[nagdu] Fwd: A question Julie and Tom

melissa R green graduate56 at juno.com
Mon Aug 31 02:17:47 UTC 2015

Thank you for sharing your
point of view.  I was sitting
here nodding at the computer
because I agree with
everything you said.  This is
why people think I am crazy
for saying that I am not sure
if I will go back for a second
dog when Pj retires.  But it
is a thought in my mind.  Like
you, I love my dog.  But it is
not all butterflies and happy
times.  I think you have to be
realistic about getting a
guide dog.  I would add don't
get a dog because people think
you need one for protection,
or just because you are blind.
Also think about this dog who
has been trained and you don't
want to have him following
your lead.  Just my two cents.

Melissa R. Green and Pj
It is 'where we are' that
should make all the
difference, whether we believe
we belong there or not. 

-----Original Message-----
From: nagdu
[mailto:nagdu-bounces at nfbnet.o
rg] On Behalf Of Debby
Phillips via nagdu
Sent: Sunday, August 30, 2015
3:17 PM
To: NAGDU Mailing List, the
National Association of Guide
Dog Users; nagdu at nfbnet.org
Cc: Debby Phillips
Subject: Re: [nagdu] Fwd: A
question Julie and Tom

Hi Tom, I think you need to
use your cane all the time.  
Seriously.  I have a friend
who had quite a bit of vision,
legally blind.  One day he
fell into a hole.  He now uses
a cane 
all the time, though now he is
most of the time in a
Sorry, but if I were the
person from the school and you
told me 
that you only use your cane
half the time, I'd tell you
you have 
too much sight to have a dog.
If GDB turned you down, then
definitely have too much
vision.  I'd love to have as
much vision 
as you.  I'm totally blind,
and even in my neighborhood, I
travel without either my dog
or a cane.  I'm not ashamed of
cane, and I love traveling
with my dog, but there are
just times 
when I'd love to be somewhere
without cane or dog, and be 
anonymous, just a gray-haired
woman, melting into the crowd,
noticeable at all.

As for overheads, dogs don't
handle those well.  I have had
show my dog some overheads,
and then she will stop if
we're in 
that area again.  The funny
thing about that is that this
particular house had a huge
tree or bush, and it extended
way out 
over the sidewalk.  My husband
and I had begun breaking off
of the branches that were
particularly obnoxious.
Recently that 
house was sold, and all the
branches have been cut back.
first time we passed it, she
stopped.  She seemed puzzled,
I know I always have to stop
here and let Mom know about
tree, but it isn't here
anymore.  Now she's good with
passing and not needing to
stop.  But I digress.  Dogs
are lower 
to the ground so it's not
natural for them to look up.
You have 
to keep reminding the dog
about overheads, and usually I
have to 
hit it first so I even know
it's there to remind my dog to
and show me.  The other thing
Tom, having a guide dog is a
lot of 
work.  It's not all glory and
wonderful having a dog all the

time.  I mean, I love it, love
my dog, wouldn't want to be 
without her.  But they need to
be groomed every day, you need
do obedience exercises with
the dog, feed it, water it,
make sure 
it gets taken out for
relieving, they need to be
petted, and 
played with, vet costs are
sometimes expensive.  They
get sick at inconvenient
times, like when you're at a
hotel, and 
it's the middle of the night.
Cleaning up vomit or diarrhea 
isn't fun.  You have to stand
around in freezing weather or 
broiling sun while Dog sniffs
every blade of grass or
until finally they decide to
do their thing.  And if it's a
you have to pick it up.  You
may be dressed in your best
suit for 
a meeting or church, but you
still need to put that plastic
on your hand and pick up the
poop.  Then you have annoying
who want to pet your dog, talk
to your dog, sometimes try to
your dog stuff you don't want
your dog to have because it's
good for them, people ask dumb
questions like, "Is that a
dog?" And then there's family
and friends.  "Do you need to
the dog when you come to my
house? I have to vacuum every
you leave." And yes, that
happens even if you do groom
every day, 
because dogs shed.  And I
really don't want to take your
dog in 
my car.  That's just family
and friends, to say nothing of
Uber and Lyft.  And to top it
off Tom, after an average of 7
10 years, your dog gets old
and can't work anymore.  You
have to 
retire the dog, which causes
huge grief.  And then go back
to the 
school for a new dog, which
won't be like your first one.
you'll have to spend weeks in
class training, then go back
for six months to a year of
adjusting before you are a
good team.  And sometimes it
doesn't work out with that
dog, and 
you have to start all over
again.  Or the dog gets sick
in the 
prime of life, you spend money
that you really don't have to
and get the dog healthy.  By
this time, you're attached,
not just 
because your dog is a great
guide, but because you love
the dog.  
If the vet is able to help the
dog, great! If not, the dog
has to 
be put down, you have to go
through the grief again, and
re-apply, go back to school
and the cycle starts all over
So now Tom, do you still want
to pursue getting a dog? If so
you need to start using a
cane, learn to judge traffic
with your 
ears not just your vision, and
be comfortable with the
technique of using a cane.
Sorry if ow have presented a
picture of having a dog, but I
think it's important to be 
realistic here.  I wouldn't
trade you dog for anything,
but I've 
experienced all the stuff I've
told you about since 1981 when
got my first dog.    Debby and

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