The Missouri Guide Dog User's (MGDU) is a unique organization supporting all guide dog teams throughout Missouri. Several of our members use highly trained guide dogs as their main source of navigation. Friends and supporters of these amazing service dogs are valuable members of MGDU as well.
A cornerstone of this organization is the strong support and comradeship members offer each other in various activities a guide dog team encounters. This ranges from a variety of working methods, health issues, guide dog schools, retirement of a guide dog and many other topics concerning the world of service dogs and handler's.
Missouri Guide Dog Users is a proud affiliate of the Missouri Council of the Blind. MGDU has been in existence for over 14 years.
MGDU actively supports Missouri guide dog teams. Our strength lies in access issues and advocating for the accommodations in place since 1991 and revised in 2011. The laws and regulations are stated under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which is under the Department of Justice (DOJ). We strive to keep our members updated to any changes or revisions in state or federal laws concerning access issues for service dogs.
In 1998, MGDU was formed by eight guide dog handlers, primarily residing in the Joplin, Missouri area. These founders were graduates of The Seeing Eye, Inc., located in Morristown, New Jersey, and Pilot Dogs, Inc., located in Columbus, Ohio. The creators of MGDU felt the need to reach out to other Missouri guide dog teams, organizing a group that would empower and enrich each other's lives. This would provide comradeship, information and resources for guide dog users across the Show Me state.
Anyone interested in supporting and contributing to the welfare of guide dog teams, is welcome to become a member. You do not have to use a guide dog to join MGDU. If you are interested in learning how a service dog and handler work together as a team, MGDU is the right place to be. We are a friendly organization for you to gain knowledge directly from active guide dog users.
Many of our members are happy to give presentations to schools, organizations, and various clubs, demonstrating how a handler and guide dog work as a team and explaining the communication, hand and voice commands as they navigate in public areas, describing various methods of transportation and how guide dogs adapt to and guide their handlers in the workplace. MGDU members can share in detail the amazing work a team can successfully accomplish together.
When you become a member of MGDU, you are eligible for the following benefits.
- Monetary support for handlers whose dogs require veterinary services.
- Provides harnesses to handlers when needed.
- A quarterly magazine called, "Tails Across Missouri"
The magazine, "Tails Across Missouri" is filled with wonderful stories contributed by members and friends, sharing the many experiences they have encountered with their guide dogs. Tributes and loving memories to honor the life and, companionship and work of our beautiful four legged furry friends are included. Information and updates of laws, rules and regulations concerning access, air travel and other accommodations for service dogs and handlers, are just some of the articles in the magazine.
Missouri Guide Dog Users holds a meeting every three months. All members may participate as the meetings are by telephone conference call.
An exciting addition and soon to be released, is MGDU's own website. It will contain pictures of adventures, dog and handler at work and play, as well as other fun photos giving you an insight into the daily lives of our hard working dogs. Information on upcoming projects and events will be listed. Membership dues and contact information will be available on MGDU's web page.
MGDU is a 501C3 tax deductible organization. If you wish to make a donation to the mission of MGDU, the information is provided as well. You can see and track the progress of our organization by visiting our website often. The address of our website is: www.mgdu.org.
Whether this is your first, second, third or more guide dog, or if you would like to be involved in the world of service dogs, we invite you to join Missouri Guide Dog User's. We will be sharing information with each other while keeping informed and up to date on service dog issues. This enhances our lives as we trail across Missouri with our guide dogs enjoying the freedom and independence which they provide.