Archive for April, 2010

One Year Anniversary

April 28, 2010

A year ago yesterday morning, I was sitting at home waiting to be picking up by the good folks at Guiding Eyes For the Blind. I was apprehensive, nervous, excited, and scared not knowing what the next month would bring, and how having a guide dog would affect my life. I had never had a dog, and quite frankly wasn’t sure what to expect. In my preconceived idea, guide dogs weren’t the friendliest of dogs, and if I was going to have to walk a dog every day, I wanted one that was friendly and playful. On the flip side a year ago today, there was a brave little dog living in a kennel at Guiding Eyes For the Blind. In a little over two years he had been born, left his daddy and mommy, went to puppy raisers, then was taken from them, went to a trainer at Guiding Eyes, and was now living in a kennel not knowing what was in store for him. A year ago tomorrow afternoon, I was sitting in the GEB dormitory. I had just been told that I was receiving a male dog named Nash. Wow, what kind of a weird name is that? Ugh, people are going to think I named him for Nashville or that Don Johnson show Nash Bridges. That isn’t going to be good. I was waiting for the knock on the door, then it came, and Susan entered with this hyper dog named Nash. She handed the leash to me, and eventually left the two of us alone. This dog Nash was not happy about her leaving, he ran me from one end of the room to the other between both doors in the room. Oh God, what did I get myself into, this is never going to work out!

FlashForward to a April 29, 2010. The world hasn’t ended, but hey that isn’t supposed to happen until 12/21/12, and no, I am not talking about the awful movie 2012. Sorry to get sidetracked. Ok, so on the eve of Nash and my one year anniversary together April 29th, how have my thoughts changed. WOW, what a difference a year can make, a dog can make in your life, and most importantly a guide dog can make compared to a cane. I can’t even remember getting around with a cane, and it was only a year ago. Not only is Nash a fantastic guide, but he is unbelievably friendly and cuddly, almost too friendly to be a guide dog, oh yeah, and he is cute to. I have had to come up with a response, as Nash is constantly getting compliments, most commonly, oh my what a gorgeous dog, to which I respond, thank you, he has my genes! Not only does Nash make getting around a lot easier, but people are so much friendlier to me. It is like night and day to how people treat cane users compared to people with guide dogs. There should be a sociological experiment done, yes, it is that much of a difference.

So what do Nash and I have planned for our one year anniversary? Why, a nice romantic dinner for two. Ok, that would be weird. I will not be serving Nash his dinner tomorrow night by candlelight. Yeah, candles and blind people are a bad idea. We plan to go for a nice long walk tomorrow, stop by the pet store to pick Nash up a bone with peanut butter, yes he loves his PB and his bones, more than his toys. He destroys his toys, hey that rhymes, hence one of sir-nash-a-lots many nicknames, the toyminator. And how do I feel about the name Nash a year later? Well, just consider all the names I call him by, Mr. Nashee, my little Nashee, Nashee Nasherstein, Nashalaa, the Nashster, who’s the nashiest Nashser Nashee Nashers, and buddy.

So, looking back to a year ago, I would have to say the decision to go to Guiding Eyes was one of the best decisions of my life, and putting it off for a few months because of work and because I wasn’t sure I wanted a guide dog, turned out to be pretty good because if I would have went in earlier than I did, I wouldn’t have gotten the Nashster! Happy almost anniversary Nash.

Advertisements

It Must Be National Be Nice To Blind People Day!

April 22, 2010

No the title of the blog is not a complaint. The original title of today’s blog was going to be I Hate Sunny Days, so you can see that the little jaunt Nash and I took had a positive turn. I really do hate sunny days, as I see almost nothing on them. At least when it is hazy and overcast, I do not have to wear my sunglasses and on some days I can actually see the street lights when they change, so on a bright sunny day like today, I am forced to depend more on Nash, and I still don’t trust him a hundred percent. That is not a negative on him, as I don’t trust most people. Hey, I used to work in Hollyweird, and if I would have trusted everything everyone told me, I would be a major screenwriting success by now. Moral of the story in Hollywood, don’t believe it until it is over.

I have not blogged in a few days, and I wish I could say it was all because Nash and I habve been so busy, but it was part busy, part dullness, part depression. Yes, not even the cuddly Nash can always life my spirits, but he does do a great job, and he does like cuddling most of the time. I am still trying to teach him how to hug, you know, put his head over one shoulder, and a paw around the other. Not sure he will ever get that one, or if he wants to. He does seem to like it when we lay together, and he will put his cold nose on one of my hands, and a paw over the other. Some times though, he will push me away at paws length, not because he doesn’t want to be near me, he is telling me, I want a belly rub, and I wanted it now! Hey, the pup knows what he wants.

Nash and I went out to run a few errands, and I was annoyed because it was so bright out causing zero visibility. Funny five years ago, I hated it when it was dark out, now things have flip flopped as my RP has gotten worst, and I prefer to go out when it is dark compared to a bright day. Why aren’t those damn banks open at night? Amazing how RP never gets old, and continues to throw you curve balls in life. So we got to Citibank, and I really do need to give a shout out to the teller there, as I can no longer use ATMs. Amazingly, more and more people are going blind, but the new ATMs don’t have braille on them, not that that would help me anyway. That’s right, I’m blind and illiterate, as I don’t read no braille, and obviously don’t speak proper English. Ha! Anyway, the tellers at my local Citibank always help me with the ATM card, and entering my PIN, and lately, they don’t make me wait in line. They have even told me in the future just come up to the first window, that way I don’t have to wrap around that little line, which I am always amazed that I don’t knock over. The tellers even walk me out to the front door after Nash and I finish our transaction. Hey, Nash does a lot of banking, as he is a trust fund puppy. Wouldn’t that be nice, Nash taking care of me financially too! We then headed to Duane Reade which is always an adventure, as they are constantly rearranging the store, which is not kind to a blind guy. We hate change! Yes, it is all about my Rainman routine and nothing changing. Well, as soon as we walked into Duane Reade, an employee came up to help Nash and me. She was very nice as she picked up everything we needed including the last 12 pack of Diet Dr. Pepper, yes, I have a Diet Dr. Pepper addiction, add that to the list. She then let us cut the long line, and opened another register for us. Wow, you can save a lot of time when you don’t have to wait in line. What am I going to do with the rest of my day, I have to much time, its a good thing the Yanks are playing a day game. So you can see, while I do hate sunny days, I do like national help a blind person day!

The Words Nash Knows!

April 16, 2010

Nash is a really smart dog. He knows his right and left better than most people I know. He knows forward, stop, and wait. I guess that is his green light, yellow light, and red light. He knows home, and has had to learn that over and over due to the construction on my building and the entrance continuously moving. He knows elevator and stairs. He doesn’t know sic or attack, but lets keep that between you and me in case I ever get into a troubled spot. He knows break means jump, and off means to get off the curb its bathroom time. A funny phrase he has learned is back to bed. You would think this would mean that he would go to his bed, but when I say it, he actually goes and jumps into my bed. So you ask, what is his favorite word? Why, of course, it is FOOD. He definitely knows what food means, and he loves hearing it. Just a short blog on Nashees favorite words. Anything else I should teach him?

How does one become a doggy dermatologist?

April 14, 2010

Nash had an appointment with the doggy dermatologist yesterday, and this made me think of only one thing, how does one become a doggy dermatologist? Before a few weeks ago, I did not even know such a thing existed. Nash has had chronic ear infections since the day we left Guiding Eyes, and he has been on and off and on different kinds of ear drops, and finally his vet suggested we see the doggy dermatologist as she thinks he has allergies. Hey, maybe he is allergic to all of his shedding to. The only reason I could come up with on why someone becomes a doggy dermatologist is that you really really love acne and skin conditions, but doesn’t like people, so he decides that to appease his love of rashes and still avoid people, he must work with dogs.  At least that would be my rationale behind that career decision.

Nash and I headed over to the AMC for our appointment yesterday, and I don’t know if NYC was under some heightened security alert that public transportation was going to be blown up, but the bus was the emptiess it has ever been, so we enjoyed our ride. Well, despite my predetermination about how one becomes a doggy dermatologist, the doc was great. He took a few samples from Nash’s ears, and determined that his ear infections are probably allergy related. His right ear has cleared up, but his left ear still has some yeast in it, so Nash is continuing on the antibiotics for the left ear, and the doc gave us some allergy pills for Nash to take. Amazingly, dogs take the same allergy pills as people. Hey, Nash and I can take the same meds. Of course, Nash will not like taking these and since I feed him dry food, the doc suggested picking up some cheese to stick the pills in.

I did attempt to give Nash his first pill like his monthly heartworm pill, but Nash prevented me from giving it to him by showing off jaws of steel. I was able to sucker him by putting a treat and the pill in my hand at the same time, and sucked them both down, but I do plan on picking up some cheese as it will be a nice change of pace for him. As long as the meds don’t making him drowsy, he will be on the pills for six weeks until we head back to the doggy dermatologist. Can you tell that I really like using the phrase doggy dermatologist?

Please check out the short film I starred in VisionZone

April 13, 2010

As my loyal readers know, I starred in a short film in January in San Diego called VisionZone – You’re Not Alone Anymore. VisionZone is a new virtual online company that is the brain child of Optelec, the global leader in the manufacturing and distribution of technological tools for people with low vision. With people living longer these days, unless Obama’s death squads can get them. No, I don’t believe that, but that is all you hear on the news, more and more people are developing macular degeneration, and other eye diseases. Hey, its evolution baby, maybe we are all meant to be blind, and I am just more evolved then the rest of you! Yes, I love using exclamation points!! Anyway, I got a little sidetracked, VisionZone is a wonderful venture for all people living with visual impairments, and their family and friends. Not only does the website http://www.visionzone.org offer expert advice for health, work, school, and lifestyle, but there are also plenty of blogs, yes, I am a featured blogger on the site, some days it will be the same as here, and some days different. Visionzone.org also offers something that many of us in the visually impaired world have been asking for for years, a place to network and meet others living in a similar situation. That’s right visionzone.org has a social networking application where you can create your own profile, leave comments, and meet people from all around the world. It is very similar to facebook, but its emphasis are all things ocular. Optelec has presented us with this great opportunity, now it is up to us to make it fantastic. You can view my profile here, so please create a profile and friend me by searching members for Brian Fischler, yes, that’s me.

http://www.visionzone.org/users/brianfischler

I know that most of you read this blog to find out what is going on with Nash, well, I am sorry to report that Nash is not in the film, as I was playing a character that has more vision that I actually do. I know, it was quite a stretch and I had to reach in for my inner DeNiro to get the performance.

And now, what you have all been waiting for, so get your popcorn ready, and enjoy the seven minute film VisionZone.

Nash is not telepathic!

April 10, 2010

I was laying on the couch this afternoon, enjoying the Yankees thrashing of the Rays, and C.C. Sabathia’s almost no hitter, and Nash was lying in my bed, and I decided that I wanted some company, and wanted Nash to come over.  Instead of calling Nash over, I decided to contact him through my mental telepathy. I kept thinking, come over Nash, come over Nash, come over Nash. Well, I am sorry to report that Nash does not have mental telepathy. Or maybe, maybe I am not telepathic, and he is. I guess this one is a crap shoot.

Nash and I had dinner with Kelly and Andre from Optelec last night. Since they were in my city, they let me choose the restaurant, so we went to Patsy’s on 57th street, the best Italian food you will get in midtown. I also learned that Patsy’s was Frank Sinatra’s favorite restaurant in NYC. I had the chicken parm, which was incredible. For those of you not familiar with Optelec, they are the company that I shot the short film for in San Diego, VisionZone. They are the global leader in the manufacturing and distribution of products for the visually impaired. Their latest product, the compact mini, which they gave to me, allows me to be able to see my mail, and read menus, so I did bring it with me, so Andre and Kelly could see their product in use. Although, I was able to see the menu, I really didn’t need to, as I knew I was going to order the chicken parm before I even got to Patsy’s,. What can I say, it is one of my favorite dishes. The compact mini did help me read the menu, and without it, I would not have been able to see the menu at all. We had a very nice dinner, and did discuss a few possibilities for the future, so you will have to check back at a later time to read what may be in store for the future.

You Need To Be Tough To Be A Guide Dog!

April 9, 2010

Nash and I are now eleven months in to our relationship, and I have learned a lot about dogs and guide dogs, and one thing that hit me recently is that you really need to be tough to be a guide dog. For example, when your blind owner sits on you, you need to be able to shake it off, and say that’s ok, your blind. When he accidentally steps on one of your paws when you are working, you need to be able to stay focused continue working, and say that’s ok, you’re blind. When he is putting on his sneakers, me not Nash, and Nash comes over to lick your feet, and accidentally gets a little love kick to the head because I don’t see him there, Nash needs to say, that’s ok, you’re blind, and you are putting your sneakers on to walk me. When you are in your apartment and playing around, and you run in front of me when I get up, and accidentally get stepped on, you need to say that’s ok, I understand, you’re blind. When the blind rolls over you in bed when you are both asleep, you say that’s ok, you’re blind and an unbelievably restless sleeper. Nash has to put up with all of this and he still loves to sit on my feet, have me hold his bone for him to chew, licks me after every meal, and still works very hard for me. I guess Nash is one tough cute lovable guy.

Nash and I needed a police escort to get into my building

April 6, 2010

Nash and I went out for our evening stroll, and there were fire engines everywhere. We walked up to 53rd and the street was blocked off. No annoying Letterman street blockage this time. Some kind of fire. We doubled back and headed back to 52nd street, and that street was blocked off as well by fire trucks. Not sure how there could be a related fire on 52nd and 53rd street causing both to be blocked off. Will have to try and remember to watch the news tonight to see what was going on.  Amazingly, this was not the reason we needed a police escort to get back to my building. There is some kind of concert theater on 53rd street, I think it may be called Roseland or something along those lines. Every time they have a concert, there is a massive line that stretches past my apartment. Well, it amazes me that every person that goes to see a show at that theater is a complete asshole! That’s right, everyone, they are always completely oblivious to the blind guy walking with his guide dog, and they never move out of the way. I keep saying excuse me, excuse me, and they still don’t move. What’s even more amazing is this occurs every time they have a concert, not a one time thing. Well, tonight with the fire, we had to weave through two and half blocks of assholes to get to a place for Nashee to go to the bathroom. None of them would move. I got slammed into several times, and Nash was very flustered. He finally got to do his business, for the first time on 50th street. I had to head back through the crowd, and no one would move, so this time I led my way with my hand forward and Nash’s little surprise bumped into a bunch of people. Hey turn around is fair play. Luckily once we got across 51st, a very nice police officer saw Nash and me struggling through the crowd, and helped us get onto the street. He even took Nash’s bag and through it away for me. He led me all the way to my building, and the people wouldn’t even move to him. Not sure where we are heading as a society, but if this is the kind of people that are going to be around, the apocalypse can’t get here fast enough.

Did some Spring cleaning today, I know, it is a little early for Spring in NYC, but it is really warm, way to warm for the beginning of April. It didn’t hit 85 all of last July, and it is supposed to hit 85 tomorrow. I got a lot of vacumming done today. I also cleaned my desk, and as I was cleaning the desk, I was sitting in my chair. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to clean your desk when you have a dog camped out on your feet. What you thought I was going to say when you were blind?

I forgot to mention that the day we left for Florida over 3 weeks ago, the lobby finally reopened in my building. That’s right finally. The lobby renovation which started last June, and the closure of the main lobby which started the day after Laugh For Sight, and was supposed to be finished before Christmas finally ended. I had predicted February when I heard Christmas, so even my prediction was way off. Now the fun begins again, as we have been coming and going through the service entrance for 5 months, so now Nash has to relearn where home is. Never a dull moment for Nash and me living in NYC.

Nash’s 3rd Birthday, and our return home!!

April 4, 2010

Am I a bad doggy daddy, it has taken me four days to blog about Nashee’s thrid birthday? We woke up on Weds, March 31st in Los Angeles. Yes, we were still there. I kept asking Nash, whose birthday is it? Nashee’s birthday. Although he didn’t raise a paw when I asked the question, Nash was pretty hyper, and wanted to play and more attention than he normally does, so he either realized it was his birthday, or he knew we were finally heading home. Nash and I had lots of play time in between packing. We played with his bone, he got lots of belly rubs, and not from just me, from Steve to. Hey Nash, are you trying to make me jealous with all of the attention you are paying to Steve? It is working a little. Nash really likes Uncle Steve, and really likes his apartment and his bed. I think Nash really likes California and all of the different smells it offers than NYC.

It has been a really long three weeks on the road through West Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Lake Worth, Coral Springs, Miami, Houston, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Los Angeles again. I am definitely ready to head back to NYC. We did get a lot accomplished while on the road, and have some great shows, but I always think I could have accomplished more. I would have liked to have gone more done for the future of Laugh For Sight, but we have a lot coming up when we get back to NYC, and I will tell you more when it is official.

For Nash’s third bday, we are taking the red eye back to NYC. Hey, technically Nash is 21, so he can have an adult beverage on the plane. We take the red eye, as I feel it keeps Nash on more of a regular schedule, and he can eat and drink water the day we fly. So it isn’t so bad for him. We got everything all packed up, and Steve did one last blind proofing to make sure that I was not forgetting anything. Pretty amazing, I didn’t miss anything. Steve and Nash said their goodbyes, and then we packed up the car, let Nash do his business, ran a few erraands, and headed off to the Burbank airport.

On the way to the airport, Steve was talking to his Mom on the phone, and telling her the story of how Nash put the window down a few days earlier, and as he was telling her, Nash rolled the window down again! This time though, Steve was able to see how he did it. Nash put his entire head on the window button and rolled it down with his head. Pretty funny and smart stuff. I guess Nash wanted to enjoy the gorgeous L.A. weather one last time.

We hit a ton of traffic on the way to the airport. Unreal, we left Steve’s apartment at 630 for a 930 flight. Plenty of time to get from Hollywood to Burbank, and we did not get to the airport until 845. I later found out that Paul McCartney was playing at the Hollywood Bowl. This is now the second time that Sir McCartney has caused Nash and me problems. I may have to place a fatwah on him. Kidding of course. Homeland security relax, I am a comedian afterall.

The plane actually boarded on time which for Nash and me is rare. We had the bulkhead as usual, and got lucky again, as the people that sat next to us loved dogs. The woman sitting next to me even liked having Nash as a foot warmer. He does like to take up the person sitting next to us personal space. I wish I could sleep like Nash, as he slept for most of the flight, and I didn’t. Even though Nashee was now 21, I wisely didn’t allow him to have an adult beverage on the plane, and neither did I. We got into JFK around 515 in the morning. Of course, the first thing we did was take Nash to the bathroom. JFK is one of the few airports with a dog bathroom area which is nice to have. It took us about an hour to get our bag and of course, I was one of the last bags out, but luckily at this hour, there wasn’t much of a cab line, so we popped right into a taxi, and began the $60 cab ride into the city. Nash was sleeping next to me on the seat in the back of the cab. Like I said, I wish I could sleep like him. We hhit the midtwon tunnel, and as soon as we got out of it into the city, Nash popped up on the seat. Amazing, he new we were back home. He sat up on the seat for the whole ride through the city to our building. When we got to our building, he knew exactly where my apartment door was, which was nice considering we had not been here in three weeks. We got into my apartment, I got Nash off his leash and harness, and he started running laps around the apartment, he was extremely excited to be home. I got Nash fed and walked, we got back in, and of course, immediately he went for my bed, I mean his bed. Nash was very happy to be back in NYC, and so was I.