[nagdu] Guide Dogs, Canes, and Blindness

Star Gazer pickrellrebecca at gmail.com
Thu Jul 17 23:02:06 UTC 2014

Yes, or at the very least be comfortable with your blindness. Magic will not
happen if you aren't comfortable being blind and then you pick up the
harness. You may or may not ever use a cane, but you do need to be
comfortable with being blind before you get a dog.

-----Original Message-----
From: nagdu [mailto:nagdu-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Danielle Antoine
via nagdu
Sent: Thursday, July 17, 2014 2:11 PM
To: Julie J; NAGDU Mailing List, the National Association of Guide Dog Users
Subject: Re: [nagdu] Guide Dogs, Canes, and Blindness

You say, "the lady didn't have her papers to ask her questions". So, can you
appeal? Or, can you reconsider your options and try a different school?
there are 13 different training programs in the US.
I would tend to think too that since folks travel across the water to come
hear and avail themselves of our programs, you might could try something
overseas or in Canada though I don't know how you would be protected under
US law in that case.
 You also say that most people don't see you using a cane and that you feel
funny using one. Please seek out training in blindness skills and I would
urge you to be comfortable with cane usage first because dogs do get sick
and most schools probably require a recommendation from an O and M
Specialist as these are a prereq for qualifying for a dog. I always tell
folks to be very comfortable with there cane and don't hang it up once they
receive a dog because emergencies happen.

On 7/17/14, Julie J via nagdu <nagdu at nfbnet.org> wrote:
> Barb,
> You ask some very good questions.  The guide dog schools do mostly 
> require cane skills before getting a dog, so if you can travel with a 
> cane why would a person want a dog?  There are loads and loads of 
> reasons and i think you have figured out why you want a dog.
> So what about those cane skills?  To me independent travel is made up 
> of two skill sets orientation and mobility.  O and M for short.  
> Orientation is the mental part.  It's knowing where you are and how to 
> get where you want to go.  It's knowing that the post office is on the 
> East side of the street between Main Street and Washington Avenue on 
> 2nd Avenue.  Orientation is the knowledge that you have to go three blocks
East and one North to get there.
> Mobility is the other part of travel.  It's listening for traffic and 
> crossing when it's your turn.  It's not whacking your shins on kids 
> bikes on the sidewalk.  It's moving up and stairs, through doors and 
> going around obstacles.
> A cane, a guide dog, GPS or a sighted guide can all help with 
> movility, but nothing but knowledge works for orientation.  You can 
> travel with any of the above tools and have zero orientation.  With a 
> cane you'll get lost.  With a dog you'll get to visit other dogs, 
> random bits of food and other interesting dog things.  With GPS you 
> can arrive where you wanted to be if you get a good signal and nothing 
> goes wonky with the equipment.  With a sighted guide you'll most 
> likely get where you want to go, but there are certainly drawbacks in not
knowing how you got there.
> Learning to use a cane gives you the opportunity to learn good 
> orientation skills.  If you goof up, and you will, the cane doesn't 
> care.  You aren't going to mess up the cane's training if you make 
> mistakes.  You can even grumble all you like at the cane and it won't
> Another thing a cane does is makes it clear that you are blind.  It's 
> a social thing.  The dog will bring lots of opportunities to advocate 
> for yourself.  If you have a solid baseline of being okay with being 
> blind with the cane, it works as a stepping stone for the next level with
a dog.
> People will ask you odd things when you are out with your cane, but in 
> my experience weird social encounters will increase dramatically when 
> you work with a dog.  If your socially uncomfortable with a cane, I 
> think you might really struggle with with awkward dog questions.
> Also blind people do lots and lots of different jobs.  If you could 
> have any job you wanted, what would it be?  I get the impression you 
> feel quite a lot stuck in your current job because of your vision.  
> There are email lists for just about every type of job catagory you 
> can imagine.  There are blind people doing a variety of jobs that 
> would be more than happy to help you with nonvisual ways of doing 
> particular tasks so you could have a more satisfying job.
> I've heard only good things about the Accelerated Mobility Program at 
> Leader.  It's even close to you.  You aren't obligated to get a guide 
> through them and I'm thinking you get some sort of GPS tool also, but 
> I could be misremembering that part.
> You are a very thoughtful woman.  You are thinking and asking 
> excellent questions.  Keep reflecting and asking until you are ready 
> to take your next step.  Then tell us, so we can cheer you on!
> All my best,
> Julie
> Sent from my iPad
>> On Jul 17, 2014, at 10:55 AM, Barb breuer via nagdu 
>> <nagdu at nfbnet.org>
>> wrote:
>> that is some things t think about.
>> when I had my interview with the lady at Fidelco, she was at my house 
>> for about 45 minutes. she had a client that she had dropped off at 
>> the Home depo. She didn't has her papers with the questions that she 
>> needed to ask me. She did have a guide dog in training, and she 
>> wanted to see how would handed the dog. After about a block, she said 
>> I did very well and understood how to handle a dog. We walked back 
>> home and she put the dog back and left to go get the other guy. So in 
>> some ways I don't feel like I got a fare shack, or that they didn't 
>> want me anyway and because she was coming down they wanted her to just
get the interview out of the way.
>> You said something about how I cross the street. I have to cross a 
>> busy street to get to my bus stop. The way I have herd other people 
>> cross this street on that block is the same way I do it. You look 
>> both ways and if you don't see a car, say a prier and go. If I have 
>> time or I just can't find a space to cross, there is a light about a 
>> block away, and I have gone down there to cross.
>> When I said the thing about at work I clean looker rooms and fold 
>> towels, so i don't need a dog. I ment that that is what they see and 
>> not the person who once I get off work and go outside I unfold the 
>> cane and go to the bus stop. They see me walking without help and 
>> doing my job. what they don't understand is that I do that job because I
can do it without help.
>> when I am at places I don't know so well and I am by myself, I use 
>> the cane. I don't tend to us the cane when I am with sighted people. 
>> I think because those who have known me for years haven't seen me use 
>> the cane and so I feel funny using it around them. They know I have it.
>> What I can see, I see quite a bit, that is way as I was growing up 
>> that I was told I can not get a guide god. when I walk I can see the 
>> sidewalk, grass, houses,the flowers in the yard that i have stop and 
>> look at more closely, bunches and chairs, and if a little animal runs 
>> across the path
>> 10-15 feet in front I could probably tell you what is was by the 
>> shape of the gray blob. what I can't do is tell if there is a step in 
>> the path, or if the bark spot is a step or a dark spot. That is what 
>> I use the cane for. Some times it is hard to tell were the door to the
train is.
>> the gal at the guide dog school saw that I could see and ask if I 
>> would second guess the dog, like stop before the dog tells me to at a 
>> corner., things like that. I told her that that is what I want to dog 
>> to do and if the dog is going to tell me where the corners and things 
>> are, them I don't have to worry about that so much and can pay 
>> attention to things like the traffic and other things.
>> Some say that I should just use the cane and not get a dog, well 
>> maybe, but to that I ask, why do you have a dog and not use the 
>> cane.. all the guide dog schools want you to be able to do everything 
>> without the dog and use a cane, so then why are they even offering 
>> guide dogs. to me and for me the dog is to help me get from one place 
>> to another and between the two of us we get there safely. He uses his 
>> stills and I use mine, he fills in the places that I need help. Yes I 
>> can use a cane, but I have and I want to have a dog guide instead. 
>> this has been a 40 year dream, not something I just can up with. I 
>> also want the companionship that that kind of a relationship gives 
>> you. I travel three or more hours a day, I go out to eat, I meat up 
>> with people I know, I have lakes that are a bus ride a way that I 
>> would love to walk with the dog around, but I can't take a pet down on
the bus.
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "Name, Full" <nagdu at nfbnet.org>
>> To: "Name, Full" <nagdu at nfbnet.org>
>> Sent: Wednesday, July 16, 2014 11:17:17 PM
>> Subject: Re: [nagdu] Guide Dogs, Canes, and Blindness
>> Barb,
>> After reading your email and the rest of the thread, I have a few 
>> thoughts that you might want to consider. I have pasted your original 
>> email and written inline. I have also written a few more thoughts at 
>> the end.
>> I have been doing a lot of thinking sense I started looking into 
>> getting I
>> guide dog. Like do I need one, will it be a help to me, or can I get 
>> around well enough on my own. Plus do I have to much vision to 
>> qualify.
>> Response: These are very good questions. You and only you can know 
>> the real answers.
>> I have a good amount of vision for a blind person. My mother went to 
>> a school for the blind, and didn't want her kids to go to one.
>> Response: Agree about not going to a school for the blind, but 
>> probably my
>> reasoning is a little different. However, as it is not related to 
>> guide dogs, I will not say more here, but you are welcome to email me 
>> off list if you would like to know my thoughts on the matter.
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