Archive for August, 2009

Don’t feed your dog coffee!

August 31, 2009

Late this morning, I was drinking some coffee, and rushing around my apartment, as I was meeting my Uncle Donny for an early lunch. I spilled some coffee on the floor, and of course, Nash licked it up before I could clean it up. I was very thankful to Nash for cleaning up my little mess, but I left shortly there after to meet my Uncle, and when we got to the diner, Nash would not sit down. I think he was wired on coffee, as it was the diner in my neighborhood that we have been to several times, and Nash and I pretty much have our own table. Nash kept going back and forth underneath the table, and wouldn’t listen to any of the sit commands. There was also a french fry on the floor that he was trying to get at, but I prefer to think that he was having a coffee buzz. Nash did sit down shortly, and then was his typical well behaved dog. It was pretty funny thought. Uncle D and I both had a very nice lunch, and you can’t beat chicken parmesean panini. Why don’t they have that on nutrisystem?

Going back to yesterday’s blog about Proper Guide Dog Etiquette, we added a new category in the comments section which we are calling  Stupid Attempted Helpness/When Good Intentions Go Bad. I like that new category, and today, I had an experience which I am not sure falls into any of the categorys we established. I took Nash out to go to the bathroom, had his harness off, and he was out in the street doing his business, and some woman comes up to me, and says, “can I pet your dog?” I kind of froze up, and didn’t know what to day. What kind of person wants to pet a dog while it is going to the bathroom? His harness wasn’t on, so he technically wasn’t working, but he was going to the bathroom, so he was working, but not in the way that the Guide Dog School trained us with working. This was real confusing, so I politely lied, and said, “I’m sorry, but he is working.” Geez, what did somebody read my blog, stalk Nash and me out, and say, hey here is something that he didn’t write about in Guide Dog Etiquette? Always something new and strange going on in NYC.

Before we walked out for Nash to do his business, I had Nash sitting in the lobby, as I had to switch from my regular glasses to my sunglasses. Nash always seems to stray over to left whenever I switch glasses, and now I know why. A woman says to me, “I guess he is expecting something in the mail.” The mailman always has the mail and packages sitting there to the left, and curious Nash is trying to sniff, or maybe making sure there are no letter bombs. Hey, he’s an importnat guy, so maybe he expects a package every day. I thought her comment was pretty funny.

On a final note, I sometimes use a prong collar to try and control Nash’s excessive sniffing, and over the last two days, I thought Nash had been gaining weight, as the prong collar was a little more snug than usual. I kept thinking, what the hell else has he been eating? Well, today in Nash’s closet, I found something, and was thinking what the hell is this? Ends up it was a single link of the prong collar. Not sure how it got loose like that, but now I am worried that he is losing too much weight. I will have to take him somewhere to get him weighed, but not to worry, as he is still his happy tail wagging self.

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Proper Guide Dog Etiquette

August 30, 2009

This was a list started by Lorraine in the comments section, and I thought it would be nice to pass on, and add to. By the way, I just realized why I plan to never be rich. With my allergy related ashtma from all of Nash’s sheddings, I am now vaccuming my apartment at least twice a week, as it is nice to be able to breathe. I live in an alcove studio apartment, not too tiny, but not very big. If I was rich, I would live in a much bigger apartment, and that would be more to vaccum, and  I know what you’re thinking, well, if you were rich you could just have a maid. Well, I like doing things for myself, and the whole maid theory would have shot the not being rich idea down, so ok, I would like to be rich, and just get a maid.

Original List courtesy of Lorraine.

There are basically four types of people:
1) Those who say from a short distance things like, “Oh, what a cute puppy, but I know I’m not supposed to pet him while he’s working.” Clearly making a bid to be invited to pet him which sometimes I allow as a good training exercise and other times say thank you for understanding.

My response to these people, if femaile is, “are you hot and single?” or “you can pet him, but you have to pet me first!” I also would place in this category, the person who says, “I know he is working, and I am not supposed to pet him, but I just can’t help myself,” and then proceed to pet him anyway. This is quite annoying, as these people know better, but have no self control, and are probably the same people who eat chocolate at all hours of the day, so in the future, I will assume they are single, but not hot as they probably are suffering from too much chocolate intake! Don’t worry, I am not being sexest, as the men do this too, but they get a firm, “I’m sorry, thanks for asking,  but he is working,” from me.

2) The responsible adult with or without children who take time to explain about working dogs and proper etiquitte. For this I usually reward them by thanking them for instructing their children, explaining that they can pet the dog if they ask, and allow them to do so.

My favortie kinds of people, the people ni the know. I actually like when the parent tells the kid that the dog is a working dog, and you cannot pet the wroking dog. I prefer when they explain it this way, as it saves me having to tell someone, no. If they do take the time to explain to the kid, and I am still around, or it is an adult who just politely asks, “Is it ok to pet your dog?” I of course, first ask if it is a woman, “are you hot?” No, seriously, I just politely tell these people, “thank you for asking, but I am sorry, he is working.” Sometimes, I will even get someone who says, “Well, he is just sitting there.” Which I respond, “for him, sitting there calmly is work.” I try and make sure that I do this in a calm polite way, but that is not always possible.

3) The ‘charger’ who walks straight up to the dog, sometimes kneeling down and grabbing their head scratching behind their ears and asking for kisses.

My response to these people is a Jackie Chan kick to the head without even being asked if they are hot. Okay, so I would let Jessica Biel get away with this. Unfortuantely, I would never even know if it was Jessica Biel, so Jessica if I have given you a Jackie Chan kick to the head, I apologize, do I still have a chance? I don’t even notice these people until it is too late, and with Nash being so friednly, I think these people really hurt his obedience training, and cause Nash to occassionally go looking for attention. These people do amaze me, as even before I went blind, I would never go and pet a strange dog. These are probably the same people who sue Starbucks for burning their tongue because their coffee is too hot. They would also probably go up to the dog, get him all riled up, get bitten, and then sure you.

4) The ‘stealth swipper’ who just casually croutches down and runs their hand along the dogs back or gives their butt a little scrutch while walking by or when behind you in a line or on a crowded street or in an elevator, etc.

These people are very frustrating to a blind guy, as I am sure it happens often, but again, I do not notice it, and unfortunately, it causes Nash to lose focus when we are working, and he probably gets a leash correction for it, through no fault of his own. So, if you are one of these people, even if you are hot, please stop reading the blog, go to the mirror in your bathroom, and slap yourslef in the face over and over to get some smarts!

Oh wait…there’s a fifth type, those who just plain don’t care and think it’s funny to try to distract your dog. This happened to Nash and me once in our local mall. We were being followed by 3 teenage boys – the dumbest of all human beings – who clearly thought I was blind, it happens sometimes which I don’t get because there’s no harness, and were actively trying to distract Nash with non-verbal behaviors such as crowding him and making annimated gestures. Like I said, not the sharpest knives in the drawer. I wanted so badly to spin around and yell, “Hey! Leave my dog alone!” which would have freaked them out because they thought I didn’t see any of what they were doing. But being the responsible raiser that I am, I took the high road – something I have been know not to do 😦 – and just walked Nash on figuring it was a good distraction training exercise for him. He did great by the way.
So there’s MY list. Only five items I know, but it’s a list. I feel like one of the boys now :).

What kind of a response can you have to the Michael Vick’s of the world? I don’t know if it is in the upbrining natural cruelty, or just plain stupidity that would cause people to try and purposedly distract a guide dog or a regular dog. It’s just plain cruel, not matter how hot they are. I wouldn’t even let Jessica Biel slide on this one, but I am sure she would never fall into this category.

One category that I would like to add, is “the people who get it.” The great puppy raisers, trainers, and every day regular people that treat you normal, and they talk to you, sometimes even not paying attention to the dog. I don’t look at this as being cruel or insensitive to the dog, they are just treating you like a normal person who just happens to be blind and have a guide dog. Always nice to be treated like a regular person, but don’t get me wrong, people being nice to me because of Nash is also appreciative, just don’t touch him when we are working.

Nash enjoys the neon lights on Broadway

August 29, 2009

Because of all the rain, we haven’t gotten to go for many walks during the day, except for Nash to go to the bathroom, oh yeah, and the Yanks have been playing a few day games, and Nash, I mean me, needs his Yankees fix. I caught the end of the Yankees pregame show, and the final few seconds, they were doing a segment on a Blind Beeping Baseball league out on Long Island. I have been googling it, but haven’t been able to find out a ton of info about it. One of the things I miss most about losing my vision is being able to play sports. As a kid, every day after school, it was football or baseball. Even as I was severly losing my night vision in college, I played on our fraternity intramural soccerr team, and one year led the team in goals. No, I wasn’t great, we were just that bad. I would love to find out if they have one of these blind baseball leagues in the city, or some kind of blind football league, not sure how the latter might work. I wish they had the segment online, as I missed most of it, and would have loved to have seen it.

Since Nash and more me could use the exercise, we went for a nice walk early this evening, and it was already dark out. We went for a walk up 8th and then over to Broadway. I should have put Nash’s prong collar on, as his sniffing was a little out of control, and one time when I gave him the proper right hand leash correction to get him to stop sniffing, it had to look pretty bad, as I could feel him herk up a little, but hey, he wouldn’t stop sniffing, and I don’t think I did anything wrong, but it did get his attention, and as soon as he resumed walking I was quick to give him a good boy Nash, good boy. A lot of people kept saying, oh what a cute puppy, and I assume they were talking about Nash, I just can’t tell if they were trying to pet him, and not sure how a blind guy is supposed to be able to tell if someone is trying to pet their dog while walking. As a few times Nash would wonder off to one side, so he could have been being petted, or just sniffing. Hard to tell. He did have a nice stride while walking down Broadway, and it was pretty crowded out, as it is a gorgeous August evening. I bet you don’t hear that too often, gorgeous August evening. Besides a few days, we really haven’t had a summer in NYC, which I do not mind, as I hate the hot muggy weather, so these overcast days are quite the delight. Another thing I bet you don’t hear too often. The bright sunny days are the worst for me, as I see absolutely zero because of the awful glare issues I have. On my last doctor visit, he was amazed and disappointed that I didn’t have cataracts, as that would have at least explained the glare issues. The glare issues are even getting worst, as I now have them in doors, and I had to increase the magnification on the zoomtext program I use to see the computer screen. That’s twice in the last two months, so it is a little worrisome. Hopefully it is just from a lack of sleep and stress, but how can you tell. Very frustrating, well, at least Nash is lying on my feet again, so he can’t be too mad with me about the leash corrections on our walk tonight. Stop sniffing Nash. I am beginning to think he had or had a coke problem.

Nash gets the VIP treatment from Letterman security!

August 27, 2009

It has been awhile since Nash and I did some basic route work, as Laugh For Sight has kept us plenty busy, so with the Yanks losing to Texas, Nash and I went out for a nice walk to get both of us some exercise, and really focus on our curb approaches, and his sniffing distractions. Nash would have made a helluva bomb sniffing dog, except he might stay put once he found the bomb. The llittle guy sure does like to sniff everything, and I mean everything. On the final stretch of our walk, I decided to pop into Duane Reade, we walked past the Letterman Show, and made a right onto 53rd street, we get a little way down the street, and Nash stops. Ends up that Letterman guy had the street blocked off again. Security said hold on, and they opened one of the gates for Nash and me to go through. The security guard was really nice as he took me by the arm, as I guess there were a lot of barricades, and as he did some moron actually yelled out, “why does he get to go through?” Thank you very much sir, I think you just completed your IQ test with that one question. Please don’t operate any heavy machinery. People will nevcr cease to amaze me. I wish I could have gone back, and said to the guy who asked that, ok, I will take your sight, and then you can walk through the street in exchange, and I’ll walk around the next block, deal? The security at the show was very nice to let us walk down the block, and what is amazing is that when I walked with a cane, and the street would be blocked off, they would make me cut through another street, so I guess Nash gets us the VIP treatment. Letterman will be playing Andy Roddick  in tennis on 53rd street. I don’t know much about tennis, but my money is on Roddick.

This morning, Nash and I went out for his bathroom stop, some guy says to me, “I really admire what you do.” I had no clue what he was talking about, so I just said, “thanks.” Nash was doing his business, and the guy then says, “Is he beginning or finishing?” I said, “going to the bathroom?” He says, “no, training?” I said, “oh, actually he is always in training.” I guess the guy thought that I was a guide dog trainer, and not blind. I have been mistaken for a lot in life, but never for a guide dog trainer. Hey, the blind guy takes offense to that, what we don’t fit the look of the sterotypical blind guy? Kidding, so to all you puppy raisers and guide dog trainers, you got a nice compliment for me to start my day off today.

A couple of photo’s of Nash at 9 months that were passed on to me.

Nash's first & so far only airplane ride.

Nash's first & so far only airplane ride.

Why do people keep taking pictures of me?

Why do people keep taking pictures of me?

I see a blind guy in my future!

I see a blind guy in my future!

How late should you let your dog sleep in?

August 26, 2009

Nash and I went for his final bathroom walk earlier than usual last night, as for a change, I was actually tired. We got back to the apartment at about 11:15, and I thought I would watch some tv before bed, so I moved Nash’s bed next to the couch, so he could also relax. I ended up falling asleep on the couch, which is very rare for me, one to actually fall asleep, and two to fall asleep that early, so of course, I have been up since 3am. I have been getting some stuff done on the computer, and watching a little tv, as Nash still snoozes away in his bed. Lucky guy to get such a great night sleep, and look so comfy. We normally get up between 9 and 10 am, then I feed and walk Nash. So now, I am at a loss, as I have been ready for hours to walk and feed Nash, and get my day going, as I plan to get some coffee and a bagel, but I do not want to throw Nash off his schedule, so I am wondering what is the polite and proper thing to do. How long do I let Nash sleep in? Funny, I never thought I would be asking that question. I am actually getting really hungary, and I feel like I am a kid again on Christmas morning, and I am not even Christian, but for some reason that morning was always very exciting, and I couldn’t wait for my parents to get up. Amazing how as a kid, you can’t wait to get out of bed, and as an adult, it is always, just fuve more minutes please, just five more minutes. I guess I will let Nash keep hitting the snooze button until he pops up and starts walking around.

How’s a Blind Guy Supposed to Send Registered Mail?

August 24, 2009

Nash and I had to go to the Post Office today to send a document registered mail for Laugh For Sight. I guess I must have been the first blind guy to ever send anything by registered mail because the post office was at a loss. The employee who helped me was so confused. First off, she didn’t know how to spell Revenue. I guess she doesn’t pay taxes. Then, after filling out the label, she tells me, “well, I can’t fill out the registered mail form, you have to.” So, I say to her, “if you can tell me how a blind guy is going to address a registered mail form, then I will do it.” She says, “well, I guess another teller can do it.” I’m like, “that doesn’t mean that I have to wait in line again?” Nash and I had stood in line for an hour, and I wasn’t about to do that again. If this is how the government runs the mail, I can’t wait to see how they would run healthcare. Forget that whole argument about death panels, and the government deciding if Grandma was worth saving, how many people would die while waiting in tline? And if a postal employee does not know what the Internal Revenue Service is, or how to spell it, what would government doctor’s be like? Is that Cancer with an S? Just put some ddirt on it, you will be fine. Wow, the future is scary.

Getting back to standing in line at the Post Office, I was actually patient, but not very many other people in line were. There was a lot of groaning going on, and some yelling, which I am sure would not happen in a government run healthcare line, because we know how much more urgent people’s needs at the post office are, then they would be at a government doctor’s office. The funny thing was, Nash was better behaved than almost everyone else in line, then again, he was getting treats, and of course, he already has free healthcare.

Do dogs get splinters?

August 23, 2009

I have a habit of walking around in my socks in my apartment, and I have hard wood floors. Every now and then, I will step on a splinter, like I did today. What is weird is the splinter was where Nash had brrn laying, so I am surprised that he didn”t get the splinter. Luckily for me, it just pricked me in the foot, and then  I found it in the floor sticking up. Not sure how it did not end up in Nash, as he was laying right on top of it, and he is back in the same spot on my feet as I write this, snoring away like he always does. He sure does snore a lot. He doesn’t have the best manners as he snoars when I try and watch tv, and burps after most meals and water feedings. He also will sneeze and not cover his mouth with a paw. Not sure how Lorraine and Richard who did such a great job raising him didn’t teach him to cover his mout with a paw when he sneezes.

Had a nice relaxing weekend as the week was so crazy. Nash and I went to our regular bar, Matt’s Grill on Friday night to watch that great Yanks pounding of Boston. I used to be able to see the tv’s in bars fine, but now I usually have to have someone tell me what happened, which can be quite frustrating. Luckily the entire staff is fantastic, and they really like Nash. Saturday was spent relaxing, and with the Yanks getting pounded by Boston, I was able to turn the game off early, and finish the first season of Mad Men. I thought it was ok, but not as great as everyone else seems to think it is. I plan to start on the second season which I have on tivo, so we shall see if I get more into it. And if you do watch the show, didn’t they have hangovers in the 1950’s? Not sure how they can constantly drink all day everyday, and then function the following day. I guess our grandparents didn’t let us in on that secret.

Today, Nash met my friend Jewel. He seemed to like, but he does seem to like everyone. Not sure if I will ever know if Nash doesn’t like someone, as he doesn’t bark, and really only makes sounds when he is sleeping, or we are playing, and he will playfully growl when we are playing tug. Went for a walk with Nash and Jewel, and had her tell me when Nash was sniffing, as this is something that I am still struggling with, and trying to get Nash to break the habit of sniffing everything. He was doing a lot of sniffing today. I guess Nash would have made a good bomb sniffing dog, as he loves to sniff.

Laugh For Sight 4 Tickets on Sale!!

August 21, 2009

I wanted to let all friends and family know that Laugh For Sight 4 tickets are now on sale, and you will want to buy them early at the “Friends and Family Rate.” You see cell phone company’s are not the only ones who can advertise like that. You can purchase tickets on Gotham Comedy Club’s website by going to the date 11/16/09, or buy clicking Buy My Laugh For Sight tickets. For more information about Laugh For Sight, getting involved, corporate tables and sponsorships, email us at info@laughforsight.com.

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Nash’s first gang fight!

August 20, 2009

Nash and I were out for his evening walk on Sunday a little later than we usually go out, and as we were coming back to my building on 8th Ave., it sounded like there were a bunch of drunk guys in their 20’s milling around. I couldn’t tell if they were fighting or just horsing around, hey, I was in my 20’s at one time, and we had a lot of fun that I am sure came off as loud and annoying to other people. Well, I just spoke to the doorman who was here, and sure enough they were actually fighting. I guess there was a big Indian parade in the city that day, and as usual some people had a little to much celebrating, which I have been known to do before, and no, I am not picking on people from India, just two experiences with people from India in the last few days. So they are fighting on 8th Ave, right in front of my building, actually throwing punches and stuff, and Nash weaved in and out of all of it. Which I imagine had to be a pretty funny visual. I guess Nash has nerves of steel, and nothing seems to faze him. Not sure if it really is a good thing that he walked through all of this, but I guess the good thing is that he did not freak out, and was not distracted. The funny thing about the entire situation, as we walked through all of the craziness, one of the guys actually yelled out, “watch it, service dog coming through.” Not sure if he was one of the guys fighting, but no matter what, it is pretty funny. I got into my building, and wasn’t going to wait around to find out what was going on outside, as I figured it would be best to just get up to my apartment. That is the delay for this, as I just got confirmation about what happened last night.  It really wasn’t a gang fight, just some rough housing.

To bark or not to bark, that is the question!

Nash and I have been back in the city for 3 month’s, and he has yet to bark. I am not complaining, as this is a good thing. He is so quiet, that a lot of the time, you do not even know he is there. He snores ten times more than he barks, and puckers while dreaming five times more then he snores. Yesterday, I was reheating some Ray’s Pizza, and decided to use the over, as it tastes much better than it does coming out of the microwave .I only use the oven like once every four months, and as usual, I set the smoke detector off in the apartment. Not sure why this happens, as the food was not burning, and was ready to eat as soon as it came out of the oven. So the smoke detector is going off with a loud beeping, and saying fire, fire, fire, and Nash just sits at attention and does not even bark once. This was a little surprising, as you would think this would have caused a bark. Nope, nothing, quiet as a mouse. There I am waving a towel in front of the annoying smoke detector, which did nothing, and I eventually ended up knocking the damn thing off the wall, and still no bark. I guess or not to bark is Nash’s answer.

His name isn’t Buddy, it’s Nash!

August 19, 2009

Nash and I were at the bank today, and the teller came out from behind the counter, as she said they were under some construction, and she would walk us out. I always call Nash, Buddy, just as a verbal reflex, and I said, “let’s go Buddy,” and the teller started calling him Buddy. I wasn’t going to go into, well, actually his name is Nash, but I guess his nickname is Buddy. As she was leading me out, she actually grabbed Nash’s harness to direct him. This is the first time someone has touched his harness handle, and I thought I reacted very well, as I calmly said, “Please don’t touch his harness.” I didn’t even raise my tone. Well, the teller must not have liked that because as of that comment Nash and I were on our own to the door, which wasn’t a problem, as we have been in that Citibank several times. It was just strange to me that she stopped helping us. I mean would you grab a woman’s baby stroller handle if you were helping them? It just seemed like a very odd response.

Nash has had a pretty tame week, as I have been swampped with stuff for Laugh For Sight. Just because most of the comedians are booked, doesn’t mean we are close to finished. There has been a basic website design, and now we have someone who is redesigning all the work I did, as I am not a webdesigner, oh yeah, and I am blind. There has been getting the PR and Media campaign underway, ad design, legal paperwork, contracts, corporate sponsor and donation request proposals, etc. etc. Yes, it’s a full time job and more putting a benefit like Laugh For Sight together with little budget and few bodies. I have my hands in every part of the show, so you can imagine how crazed I have been. Nash has been getting regular walks and exercise, but when we are in the apartment, it is pretty much an all day, all night thing on Laugh For Sight, and of course, Nash always wants to pop his head in to see what I am doing, and wants to play with everything. He has been great in letting me get work done when I am really flowing, and tickets will go on sale in the next few days, and we will be offering a friends and family rate, so you will want to purchase your tickets sooner rather than later. I will be posting up here when tickets go on sale, and you will be purchasing them through Gotham Comedy Club’s website, or you can call them, as that is one less thing for me to handle.

Not much of a Nashdate for ya, but you can see we have been keeping pretty busy, and Nash is pretty happy as we got his food today. He really loves his la,b and rice.