Fenton’s Request

Every time I safely cross a street or navigate a crowded subway platform, I feel very lucky to have Fenton by my side. I well remember what it was like to walk without a 4 legged set of eyes. I, for the most part, no longer apologize to posts or trees or garbage cans.
As most of you know, in the last three years, I have had some difficulties keeping my dogs. I unfortunately lost Frankie because he lost his right eye. Both of us not being able to see from the same side would have been problematic. It truly would have been a case of the blind leading the blind.
You can imagine how devastating this was to me as Frankie was the best guide I have ever had. His skills and abilities were legendary. When I had to give up Frankie, I was able to get Potter in a very short period of time thanks mainly to donations from generous Canadians. I also cannot say enough thanks to our trainer Courtney and Dog Guides for the support I received while Frankie was getting treatments. Unfortunately, Potter did not enjoy working in Toronto.
Last year, I had the daunting task of starting over with yet another dog partner. When I met Fenton, I could not believe my good fortune as Fenton is Frankie’s brother and litter mate. As of June of last year, we have been learning to work together and are now becoming a great team.
Fenton and I are now trying to assist other Canadians who need dog guides by raising funds through the Toronto Beaches Lions Walk for Dog Guides on June 26, 2016. Our goal is to raise $2500. Please help us meet our goal.
As you know, this is a very large amount to raise in a very short period of time. It is more important than ever to make your donation as soon as you can. It has always been my dream to be able to fund at least one Dog Guide.
We will be participating in the Toronto Beaches Purina® Walk for Dog Guides on June 26, 2016 to help raise funds for the training and placement of Dog Guides for Canadians with visual, hearing and medical or physical disabilities. The Purina® Walk for Dog Guides is organized by the Toronto Beaches Lions Club and the Club invites everyone, to participate.
You can help by donating on my personal Walk page, https://www.purinawalkfordogguides.com/locations/walker.cfm?ID=612&EventID=638. Or join us by registering for the Walk at https://www.purinawalkfordogguides.com/locations/walk.cfm?ID=638. All online donations will receive immediate credit card payment confirmation and an official income tax receipt. Continue reading


Happy 2014

I have started writing this post several times now and deleted and started over. It seems so monumental to write this message. I am not sure why I feel this way, but here it is. Finding just the right thing to say is difficult for me. I am afraid of sounding silly or frivolous or worse, irrelevant.  The simple message is here is to wish you a happy new 2014. Wait! You say, is this all I have to tell you? No!


This past year has been a huge mixed bag of everything. I had to retire sweet J, but I got blessed with Frankie. I got to learn how to get around the big city and even meet new people in the process with the help of my new eyes. I have had no end of fun watching him push through crowds while speed walking through subway stations and the Eaton Centre during rush hour. The boy is determined. There is really no other word for it. He is so graceful. I also reconnected with long-time friends. (Note, I don’t want to say old friends). I also met some new people big and small. I now feel more settled here. I have a doctor, hair dresser, and local pub I adore.


My hopes for 2014 are more personal. I don’t have a resolution. I don’t like them. It also turns out that I am not good at keeping them for the most part. Today, I came across this one word idea. The purpose is to pick just one word that will be your guide/mantra for the year. Put it on sticky notes, your computer, or wherever you will see it most often. My question is how does one find just one word? I went through the dictionary, but there so many words. I looked through documents I had written and they don’t offer much help either. Asking myself questions did finally guide me to a smaller list. The questions are very personal to me, but I am happy to share2 of them with you. 1. What is the most difficult thing to do for me? And 2. What can I do to help me improve? The answers are really simple but took serious contemplation and I’d like to say whine, but it is too early for that so I’ll say chocolates.  I have noticed that I am constantly doubting myself and blaming myself for everything even if not related to me in any way. I guess believing in me is the ingredient missing here. So, I think my word will be belief. That’s it! How will I use this? I am hoping that I will learn to change my thought process and behaviour away from the constant second guessing of myself to acceptance that things are going as they should.


My wish for you is whatever it is that you wish for you. I hope we meet new experiences with joy and adventure. Embrace traditions that are positive, relationships that are enriching, and offer only your best.  Most of all remember to have fun! Feel free to share your resolutions or lack of them. Do look at this one word site and blog. http://oneword365.com


Do you have your word? I’d love to hear about it.

Why Do I have To Sit Down?


This may seem like a silly question to you. However, I wanted to take this opportunity to share some experiences that are baffling to me.


It seems like every new person I meet wants me to sit down. It is so aggressive in some cases. I was pushed into a chair against my will many times. I am always in shock when it happens.  . This is always very uncomfortable as it is often in situations where I am a guest and do not want to offend. I am not just talking about a recent experience, but I can remember asking this question ever since I could articulate it.  BTW, if you are one of the people who did this, I am not upset at you. My own family treated me this way.


Here is where I think it comes from. I think people do not know how to interact with a “blind person”, me. They just want me to sit so I am out of harm’s way. It is truly amazing as sometimes this happens at networking events or Service club meetings where everyone else is mingling. It is actually not appropriate to be sitting down. I want to scream sometimes! I want to just tell them to sit down and get out of the way. Of course I know that would be a bad diplomatic move. I am thankful for all the people in my life who do not do this and actually often forget that I have a disability. Well, with the help of my guide dog, I am usually ok. I just want to wear a sign sometimes that says” I do not want to sit down”. “I am able to order my own food/drinks and pay for them thank you very much”. “I am blind not helpless”!!! Now, these words sound really harsh, but I wish people would stop and think sometimes. One of the consequences of these things, is a feeling of total isolation. I would often feel like I don’t belong.


I am also quite capable of asking for help when it is needed. I welcome it when it is needed and offered in a respectful manner . There was a film I saw years ago where this blind guy was wanting to get off a bus. The driver gets so uptight he picks up the guy and carries him across the street! It was funny at the time, but it does make the point.


I have had this experience several times. Well, ok, they did not carry me across the street, but pretty close. I have been grabbed and dragged across the street often landing in a totally different location or direction from where I intended to be. I don’t get angry, well, most of the time, because again, I know people are thinking they are being kind. I have the desire here to tell them to “mind their own business”! Again, I don’t as I don’t want to insult anyone. I do appreciate the people who offer help, but are respectful when help is declined or accepted. I am very aware that there  are times when it is necessary to ask for and receive help. I am very thankful when it is offered in an appropriate situation.


Do you think there is a  good polite way to let people know not to do these things? Of course   this question I am asking is for new situations. Looking forward to your ideas.


PS When we meet, don’t feel like we need to stand for our entire visit.