The Fifth Assistance Dog Blog Carnival:Achieving Independence

I thought i’d write my post for the
5th Assistance dog blog carnival
The theme is “achievements”. I thought i’d write about how i have achieved independence with Ushi. I hope this fits into the theme.

I was about 5 when i was introduced to the cane. It wasn’t propper cane work. My socialworker had given me a little symbol cane which she had attached bells to. I called it Annabell after a favourite classroom assistant in Nursery school. Annabell was mainly used for around the house to improve my orientation i think. Even then i hated using the cane. Unfortunately it is not recommended that kids use the cane so young now, even if it wasn’t actually a proper cane.

I propperly was introduced to the long cane when i was about 12. My rehab worker used to work for our local social services before he became a full time rehab worker for guide dogs. I was a bit of a slacker when it came to using the cane though, and would only use it when i had mobility and when i was going around college. I just found it really awkward and used to dread it as it seemed to take so long going anywhere.

I had often thought about a guide dog, but never really thought long and hard until my rehab worker suggested it back in 2008. I thought he was mad and must have spent a good few hours asking him all the questions i could think of. I applied a couple of days later.

There were a number of assessments i had to go through before i was even put on the waiting list. These were things like medical forms, what my lifestyle would be like, walking with an instructor and a harness to assess my speed and how i could control a dog, and sometimes they get you to walk with a dog just to see how you would be with a dog. They don’t do that all the time though.

The waiting list is normally from 6 to 12 months, but it can be longer or shorter. I waited 15 months in total before i got Ushi.

Now that I have got Ushi, I go out at least twice a day. I am now doing a quilting course every monday morning at a local coffee shop. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but i don’t think that would have been possible without a guide dog. Sure i could have done it with a cane, but i wouldn’t have enjoyed it. The rest of my week is just walks mainly, and I ocasionally go into town to meet up with people. I know just “walking” isn’t much, but i can relax and just go for a strole. I’m not really into shopping so i don’t really go to town that much. I sometimes wonder if i should be working her more, but i’ve lost my motivation to studdy or find work. I hope next year i find it again!

I can now walk at a normal speed, and I find that more people will say hello whereas with the cane nobody hardly spoke.

I hope you have enjoyed my submission for the 5th assistance dog blog carnival. The deadline is the 23rd October! (Sorry for my other readers reading some of this before).


5 Comments on “The Fifth Assistance Dog Blog Carnival:Achieving Independence”

  1. Hi Torie! Thanks for submitting this to the ADBC!As a fellow guide dog handler I'm sure I'm not the only one who can relate to what you've said here. I wrote a post a few months ago in memory of my first guide dog that touched on the myriad ways she changed my life, including the greater independence I gained through working her.

  2. Torie says:

    Hey Cindie! I'm glad you didn't find it boring!I wasn't sure what else to write.Oh can i make a suggestion about your website? Could you just have it where all the entries can be read fully without clicking on a link? Sorry but i think it might make it easier.And isn't it a co incidence that both our dogs are called Ushi?Xxx.

  3. Tory, I don't want to seem like I'm being nasty or anything but what do you mean you don't feel motivated enough to work or go back into education. Sorry but I've been making this point a lot lately. Not just to people who are blind but to many people who aren't working. GET A JOB! Even if your not paid for it. Even if it's just an hour a week doing something that's completely boring. GET A JOB! Seriously. The benefits of working aren't just getting some money in your pocket. It improves self confidence, makes you get out of the house for a few hours every day, you meet new people, you get chalanged, there are just loads of reasons why you need to either work or get back into education. Being Blind has nothing to do with it by the way. Your just as capable as anyone else. Sorry again if I'm coming across as nasty or harsh but I'll finish with one final question. Why do you feel that it's ok not to work or to be studying for something.

  4. Torie,Going out for walks with Ushi benefits you both, even if just for the exercise and a chance for you both to get the cobwebs out. I still find it odd how people will talk to me more when I'm working my guide dog, but I'm invisible if I just use my cane.

  5. Torie says:

    Hello Kimberly. Sorry for only replying now.I've been meaning to post the carnival but haven't got around to reading them yet either.My friend went blind 30 years ago. People used to speak to her but they wouldn't talk to her once she used her cane! Now they talk to her cause she has her dog!Take care, and thanks for reading!

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