Tag Archives: blindness

Frasier and his new home.

The last few days have been hard I won’t lie. We will end positive, but to get there it’ll take a bit. Going back to Thursday I stayed home with Frasier I also did Friday. The trainer from the Seeing-Eye came out and got the harness to take back with him. He told me once Frasier relaxed I see why you like him. We talked about the process of reapplying for a dog, something as of now I’m not ready to do. After he left the next day or so basically I spent playing with him and petting him as much as I could. Emotions were hard I cried, smiled when he was being silly, sad when he’d lay on my feet at night as I watched baseball, and just depression as I realized time kept moving. I thought of keeping him ourselves, but what kind of life is that for him? Abby and Bancroft would leave every morning and then I would leaving him home for the day. Could he get used to it maybe, but he is used to going with me and being able to be out.

One thing I really loved about the 2 dog chemistry we had was Abby would go be with Bancroft and I would stay up watching a game or listening to music. Frasier would stay with me and usually be in touching distance of my feet or be on them. Eventually I would go in to bed and Frasier would follow me in and lay down on his bed on the floor beside me. Last night I missed him being on my feet or following me around. I think I am experiencing empty nest syndrome or something similar.

Frasier in the mornings was something really sweet. He was so adorable. Usually he’d wake me up if I slept in. He loved his routine of going out at 6 and eating after that. On a weekend if I missed that he would start nudging me at 6:50, and he may even jump on me by 7 if I didn’t pay him any attention. He didn’t really like beds much, but he would cuddle for a bit if I didn’t want to get up. Also when it was just me or if I was sick he’d lay beside me all night and never move. I got pretty sick pretty recently and slept in the guest room, and Frasier came in and curled up behind me keeping me warm all night I had chills so this was welcomed. I’m not a big dog in bed guy, but Robin did it towards the end of her career and Bancroft has always been up there so it’s warmed me up a bit on it.

Anyway one thing he does is he yawns a lot and gives kisses so much during the morning. I tried to enjoy these things a lot the last two days. He would let out such a pretty cry if I wasn’t moving fast enough to take him out. Thankfully I recorded one of them recently and I listen to it when I start to miss him. Since I can’t see pictures it helps. I recorded Robin’s bark and her eating one of the last days she was here I listen to those also from time to time it helps me think of them and smile.

When we got back from dropping Frasier off Bancroft kept looking for him. He sniffed rugs looked out the window stood sort of confused and finally he came over and smelled me. It’s weird, but the whole family is grieving Abby, Bancroft, and I all miss him. It’s so quiet here now, and we feel like most parents probably do when kids go to college. Every day for the last 7 months I’ve cared for him taken care of him, played with him, and now he isn’t there and it’s weird.

I flashed back to when I brought him home. I dropped his leash for a second to bring my suite case in from outside, and he discovered the toy box. He was so happy with himself. Every chance he got he would grab a toy out and squeak it.

Saturday came and the time arrived to take Frasier to his new home. I grabbed his food box, and he knew something was happening. I think he picked up on feelings from us plus Abby and I didn’t really leave him alone the last 3 days lol. The Lyft came and I put the food box inside. Abby and I also packed a box of things Frasier loved plus some things I thought Jerry and Lee might like to have to help them along in having a dog. Abby packed toys he likes like a football, baseball, bear, and jolly ball. I packed a brush, leash, gentle leader, and his bed. He asl got a frog named Darwin recently from JW Pets he loves it. He would put his paw on it well we couldn’t find him as we were leaving I found him when I got home and was sad. I ordered him a new one and sent it to Jerry and Lee’s house so he could have Darwin home. Bancroft doesn’t really like it, so when we go to visit we will take the original Darwin.

Anyway the Lyft driver was really friendly. He had dogs and had a puppy mat. I never let Frasier be on the seat if I can help it, but since he had the mat and this was are last car trip together I thought what the hell. Frasier put his head near the AC vent and loved the AC blowing on him. Then he put his head over on my lap and just let me pet him. Once we turned on to Jerry and Lee’s road he started to wine. He knew where we were. I got out of the car and he started to pull me towards the fenced in yard. Once we got in the gate I let him go, and he ran 4 laps really fast. He was so excited. That did my heart some good. Seeing how happy he was helped me with knowing he will do well here. I think he is just more of a country dog than a city dog.

We went inside and I explained some of the commands he knows to Jerry and Lee. They’re going through change also. They haven’t had a dog in a while so I’m sure there nervous and excited too. He did well with Jerry seemed to be patient as Jerry put the gentle leader on him.

Then it was time to leave. I told him to do well with Jerry and Lee, and that he was a good boy. I told him he was a great guid, and thanked him for his service. He tried to follow me out the door. I didn’t want to make a huge deal about leaving him, because I wanted him to think this is normal they’ll be back. The Lyft ride home I slept I hadn’t done done that well the past few nights.

We have texted Jerry and Lee some and he is doing well. Again I smile when I read the texts. I am trying not to bother them to much I want them to enjoy him and I want to give them some space. It’s hard though waking up today without him stil felt tough. I don’t have to wonder where he is which is great, but I do wonder what he is doing? Abby has been talking to Lee and Frasier has been doing well this morning. He got up and ran around the yard for an hour and than ate his breakfast. Lee said he is now tired and just watching Jerry. It makes me smile that he is settling in so well. He will be a great dog for them. I love hearing from them, and I know Abby is too.

Last night Lee texted me and said he was down for the night. He is going to have such a great life out there. I couldn’t have left him with any better of a family or people. I told them I really want him to become there dog. I’ll be the annoying grandparent now who will come by bring caffeine spoil him and then leave. They both are so happy, and Frasier is really happy being there also I could tell. All the signs are there that this should work well. They will spoil him too, and he will have a great life with them.

It’s been a long few days, but I am thankful I know where he is, and I know he is happy. You should have seen and heard him just running in that yard. Jerry told me he walked him to the mailbox and back he told me he pulled a bit going, but didn’t on the way back. I think as they do this more he will pull less, and they’ll have fun together.

I took my cane out to a pizza place last night. Abby’s friend from college wrote a book, and we went out to support her, and also so I could meet them. It was fun. It’s different with a cane. With the dog you can say outside and they will move towards a door. You know the general direction and the dog does the rest. Man with a cane it doesn’t do shit when you say outside. I kept bumping tables, and chairs. I think overall though for not using it much the last several months I did well. On Monday we will see. On my way to work I have to cross train tracks, and with Frasier we just went up and over them no problem, but with a cane it won’t be as easy. I’m sure you will hear about it.

Wrapping up sorry this one was all over the place. Grieving is hard I think I am on stage 3, but hearing the text updates helps so much. I am glad Dogs don’t grieve us the way we grieve them. Knowing he’s playing with his toys running in the yard or just watching Jerry makes me smile. Abby and I will both for the next few days cry when we step on one of his toys he left around, or a memory, but we both know we did the best we could do for him.

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Chapter begins

Frasier and I’ve been back for about 2 weeks now. Were doing well. I’ve taken him for several walks, and he has gone through several work days with me. I love him. I forgot about how bad the public is with dogs talking to them. They will literally say out loud I know I’m not supposed to pet, and then either go ahead and pet the dog or ask. I don’t understand why it’s so hard to just walk away. There is a guy at work who annoys me, because he will walk by and make eye contact with Frasier, and then say good morning Frasier. I’ve said just ignore him yet he does this anyway. Today Frasier stood up and he was like no lay down. I just spoke up and said see that’s why you should just ignore him so he doesn’t get excited. He now is ignoring me to, but honestly I have way more important shit to deal with. I don’t know if people just don’t take me seriously or what?

He loves to play my living room looks like a pet store. I’ve had to toss several toys, because they didn’t stand up to his chewing on them, and I didn’t want him choking. He gets along with Abby’s dog just fine. Bancroft is 7 all most 8, and is quieting down with playing so I think Frasier is good for him also. Watching them play tug is awesome.

My next airport trip wwich will be soon I’m going to Washington I am going to not ask for assistance to the gate. We now have the Louisville airport mapped for Nearby Explorer. This means with my Iphone I can hear the gates or terminals as I pass them. We’ve been working on indoor navigation at the Printing house, so I will test it out for real. I’m excited if successful that will be the first time I’ve done that on my own. I know some blind people do it already, but without some sort of feedback from either gps or something I wouldn’t want to try. I just want things to go easy, but now that this is ready I figure why not. I think Frasier and I are up for the challenge.

In a lot of ways his work is similar to Robin’s, but in other ways they’re different. It is so hard going from an older dog to a newer dog. Not hard, but a lot of work, discipline, and praise. Getting back in to the mindset that I have to treat him like a baby, because he is. For example, my back yard I could trust Robin out there she wouldn’t jump I knew where she was him I think he’d be in China if I left him out there for a minute. He pays attention to the neighborhood like she did, and I’ll be honest just with him around I’m sleeping way better when Abby isn’t there. Before I got him the only time I slept well was when Abby and Bancroft came over, because someone else was there and I was comfortable. He also doesn’t come when I say to come he’s testing me and such, but were working on it. Those things tend to frustrate me most, because it’s hard to rationalize hey this is someone new. He loves to play as I stated before, and I think bonding with him in this way helps us.

We went and got lunch during work, and feeling him navigate around things in my hometown was again so refreshing. I hated the cane. I also noticed my confidence was back up. I am a bit nervous crossing streets that’ll probably take me a bit to feel good again with him, but so far he is doing so good.

I wrote this over several days, but yesterday I took him out on a longer leash to explore the back yard. He is in love. This morning after he ate he made noises at the back door like please let me out.

It’s blindness month, and I see a bunch of blind people writing crazy long posts on Facebook about remarks how they’re normal and bla bla bla. Look I get annoyed to at the public and sighted people, but you have to remember were not even 1% of the population. Other than observing you on Facebook most have never encountered a blind person. What annoys me most is when sighted people work for a blind company, and try and act as if they’re know all of all things blind. At the end of the work day sir or ma’am you go home and use a TV without speech, or write and read things on paper or a computer without a screen reader that doesn’t face any inaccessible issues. Yet you’re going to speak for me or us pretending you know what a day in our lives is really like. We were talking recently about flattop stoves. I used to be nervous about them until I met Abby now I wouldn’t live without one. Anyway the sighted people were like we have to do something tactile so blind people can feel where they’re at on the stove. I spoke up and said no I have one now, and I just wave above the heat then I place my pot. After I set it down I then feel around the pot to make sure no extra heat is coming from one side or the other. All of the sighted people were so amazed they were like oh were taught to stay away from that. These are people who stove makers are talking to for designing something to make my life better yet they don’t even know how were using the products we use now? Here’s a brilliant idea instead of talking with the sighted guy why don’t you talk to me? They don’t because of dumb sighted person who’s worked for a blind company 5 years feels he is an expert. That’s the type of thing that drives me nuts, because your addressing an issue that isn’t an issue for us. You know what is? The touch screen with 50 options I can’t read not the burner that heats up that I can feel.

Sighted people have blindfolded themselves and used a screen reader for a month or two, and yet this still gives you know real experience because you know at some point that blindfold is coming off. Unless your permanently in a situation you can’t be an expert. It’s like people who read braille with their eyes congratulations, but that’s not being an expert. Yet these eye braille readers chime in on quality, or even changes to the code itself.

I think I’ve written enough for now, but I wanted to say thank you to everyone who took the time out to write me while I was out training with Frasier. Also thank you again to Jenny, and Dawn from Wave as well as anyone else who donated or took the time out to make things easier. As I finish this he is laying on my foot chewing on his bone. I really missed having a dog laying on my foot. I’m proud of myself for being able to look at him as a different dog, and allow him to be himself without expectations he will replace Robin. Dogs to me are like humans you can’t really replace them. After Ethan died Whitney wrote some things on Facebook and it’s a different chapter now. You cherish the old chapters and never forget, but it’s great to have my vision back, and move so freely again. I met this lady who has had 9 dogs in her life time, and I thought that was so neat. She was 80 years old and was in great shape I hope to hell I could do the things she did when I’m 80. She’d walk 2 miles like the rest of us.

The ending with a dog is so difficult, but give yourself sometime between them. That moment when Brian brought Frasier to me I was so nervous to see what he’d feel like or act like. I hugged him and petted him for about 30 minutes, and then I put the harness on him, and we went out for a quick first walk. That moment when your hitting your normal pace, and your maneuvering obstacles not even realizing they were there is just amazing. Brian would be behind us saying he just moved you around some chairs or a flower pot, and you didn’t have to bump it with your knee or your cane. Having a dog requires more work than a cane, but I’m glad I did it again. Not only was I sad after Robin died, but also I hated going out, because I had been to my Kroger a thousand times with her. I could always get to the service desk, but my ability to feel her move around carts or even at my normal pace vs a cane pace things were just off. I’d turn to soon thinking I had reached the place I needed, because in my head with my cane I still moved as fast as Robin and I. In my head I felt her moving me around things or the turns she’d make, but in reality I’d be so far off target. Now it’s just getting him used to the baseball park or Kroger. The first 6 months a lot goes in to learning how we communicate.

I haven’t posted this, so more and more happens. Today I went up for lunch a few blocks away, and coming back I was crossing a street and he pushed me to the right. Last week he did this on the sidewalk to try and say hi to a dog. Without thinking I dropped the harness something was taught not to do. I had a panic moment I’ll freely admit. As I reached out my hand to give a correction I felt a car blocking the sidewalk. I couldn’t hear it, because it was a blind killer or Hybrid. I picked up the harness quickly and told him to hup hup which means find a way around it. He continued right and got me to the curb. We really hadn’t had any issues before, and I gave him a bug hug once we got up on the sidewalk. I don’t know why I didn’t just follow him when he was doing it. I guess that’s that trusting thing. I went out about an hour later to try again, and another car pulled out of a parking space and did the same thing except this time it was on the other side. I followed him this time. I try to tell myself I’m a hundred percent comfortable, but this is a reminder we as a team have growing pains to work through. He pushes me pretty forcefully which is different from Robin. I like it just different. I will stop blabbing now.

A new beginning

All most one week down here at the Seeing-Eye. It’s gone quickly I was matched with a German Shepard named Frasier. He is so handsome. My instructor Brian brought him in to me after two walks to determine my dog they’d match me with. He described him to me which was cool. I can’t remember all of the colors, but he feels amazing.

We’ve walked twice a day, and did some complicated routes. Feeling him push me around something or passing someone is awesome. I really feel how much Robin slowed down the last year or so. I’ve called him Robin a few times, but I feel now that I’m honoring her by doing this. She paved the way for me to feel confident enough and give me my sight back. Me doing this is saying hey you were successful, and I miss the partnership.

Boys have advantages one is I can hear him piss. Lol Robin was difficult to hear, and I learned how to tell, but he ain’t fooling anyone. A typical day is you wake up at 5:30 and take the dogs out to go to the bathroom. Then you feed and water them. Then you have breakfast at 7. You walk with them to the dining room. After breakfast you go out and walk a route usually about a mile to 2 miles long. Then you come back for lunch and then repeat the last route again. Then you have dinner and finally a lecture on different dog aspects. After that we have an 8 bathroom time, and then you can go to bed or die whatever comes first.

I’ve really enjoyed being here, and getting the time to bond with Frasier. We received there puppy profiles today, and his raiser was an Autistic boy I’ll leave his name out. A puppy profile is the only contact The Seeing-eye gives you to the family who razed him as a puppy. They do a lot of hard work like taking the dog outside to go to the bathroom and how to not poop or piss in the house. It said that the boy took him to Autism events, and Frasier was so gentle with the kids, and helped them open up. I just thought that was so cool that he helped one disability just being a puppy now he gets to go help me. He’s also gone to baseball games, so he shouldn’t have a hard time adapting to me lol.

I bought him some toys today he really enjoys them. Really at this point he is attached to me all the time unless were sleeping it’s to strengthen the bond between us. A lot of changes have happened for him he’s gone from being in a kennel going out once a day and being able to play and sleep to now having someone different in his life. He’s done so well I’ve not fallen once, but we still have time. He feels like Robin when we walk to an extent. This time I have it figured out I’m confident that having a dog makes me better as a traveler. When I got Robin I really wasn’t sure, and it was such a change from the cane.

Tonight I stretched my legs out and Frasier fell asleep lying inside them. I hated to move him. One thing that they’re trained with knowing that Robin hadn’t really learned is clicker training. For example if you need to find a light pole to push a button and you can condition them to find it. You can also do this with bus stops, maybe a chair in a restaurant, or etc. This will come in handy in a lot of situations for finding light polls in Louisville. One thing that is cute he does even though I don’t tell him is when I’m zipping up the crate he tries to stick his head and paw out. I always give him a hug and softly push him back. He is super sweet.

We have a great class of people. I’ve socialized some, but my main focus is on Frasier and sleeping. Lol I met someone that had the same eye cancer as me which was pretty neat until I met her I’ve never met else that had Retinal Blastoma.

Finally I’ll end this on another note completely different. When I got off the plane I met a guy and he drove me to the Seeing-eye. He said man I love the south, but with all the statue stuff going on it scares me. That stuff honestly is blown out of proportion, but regardless what sides you stand on don’t forget was all human and we shouldn’t let hate take us over so much. Live each day like it’s your last, and to the fullest. With the hurricane bearing down on Florida, and the one that hit Houston I hope everyone comes outs okay. My thoughts are with all.

Facts about the guide dog process

People often ask how much does a guide dog cost? Well typically a guide dog costs $50000 to train, however the blind person pays way less than that. Some schools are free, but the caveat is the school may maintain ownership of the dog. I go to the Seeing-Eye where the first dog was $150, and then the second dog or anything after that is $50. I chose them, because I wanted full ownership of the dog. This price includes your travel and lodging. As my friend Joe says it’s a smoking deal. I’m so grateful about the price I try and donate when I can. A lot of people and volunteers make it a great time. It’s hard work for us, but rewarding.

It’s time away from home, and now that I’m working it’s different. When I got Robin I got her on summer break of my last year in college. I find myself now with bills and things, but I am using my tax return to fund my house payment and things while I am gone. I just started working 6 months ago at my new job, so I don’t have much vacation time saved but I have to roll through that then the rest is unpaid. I had pneumonia earlier this year, and I used some up then or I’d have more time saved, but that’s life. I could wait, but I really want to get my dog for when I travel to Vegas for the CES show. I’d also like to get out and do some exploring downtown again, and would feel way more comfortable traveling with a dog than my cane.
Basically a puppy will go live in a temporary home usually for about a year. They will learn basic commands, and things like going to the bathroom outside. At about 12 months old they go in for training and it’s about 6 to 8 months depending on the dog. Here they learn how to watch for cars and traffic checks. They also learn how to navigate around obstacles. Not all dogs pass the tests the instructors have set up for them. For example, say a dog likes to chase squirrels, or is easily distracted that can be a problem for the blind person. More than likely my new dog would be between 17 to 21 months. Robin was just over 2 21 months old when I got her.

I’ll never forget one question I got when I was out at the store once. A guy came up and asked me did you pick out your dog? I said no we were matched by pace and personality. He goes I thought before you went blind you might have gotten to pick her out, so you would know what she looked like. Lol oh man that would be like the most depressing thing ever! Hey Joe you’re going blind, but the great news here is you can go pick out a beautiful dog.

It’ll be interesting what I think the second time around, because I’m more understanding what will happen. The first time I wanted a dog, but not having a cane and receiving that feedback was so foreign to me. I will keep y’all posted!

One of my friends posted that she was taking her dogs to the same vet where Robin went at the end called Plantation Animal Clinic in Louisville. They were so kind, and made that so comforting. When Robin had cancer the doctor would call and talk to me for like a half an hour answering all of my questions. I remember her telling me she will start to vomit along with the diarrhea, and sure enough she did. Once I saw that I couldn’t watch her suffer like that anymore it was too painful. I’ll never forget I was laying with her and she got up and nudged me with her nose which meant she had to go out. We got to the door and she started putting her head down. I got her out, but she was really good about communicating with me.

Anyway I got off track a bit I’m excited to take my new dog there and see dr. K again. I am going to braille a letter and also print a thank you letter for taking care of Robin and giving her the attention she needed. I had been to other vets that Robin was just a number, and it wasn’t personal. I’m happy to go back, and have them being the doctor from the start for my second dog.

Abby and I will be celebrating are 2-year anniversary on the 27th. The first time we went out we went to that Mexican restaurant where everyone got sick damn it I can’t think of the name. Hang on hey Google search for that Mexican restaurant that gave everyone diarrhea? Response to many to list. Haha Actually The answer is Chipotle! Oh Chipotle that’s it! Damn Google is so smart. Anyway we ate dinner, and then Abby and I went home on the same bus, and when she was getting off Robin didn’t want her to go. Abby would say good bye, and Robin would start to make a crying noise. So I had to make date number two since Robin loved her. Abby also gave Robin some treats that I gave her later.

Hopefully this post taught you some things about guide dogs, and that Mexican restaurants are great to clean you out!

The Seeing-Eye called

Last week the Seeing-Eye called me and told me that they had a dog for me and that I could come to class. I’m so excited. I wasn’t sure if I was ready until last weekend where Abby and I went out walking. We had gone to some baseball games where I missed having a dog, but I miss how a dog can keep you walking in a straight line. Something I cannot do with my cane, and I miss it. I’ve been nervous a bit honestly thinking about its name, what it will feel like, and just that investment and bond we will share.

I was asked to be in a wedding a few months ago which I excepted, because I really enjoyed the groom and bride. We hung out with them a lot. They’re Abby’s neighbors, so I enjoyed how easy it was to see them and such. I advised the groom that I might be getting a dog, and he was happy. However, on Sunday he responded with an awful text message. I’ve never received anything quite like it. At first it shocked me, then it angered me, and finally I just wanted to be done with it all. I will paste in the message at the bottom of this, but I want to say something first.

He states getting a dog is a trivial thing and a privilege. Now this is someone who can see mind you. Oh really a privilege? Yes, sir it was a privilege to have cancer and lose my eyes. It was a privilege to never know what the sun looks like, stars, or anything else for that matter. It’s a privilege to wait for the bus and be soaking wet while all of the rest of the world passes you in a car with their windows up and heat on. It’s a privilege to be able to not walk a straight line or fumble for the walk button, because sighted people decide where the best place is for the polls for the walk signs. It’s a privilege not to be able to see the traffic sign that says walk. Don’t you ever tell me being blind or getting a dog is a privilege, because that’s a world you know nothing about. I understand this is the most important day in your life, and until you sent me this I thought we were close, but you also have to understand things happen. This is not like I am blowing off your wedding to go see a movie. I am going out to NJ for 2 weeks without pay, and using up all of my vacation time to get a Seeing-Eye dog not just a dog. Guide dogs provide a tool for me that make me feel more independent, and confident. Yes, I can get around with my cane, but it isn’t as easy as having a dog. Have you had to cross Shelbyville road or West port road blindfolded with a cane? You should try it since it’s such a privilege, and let me know how it goes if you live. Blind people advised me I should educate you, but the fact of the matter is if you don’t understand Robin was more than a dog to me then you’ll never understand. I am not angry for you calling them animals, but I did think of Robin and it made me so angry that you took that tone. I will be at your wedding, because I made a commitment, and it will work out with the Eye, but it’s to be a bigger person than you, and then I’m done with the friendship. The next time you want to go to dinner and Abby and I bring are dogs I’ll think of how you spoke about them, and I just can’t be cool with you.

Your iMessage, Your iMessage, Ryan Hey Joe. In light of the revelation that you are considering skipping standing up with me at the wedding, I've done a lot of thinking. Our wedding is a very big deal to us. We were very careful who we chose to be in the wedding. We wanted people who exemplified the love and trust that makes us the happiest. Asking someone to stand up at their wedding is considered an honor. When you committed to this months ago, I thought you were completely on board with fulfilling your commitment. I am completely disappointed that you are so quick to turn your back on this commitment. Not only are you turning your back, but you are doing it for a reason that is trivial. Getting a dog is not an emergency. Getting a dog is a luxury. The selfishness of pulling yourself away from a commitment that holds so much meaning let's me know that you didn't hold this commitment in the same high level of honor that I did when I asked you to stand with me. I thought the friendship that we had developed warranted including you. Clearly I was wrong. I tried to ease the process of standing with us by lifting the burden of having to pay for the clothes. This luxury is ALWAYS gladfully paid by groomsmen. I cannot recall a single wedding where the groomsmen had their clothes paid for. Even this is not enough. I am deeply hurt that you're even considering dumping your commitment for an animal. I won't wait until Friday Link Link Link to hear what your decision will be. I won't wait until Friday Link Link Link to see if I play second fiddle to a fucking dog. You have until 7 PM tonight Link to tell me whether you will be in the wedding or not. If you choose not to respond then I will assume you will choose the dog. If you choose the dog be prepared to pay in full the amount of your suit, tie, shoes, socks and belt. The cost will be $455. You will need to pay this by the end of the week. Being that you've already had the suit altered, you've wasted the gift card. I need you to understand, I'm not angry, I'm just crushed that something as ignorant as a dog would be the reason we even have to have this conversation. Let me know by 7 PM Link Link Link what you are going to do., 10:35 AM Link Link Actions available, 11:46 AM Link Swipe up or down to select a custom action, then double tap to activate., 8:11 PM Swipe up or down to select a custom action, then double tap to activate.

AirPods and Robins birthday!

Time gets away, and I don’t blog as much as I’d like. Abby and I are doing well. I’m excited to take her to her first MLB game in a few weeks. Pretty soon we will be celebrating 2 years together which is pretty cool. It’s gone by so fast. I had pneumonia two weeks ago, and that wasn’t any fun. Abby came over and helped take care of things. I tell you what when you have that you can’t do anything but sleep. I’d try to stay up, but couldn’t. I am feeling better, but it’s taken awhile.
Abby and I both got a pair of AirPods recently. I tell you what they are some pretty cool technology. Basically what they are is a wireless earbud. You don’t even know you need them until you start using them. I have Bluetooth headphones, but sometimes you just want to wear something smaller. As a blind person traveling on the street an earbud is easier to deal with than an over the ear headphone, because it allows you to hear more. With my Iphone they pair so seamlessly! Then once paired it’s connected to my Icloud for pairing on any other Apple device. For my Mac all I have to do is click on Bluetooth and then Joes AirPods and sound comes through them.
 
Battery Life is decent for a little earbud they get 5 hours music playback, and 2 hours for talk time. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but they also come with a charging case you drop them in there and with in 15 minutes they have 3 more hours of charge. They do well, and battery hasn’t been an issue in my wee trial. For comparison the Samsung Earbuds only get 1.5 hours of battery life when using them to play music from your phone. With those however they do have onboard storage where you can play music without a phone however battery life playback is still only 3.5 hours of play time. They also cost more than the AirPods,.
 
I am really enjoying my new job it’s fun being able to test new applications, and also see new tech. I honestly can’t believe they pay me for it. Lol Larry and I are going to be starting a website for Android TV soon, so I am excited to be involved with that. I don’t think I’ve talked about it here, but I bought a Sony Bravia® TV recently which for the first time I could set it up entirely myself, because it has speech on it. Even just being able to play with the picture settings is so neat. Before I had no idea what my tv offered as far as picture settings, because it didn’t talk. I honestly have no idea why or how it’s not required that every tv at this point doesn’t have to have some sort of screen reader built in. I am happy to see Amazon is going to make the new 4k fire tv they’re selling with Alexa also have Voiceview on it so a totally blind user should be able to set it up from scratch themselves also.
 
This month would have been Robin’s 11th birthday! Also it is 6 months from her passing. I think about her in some way every day. I did apply for a new dog, but It will probably be next year until I can do it. The pneumonia wiped out any chance I’d have enough vacation time to be able to go out and get a new dog if they had one to offer me. The school has to first have a dog that matches your speed and personality first you can’t just use any dog. I’m going to Vegas for a tech show, and really wish I had Robin, because there is tons and tons of people at this thing, and using a cane will be a nightmare. I know I’ve posted this sentiment before, but the way a dog can weave you in and out while in a large crowd is just breathtaking. I don’t give a damn how good of a cane user you are or think you can be you just can’t have that same freedom in an event like that.
 
I just want to say happy birthday to Robin on the 18th. Thank you for being the best Seeing-eye dog you could be. Thanks for the service you provided, and wanting to do it until the end. Thanks for being my friend and partner moving from Muncie to Louisville and several apartments to eventually my house. I know I wasn’t always easy to live with, but no matter what you never seemed to mind. I’m glad I had those 8 years with you, and we created lots of memories. I’ll never forget one time I had to leave her to go to a camp for work. I was gone 4 days, and when I walked out to the parking lot to get her she jumped out of the window of the car to get to me. When I was sick I thought a lot about how she would come lay on my legs, or on the floor by the bed. I miss that companionship a lot! I’ll probably have some desert for her day, and make the best of it.
 
 
 

A few stories to add!

I’m nervous Tomorrow I go back to work, but today I found doing things difficult. I woke up at 6 or so on the couch. I feel a connection there since I held Robin the day before. I also find it easier to have her collar near me. I’m sure these things will pass, but for now it helps me. I just now took out the trash something I’ve been meaning to do all day, but that was something Robin would walk out stand at the gate and watch me roll the can to the end of the drive. When I would come back to the gate she’d always give my hand a lick. If I was in a hurry I’d leave the front door open so she could see out, and it would be the same result. Something so simple made me cry.
I made spaghetti and listened to Kentucky Sports radio like I stated and that helped. Once that went off I felt tired and I needed to sleep. I slept from 1-4 and then woke up and spoke to a long time friend. Abby got me a pizza, so I ate on that for dinner. the house is so empty now it’s haunting.
I thought of 2 stories that should have been in the tribute. I know there are so many which is why she is so special. For my first job at Future Choices in Muncie I had to go to a kids camp in Columbus Ohio. I decided not knowing how mature the kids were I’d leave Robin with a friend Dina. I think the camp was 4 days, and man I missed my girl. Anyway I came home and Dina brought her buy and she had the window halfway down and Robin got stuck in the window, because when she saw me standing in the parking lot she wasn’t going to wait for the door to be opened.. She was okay, but I got so many kisses. She did not let me out of her sight for a bit after that. My friend Sue was staying there assisting Dina who was recovering from surgery, and I would call and check in or text. Yes I am that guy, but I missed my girl. Sue told me I know your schedule now. I said what do you mean? Well Sue said she cry at 6 to go outside then I got nicely back to sleep and at 7:15 she cried again for food. I said you have it down.
The second story Abby loves to hear so I thought I would mention it. I decided to dog sit for my friend Carlos;s Seeing-Eye dog Derek. It happened to be the night of my friend Ethan’s Bachelor party. I decided I’d take the dogs out before we left that would give us time. Well I may have had a little to much to drink. I wrote a blog about this incident called something like Braille and strip club. Anyway they dropped me off and I got Derek out just fine. However for Robin I remember her going to the bathroom and then I decided I was tired and I would go to sleep under a tree. I went over and laid down instead of Robin panicking or being alarmed she let me hold her in my arms. Ethan happened to come back and got me up apparently we had a bit of a crowd around us so we got back inside. I just thought it was funny that Robin was like I’m with my dad everything’s fine move along.
She taught me responsibility for something, and helped me mature so I’m thankful for her. Not saying I didn’t do anything else stupid, but I did far less than I would have. I’m just waiting now on her ashes, and will post a link at that time for the company as well. Since Robin was a service animal they will cremate her for free. It is such a great feeling that people and companies give thanks for her work. I’m off to sleep and will post once I get her back. I plan to keep her in a nice spot in my house. Finally last time I checked her post had around 230 views today. Thank you for sharing it, and reading. I felt like it helped me a little to write all of that, and people were able to pay there respect. Sorry about all the errors I’m dictating, because it’s just easier. 

Sorry for the long wait but I was parking my car

I haven’t written in a long time. Let me get you up to speed where things are. Also Happy Thanksgiving y’all.
 
Abby and I have been together more than a year now. Every day we get closer, with us and the two dogs we have are little family. One of my favorite trips we did so far is we went to Lexington to watch a Cats basketball game together. It was last year and they were playing LSU. I’ve gone before but usually with someone sighted who would drive me. We caught the bus here in Louisville and got to Lexington. Once there we caught a Uber to the game. We left the dogs with Jerry and Lee because we didn’t have accessible seating and I didn’t want them to get stepped on.
 
The funniest thing happened in Lexington. After the game we waited for the usher to help us out to the front. In Louisville usually you get one person, but there they are mainly volunteers so you get handed from one person to another until you get to your destination. Once we were in the elevator heading out the guy asked us where we parked? We advised him we took Uber and would catch it in the front. We went to a restaurant that was a former church made in to a pasta place. The bar was actually where the preacher would have stood. Anyway when we were leaving a guy grabbed my hand and helped me down the stairs being over protecting making sure I wouldn’t fall. He then goes where did you guys park? In my head I’m thinking seriously you registered I was blind, but now you’re going to help me to my car to drive Abby home? No wonder are streets are so scary. We left dinner with a few hours to wait for the return bus to Louisville and we learned they lock the station so we went over to a Burger King. I called a Lyft to go to the bus station when time and the driver showed up but we couldn’t find him so I called him. I advised I and my girlfriend are blind and we couldn’t see him. He said what? I repeated I’m blind and can’t see him. You’re BLIND? He yelled it or had a weird sounding voice. I said yes sir he was really cool actually once we were in the car. It turns out the Burger king was about 500 feet from the bus station so I tipped him nicely for his troubles. Lexington was fun just watch out they think blind people can drive which when you think about it is I guess cool we can do anything else I guess.
 
Robin has had a rough year. I took her to the vet last weekend and she either has Irritable bowel disease or cancer of the intestine. If she has the cancer she has a year roughly to live. If it is the IBD then not so serious, but it is still so hard to watch her age. She has lost 16 pounds since last November which scares me. Now that it is getting colder I will wake up in the night and she will jump up on my bed and cuddle against my legs. I cherish every moment like this. One morning I had a hard time getting up and she raised her head up and gave me a lick on the cheek that got me moving it was like she was saying hey daddy stop being lazy. I have her on a new food that she is eating every ounce of so I’m hoping it will put some weight back on her. When I touch her back and go towards her tail it just makes me so sad to see how much she has thinned out. We still play but only certain times. She likes to get on my couch when I’m in the chair and she is 10 so I’m okay with that. We’ve been through so many battles together. Trying to get gigs on radio and TV going from city to city in the last year or so we’ve really settled down. I know she can’t travel and do the things we once did and I’m excepting that for her. We don’t do a lot of street crossing right now because my work isn’t in a walking friendly area so it works out that she still comes with me If that changes I will retire her. She has stayed home more than normal and she has begun chewing the hair off her legs the vet told me it’s a behavioral thing acting out because of changes so truthfully I know she would be right beside me if she could be. I’ll never forget we were crossing an alley when I lived downtown and she stopped and backed up suddenly, and that’s when I heard a car backing out. A second later and I would have been hit. When you are a team it is so rough and so hard to see them getting older. To some she is a dog, but for me it’s more than that we have this bond that I’ve never shared with anything else. Robin you’re the best and thanks for your years of work, and also thank you to the Seeing-Eye for matching us.
 
Next year on the docket is Abby would like to go to Chicago to see the World Series champs!!! Yes I can say that the Chicago Cubs!!!! I cannot believe they did it. It was a really emotional night my grandpa Hoyer got me in to the Cubs, and listening all those years baseball is unlike any other sport. I’m hoping to take Abby to Wrigley. This year we went to a lot of Bats games they were fun except one which the radio was on a delay so people are cheering and were 2 pitches behind. Thankfully they fixed it for the final game. I miss baseball already. Were also going to Tim McGraw and Faith Hill here in Louisville. Finally so far we have tickets to see Aaron Lewis in Feb which I am so excited for. I will try to write more things are just really busy.

Going to the doctors

It’s been awhile sorry life’s been crazy. I also have got through a point where I didn’t feel like sharing. Things have been good. My girlfriend Abby has met my family and fits in well. I’ve been sick, and it’s nice to have someone that can take the dog out or just be there. I felt bad because I wanted to start the new year out right instead I started it out sick. I have a double ear infection and let me tell you what being blind plus my ears out of whack it’s not fun. I can’t really even stand to have the tv on. I mainly listen to my IPad or iPhone on a low setting. Even typing this is a struggle, but I wanted to put something out there that I went through today.
I went to the doctors today, and I found a place that is real good about helping me fill out paper work, and at least communicating to me like I am human. However the nurse today just all the sudden made me say aww and then put a tip in my throat to do a swab without telling me. I hate that please let me know what’s coming I don’t like to be taken by surprise. That’s why I hate going to doctors they get so fascinated with my artificial eyes or the fact I’m there to even freakin diagnose me it seems. Once the nurse left my doctor was really pleasant she said I want to be careful getting between you and your dog. I asked what do you mean? She said I don’t want her to think I’m hurting you. I advised she is okay.
After my appointment I took a Lyft home and waited an hour called an Uber to run by my Walgreens close by. I got a guy named City and I’ve had a guy named that before so I was excited. I didn’t even take my cane since I figured he’d know me and we could hit the drive up. Turns out there are two people named City and god I was nervous for a few minutes like I’m sick, can’t hear well, plus now I don’t have my cane with a stranger. I explained to him I was blind and could we use the drive up and him take me home. He then told me a story about a Youtube video about a guy who was blind who was asking people to make change, and when one person ripped him off he said no I’m not blind you ripped me off. He said it was a peace on how you just can’t trust people today. I’m not sure if he thought I was faking or what but he was cool. I’m just wondering what other blind peoples experiences are with doctors? I will be going to a consistent doctor starting this year so maybe things will change since it won’t be random people.

I haven’t had an epic rant for a while so here you go

I want to first off by stating RIP to jenelle a guide dog for my friend Matt. She Died on Sunday. She was 14 and a great dog. I have so many stories, and I can’t even begin to understand what he is going through. I understand it but I’ve never lost one yet. She went peacefully though which is good. Anyway if you could put Matt and Amanda in your thoughts. I remember her she’d wag her tail any chance she got. One night when I was going home Robin tried to steal her toys because I guess humping her all the time wasn’t enough. Haha Robin is quite the dominating girl. Anyway when I stepped outside the house I heard this thump thump as the toy went down the stairs. I got it and took it back in. Anyway I know you’ll be missed by Robin and myself.
What I want to talk about today is why blindness is viewed as this helplessness agenda. I am watching this video of this soldier who went blind, and no disrespect but what his fucking wife said really set me off. She said in a CBS video was she could either say were done he can’t do anything anymore or she could become his biggest cheerleader. I know obviously he went through some depression, and maybe even had thoughts of killing himself, but her notion that he couldn’t do anything where does that come from? Maybe again I’m digging at something she didn’t mean, but sighted people in general look at a blind person and say I couldn’t live if that happened to me. Being blind isn’t that bad. Yes you can’t see shit, but you can still do shit. I might not see cake baking in the oven rising to that beautiful doughy perfection, but I can taste it. I was talking to my friend Linda and Reggie this week about how summer bombs the fuck out of me sometimes. I know it’s stupid right, but I miss all the fashion women show off. I always hear from women I hang out with or dudes who stop paying attention to me because there watching someone all most be naked. Before I started watching described video again I didn’t realize how much sexual persuasion is always there. When your blind unless someones rubbing on you it’s not as stimulating. You can be ab oblivious to what is going on. As I get older my appearance becomes more important as I try to meet people or find new jobs. I walked around with a fucking stain on my shirt all day Friday. Thankfully I was in a place most others were to but still.
I think I offended my dad the other day, because I went home over the weekend and stated I wasn’t used to that long of a car ride. He said sorry I don’t own an airplane and can’t fly you home. That wasn’t what I met at all, but okay. Maybe again he doesn’t think about my situation because he doesn’t have to, but I would love to get in a fucking car and drive to Washington on a roadtrip, but the fact is I can’t. I guess I could maybe find a friend who wanted to go somewhere and tag along, but most of the time that means you lose a lot of freedom. I’m not in a relationship so at this point I don’t have that connection to share with. For me flying or cabs or busses is what I get. I don’t have the luxury of just getting in a car in my drive way and drive where I want. Most things I do I have to plan out or pay for a cab or Lyft. Yes I have a pilot friend and things work out, but it’s not always easy. When I was in Toronto do you know how tiring that really was? I mean I have just my phone, with GPS anything could have happened. I would love the security of just having a car christ.
Anyway back to the soldier. I think it is great what he did, but his wife pissed me off a little. I guess I can love you but if you go blind then I got a real fucking choice to make. Never mind you lost your sight fighting for my right to be a complete bitch. I’m just taking out some anger I have, but seriously man divorce her now. I just don’t know where this logic comes from that because your eyes stop working things constantly suck. Yes his situation is way crazier than mine I don’t remember anything, but life goes on. Is he still the man he was before the war probably not, but seeing his motivation by finishing the ironman shows he has a heart of a champion. I know sighted people as a whole really don’t know how to deal with blind people, and at times it’s weird. I’ve stated before I can go to a restaurant, and the waitress might open my straw for me which okay is nice right but does she do that to the sighted person? I’ve been on dates or hell even out with friends and they will look at the person and say what does he want? I’m a grown man just please ask me. Again my eyes and brain are completely different organs. My penis works too. I probably should have skipped writing tonight.
My final thought is I went home as I said earlier. I sat at the Finucanes house remembering the olden days. Before Ball state, before Louisville, and before Robin. I remember being just stuck in the country with no transportation other than my family. My brother would take me to school, and bring me home or I would ride the bus. If I was at wrestling someone would pick me up after that. I was so different back then, because I had to depend on others which is probably why I had being having to depend on people now. Hanging out at Brandons house helped me in ways I don’t really want to get in to here, but they helped me get out of bad situations at times. His family pretty much excepted me. I love them still. I’m sitting in there living room remembering my dreams of wanting to live in the big city, and work, and it’s somewhat weird it came true. I remembered struggling after college when no one would hire me. It’s just weird how things work out. I’m learning to just take things in strive and pick my battles. I can’t win them all. I will just say this. Why do we focus on the amazing accomplishments still of the blind, and rather not look at the struggles they face today? It’s easy for me to Google blind in the news and see a thousand feel good peaces, but I don’t see the poverty or the technology challenges we face. For that matter I have to read about how gay people are discriminated on at a job, but yet when I go to an interview and we talk about the dog rather than my accomplishments somehow this is executable and not wrong. I can’t hide my dog or my cane I am what I am. Not saying it’s unfair for gay people to face there problems at the end of the day it’s your choice what you display. I’m okay with you being you, but why can’t we ever get to a place where your fine with me being me? I find myself not being to religious, but one thing that’s always bothered me is people will tell me I’ll be perfect again when I get to heaven because everyone is. Why in theory then aren’t we all perfect in gods eyes for the way were made? I find myself watching people who can maybe get there sight back and even if it is just a sliver put themselves through major operations just to say they can see light again. Is it really worth it? I hear about these people who talk about using cameras possibly strapped to there heads and then that could somehow stimulate your brain in to seeing immages. Call me crazy, but you walking with cameras on your face is that going to make sighted people respect you more? I just wonder when will blind people start getting covered fairly? I know we are out numbered but in theory isn’t it crazy when I have to hear about a transgendered kid figure out which bathroom they want to use or can use and yet I hear nothing about blind struggles. I said to Linda I think there are more transgendered people in the country than blind people and that’s just weird to me sorry. Do I think science or god or whatever you believe can mess up sure, but not to the extent your seeing it in are country. Furthermore most of my friends on Facebook get all obsessed with gay rights something that affects none of them personally. Yet when it comes to blind people they have no clue. Do they get upset that i can’t tell apart a dollar bill from a five dollar bill without an Iphone? Do they get mad that the United States basically paid the National Federation of the Blind money to say that wasn’t important? Funny how they fought that cause in the 1990’s isn’t it? know one asked me or any blind people I know what are thoughts were on having accessible money. Again I see no support from my friends on trying to fix it, but if I were gay I’m sure you’d fucking march at my parade. I’m not being mean or trying to offend but rather just ask why people get involved with certain issues that don’t pertain to them, but then others just completely block it out?