Monday, January 12, 2009

Guided by Love-- A Seeing Eye dog owner recounts her first

Everybody who knows me knows that I travel with a Seeing Eye dog. Hence, I have a good understanding and great compassion for these wonderful animals, as well as the legal aspects that ensure our access in the United States.

With that in mind, I want to share an article with you. In
Guided by love: A reporter recalls life with Bates, a Seeing Eye dog,
Liz Campbell recalls her first dog from The Seeing Eye. She describes in heartfelt detail, what the process was like for her to initially decide to get a guide dog, her years with her golden retriever Bates, and transitioning through the decision making process involved to get her new dog.

I tried to keep a normal routine that day — doing errands before work and walking to a restaurant for lunch. But my day was filled with tears. It was especially hard when friends came to my desk to tell Bates goodbye.

It was also, though, a day full of anticipation. I was getting a new dog soon. In fact, the next day, I was leaving for the Seeing Eye training facility, in Morristown, N.J.

I thought about a new dog and what he might be like. Could I trust him to guide me safely, as did Bates? Could I ever love him as much as I love Bates?

Liz is a government affairs reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. I first heard of her when she made a presentation at the state convention of the National Federation of the Blind several years ago. I listened as she gave a recount of what life was like for a journalism student who was blind attending Baylor University back in the days before word processors. I clearly recall the incident where she described the time when she turned in a lengthy article that numbered several typed pages, right at deadline,, only to be told that all the pages were blank. What had happened was that her typewriter’s ink ribbon had run out and, being blind, she didn’t notice that important detail.

I also met Liz a couple of years ago at the
Come Walk in Our Shoes
event, which I reported on here on Access Ability. Liz was there demonstrating the original KNFB Reader.

On apersonal note, I just recently found out that Liz was in class with my friend
Wayne Merritt,
When she was in Morristown training with her second Seeing Eye dog.

Anybody who has experienced the wonders and emotions involved in the process of getting a guide dog can certainly appreciate the tale, or should that be “tail,” of Bates. Liz’s professional talents for reporting shine through in good form as she candidly shares the feelings, thoughts, and even doubts that come to mind when pondering this process. Go back and click the link to read her entire article.

Or, if you prefer, there is also the
full version of the article,
with accompanying video and audio files that supplement her written words.

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