Tag Archives: Kentucky

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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You’re blind so don’t you know this blind guy met 10 years ago his name is Bill from Little Rock?

I wonder why some times during school or when I was a child people kept me away from certain paths? For example shop class my teacher never taught me how to measure or hammer a nail. Is it because I was blind and no one thought a blind person could do these things? It’s funny I used to go out to the barn with my grandpa Hoyier and just hammer nails in to boards and make shapes or just mess around. I enjoyed this, but in school my shop teacher let me stand around with my thumb in in my butt basically. Never even thinking of reaching out for a Braille tape measure or talking one. Maybe I’d be good at that, but since I wasn’t ever taught the skill set I can never flourish. Maybe I wouldn’t have been good enough to make it a career, but at least I could fix something if it broke.

I contemplate this on the eve of selling my house. I will miss that place. My last days with Robin were there my first days with Abby were there. Yet when going to sign today I felt awkward in a room full of strange sighted people. The lawyer a smart woman who I thought was maybe the best reader of legal documents I’ve met asked if my dog would help me sign the documents? She wasn’t kidding I explained just put my finger where you want me to sign, and I will do the rest. After about 23 signs the deal was done and my old Kentucky home was sold. I then came back to my new Kentucky home and wondered why at 32 I still feel awkward in a room of sighted people? Why do I feel dumb when I shouldn’t? Why do I feel people try and talk for me when I am right there? Oh wait they try and sometimes do.

Maybe an article I read about how even though in the world it’s the best time to be blind still only 30% of us are working. I’m no better than any other blind person I’ve just been lucky. I know the struggle of applying for a year after college and hearing nothing. Going on interviews where they talk about the dog and hardly about any of my accomplishments. When will this end? When will sighted folks see the value in what blind people could contribute? The scary part is Tomorrow I could be back in the same boat as the other 70% which makes it hard to relax.

Why as kids can’t we learn to fail at something? I think one thing that made me successful is my parents let me fail. However teachers didn’t for the most part. By all means I am not blaming anyone in particular, but let that blind person hammer maybe he or she will hit there fingers with a hammer, but they will learn. We try as a society to think of things a blind individual might be good at rather than let that blind individual maybe experiment and do something outside the box. Why is it we have the most technology possible, but 70% of us still can’t find work?

People find it amazing I can move from point a to point b. In Germany blind people for the most part still have sighted guides and aren’t given the freedom to do the things we do. Most countries are miles behind us here in America yet over half of us can’t find work. I also wonder why those blind people in other countries aren’t able to break away from the notion they need a sighted person to navigate?

I’m interested what traveling will be like in Germany. I wonder if people will look at me funny as I move around with my cane? So many people tell me they’ve never met a blind person and so many have questions. Why is the only blind person we meet or know about Hellen Keller? Braille is hardly mentioned in school no wonder people have no idea.

My friend Joe took a Lyft tonight and the driver was asking him how can you be married to someone? How would you know if they’re sexy? This was asked by a 62 year old woman who was a airline worker. I am sure she saw some blind people in her time one would think. She also asked him if he knew Bill from Little Rock who is blind that she had met 12 years ago? I guess were all supposed to know each other. Anyway I will go now just thought I would write this.

Maybe one day I can walk in a room with sighted folks and not have to talk about the dog or come up with some amazing blind fact about myself. Maybe I can just maybe be me and you can see that and be okay with it.

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.

Shock

I got a big shock. My friend Jenny called me and asked if I wanted to do lunch. I said sure. I told her to meet me at the front office, and I would get her checked in. As I came up the steps she said hi Joe. I was kind of confused. since I didn’t sign her in. I think I even said how did you get past security? She said I know people. She then said she had a surprise visitor with her. I heard someone say hi, and Jenny told me it was Dawn Gee a local journalist/news Anchor. I love Dawn and all she does to help Louisville! She also had a little stroke earlier this year but it didn't slow her down I admire her resistance! Then she started putting 100 dollar bills in my hand. I was a bit overwhelmed lol. I know that might be hard to believe.

Dawn asked me to talk a bit about Robin. That was hard for me to sum up 8 years in a short time I could have talked forever. I shared some stories, and a bit about how much she meant to me as a companion and my eyes.

I did think about something later I wish I had said. After Robins passing I do the bare minimum to get through the day. I don’t like to take risks. I’ve always been a good cane traveler, but I hate crossing streets with my cane, because of veering fears. Crossing streets with Robin was so easy, and after the first 6 months I never worried about it. I think that’s why when Abby and I walked and crossed West Port I really realized if I want to do this I need a dog. I’m getting so excited, because were getting closer and closer.

Anyway Wave 3 donated money that will really help me pay bills while I am gone. I’m so grateful I was worried and doing calculations on how long I will be without a pay check, and I was really nervous. This helps so much, and makes that worry dissipate. I thank Jenny for contacting them and making it happen. By my calculations it’ll be something like 5 weeks without a full paycheck. I am working with APH now to see about doing some work on the weekends or when I can, but I also don’t want to get to worried about that. I want it to be about the dog first then everything else after that.
I went to my friend Joe’s house, and we talked about how Robin and I came to Louisville alone. I’ll never forget when we moved out of my downtown apartment to one off of New Lagrange road we were packing up, and we had moved my bed and Robins crate to the truck. Robin went in to the bedroom and my dad and I walked in, and he said she looked sad. I gave her a hug and told her we were going to a different apartment. I remember her just standing looking around. I know she loved moving to the house because of the yard.

Joe hasn’t had a dog in 20 years or so, but he still remembers his dogs so vividly. I know that’s how it will be for me. You never forget them. Trading stories about things your dog done or did is just so cool. He told me before his dog Timmy was put down he had some people over to say good-bye. I thought that was a neat idea. Even though you have no petting and things over time the dog becomes part of a group or people are drawn to it. If I hadn’t had Robin at Humana I may not have met Jenny, Leslie, or Michele. The reason I say this is I would have had my cane, and I walk in sit at my seat and walk to the bathroom, and then go home. I would have interacted with Mel, because she was my boss, but others I may not have found. Having Robin had me taking her out on breaks doing some things in the morning it made me more active as a person. I also think right or wrong some people just don’t approach you with a cane. Not all people are animal lovers, but it for those who are it sparks that wheelhouse. I would drop Robin off at the groomers and go to Walmart. With a cane waiting for my ride to go get her no one talked to me or said hi. My god though with Robin I had to be a therapist to some people they couldn’t stop talking. People would be like I had a dog named bla 10 years ago man she was a great dog. I would say yes sounds nice. Then they would go on with a story about their dog lol. I should have brought tissues with me.

As weird as it was at times with people you would encounter it created something I didn’t have before, and that was easy access to finding someone. If I stand somewhere with my cane appearing lost, because I am no one says anything to me. If I stood lost with Robin except in Arizona where no one spoke English people would constantly come up and ask if they could help which I didn’t always need, but was nice.

Okay one more thing about technology. Recently an app from Microsoft came out called Seeing AI. This thing is amazing as hell. I never thought I could have the abilities that this thing gives me. I also never wanted wearable glasses until this app. In the app it has several channels. Short text’ document scanning, bar codes, people, and scene. Short text is what I will focus on mostly here, but you can take your phone point it at something and hear it reading. It’s amazing. I took it to the Outlet malls in Simpsonville and it read me Bose as I was walking by Gucci or however you spell it as we were walking by. In Sam’s it read me office furniture when pointing it down the aisles. I asked my mom if something said office furniture, and sure enough she said there was a sign. This thing shows me how much text sighted people deal with constantly, and how much as a blind person I miss. I love this thing so much, and thank you Microsoft for boosting my confidence in you as a company, but for also pushing AI technology.

I am really excited to go get my dog, but I am sad about leaving APH for a little while. I really do enjoy coming in to work every day, and the working with the people here. It’s refreshing I’m sad to leave maybe they’ll realize they don’t need me. Also I feel like I am now comfortable here leaving again for most of the month then returning will be interesting. All that aside it’s worth it. I just post this part so you can see all of the emotions that play in to this. It’s not like buying a car. Imagine if you had to get fitted for your car based on personality then to drive it you had to go somewhere else and stay for 2 and a half weeks while you learned about your car. I think we’d have a lot better public transportation if this were the case.

Thank you again Wave 3 and Jenny that really was touching. The fact I can bring Robins story to others, and help them see how much these dogs play a roll in our lives is so cool. I think today we can get lost in ourselves and loose that community feel. I love Louisville, because it’s that big small town. I talk about moving in retirement, that’s a long ways off, but if not I love it here. Besides a major league baseball team I have everything I could ever need here. Growing up in Indiana a lot of people made fun of Kentucky, but I love this state so much. We have mountains, knobs, big cities, and lakes. What more could you really want? I want to get back in helping young blind kids get technology they need. I would really like to focus on eastern KY in particular. I’m not sure how to get something started that can benefit kids the way technology donated by the Lyons and Mr. Lanbright helped me, but I’ll come up with something. Also football is about to start lets go Cats! I bought tickets to Florida, but since I am coming home with my dog that weekend I decided to give my ticket to one of Abby’s family members. I want them to have fun the dog and I will cheer them on from home with Tom on the radio, and of course Kentucky Sports radio pre and post-game.

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!

Cain travel takes time

Using my cane again has been a learning opportunity to say the least. I learned Muncie with a cane first then got Robin, but here in Louisville I never used my cane I learned it with Robin. I went to a building the other day for an appointment, and I found myself frustrated because it took me longer to find my way inside. It has a ramp, and Robin would just go right to the door where I got to the building and had to figure out if I went right or left. It’s hard to describe in words, but when your working with a dog they find you the door making your job way easier. The cane I have to do a lot more analyzing and paying attention.
The holidays were good, but there was this Absence without Robin. My mom came down and spent a few days here before going home for the new year and Christmas with my family. I walked out of work and I had no Robin to get excited to see her truck. I didn’t always like her over excited cries, but now that I don’t have them I miss them so much. When we were coming home my brother and dad drove me back. My dad said he realized she was gone when I would have to grab my cane.
Of course the question I keep getting so much is will I get another dog, and I have no idea. I hate using my cane again, but it’s so emotional if I do it again it will because Robin proved so much to me. It’s weird when I was going to get her I had so many thoughts of would this work could I really trust a dog over my cane? Now I feel opposite, but do I want to make the emotional investment for another 8 or 9 years? These dogs because there always with you it’s like what I feel like losing a kid would feel like. We were partners, and I feel a little of me is gone. I also feel if I answer no people usually have this response of taking care of a cane is easier. If I say yes I haven’t really heard that response. My question for you is why does everyone always have to have an opinion? What happened to listening? If I choose not to it’s not because I didn’t enjoy taking her out in the cold, or because I have to make sacrifices I don’t have to make with using a cane, but maybe because emotionally I just don’t want to have to lose something like that again.
I bought a picture frame and put her death certificate in. My sister also made me a picture frame of Robin looking out the window. It says best dog ever on it. I have that picture next to her box and the certificate behind it. I love it I think it would look nice. I do miss still not being able to see a picture of her. I touch her box a lot, but I always wonder being able to see photo’s if that enhances your memories. For me I have to have a trigger, or purposely think of a moment, where if you see a photo you normally can instantly come up with that memory. All this is moot I guess, because if I could have seen or could see photo’s I would never have had Robin. For me touching the frame it helps, but I recorded her barking once and usually listen to that. I keep telling myself she is in a better place, but it doesn’t really make it any easier.
Everything is a trigger lately to a time we shared. Tonight during the Kentucky game they kept referencing the UCLA game, which is the last game we watched together. Were coming up to a month on the 6th, and words really don’t describe how tough it’s been.
I can’t leave without saying happy new year! Abby came home with me, and we had a good celebration. It’s hard to believe were on year two now. We have talked about doing some cool stuff this year. We already have a few concerts lined up, and were figuring out the summer. We will take a trip somewhere just not sure where. The original plan was to go to Wrigley Field, and that’s where I would have retired Robin. Obviously that didn’t work out as to plan, so even though I would love to take Abby, because she’s never been that may be a little bit longer. I want to take her to a major league park since she has never gone. Whatever we do I will keep you updated. I also would like to say rest in peace to my grandpa I think about him often and find myself listening to a lot of songs that meant something to me when I was a child because of him.

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.

One year later and other thoughts

A year ago I got news my friend Ethan committed suicide. The news completely rocked my world. The next few months I’d just wake up at 2 or 3 and just cry. I may have a dream about him hearing him and then wake up realizing he was still gone. When it first happened all I could do was read. About a month in I started listening to Mat Jones Kentucky Sports Radio podcast and when I could catch it live on the radio. Honestly go read the day after Kentucky lost to Wisconsin and you’ll see my heartbreak. Watching them was like this mask so to speak. I cope with these things by watching sports, because it’s the one thing that has always been there. I still really can’t watch the NFL much I am trying this year, because I know Ethan wouldn’t want me not to watch it’s just hard.
I’ve heard so many things talking with friends that try to help but most didn’t know him and most don’t understand suicide. I’ve heard things like I don’t know why people would do such a thing? That just pisses me off quite frankly, because your not in that persons shoes. To me actually doing it is probably a real courageous act. It might not be the best thing, but it takes guts. To be in that much pain and whatever. I stopped talking about it around most, because I didn’t want to hear there ignorance.
I don’t wake up crying anymore, but I do think about him and wish he could still be here. I think about texting him about a Colts trade, or to laugh about something that would have been an inside joke and then let my phone fall back down.
Saying goodbye was the hardest for me. I remember the funeral seemed like a dream I couldn’t get awake from. You never picture saying goodbye to your best friend when he was 27. You never think this will be the last time we texted or talked. I cherish every memory I have of him, and I lost someone who no matter what I could count on if I needed something.
I wrote a memory about him, and it pained me to do so. I didn’t think it would be hard to share something, but I found it hard to focus on one thing or one instant. Here I share pretty personal feelings, but even now I am holding back a bit. I think about him every day, and I don’t think that will change. He always included me which I found special looking back a lot of people don’t so yeah.
I was going to write 2 posts, but I feel like shit. My throat hurts and my head is aching. Small problems I know. This weekend I went to the Kentucky game with Robin. When I got there the seat I had bought wasn’t big enough for her to fit down in between. I panicked because I requested special for accessible seating. They told me everything was sold out, but they had room in a box. I got up there and it was amazing. They had free hotdogs and soda. It had it’s own bathroom, and about 18 other people who knew I didn’t belong. No one really talked to me so that was a bummer. I did meat Rodger the concession guy we talked most of the night. On one play in particular I tossed my radio in front of me a little hard and it flew in to the wall. This lady came over and said here I think this is yours? I said thank you and couldn’t think of a disability I could claim to blame it on. The radio still worked Tom came over it just fine. Kentucky’s quarterback completed 8 passes the entire game and yet they still had a shot to win on the last drive. Overall I enjoyed the box, but I missed being in the noise. There were windows, but not quite the same.
Finally I will talk about this girl I met named Abby. We’ve been hanging out the last few weeks, and things are going really well. With her things are just really chill. I mean like I’ve always felt like I’’ve put in work and the other half has come up short or taken advantage of my kindness. I really like joking with her, and I’m excited to see where things go. I am taking things one day at a time, but I really enjoy spending time with her. She actually watched the entire football game and is catching on really quickly. I am planning on taking her to Lexington to watch a basketball game this year she loves the basketball team. The bus I took this time was real smooth and I was able to connect with a bus in Lexington that got me to the stadium.
I might as well say this now I had a job interview in Nebraska but thankfully I didn’t get the job. It would have been working with blind people something I want to do again soon. I just couldn’t imagine leaving Louisville and my home. The older I get the less diserable that becomes. I was freaking about everything moving Robin again, learning a new city, and what the hell to do with my house? Things work out though.
Before I go I just wanted to say hold those close to you tight. Even if you fight say I love you and hug them more, because you never know when the last time will be. I got let down by the Colts and Packers exit last year, but if the Cubs win the world series this year I know you played the best card up there sir. I’ll never replace him there will always be a spot for him no matter how many years pass. I loved the person he was and the prints left by him. I’ll see him again one day, and he can by me drinks pretending there from women to get me drunk and feel better about myself. I miss you buddy.

long night

I moved to Kentucky three years ago I chose Louisville at first, because I graduated from Ball State and they were the cardinals so it seemed fitting. Obviously from being not from Kentucky it’s difficult to be part of the rivalry, Because you don’t have the years of being annoyed with each otherFanbase. I would always watch Kentucky games and keep up with them along the way for different reasons. I had been to Rupp Arena the last two years to watch a few games but never really took much interest to the team. In September Ethan died and I felt isconnected loss sad. I would read books just sit not turning on the television not reading twitter or Facebook just sit. I never imagined going through that type of loss. You never really can be prepared to lose someone your own age.

One night after work I decided to check out the Kentucky sports radio podcast. My friend Jerry and I were talking about Mat Jones, recently, so I grabbed it because I was tired of reading. It was like a slow love that grew from doiing that. A week went buy I started watching a little Kentucky football which I never imagined. I did this so I knew who the hell Matt and Ryan were talking about. Then I started liking Tom the play by play man for the Wildcats. The show  help bring a little normalcy back into my life it’s weird that it did that but that’s what happened. Along the way I started hearing stories about the guys on this basketball team. WCS volunteering at children’s hospitals, the Harrison’s being the first in line for disabled children, and it just made me feel good. Yes I probably could’ve seeked out some great stories from Louisville, but there are not many radio hosts like Matt and Ryan. Drew and Tyler do a great job withe website. I didn’t think as time went on i thought I’d  eventually stop listening or as things got a little easier I would lose  time for them. The truth is I enjoy listening to the callers and how Mat works with them, doing a little radio myself not many people just take calls on the air anymore. I can tell Ryan isn’t scripted like other shows seem to be.

Months flew by and we ended up all being let down last night. I’m a little sleepy I didn’t sleep much at all I found myself feeling weird after the loss. I have the teams I root for but I love the game first and foremost of basketball, baseball, football. My grandpa introduced me to sports really, because my mom and ddad hate them or at least don’t watch. For me sports have been where I’ve hidden my pains of growing up blind in a place where there was no one else like me. I was mainstreamed all the way through, so the puberty years can be hell. With the loss of Ethan I just wanted something positive in the universe to gravitate to, and I found KSR. After the game I sat in my chair for a long time just not sure what to say. Wisconsin was a great team and you can’t be disappointed with losing to them. Somehow I found my way on Facebook and I kept reading people calling Cal  a cheater laughing that Kentucky just lost. I Felt for these kids because the rest of their life they’ll have that memory of all most being there but that’s the beast of college basketball. I got pretty worked up by some Indiana fans just talking trash. I found myself on one hand it being like it’s not like I’m a lifelong Kentucky fan but on the other hand I hated reading people saying things that don’t have any fat. What if I just went on here and said Smelly Melly slept with John? For any school to question integrity it would be Indiana does anyone remember Mike Davis? You guys hired a known cheater as well, but who cares about history? After all we lost in the first round, so now I’ll just laugh at Kentucky for losing to Wisconsin something that happened to us as well this season. Oh and don’t let me forget Cal is a cheater.

I know you’ll never understand just loving a game, and getting lost in it. My grandpa before he died turned in to a Tigers fan also. He made me a Cubs fan, and I remember asking him once how can you route for the Cubs and the cardinals? He just said I love baseball, and if it’s on I can find someone I like. Maybe as I get older I realize what he meant more. While I watch the game it takes me away from the fact it’s hard to move up in my job because of technology issues. It takes away the stinging I still feel from Ethans passing, and finally I watch because sports have been with me so long. Last night I realized after talking with Denny to do are picks for where we think the divisions will shake out in baseball I realized maybe I am a bit angry. Why do I care if Indiana fans talk shit when they haven’t been to a final four since 2000 I just looked it up. There should probably be a question mark there but who cares. I just want to thank KSR and this group of guys for helping me get back in love with the game I pushed away for a while. I don’t know if I’ll ever be the same person I was a year ago but I’m just trying. When I first moved down here I would get homesick and then Ethan would come down a  weekend and it helped me feel more at home. It just brought something familiar back in my life. Since he September I don’t feel homesick, because Louisville is now home I just feel lonely. Anyway I don’t know why all this came out or what exactly it is, but I’m a little sorry for calling my friends who are Indiana fans douche bags just stop spreading rumors that aren’t true and have no fact.

My Kentucky Louisville dilemma

Last night I was talking to my friend Denny and he made a good point. He said that I should choose either Louisville or Kentucky and that be my home team. it’s very difficult and I haven’t thought about it a lot other than I enjoy watching them both play men’s and women’s. If you’re asking me which announcer I like better definitely Kentucky Tom is great where Paul seems lost and a bit boring. My love for Kentucky sports radio also has fueled my Kentucky interest lately. Also when I took Kevin to the game over a year ago the Harrison’s were amazing they talk with him, and were very nice for young men. Even the last time I went they saw Robin and said something about their favorite dog. Kevin hasn’t been feeling well and they’ve gone above and beyond for that two minutes that they speak with him to make him feel normal.

I don’t really have the same contacts that I do in Louisville other then it’s my home court. It’s a hell of a lot easier for me to go to games then catch a greyhound to Lexington. I do have a nice usher that I know and half the time during the game he comes and sits by me and we just talk about sports. So this leads me to my first problem. The pizza guy came today which I tipped big because it sucks ass outside. anyway I answer the door with my Kentucky had on and he says go Big Blue! we proceeded to do a go cats chant. After he left my Louisville hat was sitting on the table and I had a hard time eating my pizza okay not that hard but it put me into some decision-making for the first time. Can I continue to go on supporting both or will I have to choose? I don’t know! That’s an open question. Maybe next time I’ll have my Louisville hat on and we can do at go carts chant.

I went to Atlanta on Thursday and did some advocating for a travel company for service animals. I gave a half hour speech and I think it went well. I don’t know what will come of it maybe a job I’m just keeping quiet for now. The travel really killed me I left Thursday morning and return pretty late Thursday night and I’m just not built for that like I used to be. I’m going to continue watching this Minnesota Wisconsin game hoping the badgers lose so Purdue has a chance but it doesn’t look like it right now. This snow and slush really sucks I’m going to have to go out and shovel my drive again, but the drivers that of pick me up I have all commented that my driveway is clean and they have a path they actually thought I paid someone to do it which felt nice that they said that.