[nagdu] snow was update on my questions

Tamara Smith-Kinney tamara.8024 at comcast.net
Mon Dec 14 16:54:56 UTC 2009

Good for Monty!  And, yeah, it's easy to second guess your dog when you know
a route well enough to think you know what's what in front of you.  /smile/
I'm finally to the point where it's more natural to just go with Mitzi than
not, but I still screw things up if I start thinking too much about what's
in front of my feet.  /smile/

Excellent description of your travels.  I did have some cane training in
snow many years ago in La Grande.  Didn't like it!  /smile/  And I got some
practice in Bend, too.  I was better with the cane by then, but still!

In Portland, where it doesn't snow, except for when it does, folks don't
know how to drive on the stuff.  Or how to shovel it or ...  Well, they just
can't cope.  And the city isn't set up for snow, so only the major roads get
plowed, intermittently, so if there's more snow.  We had 18 inches last
year, and it pretty well shut things down.  Some people couldn't get out of
their homes for weeks.  And when they did, they caused accidents like mad.

So I was pretty leery about going out for snow practice here where there are
no sidewalks -- and their curbs to stop skidders before they got to me or my
dog.  /smile/  If we get the snow they keep threatening us with, I'll go out
enough for practice with Mitzi where there's not much traffic, and maybe do
some work around the shopping centers where there are sidewalks.  But that
main road with only a white line between us and them is off limits!

Tami Smith-Kinney

-----Original Message-----
From: nagdu-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nagdu-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf
Of Julie J
Sent: Saturday, December 12, 2009 7:19 AM
To: NAGDU Mailing List,the National Association of Guide Dog Users
Subject: Re: [nagdu] snow was update on my questions


We have had snow a few times already this year, but those were only 1 to 3 
inches and the sidewalks were pretty clear.  And I'm sure we worked some in 
snow last winter, but that would have been at the very beginning of his 
training.  I honestly cannot remember much of how he did.

The most recent snow ended up being probably 15 inches or so.  This means 
that there are little hills at the end of every block at the entrance to the

street where the snowplow pushed snow up against the curb.  Also on some of 
our streets snow is piled up in the middle, between the lanes of traffic, 
similar to where a median would be.   So far all the places I've walked 
people have shoveled their sidewalks.  However apparently it is acceptable 
to only scoop one shovel width, which makes it a very narrow path for Monty 
and me.

He is doing very well.  He's stopping or going around the large piles of 
snow.  He is picking the best path of travel which is sometimes over the 
little hills and sometimes there is a way around.

It's impossible for me to feel with my foot when we are at a curb.  I 
learned very quickly to pay more attention to the traffic from further away 
so I'd know the difference between a curb pile of snow and a regular drift.

Monty scared the crap out of me when we were crossing one of the streets 
with the pile of snow in the middle.  I didn't realize it was there and he 
pulled to the left, out toward the parallel traffic.   I panicked and side 
stepped to the right.  Yes, stupid, I know.  When my foot went knee deep 
into snow the light bulb went on.  I trusted his judgment and followed his 
lead.  He didn't veer far enough to the left to be in that traffic, just far

enough to go around the very large pile of snow.

He's never done anything like that before.  He wasn't acting distracted.  He

has very good judgment and has never once made some horrible guiding 
mistake.  I should have known better and trusted him.  We are a very new 
teamand I guess all I can say is that I am still learning. *smile*

Maybe it's just my perspective, but a little snow, like less than three 
inches, doesn't make any difference in how Monty and I work.  Perhaps if you

rarely see even that amount of snow it would make a bigger difference.   My 
best advice is to wear shoes or boots with good rubber soles, plan some 
extra time to get there, pay more attention to auditory information and 
trust your dog.


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