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Welcome to The Harness!

Editor's Note: Editor's Note: Devon Wilkins is Editor of The Harness.

As soon as I had finished reading the letter of acceptance from Canadian Guide Dogs for The Blind, it was as if a switch had been flicked. From that moment, my life's priorities changed. I read everything about guide dogs that I could get my hands on. My only disappointment was that none of the material was made in Canada

On my return from Manotick in mid December of 1992, I embarked on two projects. The first was to chronicle the month I had spent in training. Yes, it had been done before, but not from a Canadian's point of view. My second project was the publication of a newsletter with guide dog users in mind that was unashamedly Canadian. The name of that newsletter was, and still is, The Harness

That first issue, which was four pages in length, was sent on cassette to a grand readership of two. Since then, its circulation has grown to approximately eighty continent-wide, and is available on cassette and diskette, in regular and large print, and by E-mail.

From its inception, The Harness reports news from training centres, but is affiliated with none of them. Instead, it focuses on topics of common interest such as canine health, access issues, travel, and legislation. In its nine years of existence, it has undergone only two significant changes. Its scope has been expanded to reach out to users of all types of assistance dogs. And now that it is usually in the neighbourhood of 25 pages in length, it is referred to as a magazine rather than a newsletter

The Harness is by no means a one-person effort. We're always on the lookout for material from readers or other contributors. Acquiring the internet has made finding material a great deal easier. Our most regular contributor is Dr. Jacqui Pankatz of Collingwood, Ontario, who answers questions for a column called Ask The Vet. Chris and Marie Stark of Orleans, Ontario share their travel experiences with us. Once an issue has been put together, it is then put into the hands of Daphne Udall, Gary Gross, and Chris Liedtke who read it onto cassette in the studios of CKCB-fm, otherwise known as 95.1, The Peak. Meanwhile, bookkeeper and secretary Marg Richens busies herself with making copies in both regular and large print. The jobs of preparing diskettes and sending the magazine out via E-mail fall to the computer klutz herself, yours truly. Looking after our new web site, however, is well beyond my capabilities. It is under the watchful eye of Nick Murray of Collingwood, Ontario

A year's subscription, which entitles you to two issues, is five dollars Canadian, or four dollars in U.S. funds

Are you thinking about getting an assistance dog? Are you a recent graduate? Are you a trainer or a vet? Perhaps you're a handler with many years of experience under your belt. Or could it be that you're someone who just can't get enough of dogs. Visit us at welcome.to/theharness and check us out. Should you decide to subscribe, please include your name, address, phone number, and E-mail address if appropriate, along with your dog's name, breed, and birthday, and whether you have a guide dog, a hearing dog, or a service dog. Subscriptions and other inquiries should be sent to The Harness c/o Devon Wilkins, 202-460 Ontario Street, Collingwood, ON L9Y 4E5

My life has gone to the dogs, and I'm loving every minute of it. How about you?