Starting to look into guide dog schools(and what it means for me).

 I have always been fascinated by guide dogs from the first time I saw one. The idea of putting your life in a dog’s paws wasn’t freaky, or scary I did the same thing every time I rode a horse.

 Animals were always more easier to trust then people. They never played the mental games that left me questioning the whys and how’s. While they don’t speak, neither did I have to. I must be sounding strange to some now. It wasn’t that I did not have friends, or don’t like people. Human relationships for me are complicated they involve dynamics I still barely understand.

When should I be quiet?

Should I say something?

Why is she looking at me?

Is it me they are making fun of?

 These statements and more like then are usually running through my mind on like a prerecorded intervule.

I did 4H as a kid only the dog projects though, which I loved. I dreamed of the day when I would be able to raise a guide dog puppy for someone.  It meant to me I could raise a puppy to be someone’s eyes, which to me was one of the greatest gifts I would be able to give.

Unlike many of my peers it wasn’t about taking a dog with me places, it was the helping part of it that made my heart fluter.

In my case it never worked out. Which looking back I think my family was happy about.

Fast forward a few years, and now after coming out of the shock of the words “legal blindness”. I jump to okay I never got to help anyone, but maybe one could help me.

I understand though I need to finish O&M training(for those not well versed in blindness oretiation and mobility, or as I call it how to move around as a blind person☺).

Which is very much more than waving a long stick around. Which will be expained in another post for those wondering.

For me saying yes I am going to want to take that step of even looking at guide dog school websites; means for me that yes I know am not going to wake up one morning, and have 20/20 vision.

It is somewhat sad because I miss things that I have to have good vision for. But when I truly think about it I understand being blind isn’t a death sentence, it doesn’t mean I have to live off of a government check(as much as some people I know disagree), but it is a disability it means doing things different then I am use to, and knowing that is okay.

While I will never take beautiful photographs, paint a Mona Lisa, or be a tattoo artist(okay I never wanted to do that one). I can be something. I can go to college, travel, and even go shopping by myself, which until you are told nope you can’t seems like nothing.

The only thing that will hold me back from my dreams is the person in the mirror. If I fail at something it isn’t because I happen to be blind it is something I have done, and while it would be easy to say blindness is the reason. It will do me no good in the long run.

Blindnes isn’t the reason I cut things odd, it isn’t the reason I can be a messy eater, nor is it the reason why I still fear the dark some(okay maybe on the last one since I have been night blind all of my life). It would be like saying the only reason I don’t do well in crowds is because I was homeschooled for a time period. It is writing it all off for one detail, which is easier to expect.

The thing is those little details add up to the causes, and the whys. 

I want a guide dog for many reasons, and none is more important than the other

Being less likely to do the blind person drifting as I walk.

Not having to think about okay that is something and that is something. Being able to and actually think.

More of the fulwity that tend to go with guide dogs.

Stopping at those odd intercections that I seem to not be able to feel with my cane.

And having that tiny bit of less worry when I step of the sidewalk, and into the street. Thanks to intelligent disobedience.

And traveling in places that have either construction, or snow easier.

I am somewhat far off from this all though and I know that. It means talking to schools. Finishing training, and then the wait until team training. But I hope when this all done and over with I will feel that it is well worth it.

And no it isn’t because I want to take a dog with me everywhere.

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7 thoughts on “Starting to look into guide dog schools(and what it means for me).

  1. I went blind at about 18-months-old as a result of a blood clot on the brain. I do, however possess residual vision which allows me to see outlines of objects. I can not recognise people or read print and use screen reading software to access my Windows computer. I am now working with my fourth guide dog, called Trigger and much prefer dogs to using my white cane. The very best of luck in your search for a guide dog and if I can help in any way do please let me know. Best wishes. Kevin

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  2. Kevin thanks for commenting the one thing that I am noticing is guide dog users seem for the most part seem to put their school at the top, and for whatever reason you don’t want to work with their school(don’t want to travel that far, the school rarely works with people with my amount of vision, or a disagreeing on some of their practices) the handler feels they have to prove me wrong. I understand they love their school, and I have a feeling I will love mine as well.

    Even considering what I just said, but I am still curious about which school, or schools you went through?

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    1. I live in the United Kingdom. I think from your blog you reside in the US where, I believe the way in which guide dogs are trained differs from the UK. Here there is one charity (The Guide Dogs For The Blind Association) which trains all guide dogs for visually impaired. There exist other charities for other assistance dog users (for example hearing dogs), but GDBA is the only organisation that trains dogs for blind people. Due to there being only one organisation the training methods are the same (or very similar) throughout the UK. I trained with my first two dogs (Nixon and Zeff) at a training centre. However due to financial problems GDBA now does most (I believe all) of it’s training in hotels (they make an arrangement with the establishment and obtain a reduction). I trained with my third dog, Drew in a hotel and my present one, Trigger at home. I have the ability to see outlines of objects but this didn’t prevent me from getting a guide dog.

      Best wishes, Kevin

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes I am in the US it is somewhat different here programs Seeing eye, and many others too many to list to be honest are private charities who basically as a outsider looking in compete for both clients and donations. Some like seeing eye, Fidleco and others offer more either all travel paid, and or home training. While others offer less. It would be less complicated if there was only one. You find one that suits you, and has what you want, and or breeds or breed you want and hope they expect you.

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    1. Some and not some at the same time if that makes sense. Seeing eye feels my vision is a little too much for their school(knew this was possible, rather likely, but they want to see how I function CVI effects more than the chart.). GDF has promised to work with me once I get a little more O&M training, but still am consider GDB, Fildeco, Pilot(which I need to talk to someone who got a dog from them heard good and bad, but from people who haven’t worked through them). And I am living with someone who says maybe, so I might have to wait a little longer. I know it is worth it, but not worth rushing and making a mistake.

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