[nabs-l] dog v. cane

Briley Pollard brileyp at gmail.com
Wed Nov 24 15:56:16 UTC 2010

Hello all,

A good many points I'd normally bring up have already been mentioned, so I shall do my best to be brief.

The biggest thing to remember when getting a dog is that the dog is not a GPS system. unfortunately, too many people get a dog because they are afraid of their cane or find it to be inferior to the dog. This is not correct. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, but overall they serve the same purpose; to enable the bind individual in getting where they need to go safely. Orientation skills are curtail if you are going to use your dog to its full potential. There are times when it is not appropriate to use a dog, (which has already been aptly covered), so one must still be comfortable with the cane. Additionally, emergencies happen, and dogs eventually retire. Life situations change, and a dog may no longer be the best option for your lifestyle. My personal viewpoint is that a dog thrives best in an active environment. While I know there are individuals on this list who received dogs in high school, (and it worked for them), is that this is not the best idea. Firstly, unless you are in a unique situation where your campus has multiple buildings, or you participate in many activities which you walk to or use public transportation often, the dog is realistically spending 8 hours a day in one building packed to the brim with teenagers who often will not be respectful of the rules regarding petting and feeding the service animal. There are exceptions to this obviously,  but in general, I think college is a good time to get a dog, if one is looking to do this. College is a huge transition for anyone, and it is difficult for a student to move from living at home and going to a high school to living in a dorm, not to mention the social transitions. Imagine doing this with a dog. 

These are just some things to think about.

On Nov 24, 2010, at 9:28 AM, autTeal Bloodwortho wrote:

> you make some exceptional points which goes back to the initial decision
> making process. For me being in college i am sitting for an hour and 15
> minutes then off to the other class. I still use my cane frequently because
> sometimes if we are just making a quick trip somewhere or i am going
> somewhere already talked about. The main thing that i have acquired by
> obtaining a guide dog is confidence though. I have been completely blind for
> 4 years as of last thursday and also i damaged the auditory nerve in the
> right ear and nasal cavities. As you can imagine i have difficulty walking
> in a straight line and hearing certain traffic cues because of the
> continuous ringing in right ear and popping in both ears so for my situation
> a guide dog was a good idea but it is a big responsibility and should be
> thought about in depth.
>       -Teal
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "darrel kirby" <dkirby at mchsi.com>
> To: "'National Association of Blind Students mailing list'"
> <nabs-l at nfbnet.org>
> Sent: Wednesday, November 24, 2010 7:00 AM
> Subject: Re: [nabs-l] dog v. cane
>> Hello All:
>> I infrequently throw in my two cents, but I think most all blind persons
>> have an opinion on whether to use a dog or a cane. This most likely
>> explains
>> why some blind people choose to use a dog and others use a cane. As stupid
>> as that just might sound, we are forced to have an opinion on the matter.
>> I
>> warn everyone that it is important to avoid dichotic thinking, i.e. a dog
>> is
>> ultimately better than the cane or vice versa. Like most things in life, I
>> am sure there are advantages to both. I prefer not to use the "versus"
>> lingo
>> when I think of dogs and canes, as it perpetuates the belief that there
>> will
>> be a winner in the debate. It is a personal preference.  There are five
>> main
>> reasons that I, Darrel Kirby, choose to stick with my stick and not switch
>> over to rover:
>> 1. My cane needs no care, i.e. it does not poop, eat, get sick, and rarely
>> requires a bath. Therefore, when I travel, the speed at which I travel is
>> quite quick. I grab the cane; walk out the door, and go. No potty breaks,
>> searching for poop, or stopping to let the curious citizen google over my
>> dog.
>> 2. The training of a dog is expensive. Although it might be convenient to
>> say, "Well, I'm not paying for it." The fact is that tens of thousands of
>> dollars go into training a dog. In a world where seventy some percent of
>> blind persons are unemployed, I can think of better places to place the
>> money. Please remember that this is just my opinion.
>> 3. I think that I would need a cane to travel along with me and my dog, if
>> I
>> ever had a dog guide. I love my cane because it is an extension of my
>> fingers/hands and an extension of my eyes. I am able to tap a garbage can
>> or
>> a chair or a person or a million other things to find what I am looking
>> for.
>> I red in an earlier posting that people using dogs felt that they "moved
>> more smoothly." Personally, I want to hit things with my cane. That is how
>> I
>> know that those things are there.
>> 4. I work at an office for nine hours per day, five days per week. I am
>> not
>> comfortable having a dog sit below my desk for that amount of time. I
>> recognize that this is my own perspective. I grew up on a farm with dogs
>> that ran around and played all day long. It would be a personal challenge
>> to
>> ask a dog to sit by my side for that amount of time.
>> 5. I do not feel that a dog guide fits with my personal philosophy of
>> blindness. I preface this with the fact that I have friends who use dog
>> guides and I do not condemn anyone for using a dog guide, but the
>> fundamental concept of my personal philosophy of blindness is that eye
>> sight
>> is not necessary to navigate this world. If I were to use a dog, I would
>> be
>> using the eye-sight of a dog. With all the misconceptions of blindness
>> that
>> already exist; I do not want to convey to the public that eye sight, even
>> if
>> from a dog, is necessary to travel independently.
>> I thank you all for reading along this far. These are the five reasons I
>> would not get a dog. I do not expect the reasons to be adopted by other
>> blind people. I do not feel that these five reasons are absolute truths.
>> These reasons are based on my opinion and are subject to change. If any of
>> these reasons strike a cord with dog users on the post, I ask everyone to
>> respect my opinion. I will do my best to respect yours.
>> Respectfully yours,
>> Darrel Kirby
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