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Good Neighbors: Teacher tries her hand with canine pupil

Stacey Alldredge, a French teacher at Modesto High School, recently finished training her first dog for Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Erica, a yellow Labrador retriever, was turned over last month to her new owner, Brandy Turner of Tempe, Ariz. Brandy, 28, lost her sight 10 years ago, Stacey said.

Stacey got interested in the program because her father has raised seven guide dogs. You get the dogs at about eight weeks of age, she said, and then work with them for a year to a year and a half before the final four months of intensive training, including time with their new owner.

Guide Dogs for the Blind has been giving free dogs to blind or sight-impaired people since 1942. Call 800-295-4050 or visit

Speaking of dogs, Jennie Robinson walked hers to PetSmart last month, but when she arrived, she realized she'd lost her driver's license and Visa card along the way.

"I immediately retraced my steps but could not find them," she said.

The next day, she received her driver's license in the mail, sent by Mandy Riley, who enclosed "a lovely note" but no return address.

"I wish to thank (Mandy) and tell her she definitely brightened my day," Jennie said. "I truly appreciate her good deed."

Mandy, who works with youth at Modesto Covenant Church, said she had been walking her own dog when she spotted the license on the ground. There was no credit card with it.

"I just knew if I had lost my license, I would like someone to return it," she said. "It was just a chance to do a small favor for someone."

Norman Neff of Modesto said he needed a tire and rim for his pickup and went to his normal tire store. There he was told it would take about a week to get a replacement.

"I then went to City Tires on McHenry Avenue," Norman said. "They gave me the same story, but they went out of their way to assemble a unit I could use for a spare until a permanent fix could be found. I did not realize in today's world they would go so far out to help a customer."

Martin Sanchez of Modesto is grateful to the Society for the Handicapped, which purchased a special mattress for him to help prevent bed sores. Sanchez has a spinal-cord injury and said he is thankful the agency is around to help those who are disabled.

A training event last week on treadmills outside Dewz restaurant in downtown Modesto raised more than $1,200 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Dewz owner Judy Aspesi, who lost her son, Dewayne, to leukemia in 1996, will walk in a San Diego marathon June 3 as a Team in Training member. The marathon is for runners, too. Judy and Marsha Sears, the Modesto/Stockton Team in Training coordinator, set up the treadmill event to raise funds for the society and to spread awareness about the group.

To find out more about the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training, visit or call Sears at 825-6888.

Do you have a story about someone who has helped others or is a terrific role model? Send a brief item to Sue Nowicki at P.O. Box 5256, Modesto 95352 or e-mail