Archive for July, 2011

You Don’t Look Blind

July 15, 2011

Often when I am walking my guide dog Nash, someone will come up to me and ask, “Are you training him?” or “Is he a retired guiode dog?” Not sure why the third question is always, “Are you blind,” but the questions always seem to come in the same order. I guess it is comparable to the days when I walked with a white cane, and people would constantly say to me, “if you’re blind why are you wearing glasses?” Whether I was walking with a white cane, or now my guide dog all of these questions always seem to lead to the same statement, “You don’t look blind.” After getting this statement today for what seemed like the thousandth time, it got me thinking, why does society not consider the statement You Don’t Look Blind offensive? You wouldn’t say to someone in a wheelchair, you don’t look disabled or you don’t look like your legs don’t work. You wouldn’t say to a deaf person you don’t seem deaf! You wouldn’t say to a black person, you don’t look black, and you wouldn’t say to someone who is gay, really you don’t look gay. So why is ok to say to a blind person you don’t look blind? This statement doesn’t offend me, but I am curious to know why the blind seems to be the one group of people that don’t get the same courtesies as different races, other disabilities, and different sexual orientations. I guess it comes down to the fact that the blind pretty much has a non-existient lobby. We the blind do have a lot of organizations out there that are doing a lot of good work on our behalf. For example, here in New York we have the Commission For the Blind who makes it possible for us to receive government sponsored services. Everything ranging from mobility training to career counseling to advice. Some of the great organizations that I have worked with include The Lighthouse, Visions, Helen Keller Center For the Blind, Baruch College, and The Jewish Guild For the Blind to name a few. There are also several organizations out there doing a lot of great work in the field of research, and of course there is Guiding Eyes For the Blind the amazing guide dog school which partnered me with my guide dog Nash. However, the one thing we the blind seem to be missing is a lobby group of any kind. There are some organizations who have done a very commendable job on making sure the U.S. Treasury Department begins to make changes in our forms of money so that the blind will be able to recognize different denominations, but what group is following up on this to make sure that it actually happens? Several months ago I recall reading an article that companies will have to make all future products mainly technological devices accessible to the blind, but again who is following up on this ruling? For the most part the blind seem to be one part of society that is often neglected, and with more and more people developing visual problems, this has got to change. Wouldn’t it be nice one day for people to realize that saying “Well, you don’t look blind,” is socially incorrect. Then again mayne I am just living in a fantasy world, but hey I can dream.

Nash and My Day Trip to Yorktown Heights

July 4, 2011

Now I’m betting that the title of this blog led the Guiding Eyes Puppy raisers to believe that Nash and I were up at Guiding Eyes, but we weren’t, as I actually have family up in Yorktown Heights. My Aunt Lona and Uncle Donny live up there, and my cousins Erica and Jessica grew up there, and now live in the city. My Aunt has been a teacher for the last thirty plus years, and she retired from teaching, and the family was having a reitrement party for her, so Nash and I headed up there to congratulate her. The party was yesterday, Saturday, and I got to tell ya that if a Post Apocalyptic World is anything like a holiday weekend Saturday, then bring the apocalypse on! Nash and I headed out around 830 to the subway, and I couldn’t believe how empty the subway was. The stop we had to take was actually the subway stop that Nash had been walking past when I was telling him to go to it, and when the Guiding Eyes trainer came in for our retraining, we extensively worked on Nash recognizing this stop. This was actually our first time going to this particular subway station since the retraining, and Nash and I ┬ánailed the stop. I was so proud of him, as it can be quite frustrating when he doesn’t get me to the place I am telling him to get me to and you are running to catch a train. Anyway, the subways were so empty, it was great. We made great time getting to Grand Central, and it still makes me laugh that we have to take two subways to go a total of three stops. We were meeting up with my Uncle’s friend Steve, and of course Nash and I got to Grand Central nice and early, and someone was nice enough to help us get to the clock where the information booth is at Grand Central. Steve arrived shortly there after, we got our tickets, and got on the train. I have to tell ya it is so much easier and nicer to travel up to Yorktown with someone than all by yourself.

Nash was his typical well behaved doggie on the train, and when we got to Yorktown is so much nicer and safer to actually have someone you know leading you around than the train platform rather than be doing it all by yourself. Uncle D was waiting for us, and since we were a little early we headed back to there house. This was great for Nash, as my Aunt and Uncle have put up a little fence in the backyard, so my cousins dog Brinkley can run around, and it has been awhile since Nash has gotten to run freely. We arrived at their house, and boy was Brinkley excited to see Nash, as Brinkley was barking hello while we were outside. We headed out back and I took Nash’s harness and leash off, and Nash was in heaven running around the yard with Brinkley. The two of them get along so well. My Uncle was in hysterics, and he told me that Nash leaped over Brinkley. Then Nash disappeared in to the house, and I knew where he was going. Straight for Brinkley’s toys! Its so funny, as Nash doesn’t really play with his toys at home, he likes his bones a lot more, but if another dogs toys are out, he wants to play with them. Nash kept taking one toy out after the next and leaving them all over the house. Then it was straight to Brinkley’s water bowl. Hey Nash needs to check everything out to make sure it meets with his approval. I think Nash had a lot of fun with Brinkley, but unfortunately, it was time for us to leave, as we had a party to go to. The party was at Little Sorrento’s a nice Italian joint in Yorktown. It wasn’t a surprise party or anything like that, just a nice gathering of about 40 people. Of course a lot of people wanted to pet Nash, and I am sure he got pet a lot with out me even knowing it, but what can you do. Congratulations to Aunt Lona on her career and retirement. Hopefully we will get to see a lot more of her now that she is not teaching any more. Aunt Lona came up to me at the party after the cocktail hour, and she had a gift for Nash, a bone! Nash was so happy, like I said, he loves bones. Nash now wants to go to more retirement parties, as he is one for one at getting gifts at retirement parties that he goes to. The party was really nice, and it was good to see the cousins, my sister, and her family, and the little monkey Sienna who will have two little sisters soon that Nash will have to compete with for attention. Uncle D was so great to drive us back to the city, as it was a really long day for Nash, as soon as we got home it was Nash’s dinner time, and he chowed, and then he crashed out for the evening. I thought I was going to have to carry him downstairs for his late night walk, but he made it down ok, and I am sure he slept liked a champ last night.