Tag Archives: dog

A new show about a blind girl plus a dog update

In my next post I am going to review 2 sets of headphones something i’ve wanted to do for a while. A few months ago my friend nick who works with a speaker company contacted me and asked me to review the Sony WXM3 Noise Canceling headphones. It will be here soon promise.

Recently I’ve been watching a show not because i like it, but I want to see how Hollywood portrays us. The show is called in to the dark got it? Dark meaning blind creative. This girl has a friend who sells drugs. THey start off by having her say I don’t feel faces that’s weird yet 10 seconds later her drug friend has her feel his face. I know shocking. I wish this stereotype could just die already. One night she goes for a walk and finds her friend dead, and how do she know? She recognizes his face when she touches it. Now i’m not a rocket scientist, but if I came across a dead body while out walking i ain’t touching it. In fact I’m calling 911 after I make noise I’m sure. I would not get down and touch it’s face. They have another episode where she leaves her dog with her friend and ends up geting hit by a car. Later on she says to the dog if i had you I woldn’t have gotten hit by a car. THis is so false and gives the image that the dog would have not lead her out in the middle of the street. You still have to be a cane user or you should at least have good O&M skills.

I do think they do a few things right. I think it really demonstrates loneliness really well. I remember growing up the only blind person in my school it was hard. Looking back the really tough times I felt somewhat like her. Kids used to be dicks and ask me if I ever drank from a toilet thinking it was a sink? Like I am a damn animal. These aren’t kids I just had met these are kids who I knew for 7 or 8 years. It does show her having meaningless sex because she feels undatable. In one episode she meets a blind girl who is like 13. The girl has her first period in school and she is mad not because the kids were mean to her, but the fact everyone treated her so polite because she’s different. I think that was actually pretty insightful and made me think and made me relate it to me. If you guys have any thoughts of the show if you’ve seen it feel free to let me know what you think.

I haven’t said much for a while. For a few reasons. One I’ve been pretty depressed. I mentioned that I started watching Rugby the nrl out of Australia. I ended up writing the sports announcer who I have learned the game from named David Morrow. I just told him thanks for painting that picture for me, and also for the rest of the fellows for making me laugh. I’m watching baseball a lot too, but I like being so far away I don’t hear about how much money they make or what political way they lean. That stuff is ruining sports for me I watch it to get away from all of that. I don’t thank play by play folks enough they really make the game for me.

Bancroft Abby’s guide has had two lumps removed. One was cancer the second one wasn’t. He is 9, and him and I have gotten pretty close. Keep him in your thoughts, but he is doing so well.

A few months ago I met with a friend of mine who I met when getting robin. We had dinner, and caught up. Talking with her I realized that getting a guide dog is like nothing else I have done. I have a hand full of people who I know just from doing that. I really do enjoy seeing them grow with dogs they get, and we become like a family. I enjoyed are get together it reminded me that nothing’s perfect. Things happen. I think Frasier is where he needs to be for him. I miss him every day still it’s like part of me is missing. When you decide to have that partnership it never stops just because it doesn’t work out. On my walk this morning to the bus stop I decided that I’m going back. I don’t know when yet, and for me I want to get in a bit better health shape, but I realize yeah I can do it with a cane, but I dont want to anymore. I am going to reapply at the Seeing-Eye because they do deserve that from me. I am not happy with how things were handeld, but I can let them know if they don’t already while I am there. I applied at another school, and was close to doing it, but I feel I owe it one more try to the Eye. I know how they train, and I know the process. I think we can get it right this time. I miss having something to look after and take care of. I’m getting lazy.

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Trip to Muncie.

Last Monday I caught the bus and got off at my transfer point. I use an app on my phone that tells me when my next bus is approaching. It goes off alerting me it is 1 minute away. The bus stops but is in the street it didn’t pull all the way up to the curb. I start walking towards it to get on because I thought it was my bus. My cane went around the poll but my face didn’t. I smacked it hard and started to bleed. THis guy gets off the bus and is like are you okay? I’m saying every 4 letter word I can think of in my mind, but I reply yeah. Ending up it was the wrong bus. So I got a bloody forehead for nothing. God that hurt.

Last weekend Abby and I traveled up to Muncie it was a lot of fun. I hadn’t been back for 7 years. I was hoping to fit seeing some people in to the schedule, but we did good. Are time in Indy was so short so unfortunately I couldn’t see Monica and her family, Collin or Jonathan.

We got to Muncie on Friday and we met Carlos for lunch at Scotties. That wrap was so good. I didn’t get a beer that would have been truely nostalgic, but it was good. I told Abby about some of my adventures there. I’d meet Ethan and some guys and on pitcher night and then stumble home. Then when I got Robin I’d walk there have a beer and walk home not so tipsy. After that we took a shuttle ride to the Bell building. I saw the new accessible tech lab man it is so different from when I was there. Carlos has done a fantastic job keeping it up.

One thing I did was get the door to door service set up so we could get around cheaper and more reliably. Muncie is a small town so Uber is setup there but you may not always have one available. We rode out to the Best Western with a driver named Viola. I actually rode with her back in the day to work. She would keep dog treats for Robin and hand them to me when I’d get off so I could give her one when I wanted. Needless to say Robin adored her. Thats one thing I miss we have so many drivers here in Louisville we get to know some, but there it’s more like a family feel.

Anyway we went in to the Best Western and found the desk. The person behind though made no noise and we stood there for about 5 minutes. Abby said this isn’t good maybe no ones here. Finally the guy cleared his throat. Can you believe that shit? Seriously if we were sighted this wouldn’t happen, but my guess is he didn’t know how to deal with 2 blind people. Later Abby and I joked that blind people just walk in and hang out in hotel lobbies for the fun of it. After awkward guy checks us in I ask him what direction is the room? He fucking points and says it’s that way. I say to the right? No it’s that way. Finally I just start moving. We walked through a door and I guess he finally maybe understood we couldn’t see and he met us and showed us where the room door was. You just never know what your going to encounter. The hotel though was easy to navigate and I found the pool hot tub, and vending machines all with ease. I used AIRA to learn what was in the soda ones, so that was cool.

For dinner we went out and celebrated my long time friend Phils birthday at Red Lobster. I saw some folks I hadn’t seen in years and one in particular made me laugh. This lady named D is visually impaired so she can see a bit. I said hi D and she sort of hesitated so I knew she didn’t recognize me. I said it’s Joe. She says Oh my gosh I didn’t know you since you put on so much weight. Lol when you can’t see yourself people calling you a fat ass makes you feel good.

After Red Lobster the driver Steve said he enjoyed me and Denny going back and forth. He took us back to the hotel and said he could come get us in 40 minutes saving us a cab to Denny’s. Again that small town kindness was just so nice. We went back out and hung out with Denny for a bit. Our first night went well.

Saturday we went to Dina’s Christmas party. I have so many memories over the years of this. So back in the day this event was my first gathering of mainly blind folks. Maybe at a later time I will talk more in detail about this, but being around folks that are going through the same struggles is comforting. Over the years it’s become like a family event. I also got to see Sue and M’lee Sue’s daughter. M’lee I forgot to mention this to her the fact she has an ‘ in her name just rules. Anyway the party was lots of fun and I really enjoyed seeing everyone.

Alright now to the fun part. After the party I asked some folks to come over and we would just hang out and drink some wine. Phil, Dina, Steve, Sue, Carlos, and Denny all coame over and man it was a blast. Carlos brought 12 beers honestly I thought to myself no way were drinking all of those. He got me some Gumb Ball head from 3 Floyds oh my gosh so good. Needless to say we finished them all. I was bar tender. Abby, Phil Dina, Steve, and Sue had wine. I thought we may get in to trouble for being loud, but no one said anything. I know I don’t see those folks much, but I love seeing them and being able to tell old stories as well as new ones. I love them al, and it was a great trip.

It’s funny since the anniversary of Robin’s passing in my head I try and go over old memories and being back in Muncie brought up a lot. I’d say Robin not only increased my independence and made me more confident, but she provided stability and made me grow up. It’s like when you have a kid you can still drink and probably more, but your responsible for something else. Robin helped me realize that and made me grow up. I wanted to make the Seeing-Eye proud and wanted to have her on display working and doing a great job.

Carlos and Kelly took Abby and I downtown after we had some breakfast of course and we caught the Gray Hound home. It was great seeing Kelly I wish she could have come to the hotel also. Abby and I had a lot of fun and I enjoyed sharing that part of my life with her. We plan to go back again it won’t be 7 years. Abby and I are wanting to go to Portland Maine next summer. Some of that depends on when I get my new dog, but we really want to explore and see some places we haven’t been to. Plus I want some fresh Lobster. Anyway happy holidays to y’all.

Is this thing still on?

It’s been a minute since updating you all on things. Life is going well. I’ve had some hip pains I’m having doctors look in to that’s slowed me down a bit. I can only sleep for about 4 to 5 hours and then I have to move which then after a day of work I am just tired and sleep in my chair during a game. I’m early 30’s going on 76. Abby is doing well we are getting along really well. This year rather than buy each other Christmas gifts we decided to buy one thing we could both benefit from. We decided a robot vacuum would be nice to have. I found the Neato d5 on special at Best Buy and ordered it. I ran in to a few hiccups along the way cleaning the dirt tray the first time took about an hour. I could disconnect the thing, but good god lining it back up to put it back in took forever. I am becoming a master with it though slowly and does an incredible job.

A few weeks ago we went and saw Jerry, Lee, and Frazier out in Bardstown. We spent a night and had tons of fun. We played rook where Lee and I took down Jerry and Abby. We had a bit of a losing streak and it calme down to the last hand but you know I’m clutch.

Abby got sick in the night and Frazier herd her up and came back with us. He jumped up and laid against me. He slept with me for about an hour then moved over next to Abby and helped her sleep. I forgot my hat when we left and Lee noticed him going in to there room and sniffing the hat a few times. I miss him, but he has a great family and loves them too. I applied at a new school so maybe getting a dog will happen for me next year, but Frazier will always have a spot in my heart. I hate the new application process to a new place where I have to prove I need a dog or show them how blind I am lol. I miss having a dog having Robin and Frazier keeps me moving and gives me something to take care of. Now I come home sit in my chair and fall asleep. With a dog I have to brush them play with them take them out. Plus they make the walk to work and home more enjoyable. My confidence is down a bit on one crossing I don’t like doing without a dog, but I am getting through it. I will keep you up to date on any news also where once it happens.

I got a new IPad Pro 12.9 well I traded my old one in for it. Unlike the videos saying it isn’t durable I disagree. Why the hell are you bending an IPad? I love the square feel I really want to use it naked all the time. Seriously it fits the palms of my hand so nice. I can’t get over that. I did pick up a new keyboard case they charge way to much for that. I gifted my old case to a co-worker. I like the new keyboard case, but it leaves the sides exposed which kind of sucks. I also am not a huge fan of the keyboard folding back in video mode it doesn’t feels as good as the previous generation. I do love the IPad and need it for work and having the cellular one really helps at conferences where they just show the WiFi on the board and never announce it for blind folks. The device is so fast it’s amazing. It’s faster than any IPhone out. I do wish they gave you access to files more like a traditional computer. One thing I love about my Android phone is I can connect a thumb drive right to it and view files or even gasp move a file from the drive to my phone. Apple really needs to figure this out. At the end of the day though this IPad does nothing my last couldn’t so sorry again Apple I’m growing bored. It’s still great as my laptop though. I don’t want Windows and Android tabs are awe full and not really supported I just wish the IPad had a few more computer like functions. Maybe the pad OS concept tech journalists are putting out there would be great. I updated because other than getting the new keyboard it didn’t cost me anything and I got a bit bigger storage this time I’d say pass if you have the second gen IPad Pro. The square body is so nice though have I said that already? Overall though the IPad Pro is still one of my favorite devices. I think with an Android phone and Apple tab you have the best of both worlds.

I willl sit down next time and write up a 3 month report and be honest on my switching from IPhone to Samsung. I think even for the sighted folks reading you’ll enjoy hopefully.

Abby and I went to Lexington on Gray hound to attend her great grandmas 100th birthday party. I had gotten sick the day before but didn’t want to miss it. It was a lot of fun. I know some of you have never been on a bus let alone in a gray hound station, but boy is it a hoot. This lady got on with us in Louisville and she had a 20 pound garbage bag of stuff plus a backpack. She said she had just gotten out of prison where she did 6 months. I just ease droppped but I wanted to know what she did? You people who can drive really don’t know how lucky you are. The smells of people I run in to are just awful. I do enjoy traveling though so when your blind you don’t have many options to go to smaller cities.

I’ve been reading a lot again. Abby likes to read and so we often read similar books her a lot more than me, but then we talk about them. A Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts is a really good book. I felt the ending was a bit rushed, but my god what a good book overall. I highly recommend this. I am going to CES in January in Vegas where I will put money on the national title football game of course. Also I will see some awesome tech. I will try and write up some things I see and fill you guys in. I have one day off where I can just get lost in it the rest I have to work.

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.

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.

Happy anniversary Robin

On July 20th 2008 I received one of the greatest gifts in my life my Seeing-Eye dog a German Shepard named Robin! We worked for about 8 and a half years before she passed in December of cancer. She worked up until the end we took it easy the last 6 months, because I knew something was wrong just had no idea it was cancer until about the last week. For this post I want to focus on the first days and months after receiving Robin, because I think people would be interested in that. Some of the things I’ve said before, but hopefully you’ll learn something new. Before I start my girlfriends first dog that passed celebrated a birthday a few days ago. Even though I didn’t get to meet you I hear stories, and I bet we would have been great friends so happy birthday Alice!

I got to New Jersey on a Saturday in 2008. For the next day and a half, we would walk where trainers would watch your pace, personality, and get to know you. You got your dogs on Monday back then I think it’s changed I will soon see hopefully, and blog along the way. On Monday after lunch we all went back to our rooms, and waited to be called in to receive your dog. I remember that moment being nervous not sure what to expect. Rivi called me in she was my instructor, and described Robin to me. She then brought her in and she licked my hand and seemed excited. We went back to my room where that excitement melted a bit, because now Rivi was gone, and I was alone with her, and Robin wanted Rivi not me. I would sit on the floor and pet her and she would move as far away from me as she could. I’d scoot to her again, and she would again move away from me. During training she was always on leash for the most part or on tie down. We would do obedience every day where you practice sit, come, rest, and down. She was really good at it, but tested me the first few times to see what she could get away with.

We would get up about 5:30 and take them out to park and feed them. I remember the first morning I woke up and Robin licked me in the face. That was the first time I felt like she wanted me. For the next few days she would cry when Rivi was near, but she was pretty good about it for the most part.
After we first get them you go on your first walk where you walk around the Seeing-eye’s leisure walking course. It’s basically a circular shape with a gazeebo in the middle. I may not be accurate it’s been 9 years. Anyway we had to put the harness on and go outside. I ended up putting the harness on upside-down somehow. Robin was so patient not carrying she knew what the harness meant though we were going to go somewhere. We went out and walked, and man it was so neat. For the first time I didn’t have a stick I had to rely on her to tell me what we were approaching, and feel her to know what to do. I never had been out there without a cane, and we moved so fast. I felt really great after that walk.

The next few weeks we would go in town and walk around sidewalks doing routes learning each other. I remember one-time Robin told me to stop, and that I should turn I didn’t listen so I said forward and she wouldn’t go. I started moving forward and fell over a bush. Rivi said I needed to start to listen to girls because there always right or something to that affect.

There was part of the training where I felt like maybe a dog isn’t for me. I was so used to the cane, and being without it was difficult for me. I wanted a dog, but I just felt lost, and unclear of what to do. I have this dog stopping and communicating, but I couldn’t understand it to a degree. For 21 years all I’ve ever known is cane travel, and I’m good at it with the dog I am falling and tripping on things is it for me?

We went out for a night trip, and I remember we did really well. We got to a part where Robin thought I would clear a sticking out step and I didn’t and I fell. We continued on and on the way back she slowed down and watched for me I felt that. We went in to New York City, and that was the first time I really felt like man I couldn’t walk this with a cane. To feel her weave around people was amazing. I felt sighted I was passing people. You know people were actually in my way for once! Robin would slow down or bump them with her nose, and we’d move around them. I loved that trip I think that’s where I made my decision that I wanted to keep her.

When we got home to Muncie I had to walk her and practice some routes. I remember I took her on a bus route I did a lot, and I got turned around. With the cane your traveling and it’s objects you feel along with changes in pavement. Your mind is always processing things. With the Robin I could just sit back, and she’d get me by something and I never knew it was there. I got off the bus to go home from Wal-Mart, and we got turned around somehow. I had to ask someone where I was. I felt frustrated, because again I’ve done this successful hundreds of times why with Robin can’t I do it? The answer is you have to pay attention to what the dog is doing I know longer feel trash cans or brick columns at corners I am just on the curb. It took me the longest time to get that. I’d say about 6 months and we were fully in sync with each other.

One thing I remember I had to take a test my final writing assignment at Ball State, and I couldn’t sleep. I laid down on the floor with Robin, and she let me hold her which she never let me do before. That was like are first moment where we had been together for a while and she trusted me. I did things with Robin I hate doing with a cane or now I can’t even imagine trying with a cane. I will do it, but I hate it. Example we went to several Louisville Bat games together, and crowds never bothered me, because Robin would get me through them. I took my cane out about a month ago, and people are tripping on it, or I’m having to hold on to Abby and Bandcroft I just can’t do things as easy as I could when I had Robin. It’s funny how my thought process changed from thinking I couldn’t be without my cane to not wanting to have to use it.

That bond you share with a guide dog is so incredible. She was never too far from me I will never forget the last week we had together. She followed me everywhere I miss that. I miss her I still can work myself up and cry about it.

I’ve shared this story several times, but my first job interview was with an Apple Call Center. I had some interviews when using a cane, and they were uncomfortable, because I had to use sighted guide where you grab someone’s elbow. My thoughts on that are that person already thinks something of me, because they have to lead me around. When I went on this interview Robin followed the guide, and I was just part of the group. I was so amazed by the end of that tour I was speechless. It was the first time in my life where being blind really wasn’t mentioned other than people asking about the dog. I felt sighted. When we would walk in to restaurants, and I could tell her to follow the hostess to the table without having to do sighted guide it was such a confidence builder. With a cane I don’t have to do sighted guide I’m not saying you have to rely on it, but for me why struggle with saying where are you hello I lost you. I just take their arm to each blind person to their own I just want to get to my table or to an Airplane and move on why add stress.

I wish Robin could be with me at my new job she’d love being back downtown. I’d like to explore the area more, but I’m a bit nervous to do it with the cane. Abby and I walked to a bar the other night, and I lead the way for some of it, and it was okay, but man nothing beats walking with a guide. I learned Louisville with her I never used a cane here until now. Anyway happy anniversary to my girl, and thanks for every memory I cherish them all.

I used to think about how I’d react when the day came when Robin would pass, and nothing could or can prepare you for that. Time has helped, but I still find myself randomly getting sad wondering about her. Is she okay? What happens to us? People say it’s hard to lose a child as blind people we outlive are guides so I think that we really feel that loss. Abby and I often talk about Alice and Robin. I’d say once a week we share a story or rehash a memory. It’s nice she understands that I’m not sure someone sighted would. I know Abby thinks about Alice as much as I do with Robin. I have 2 videos I watch about once a month one is of Robin barking. Another is of her eating her last meal. Abby brought Doab over, and Robin had a kids Chicken and Rice. She couldn’t keep anything down for long anyway, so I wanted her to enjoy it. She did she licked the bowl clean. Then I gave her chips which she loved. In retirement I planned to spoil her a bit with people food something I never gave her. I am really strict and will be with my next dog on that. They have their food, and I have mine. Lol

Happy anniversary to are partnership!!! I plan on cooking spaghetti and trying out a new beer delivery service tonight. They charge normal store pricing then $5 to deliver. I don’t drink that much anymore, but it will be nice to be able to see all the beers they have. Nothing frustrates me more than asking what wheat beers they have or what loggers they have and only getting one choice. I wish sighted people could experience that one time maybe things would change. Say I go grocery shopping I have to know what brand and exact thing I want. If I go to a coffee isle and say what types of coffee do you have? That person would think I was nuts or they’d fire back with what do you usually drink? I don’t blame them, but we often miss new products or aren’t aware something is even available. Anyway just wanted to rant about that. The internet has changed this that’s why I love Amazon so much. I will report back on how this goes tonight! After I have one or two for Robin!!!

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.

I love love louisville

Recently I was denied a ride while taking Uber. I just got my haircut, and went out and requested. I texted the driver saying I am blind and I are outside with my service animal. He was 10 minutes away, which is normal so I didn’t mind. He shows up and says is the dog coming with you? Now I am outside a business, so what do him really think? Maybe I Robin can scamper off and when I need her I can wave my wand and she magically appear at my side. He then says well I have an allergy and so I will cancel the ride and my buddy down the street can come get you he’s like 5 minutes from here. He cancels the ride and takes off. I requested another ride and got a girl Jennifer who was pretty resourceful. She didn’t know Steve at all. I complained to Uber and got 20 dollars in credit. However after talking with a driver that drives for both Uber and Lyft I don’t think this will change things.
 
Lyft has been real receptive to service animal training, and even has read this blog to see my complaints. When you drive for Lyft you actually ride with someone and receive a little training. Uber on the other hand you send them your info to apply, and then they do somewhat of a background check and then you can drive. No ride around or car inspection or anything. I am assuming they send you links to their policy, but that’s just like reading terms and agreements no one really does that. No wonder why this issue keeps happening with no training on service animals the public will do what it wants. I’ve pointed out here in this blog the ignorance Uber drivers in particular by linking to a message board where drivers were talking about picking up service animals. I think if Uber wants to change things training drivers is the only way. Robin doesn’t get on the seat, and taking a dog isn’t that difficult as most make it out to be. Uber just recently put a blind athlete on a commercial promoting how blind people use their service to achieve greater independence which is such crap by the way. They’re only doing that because of the bad press they receive do to service animals. Google Uber and service animals and you will see tons of negative. I guess if I practice one thing and does another it’s all fine ask Josh Duggar about that he seems to be the king of it.
 
I do like Uber, but if they’re not going to actually do any training of their drivers on anything not just service animals I don’t really want to take that service. I think as a business you need to at least train somewhat. This driver I had yesterday was really cool with Lyft and he told me he’d been driving for Uber as well for 6 months and other than them excepting him has heard nothing from Uber. I just find that alarming. Uber says they’re educating the drivers about service animals, but how? You can write anything you want on a webpage, but if you’re not teaching it to any of your drivers than how will it stop? Recently the NFB of California took them to court, and I imagine the NFB will make money off of it, and then Uber will do something like put a blind person in a commercial, and then it will be business as normal. Oh wait that already happened, so hey. I’ve fought with other blind people who love to toss the Uber policy in my face, but again when no one is reading it what well is policy?
 
Anyway changing gears to a new subject. I went golfing I didn’t really enjoy it. After the first drive on the first hole everything else was just in repeat. I enjoyed hanging out with Drew and some others, but I won’t be golfing much.
 
I recently have thought I might be better off alone. I like the idea of a relationship, but finding that one person is proving to be difficult. When I was younger I just thought magically I’d meet someone and things would just click, but obviously that hasn’t really happened. The older I get the harder it becomes I think to give up living alone. I get lonely, but I do enjoy it at times.
 
Work has been really busy lately, so that’s why I’ve been so silent on the blog. Typing all day and listening to Jaws and callers at the same time has gotten me tired at nights. It’s getting better, but when I get home I just want to do something different than type on a computer. I can’t believe this is the start of my fourth year in Louisville. On September 1 it’ll be a year that I’ve moved in to my house. Time moves so fast. I remember thinking at the time in Muncie that this would be a great job to get out of Indiana, and so I could spread my wings a bit. I’ve been looking at an application to a job that would take me somewhere else for the past few nights wondering if I really want to move or if I really want to just start over again. I am not necessarily tied to anything here, but I love Louisville. The food is unbelievable look at how fat I am now sitting for 8 hours a day doesn’t help that either. At one time in my life I would have loved to just go different places, but moving sucks. I am a contractor, so basically my years don’t say hey let’s move you over to a full time employee for insert company name. Jobs for us blind folk are not the most common thing, so I just don’t want to get in a situation where I am back to living off the government, and can’t find anything. Louisville offers other opportunities, but it’s all just so overwhelming. I’d also like the opportunity to move up or have a goal to work for, and that’s just not how things are now. I still love the job, and am thankful and have never regretted the move but it has me pondering things. I’d really love to help blind people get to a better place, and think I would succeed at that. I just don’t know if I want to move out west to do so, but if I submit it and get chosen I guess that will just have to be a choice I have to make at that time. Just so you know it’s causing me stress just completing the application.
 
I’ve thought about going back to get my masters forever now. I hate school honestly, but I’m thinking of enrolling at UK online for graduate classes in January. With focus I can do it. I will keep you posted.
 

Happy birthday Robin!

I will eventually get to a Robin story, but I have to take care of something personal first. Last post I commented about Dave and a discussion we were having in a Facebook post. Imagine my surprise when I found out he blocked me. haha Well that’s okay, so I figured I would just say my peace here.
When I started at college at Ball State in 2004 I had a mobility instructor who would come sit beside me show me a braille map, and then when I’d walk it and get off track would get mad at me. Seeing a braille map can help, but I’ve found for me the best way to learn something is to just walk it. With a cane there are so many variables you just don’t know what you’re going to find when doing it in reality. I fired him, because his lessons weren’t helping me learn the campus. I went out and found another person named Dave who came in we walked the campus twice, and I felt so confident. Along the way we became associates when I worked my first job we needed a mobility instructor he worked when I needed and it all most cost me my job. I stuck by him though, because he got things done. When I was thinking about moving to Detroit to work for the radio station he called me and said you might want to think twice about it with the current state in which Detroit finds itself. I took that in to advisement. Fast forward to last weekend when he commented on a Facebook status saying I was irresponsible and it was dangerous for me to take Robin to a ball game. Which by the way I’ve taken her to more games then I can count. Baseball was supporting me for a point or at least helping. It just floors me that he is going to call me taking my dog to a game irrisponsible. All the things I have heard about him over the years I dismissed and never judged, but seriously? He helps blind people learn how to navigate for a living then posts feel good moments and how it helps him repent something. I’m glad your job helps you sleep better at night Dave, but blind people are people, and it’s amazing to me after all the ones you help you can’t seem to figure out some have lives and aren’t needing you to self loth. Am I a better person because you helped me become a great traveler and helped me to believe in myself yes, but to call me irresponsible for a sighted person stepping on my dog out in the open is a bit ridiculous.
With a cane some days I would just shut down. It took so much concentration to navigate I hated it. Rather than go out and do something I would just stay in my room, because it was easier. Carlos was the first person I met with a dog, and I saw how he was able to navigate so freely and I felt the dog made him better. I do not know if that’s how he’d feel but observing it it’s how I saw it. In college had I just got a dog it wouldn’t have went well. I needed to mature, and get the young things out of me. Like drinking obsessively and passing out in yards mainly. When I got Robin I decided to make that change I’m going to start living more responsibly. I commented last post I’m scared to think about retiring Robin, because if I give her to someone else maybe they’ll let her off leash and not watch her and she’ll get hit by a car. Sighted people especially Pita supporters or as I call them hypocrites would argue a blind person can’t take care of a dog after all how can they spot the blood in there urine? I think Robin and I do just fine, and I am tuned in to her because were constantly with each other. When your blind everyone has these great ideas on how we should live or what we can or can’t do, but in reality your not living the way we are so just stop.
Dave’s suggestions were I should leave Robin at a hotel or a friends. If I had to leave her at a friends overtime I wanted to do something what would be the point of having a dog? I’m not trying to hide from society because I have nothing to hide. I want to go out and let people see a blind person and his dog navigating alone or being successful because that’s how things change and progress. At the Reds game 3 people that sat by us as I was leaving shook my hand and said they enjoyed my commentary on the game. Would they have approached me if I were sighted I don’t know. One guy was a Jehovah witness, and di the religious thing, but what he said didn’t bother me. He said last week every Jehovah witness learned about some blind person. Sorry I kind of blocked him out as he was telling me the story, but what I took from it was everyone was learning about someone blind. In public school my classmates knew me obviously, but its not like we learned about any blind people or what they could do.
On Robins birthday it’s hard to exactly state my feelings on her. Along the way I’ve faced different emotions. I get annoyed when I meet people in the elevator at work and their responses I bet she does a lot for you? Yes I guess she does, but they mean it in a way of I can’t feed myself or something or I couldn’t possibly exist without her. That’s the way I take it anyway. The best quote I found is a guide dog is like the ship and the handler is like the captain. If the ship had no captain it would just float around aimlessly. I’m going to Toronto this weekend, and with Robin I will do better than with out her. She makes it easy for me to travel, and feel sighted for the first time. When I got lost in Phoenix last year that might have been the most scared I’ve been, but I was lost with Robin and that made me feel a bit better. It didn’t help when people didn’t know english kept passing me, but we eventually got on track. The scariest part definitely for me was when I got mugged and when I woke up on the ground and Robins leash wasn’t on my hand. I remember being real frantic wondering where she was. When she came over to me and licked my hand it took the weight off my shoulders. I can lose my phone and wallet, but she isn’t replaceable. I will get another dog eventually and it will be good, but she’s my first and took me through a lot of hurtles in life.
After college being unemployed for a year through break ups where I wasn’t sure how I was going to get over that person. She’s always been there wagging her tail in the morning wanting me to take her out. I do think having her does help people connect with me easier in that it gives people the ability to say something. At the end of the day I have a lot of getting out to do, because most people don’t encounter blind people much. Happy birthday Robin, and thank you for making my life easier and more complete. I’m sure when I have dog number 2 she’ll probably look down and think damn he didn’t let me get away with that. When I first got her I never broke in of the rules as she has gotten older I’ve relaxed a little maybe at times to much. haha I think it’s like being a parent you have to find that balance and figure out what’s right and wrong.

Robin has become the old lady in the neighborhood

I have these vertical blinds in my living room that Robin loves to stick her nose between and look out and watch people. i’m not kidding I’m pretty sure she knows everything that goes on in my neighborhood. I’ll hear her at three in the morning bumping the blinds and then hear my neighbors car take off. It doesn’t really bother me a whole lot because I feel like she’s watching out for strangers. nosy yes but I feel like she knows who belongs. now maybe because it’s getting sunnier I wanted to open the blinds and feel the sun while I sat in my chair today which brings me to the problem. Two of the blinds have tears in them now granted this could’ve happened before but I hardly doubt it.i’ve got them hanging back up but not very well because like I said one is torn where you hang it so I’ll probably have to go see if I can buy just one of those to replace if not i’ll probably have to buy a whole new set of blinds. I know she doesn’t know how things work and how if she’s rough on something it could tear but I was a little frustrated but what can you do? I have started having a lamp on recently but I did for a while rarely have light on so I don’t blame her I guess. If she were human though I could just picture her sitting in a chair with binoculars writing down notes about what all happens and who sees who.