[nagdu] Fwd: A question Julie and Tom
annedie at nycap.rr.com
Fri Aug 28 23:52:56 UTC 2015
Tom, I would not give up on getting a guide dog to help you travel safely
with your visual impairment, if you think a guide dog could be useful to
you. Do practice getting around with your cane. The more you use it, the
more you will find yourself depending on your intact sense of touch (and
your senses of hearing, smell, etc.), rather than almost exclusively on your
very limited eyesight to get around. Describe to the schools, just as you
have described to us, exactly what you cannot see in the environment and
what you need a guide dog to help you find or avoid. Just because you can
get around familiar settings without your cane--I think even almost all
totally blind people can and regularly do get around their homes and
familiar neighborhoods without the use of cane or guide dog at least some of
the time. But if something unexpected is changed within that familiar
environment, will you notice it among all the other things that you need to
be paying attention to while traveling? Or is it likely that you will miss
things like uneven footing, an abandoned roller skate on the sidewalk,
drop-offs, and overheads, and possibly get injured? And what happens when
you're traveling in unfamiliar environments? Or in low light or very bright
light? And what happens when your sense of hearing is "blinded", such as
when you are passing loud vehicles or lawn mowers or leaf blowers or jack
hammers working on the street or sidewalks? Can you find your way to the
correct train platform through a crowded and echoing terminal without undue
stress and anxiety? Do you find that you choose not to go places because of
uncertainty or unfamiliarity with the specifics of the route or the
environment? It sounds as if you do like to get out and walk in your
neighborhood. If you like to walk on trails through wooded areas, then
overhead branches and underfoot tree roots, stones and holes could
definitely limit your enjoyment of such hikes, let alone your safety. Even
in residential neighborhoods, overhead branches and shrubs pose a safety
hazard to eyes and head if your field of vision is limited. If any of these
situations are difficult for you, then tell the schools about them
specifically. You are legally blind, and that is the criterion, along with
the ability to work with and benefit from the use of a guide dog, that the
schools use to judge the suitability of candidates. There are many schools
out there, and their application processes and criteria are different, so
you may very well find a school that is willing to work with you. If you are
willing to do part of your in-class training while wearing a blindfold, this
may convince a school that you are indeed going to let the guide dog do its
job and not override the dog's judgment with your insufficient and
And don't let those who insist that guide dogs are for only the totally
blind make you feel guilty or selfish for wanting a guide dog for your
mobility aid. They perhaps do not understand how exhausting it is to depend
on insufficient vision, or how the mind can play visual tricks on those with
low vision, making us think we see things that are not actually there and
completely miss things that are there as big as life. Or, as in your case,
what it is like to have to try to get a complete picture of the
ever-changing environment while looking through a field that is no bigger
than that which can be viewed through a paper towel tube.
And, if all else fails, you might want to look into the possibility of
having a guide dog privately trained for you, or of training a guide dog for
yourself. Both of these routes are perfectly legal in this country and have
been successfully and happily employed by some list members.
From: nagdu [mailto:nagdu-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Tom Hunter via
Sent: Friday, August 28, 2015 5:41 PM
To: NAGDU Mailing List, the National Association of Guide Dog Users
Cc: Tom Hunter
Subject: Re: [nagdu] Fwd: A question Julie and Tom
Yvonne and Julie, thanks. I just talked on phone to Cindy Ray, who urged me
to use my cane all the time, too.
The 2nd school sent someone to watch me walk in my neighborhood, and asked
if I always used my cane when walking out of the house.
I confessed, I don't use it more than half the time in my neighborhood,
where my wife and I have lived for over 20 years. I try to walk twice a day,
and so, the neighborhood's still familiar. I have bumped into someone on
the sidewalk, twice, so I should use the cane more.
I've also hit my head on a guy wire over sidewalk more than once, and on low
branches overhead while on another sidewalk with a cane, though I didn't
sweep the white cane overhead.
Cindy Ray confirmed what I have heard this week. There is no such animal,
other than a guide dog (or pony?) whom I am allowed to use to help with my
disability, which is, I'm 'legally blind'. Basically, a guide dog or no dog
for me, if I want to go with, to places where 'regular' dogs are not
I seem to have fallen through the cracks here. Too blind to have a driver's
license, or to work at a job I've done for 30 years. Blind enough to be on
long-term disability. But a guide dog seems out of reach.
Unless... Thoughts, anyone?
tomhunter at operamail.com
On Fri, Aug 28, 2015, at 04:04 PM, Yvonne M. Thompson via nagdu wrote:
> Julie & Tom, I am ranting inside along with you. I have never heard such
> thing as what some on the line is spouting........
> Now with that said, My vision is very limited from RP and just like Tom
> it throws off everything else. My guide dog was a blessing and improved
> quality of life 1000%. I will Email shortly and give you Tom, the info
> need to get the process started to get your dog.
> Julie you are right about making sure you are not over riding the dog
> you are working him or her....that makes perfect sense.
> Thank God I have my dog and 3 degrees of vision left.
> Tom I will contact you shortly.....
> Now I have to go cool off.... the nerve of some people... GRRRRR
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Julie J. via nagdu" <nagdu at nfbnet.org>
> To: "NAGDU Mailing List,the National Association of Guide Dog Users"
> <nagdu at nfbnet.org>
> Cc: "Julie J." <julielj at neb.rr.com>
> Sent: Friday, August 28, 2015 2:25 PM
> Subject: Re: [nagdu] Fwd: A question
> > So it sounds like they are saying that guide dogs are only for the truly
> > pathetic and you'll never move as fast with a dog as you would with
> > vision. That irritates me to no end.
> > Tom, my above rant set aside, have you received any mobility training
> > a cane? What does your mobility instructor think about the way you
> > travel? Do you use your cane all the time when you go outside of your
> > home? Do you find that you avoid certain places or times of the day
> > because your vision prevents you from feeling confident about
> > My husband also has a brain injury. While it didn't affect his vision,
> > is still absolutely terrifying when he even bumps his head a little.
> > doctor's said the same thing about using extreme caution to avoid
> > injury. they also suggested he wear a helmet when participating in
> > activities which could be potentially hazardous.
> > The thing about having some vision and using a guide dog is that it is
> > very easy to over ride what the dog is indicating. After a while the
> > will get the idea that you've got it, so he doesn't need to be diligent
> > his duties. then you'll whack into something because you didn't see it
> > and the dog thought you could because you've indicated to him in the
> > that you could. Certainly a dog could be taught to only do specific
> > tasks for you, like the over head clearance. the problem is two fold
> > though. First, I don't know of anyplace that does this sort of
> > training. You'd have to hire someone and pay out of pocket for it.
> > Second, how often would you encounter overhangs for the dog to get in
> > enough practice? To keep the skills sharp, the dog has to have fairly
> > routine practice with them.
> > Julie
> > Courage to Dare: A Blind Woman's Quest to Train her Own Guide Dog is now
> > available! Get the book here:
> > http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QXZSMOC
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Tom Hunter via nagdu
> > Sent: Friday, August 28, 2015 1:06 PM
> > To: NAGDU Mailing List,the National Association of Guide Dog Users
> > Cc: Tom Hunter ; Buddy Brannan
> > Subject: Re: [nagdu] Fwd: A question
> > Buddy, 2 schools, first GDB on the west coast, then a school in NY which
> > sent me an email:
> > August 14, 2015
> > Dear Tom,
> > Our Admissions Committee has carefully reviewed your file. Your
> > application for a guide dog has been denied on the basis of your being
> > too visual a traveler to benefit from a guide dog and be successful with
> > one.
> > I am sorry we cannot be of service to you, Tom. It has been my pleasure
> > corresponding with you throughout this process.
> > --> To be honest, if you are determined, you may find a guide dog school
> > that will accept you. But when the judgment of both Guide Dogs for the
> > Blind and our school is that it is not a good idea, you may not want to
> > consider a school with softer criteria. A guide dog is a real benefit
> > when your vision loss is such that you cannot get around safely without
> > a cane. But this is not the case for you. When a person has enough
> > useable vision to get around visually, the particulars of handling and
> > using a guide dog can actually be a burden and can slow you down rather
> > than enhance your mobility.
> > Our best wishes go with you.
> > Sincerely [etc]
> > --
> > Tom Hunter
> > tomhunter at operamail.com
> > On Fri, Aug 28, 2015, at 01:56 PM, Buddy Brannan via nagdu wrote:
> >> Hi,
> >> Twice rejected: from the same school or from several? Even if you were
> >> rejected by two guide dog schools, that leaves about a dozen left at
> >> which to apply. Did they give you any reason for why you weren't
> >> accepted? If so, what was it, and what steps were recommended that you
> >> take to improve your chances at getting accepted next time?
> >> --
> >> Buddy Brannan, KB5ELV - Erie, PA
> >> Phone: 814-860-3194
> >> Mobile: 814-431-0962
> >> Email: buddy at brannan.name
> >> > On Aug 28, 2015, at 1:30 PM, Tom Hunter via nagdu <nagdu at nfbnet.org>
> >> > wrote:
> >> >
> >> > Hi, all. I'm new to this list, and have been 'legally blind' since
> >> > 2012,
> >> > when I fell from my bicycle, starting my commute home from work.
> >> > Severe
> >> > head injury left my optic nerves dead from one eye, and damaged from
> >> > the
> >> > other. Optic nerves are gone and do not recover.
> >> >
> >> > I was told I could be teamed with a guide dog, but have been rejected
> >> > twice. Hence my question.
> >> >
> >> > Is there a service dog I could be paired with, despite being judged a
> >> > bad match for a seeing eye dog?
> >> >
> >> > Original ms was;
> >> >
> >> > I am a disabled 60-year-old, who can't drive or do my old job. I have
> >> > MetroAccess card, and can take local trains and bus service, or get a
> >> > ride if I give 24 hours notice.
> >> >
> >> > In 2012 I fell, while commuting home from work on a bicycle. I wasn't
> >> > wearing a helmet, and hit my head on the sidewalk. After weeks of
> >> > I recovered, but for the optic nerves, which are permantly gone to
> >> > left eye, and severely damaged to the right eye, less than 20 degrees
> >> > field of vision in the eye that sees.
> >> >
> >> > I am in a study at the NIH, and a therapist there thought I'd qualify
> >> > for a guide dog. This is not the case, it seems. 2 schools have
> >> > evaluated me, and now both judge my case to be not needing a guide
> >> >
> >> > My question is, Is there any chance of getting a service animal, to
> >> > help
> >> > me with partial blindness, which could help me with things I don't
> >> >
> >> > I don't see things overhead while walking, at times, and have hit my
> >> > head as a result. My doctors warned me not to hit my head at all!
> >> >
> >> > And, a cane helps but a dog might warn me better of uneven terrain
> >> > while
> >> > walking in a local park, since my depth perception is mainly gone.
> >> >
> >> > Thanks,
> >> > --Tom
> >> >
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