[nagdu] excellent advice

Marilyn tucci t21114 at optonline.net
Sat Aug 29 15:41:56 UTC 2015

Hi Julie
I think this is excellent advice what you have shared. I have seen many 
blind people emerge from being quite to being more social with a dog . 
yes there are and will always be problems having a dog but to me well 
worth it. I have never had a problem explaining to people about my loss 
of sight. I am a good cane user and keep up my cane skills. Do I like 
the cane? NO. But it is a tool to help me get around if my dog is ill 
or I am between dogs.  .
Marilyn and Anna
 On Sat, Aug 29, 2015 at 08:10 AM, Julie J. via nagdu wrote:
 > My thoughts...
> First, yes, use your cane always when you are out and about.   This 
> does a few things.  It will improve your orientation and mobility 
> skills.  It will keep you safer.  And it will help you make the 
> transition into being seen as a blind person.
> that sounds nutty, I know.  Here's the thing though, a guide dog is a 
> very out in the open declaration of disability.  There will be loads 
> of people who come up and ask all manner of questions.  Socially 
> accepted personal boundaries seem to be different  for people with and 
> without disabilities.
> Somehow it's okay for people to ask what caused my blindness, even 
> though I would never dream of asking them personal questions about 
> their health or activities of daily living.   I can get irritated, 
> frustrated, angry.  I can be grateful I am even noticed or 
> appreciative of the conversation and opportunity to educate.  Over the 
> years I've felt all of those.   I never had any of those experiences 
> when I was young and sighted, or at least passed as a sighted person. 
> It is a huge learning curve to get yourself acquainted with the social 
> implications of being blind.  The cane, or dog, is a declaration that 
> I am blind.
> I suggest making this transition with the cane because I think it's 
> easier to do.  There is no fending off hands petting your cane.  there 
> is no one feeding or distracting your cane.   There is no one telling 
> you their allergic to your cane.   When using a cane, you'll still 
> need to advocate and educate, but not at the same magnitude as with a 
> dog.
> There are two skill sets to independent travel, orientation and 
> mobility, sometimes called O&M for short.  Orientation is what is in 
> your head.  It is the knowledge that the post office is on the east 
> side of the street, three blocks north of the coffee shop on the 
> corner of Main and First Street. Orientation is knowing the #4 bus is 
> the one you need to get to the mall. Orientation is knowing when you 
> face north, south is behind you.
> Mobility is the physical moving through space.  Canes and dogs are 
> mobility tools because they help you safely move through space.  A 
> cane or dog has no clue which bus to take, which way is west or how to 
> ask the right questions to get the information you need.   A cane or 
> dog simply helps you to notice and move around or interact with the 
> elements in your environment.
> You can learn mobility with a cane extremely quickly.  A few hours to 
> a few weeks.  However without the accompanying orientation skills, the 
> mobility isn't going to do you much good.  I believe that it is easier 
> and strongly preferable to use a cane while learning orientation 
> skills.  The cane is extremely predictable and does not have a mind of 
> it's own.  You can concentrate fully on learning orientation skills 
> without also needing to learn how to interact with a dog at the same 
> time.  There is a learning curve to both and doing all that learning 
> simultaneously could be easily overwhelming.
> That's my best advice: use your cane always, get O&M training if at 
> all possible, and get real cozy with the idea of being blind. Then 
> reapply to guide dog school once you've got a good handle on all of 
> that.
> 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 4:40 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 allowed.
> 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?
> -- 
>  Tom Hunter
>  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
>> a
>> thing as what some on the line is spouting........
>> Now with that said, My vision is very limited from RP and just like 
>> Tom
>> said
>> it throws off everything else. My guide dog was a blessing and 
>> improved
>> my
>> quality of life 1000%. I will Email shortly and give you Tom, the 
>> info
>> you
>> need to get the process started to get your dog.
>> Julie you are right about making sure you are not over riding the dog
>> when
>> 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.....
>> Yvonne
>> Now I have to go cool off.... the nerve of some people... GRRRRR
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Julie J. via nagdu" To: "NAGDU 
>> Mailing List,the National Association of Guide Dog Users"
>> Cc: "Julie J." 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 with
>>> 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 own
>>> home?  Do you find that you avoid certain places or times of the day
>>> because your vision prevents you from feeling confident about 
>>> navigating?
>>> My husband also has a brain injury.  While it didn't affect his 
>>> vision, it
>>> is still absolutely terrifying when he even bumps his head a little. 
>>> His
>>> doctor's said the same thing about using extreme caution to avoid 
>>> further
>>> 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 dog
>>> will get the idea that you've got it, so he doesn't need to be 
>>> diligent in
>>> 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 
>>> past
>>> that you could.  Certainly a dog could be taught to only do specific 
>>> guide
>>> 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 
>>> customized
>>> 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 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 a
>>>>> 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 
>>>>> coma,
>>>>> I recovered, but for the optic nerves, which are permantly gone to 
>>>>> the
>>>>> 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 
>>>>> dog.
>>>>> 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 
>>>>> see?
>>>>> 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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