[nabs] Guide Dogs in High School?
Mark J. Cadigan
kramc11 at gmail.com
Wed Nov 24 03:42:26 GMT 2010
Same concept. A dedicated guide dog list.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Leena Bandy" <leena.salim at gmail.com>
To: "Discussion list for NABS,National Alliance of Blind Students."
<nabs at acb.org>
Sent: Tuesday, November 23, 2010 10:34 PM
Subject: Re: [nabs] Guide Dogs in High School?
> ACB has GDUI too. I think it's Guide Dog Users International or something
> along those lines.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Mark J. Cadigan" <kramc11 at gmail.com>
> To: "Discussion list for NABS,National Alliance of Blind Students."
> <nabs at acb.org>
> Sent: Tuesday, November 23, 2010 6:53 PM
> Subject: Re: [nabs] Guide Dogs in High School?
>> The NFB has a guide dog division "NAGDU" National Association of Guide
>> Dog Users. Perhaps she could ask questions on that list. It may give a
>> different perspective. Although the comments I have been reading on this
>> list have been excellent.
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "Laura Glowacki" <orangebutterfly87 at gmail.com>
>> To: "Discussion list for NABS,National Alliance of Blind Students."
>> <nabs at acb.org>
>> Sent: Tuesday, November 23, 2010 6:11 AM
>> Subject: Re: [nabs] Guide Dogs in High School?
>>> Burnadetta, I really enjoyed reading this. Thanks for sharing!
>>> A warning, this is a little long.
>>> I, for one, just wasn't ready for a guide dog in high school and
>>> I knew it. I was not even capable of taking care of myself let
>>> alone another creature up through my sophomore year in college.
>>> I attended a school for the blind for the last three years of
>>> high school, so actually I probably would've had it much easier
>>> than anyone with a dog in public schools. And I do want to point
>>> out that many of the examples Burnadetta pointed about people
>>> being terrified of the dog or people making scenes or things will
>>> happen whenever and whereever she may go with a dog. However,
>>> the high school atmosphere is just so much more chaotic and ...
>>> well hormonal to be honest. Those types of things are likely to
>>> happen at much more frequency and with the people perpitrating
>>> the acts to be much less capable of understanding the situation
>>> in a mature fashion. I experience plain ignorance and large
>>> amounts of idiocy on a daily basis, and most of it is while out
>>> traveling around Chicago. People will be people, and I've
>>> learned to deal with that more or less. Sometimes it is
>>> frustrating, and sometimes just funny.
>>> I remember how loud my high school was, and I cringe at the
>>> thought of walking Mollie through that. She's a rather dainty
>>> german shepherd who is actually not all that nervous of large
>>> crowds of people or loud noises. I'd be more afraid of her being
>>> stepped on as it was literally wall-to-wall ppeople in the halls
>>> during passing period.
>>> It sounds like this girl has pretty much made up her mind, which
>>> is good. I'm glad she knows what she wants and is going for it.
>>> I trust that the GDF instructors will be able to best help her
>>> prepare for such a transition. I just hope that sharing these
>>> stories with her will give her some things to think about.
>>> As a kid, I always said I'd never get one, that I didn't need
>>> one. And I didn't exactly; I was a fantastic cane traveler
>>> (according to my mobility istructors). And since my parents had
>>> friends with guide dogs, I had a little bit of early experience
>>> that stressed the responsibility of having one as going well
>>> beyond having a pet. I was also given the misguided impression
>>> by some blind adults that dogs were really no better than canes
>>> and worse in some respects which biased me against getting one.
>>> Well in high school, I got to visit the Seeing Eye and spend a
>>> weekend there learning about gide dogs, the training process, the
>>> history of guide dogs and the seeing eye, etc. It included us
>>> walking a 4 block route with a cane and then repeating that same
>>> route with a guide dog in training. It was an experience that
>>> totally changed my life as I really enjoyed it and could see
>>> myself doing that.
>>> Also, when talking to a lady whom I respected a lot at a
>>> scholarship luncheon once possibly either after my senior year of
>>> high school or after my freshman year of college. I asked her
>>> how she knew she was ready for a dog, and she told me "you'll
>>> know. you'll just know when the time is right." And while this
>>> may not be true for everyone, it was for me more or less. I did
>>> have a period of contemplation during the fall of 2007. My best
>>> friend who was also my roommate at the time and I had some issues
>>> which drove a wedge between us, and over Christmas break I found
>>> out she was moving to Pennsylvania. I had experienced some
>>> significant loss in my personal life in the year up to that
>>> point. I really wanted a companion, and honestly I knew that
>>> having responsibility for another creature who would be depending
>>> on me for her well-being would at least force me to get out of
>>> bed every morning long enough to feed her and take her out etc.
>>> And of course I do much more than that with her now. Also, I
>>> knew from watching a good friend f mine who lived in my dorm at
>>> the time that they were fantastic about guiding around crowds of
>>> people that populate the world over especially college campuses.
>>> So in January I put in an application.
>>> So while my reasons were a lot more emotional at the time, I also
>>> knew realistically that I could handle it since my friend who had
>>> a dog living in the dorm and I spent a lot of time together so I
>>> got to see him work directly with the dog on multiple occasions
>>> and in different places. Also, he taught me how to clean up
>>> after her (the icky stuff you're afraid to ask about), and I even
>>> dogsat a few times for him. What helped the process for me was
>>> being able to observe over a period of time the pros and cons for
>>> this person of having a dog, and learning exactly what kinds of
>>> things I would have to do to care for one. All that culminated
>>> in me getting one in the summer of 2008. And I'm so glad I
>>> waited until that time to get a dog as I think the bonding
>>> process would've been much much harder before that point. They
>>> don't tell you much about the bonding process until you get to
>>> training, and even then it's kind of an abstract thing. With
>>> Mollie, I feel like sometimes we're still developing our bond,
>>> though I'd say it took about a year to cement that. I don't
>>> think I'll ever go back.
>>> One thing is for her to consider places where it would not be
>>> prudent to have a dog like movie theaters, bars (ok so she's a
>>> little young to consider that), amusement parks, places where
>>> they may use those horn things like at sporting events, and labs
>>> as in biology and chemistry labs. Also, there were things they
>>> just plain didn't really tell us that I'd like to share. She
>>> should be prepared to be very focused on the dog for the first
>>> two weeks after coming home to show him/her the rules of the
>>> house etc. Also, she should know a little about how her existing
>>> household pets might interact with a new household member of the
>>> k-nine persuasion. One last thing: they recommend no large
>>> transitions and no staying away over night anywhere for at least
>>> a month after bringing the dog home because of helping the dog
>>> settle in.
>>> The disclaimer here is that these were the things taught to me at
>>> the seeing eye and may not reflect the views of GDF.
>>> Please feel free to pass on my email to her as well. I remember
>>> I had a lot of questions and not many people to turn to in the
>>> weeks immediately following getting my dog. Luckily I felt that
>>> training really prepared me for it. Still, sometimes it's fun to
>>> have others with whom to share stories etc.
>>> ----- Original Message -----
>>> From: "Bernadetta Pracon" <bernadetta_pracon at samobile.net>
>>> To: <editor.acbstudents at gmail.com>
>>> Cc: <nabs at acb.org>
>>> Sent: Tuesday, November 23, 2010 12:53 AM
>>> Subject: Re: [nabs] Guide Dogs in High School?
>>> I had my dog, Kipp, with me during my senior year of high school.
>>> was an interesting experience. I got him the summer before my
>>> year, and for the most part, things were ok, but I must admit
>>> things did change for me when I went back to school with him.
>>> Most of
>>> the people at my school, including teachers and students alike,
>>> did not
>>> really know how to deal with the dog being around. My friends
>>> to it, some even became fascinated and very "cool" with the idea
>>> him. However, the people who did not know me that well, or
>>> taking any classes with me, became terrified or shocked
>>> It was hard for me to understand why; Kipp is the cutest,
>>> black Lab I'd ever met, so I found it amusing and confusing when
>>> would walk into a staircase and a screaming girl or two would run
>>> me and the dog, or cower in fear. One other thing your friend
>>> needs to
>>> take into account is that many kids in high school are really
>>> and think everything, including a guide dog, is a joke. It's not
>>> fault. Some of them don't have much of a chance to grow up by
>>> point yet. But that could result in some unnecessary situations.
>>> didn't much have an issue with that, but one time, a random kid
>>> to trip my dog while we were walking to class. Kipp didn't get
>>> but he could have, and I brought that to the attention of the
>>> While we're on the subject of the principal, I have to say, mine
>>> actually very ignorant and quite uncooperative when it came to
>>> having a
>>> guide dog at her school. She tried to create the illusion that
>>> respected me and The situation. But when I went to her to discuss
>>> matter, and gave her an overview of what things would be like,
>>> and what
>>> I needed from her in order to integrate Kipp into the community
>>> students and teachers, she listened with a bit of forcefully
>>> politeness, and then went and did things her own way. I was too
>>> to advocate for myself and make sure that things were done
>>> properly to
>>> prepare the students for the new addition. So when she told me
>>> that she
>>> wanted me to stay out of school on the first day of senior year,
>>> she prepared the students for Kipp's arrival, i faught her some,
>>> then resigned, with her promise to hold a quick assembly for the
>>> school, showing them the Seeing Eye video that I provided. This
>>> assembly was my suggestion. I wanted to be there to answer some
>>> questions and educate the students, but she insisted on my
>>> absense that
>>> day, saying that it would become chaotic. I abided by that, but
>>> ariving at school the second day, I learned that no assembly was
>>> and that only a brief, twenty second announcement about the new
>>> dog was made. Students and teachers alike were told to feel free
>>> pick up a brochure about guide dogs from the main office. Of
>>> course, no
>>> one bothered to do so.
>>> Some people also didn't understand or like the idea of a working
>>> and gave me a hard time about it when they saw me correcting him
>>> things of that nature. I recall a girl who made a really
>>> scene in the school cafateria, because I gave my dog a leash
>>> for trying to grab a french fry off the floor. She accused me of
>>> a dog torturer and swore that she'd report me and any other guide
>>> user she'd ever meet because "it's just not humane to bring a
>>> animal to an environment like this" as she stated. Of course, we
>>> encounter basketcases that think dogs shouldn't be working,
>>> everywhere we go, but younger people can sometimes be more
>>> and passionate, so that may be troublesome.
>>> I also had to deal with a situation where a girl who took a few
>>> of the
>>> same classes I did, was deadly afraid of dogs. We were both AP
>>> students, so neither of us could have been transfered to a
>>> class. That was a difficult situation for a while, but she was a
>>> sport about it, and was bright enough to understand and accept
>>> the fact
>>> that the dog wasn't out to hurt her or even interact with her.
>>> My most memorable experience of having Kipp with me in high
>>> school was
>>> on graduation night. I was walking back to my seat after
>>> receiving my
>>> diploma, and when i got there and sat down, my poor pup puked at
>>> feet. I sat in the front row, being one of the class's top ten
>>> students, and some people, including teachers just stared in
>>> It was embarrassing. I had nothing to clean it up with and I felt
>>> horrible for what happened and that people decided to make it
>>> noticeable by commenting. Then, my favorite music teacher, being
>>> a man
>>> of integrity and class, pulled out a few napkins from his pocket,
>>> walked up to the front of the theater, and insisted on helping me
>>> it up. What a selfless thing to do. I suppose that people reacted
>>> way they did for the most part because, well, their just ordinary
>>> people. I don't really blame them in retrospect. It certainly was
>>> show stopper though. And I might add, the reason kipp became
>>> nervous to
>>> the point of nausea is because people decided to use those
>>> loud blow horns to celebrate the occasion. Poor thing just
>>> take the confusion and the noise at the time.
>>> I have a pocketful of anecdotes from my time with Kipp in high
>>> and it would take forever to write it all down in one sitting,
>>> but i
>>> hope my little compilation helps your friend get a clearer
>>> picture of
>>> what it might be like for her. Everyone's experience is different
>>> course, some better, some worse. That was mine. In retrospect, I
>>> have done the same thing over again, although I do feel a bit,
>>> that my
>>> dog would have been more disciplined and less spoiled had I
>>> waited to
>>> get him when I was out of high school. It takes a certain amount
>>> growth and maturity to develop a successful bond with a guide.
>>> All in
>>> all though, like I said, I wouldnt' have changed a thing, given a
>>> chance. Having a dog in high school presented me with a unique,
>>> eye-opening experience that I wouldn't have gotten any other way.
>>> some of the challenges Kipp and I faced in high school never
>>> themselves outside of that environment, and had I waited to get a
>>> I wouldn't have bonded with him the same way.
>>> Please, feel free to get in touch with me off-list if you want
>>> info about this. You could even pass my email along to your
>>> friend, and
>>> I'd gladly serve as a sort of mentor for her, regarding this
>>> I'd thoroughly enjoy helping her out, and my experience took
>>> place only
>>> three or four years ago, so it's a fairly recent account.
>>> Hope this helps, and sorry for the painfully long email. :)
>>> All Best
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>>> www.serotek.com to learn more about accessibility anywhere.
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