Last week there was an error made in my column. I wrote what was meant to be David Hays’ easy rib recipe. Somehow it was replaced by a past one of Pasole. So sorry. Here’s the real rib deal.
David Hays’ Real Rib Recipe
Seven or eight racks Pork ribs
Number Five rub from Piggley-Wiggley
Rub ribs down well with the rub.
Place in baking pan and cover
Bake at 300 degrees for five hours.
Remove and place in smoker for about 20 minutes
This week ran away from me. I failed to visit with Mrs. J.Q. West about the 1951 Sardis Women’s Club cookbook. Mrs. West’s recipe for gumbo will print next week.
What had happened was that my quest to sift through and clear my cluttered closets continued. I stuck my nose in to a few friends too, seeking donations for the church’s Panama Mission yard sale. First was a call to Alice and Bob Kent. I asked, “Do you have anything at your house to donate”? Alice said they did, because Bobby had updated to a new flat screen TV. We scored their very nice old model for the sale. Next I called Ann Davis. Saturday morning she brought a table full of things. As she was picking through the items for sale, Ann told David and Glenn that she hoped she would leave with less than she brought. I wish those black satin hot pants had been my size! Thanks to everyone who contributed to the Panama Mission yard sale. Many people from Como neighborhoods came out to rummage and made the sale a success.
Some may know about how guide dogs are raised and what they do for blind. Guide Dogs for the Blind is a nonprofit organization that operates with private contributions only. They do not receive any assistance from state or federal funds. They have bred and trained guides since 1942. Seventy percent of the dogs bred and trained become working guides and most are Labradors or Golden Retrievers. Just last year they stopped issuing German Shepherds because only twenty five percent completed the program. The breed is more difficult to match with many people and sometimes harder to control. What about other breeds? Most were used for protection, performance or show. It is their long experience that the Lab is easier to pair with a person’s lifestyle as well as being very intelligent. They also have an undercoat that protects their skin from the sun and insulates them from the cold. Continuing to raise dogs that are more challenging to place as a working guide becomes a humanitarian issue.
GDB has a commitment to every dog they breed and train. They find homes for every dog born at the campus that doesn’t make the program. There are about ten guide schools in the country. The top three are of course, GDB in San Rafael, California and Portland Oregon; Leader Dogs in Rochester, Michigan; and Seeing Eye in Morristown, New Jersey. All use Labradors. What makes GDB different is they offer follow up training for the team every year and whenever needed for the working life of the dog. There is an alumni association where graduates can communicate and give feedback to the organization helping them to continue to offer a better and more innovative program.
There are several regional staff members and field managers. Bill Archer is a manager for the southern states. There are 170 guide dogs in his area, and only three in Mississippi, including Avatar. He has been training guide dogs for twenty two years. Another fact that makes Guide Dogs for the Blind “top dog” is what they do for the team after they graduate and arrive home. Just one month after coming home with Avatar, Bill came to tailor train him in his Como environment. He then returned six months later to see how we were doing. Similar visits occur usually once a year and they’ll even come at the drop of a bone if you have a need.
Recently, I requested such a visit. I thought Avatar’s performance as a guide was slipping. It turned out that I was the slacker. I was confusing him with ineffective corrections, meaning Avatar had become the boss. These corrections are important to the team’s safety. Avatar, David and I met Bill and his wife Christine in downtown Memphis Saturday evening and we went through our paces. We walked all over a busy nighttime Beale Street. We returned Sunday to the Peabody Hotel to see how Avatar would respond to the procession of ducks to the fountain in the lobby. He didn’t even seem to care as they passed by. So we decided to bring him closer to the fountain. There he finally noticed the ducks and met Don the Duckmaster. I asked Don if my dog was disturbing the ducks. He said, “My ducks don’t know what a dog is”. I replied, “That’s ok, my dog has never seen a duck before either”. This event was well attended, and the lobby as well as the mezzanine was filled with visitors taking pictures of the ducks and dog.
I’m often asked if it’s ok to pet Avatar while he’s working. For those of you who know him, please don’t. It might be hard to resist, but it is better for our safety in the long run. If you want a Lab of your own, just like him, you can get one through the school’s adoption program. They are wonderful fully trained guides that retired early or didn’t make the program. They are referred to as career change dogs. If your application is approved and you pay for the air transportation, he or she comes to you at no charge. For more information call 800-295-4050 and ask for adoption services.
Still on the subject of guide dogs, one of my friends has become a raiser for a new school. The efforts to form this school are still in the incubation period. Former Como animal rescue woman Mary Dustin has a twelve week old Doberman Pincher. She is socializing the dog in preparation for formal in-harness training to become a guide. This is a large commitment and a hard one because she will have to give up the dog to the organization and hopefully later to a blind person. I think this could be Mary’s calling and one the reasons why we met. Through my first guide Bella and me Mary learned about protocol and training. And if it hadn’t been for Mary I wouldn’t have been able to keep Bella after her retirement. The new organization, “Gallant Hearts” mirrors Mary’s heart and we wish them blessings in their endeavors to serve the blind.
Avatar passed the duck distraction drill and we didn’t end up in the drink with the ducks.