconded to accept the February minutes - passed
The February minutes February meeting minutes have been posted to the web.

Cheryl read the Treasurer's report for 11/2015 - 01/2016
Bruce motioned and Bud seconded to accept the November to January treasurers report - passed
Treasurer's report for 02/01/2016 - 04/30/2016
Leona motioned and Bud seconded to accept the January to April treasurers report - passed
Pauline mentioned that both she and Cheryl are now registered signatories at the bank.
Cheryl reported that our membership remains at seventeen.
There had been no word from Jim or Melissa on progress on distributing the letter to guide dog schools and others.
White Cane Walk - No word back but Cheryl is meeting with the Disability Rights Maine on Tuesday, May tenth and will see if they can attend.
Bud mentioned that he has tested the accessible voting machine. It includes Braille and is intended to be as universal as possible.
Legislative news
LD 872 - Task force on service animals {Agriculture, Forestry, etc. and Judicial committees)
No report. LD 1601 - passed without a signature
There was a brief discussion of the WGAN report on the legislature cracking down on fake service animals. WGME I-Team Interviews Pauline Lamontagne about fake service animals?.?.
LD 54?7 killed as it was in violation of the ADA that would have required registration. Language changed to include assistance animal?s? and service animal?s?.
LD221 dead!
LD606 - To get additional funds for the Independent Living Services. One hundred and fifty thousand from SSA allotment to go to ILS. Should be completely covered for 2016/2017
DBVI - SRC Director of DBVI will NOT be filled
Website - upcoming survey
Candidates forum / upcoming election and Lynn is running for reelection for Treasurer of GDUI. Elections are from 5/22 - 5/29
Previous forums (and upcoming) can be heard at a phone format. After the 14th, old forum will be replaced with new one.
Maria Hansen (2nd vice president) helped New York get incorporated. Most of the paperwork was done by a student. Sent material to Pauline but both computers crashed. Also had information about companies that help non-profits.
VISTA (Visually Impaired Support Team Alliance) - 1st and 3rd tuesdays 4:30 - 6:00. The telephone number is 866-305-2467. The pin is 471707#
Leona will talk to the Lions Club to do more driving {transportation} so that we can move our meetings to other locations.
If anyone we find for new members is dual impaired (hearing/vision) have them contact Patti for a new group.
Patti Sarchi will be away through June to get a new guide dog.
There will be an Empowerment Forum held in the Lewiston/Auburn area on Thursday, August 18th. Transition is theme. More details to follow.
Leona mentioned someone from ITN-Country {Independent Transportation Network} at the ACB conference. $1.50 per mile and $6.00 to join. Leona will send a copy of the notification to be forwarded to the group.
Patti / Bud to adjourn - passed.

2016 Winter PTGDU Meeting

The February teleconference was held on Saturday, February sixth, twenty sixteen from nine a m until nearly eleven a m.
Old Business:
Treasurer's report - Cheryl
Moved Marj and Bruce seconded to accept treasurer's report accepted pending amendment to reflect the check for Gilles Outlette last month for transportation costs from Portland to Augusta for two board members. - Passed unanimously
Cheryl and Pauline will work together to get Pauline on the PTGDU accounts as an authorized signer of checks
November minutes - Bruce
Bruce to resend August minutes to group
November minutes - Marj motioned and Cheryl seconded to accept the minutes - passed unanimously Membership Report - Cheryl. Mel Clarrage was added as a new member. She submitted our membership list and a check for our dues to Sarah Calhoun.
Update on the letter approved in November to Guide Dog Schools, etc. - Jim, Melissa and Cheryl
Neither Jim nor Melissa were present
White Cane Walk 2016
It was agreed that we will use the same route as last year. Cheryl will check with Chris to see if we will be able to meet in the Maine State Library.
Cheryl will also see if the Disability Rights Maine wants to discuss voting and bringing absentee applications for those who may not be able to get to the polls.
Kathy Adams mentioned to Pauline that the State of Maine was looking into accessible voting machines. Either Pauline or Bruce to check with Kathy See if there is and additional information on this.
Maine Legislature discussion
LD 872
There was a presentation on the twenty-ninth of January concerning the misuse of service animals which included employees of the Agriculture office. Lynn and Pauline attended.
Keypoints: A legislative task force for following up on LD 872 recommended language in Maine law to echo national law using service animals instead of service dogs and assistance animals for emotional support animals. Housing rules are more stringent relating to assistance animals. The task for also suggested sending a letter to our Congressional delegation relating to process of certification and registration and to ask if there could be anything done on a national level that didn't violate the ADA. Those with non-visible disabilities are having difficulties because people think the animals are pets and they thought certification or registration might make it easier for them. Some of the concerns were raised by landlords who felt that some tenants were abusing the use of service and assistance animals.
GDUI had an affiliates committee meeting to examine the problems of fake service animals.
Pine Tree Guide Dog Users' Group does not support mandatory certification or registration as it violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.
LD 221
This coming Thursday (2/11), Judiciary to deal with a carry over of LD 221 (housing and service / assistance animals) based on the task force recommendations. Some renters are pushing for more stringent standards.
ACB has chosen NOT to pursue emergency bill but to form a committee to write the bill and submit for consideration to the next legislative session. A five member committee is to be formed. (Bud Lewis met with ACB board and it was agreed to NOT try to get it into the emergency session. Will allow time to work on the wording and also an opportunity to reach out to legislators. This relates to whether or not to create a Commission for the blind.
DBVI - SRC State Rehabilitation Council (provided under rehabilitation act to work with DBVI)
Lot of activity so SRC now meeting monthly and altered the format to better complete the committee work. A number of subcommittees created. Among them are Transitional, Realignment, Financial, Homemaking, Technology
Bud Lewis gave a comprehensive list of budget issues. Also more input from DBVI staff and from the public.
Read the State plan for DBVI and submit comments before next Friday.
GDUI Updates
Annual elections in May. Members should hear from nominating committee.
Affiliate Group is working on Federal legislation dealing with people who misrepresent pets as service animals.
Annual GDUI convention in Minneapolis during the Fourth of July weekend.
Penny Reader sent a note earlier about a company that helps ACB affiliates to get incorporated. It is at least another $500 on top of the $400 for their assistance. Maria Hansen helped the GDUI affiliate in New York get incorporated who also had the Helping Hands donation of $400. Need to start with Constitution and By-Laws and Articles of Incorporation. Pauline will contact Maria Hansen.
Discussion about dissolving and restarting to keep the same name. The problem is that any / all existing funds must be submitted to GDUI.
ACB Update
Already covered above. Bud Lewis mentioned that he would not stay on as director if the consolidation becomes reality.
240,000 shortfall in the Independent Living budget. Gov. LePage is refusing to submit a supplemental budget for ANYTHING. Bud thinks there may be a way to find funding. That funding (Independent Living) would be part of the MDOL budget and if that is underway, we can then contact our legislators.
Website Bruce
Several sites have moved and been revised so I am redoing ALL links and making portions of the pages consistent.
New Business
Mel Clarrage is to set up a committee on legislation before next legislative session to create a commission for the blind.
Leona recommended that Cheryl Peabody be our representative and Cheryl accepted.
May meeting - To be at Dunkin' Donuts
Bruce will contact the manager to reserve the room for May, August and November.
Meetings are now a call in on the first and third Tuesdays of the month from 4:30 to 6:00. Trying to focus on different topics such as how blindness effects them. Along with Maine residents, there were a number of out of state callers. Contact Leona McKenna or Cheryl Peabody for call-in information. Thanks to Jim Phipps and the Iris Neetwork who are funding the call.
Blind Bowlers
Problem with septic system but should resume next Saturday at 1-7-10 lanes.
Marj moved Cheryl seconded to adjourn. Passed.

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 GDUME 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 GDUME. 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. DD.'s tel no.: 207 622 3667
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 November third twenty sixteen.