Tag: guide dog
Alessandro Forlani’s guide dog, Asia, helps him see. But when Forlani got an unexpected chance to meet the new pope Monday — and found himself temporarily speechless – Asia helped out with that, too.
Forlani, a visually impaired radio reporter, wasn’t sure he would be allowed into the pontiff’s first meeting with the press because dogs are prohibited from the auditorium in which it was held.
“As I waited in line to enter the hall, the security guards told me that most likely I wouldn’t be allowed to get in with the dog,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “But after a few minutes, Vatican officials gave me the green light and I was accompanied by a Swiss guard to the audience hall.”
To Forlani’s surprise, he and Asia, a yellow Labrador, were shown to seats in one of the front rows.
He listened to Pope Francis talk, and then stood in the background as reporters who had been approved to meet the pope lined up to greet him.
Although Forlani was not on the approved list to meet the pope, he was approached by Vatican officials. “They said that Pope Francis had asked to meet me,” the reporter wrote. “He had seen Asia and wanted to see both (of) us.”
Once standing with the pope, Forlani — despite being a host for Italian public radio — was at a loss for words.
But Asia helped out again, serving as a conversation starter, according to Rome Reports.
Forlani, once the words came, asked for a blessing for his daughter and wife, which Pope Francis provided.
“And then he thought about my dog saying, ‘and one for the dog.’ He reached down and patted my dog,” Forlani said.
Pope Francis’s namesake, St. Francis of Assisi, was the patron saint of animals.
(Photo: AFP/Getty Images)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 21st, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alessandro forlani, animals, asia, blessed, catholic, dogs, guide dog, host, italy, meets, pets, pontiff, pope, pope francis, public radio, radio, religion, reporter, rome, visually impaired
When a guide dog was struck by a hit-and-run driver in St. Petersburg, Tampa Bay area residents responded with donations to cover the costs of her medical care.
Abbey, a two-year-old mixed breed, was off leash and playing in the yard of her legally blind owner when she apparently ran into the street and was struck by a car that sped away.
Her owner, Terry Ellrick, 59, was devastated.
“I just want them to have a merry Christmas and a happy Thanksgiving. That’s what I want because I can’t, and she can’t have her turkey either. So I hope it goes down good for them,” he told 10 News.
Ellrick could not give a description of the vehicle, and police said there were no witnesses.
Officers helped Abbey to the car of a friend of Ellrick’s, who drove her to BluePearl Veterinary Partners in North Tampa.
“Abbey is not out of the woods yet, but she is doing well and recovering from her surgery,” James Judge, a spokesman for the animal hospital told Tampa Bay Online.
Judge said to dog enough contributions had arrive by Thursday morning to cover the Wednesday surgery.
Those who still wish to donate can do so through Frankies Friends, which will use the money to help other families who can’t afford veterinary care.
Anyone with information about the hit-and-run is encouraged to call police at (727) 893-7780.
(Photo by Jim Hockett / Tampa Bay Online)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 23rd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abbey, animals, blind, bluepearl, car, dog, dogs, donations, florida, frankies fund, guide dog, hit-and-run, injured, pets, seeing eye dog, st. petersburg, struck, surgery, tampa bay, terry elrick, veterinary
A Saturday climb to the summit of Cannon Mountain marked the completion of Randy “Zip” Pierce’s attempt to conquer all 48 of New Hampshire’s peaks — with his quide dog, The Mighty Quinn.
Pierce is the first blind hiker — and Quinn the first guide dog — to climb “The 48” in one winter, the Union Leader reports.
“I’m blown away by this experience. I’m absolutely exhilarated,” Pierce said, patting his seven-year-old yellow lab. “I’m a little choked up right now.”
“I am extremely proud of him, but I am not one bit surprised he did it. That’s just how Randy is,” said Pierce’s wife, Tracy, who led a group of friends to meet him at the summit with music, noisemakers and bells.
Pierce climbed the peaks in support of 2020 Vision Quest, a non-profit group that raises funds for the New Hampshire Association for the Blind and Guiding Eyes for the Blind.
Pierce, who began losing his vision in 1989 due to a neurological disease and went completely blind in 2000, said he wants to ensure anyone who goes through vision loss has access to services like those that helped him.
The disease also affected his cerebellum, causing such severe vertigo he was confined to a wheelchair from 2004 to 2006. After a series of experimental treatments, he began to walk again.
“The most important thing I can tell anyone is the choice we make in how to respond to our life is going to have a bigger influence on our life than anything else ever could,” he said.
His guide dog, Quinn was presented with the Order of the Golden Biscuit at Saturday’s climb, making him the fourth canine to have completed the 48 peaks in a single winter.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 12th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 2020 vision quest, animals, blind, climbing, disabilities, first, golden biscuit, guide dog, guiding eyes, hiker, hiking, mighty quinn, mountains, new hampshire, order of the golden biscuit, peaks, pets, quinn, randy pierce, randy zip pierce, the 48, the mighty quinn, winter
What happens when your seeing-eye dog’s eyes stop seeing?
Michael Nelson is in the process of finding out. His guide dog Molly has cataracts, and trading her in for a new model — in his opinion, at this point — is out of the question.
As columnist Scott Sexton explained in Sunday’s Winston-Salem Journal, Mike and Molly have a relationship that runs deeper than guided and guider — the yellow Lab, in addition to helping him get around for the last 10 years, has become his roommate and best friend.
A few months ago, while visiting with friends at Green Street United Methodist Church, someone pointed out to Mike that Molly appeared to have cataracts.
Mike, whose income is limited to a disability check, wasn’t sure where to turn. When news about the predicament spread, his friends at the YMCA, where he goes regularly to exercise while Molly patiently waits, got together and opened a bank fund in hopes of raising enough to cover the cost of Molly’s surgery.
Donations to it included proceeds from an elementary school art sale, and more from friends he has met in church and on outings with his dog at Hanes Park. The largest came from an unidentified man in California, who heard of the situation from a friend and sent a check.
Enough has been accumulated to cover the surgery and Molly’s other vet bills.
Her latest examination determined that, while she has cataracts, they’re not yet to the point of requiring surgery. She will need the operation eventually, though — and Mike is thankful he’ll now be able to afford it.
“It makes you feel really good to know there are people out there with that kind of heart,” Nelson said. “There is so much bad out there, so much ignorance about being visually impaired.”
Mike says that, over the years, he and Molly have run into their share of merchants who ask them to leave their shops. “Having people come to my assistance and Molly’s assistance has restored some of the confidence I’d lost in people. I’m truly thankful.”
Mike, now 51, moved to Winston-Salem from Virginia in the 1970s to attend Piedmont Bible College. He worked at the YMCA as a student, and up until 1991.
He went blind in 1998 as a result of what doctors would diagnose as polyarteritis nodosa (PAN), a rare auto-immune disease that weakens blood vessels and arteries. “It happened without any warning,” he said. “I just woke up and I was blind.”
Mike got Molly from The Seeing Eye organization, the oldest existing guide-dog school in the world, based in Morristown, N.J. Two earlier dogs they’d supplied didn’t work out — the first had allergies and the second wasn’t up to the task. The third time, though, was a charm. Molly had the skills, and the two had an instant connection.
Molly has the run of his apartment and an impressive collection of dog toys — though she prefers toilet tissue rolls. Nelson regularly takes her to Hanes Park, where romps with other dogs.
She consorts with humans, too, despite it being discouraged by guide dog experts. ”Molly is so good with people, so friendly,” he said, that it can’t be avoided.
All of which simply proves — at least in the case of Mike and Molly — that even dogs raised to serve as eyes have a way of getting into the heart.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 20th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, assistance, best friend, blind, blindness, bond, cataracts, connection, dogs, fund raising, green street united methodist church, guide dog, guiding, hanes park, help, labrador, losing sight, michael and molly, michael nelson, mike and molly, molly, north carolina, pets, polyarteritis nodosa, seeing eye dog, service, sight, support, surgery, the seeing eye, veterinarian, veterinary, winston-salem, ymca
The U.S. Postal Service is issuing four new stamps that honor working dogs.
The “Dogs at Work” series celebrates the enduring partnership between working dogs and the people who count on them.
The four dogs depicted in the 65-cent stamps are a guide dog assisting a woman who is blind, a tracking dog on the trail of a scent, a therapy dog visiting an elderly woman in her home, and a search and rescue dog standing in a field.
Artist John M. Thompson created original paintings for the stamps, which were designed by art director Howard E. Paine.
The “Dogs At Work” stamps will come out in January, 2012, and are being issued at the two-ounce rate.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 29th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 65-cent, animals, artist, celebrate, detecting, dog, dogs, dogs at work, guide dog, honor, issuance, issue, john m. thompson, office, pets, post, postal, rate, rescue, search, series, sniffing, stamps, therapy dog, tracking, two ounce, working, working dogs
An animal shelter has received hundreds of offers of help after seeking a new home for an inseparable pair of Great Danes — one blind, the other her guide dog.
The manager of Dogs Trust Shrewsbury said more than 200 people had responded since the shelter, near the Welsh town of Newport, publicized the pair’s need for a new home.
“It’s been phenomenal,” Louise Campbell said.
Campbell said that Lily, 6, came to rely on Maddison, 7, after a medical condition called entropion caused her eyelashes to grow into her eyeballs, leaving them so severely damaged that they had to be removed
Believed to be passed on genetically, the disorder is not uncommon among large breeds and and those with droopy eyelids, like shar-peis.
The pair reminds me of two Great Danes we visited in Charlotte, Skyler and Pierce — one half blind, one deaf, but together, a well functioning team.
Lily and Maddison, similarly, never stray far from each other.
“Everything they do involves close contact, they check in with each other all the time,” Campbell said. “They have developed such a strong bond, they always know what the other is doing, so we wouldn’t split them up, that would be quite unfair to both dogs.”
The Daily Mail (where you can find more great photos of the pair) reported that their original owner surrendered the dogs to the shelter “because she could no longer cope.”
A post in the article’s comment section, however, alleges that the owner “has gone to live in Cyprus with her boyfriend who owns a £750,000 house with 2 acres ground.” The comment is signed by members of a rescue organization.
(Photo: Dogs Trust of Shrewsbury)
Posted by jwoestendiek October 25th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adoptive, animals, blind, dependent, disabilities, disorder, dogs, dogs trust, entropion, eyes, genetic, great danes, guide dog, handicaps, home, lily, maddison, needed, pets, removed, shrewsbury, team
Roselle, a dog who guided her blind owner down 78 flights of stairs at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, was named American Hero Dog of 2011 at the inaugural American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards.
The honor was bestowed posthumously in Beverly Hills Saturday night.
Roselle, a Labrador retriever, died June 26, after the nominations were announced.
More than 450 dogs were nominated for the American Humane Association honor. Eight finalists were chosen in online voting. More than 400,000 votes were cast.
The winner was picked by a panel that included Betty White, Whoopi Goldberg, Kristen Chenoweth and Mark Hamill.
In Roselle’s honor, a $10,000 donation will be made to Guide Dogs to the Blind.
“From the outset, Roselle guided and did her job perfectly,” Hingson wrote in nominating Roselle.
“While others in my office saw fire above us, Roselle did not panic. Because of Roselle’s calm demeanor, I knew we could evacuate in an orderly manner. She remained focused as we went to the stairwell and traveled down 1,463 stairs to the first floor. Her poise helped me remain calm as we led others down to safety.”
Once outside, Hingson wrote, “Roselle remained totally focused on her job as we ran. When debris fell around us, and even hit us, Roselle stayed calm. Because of her poise, we found an entrance to the subway system where we could go underground away from the heavy dust cloud.”
Roselle’s heroics are recounted in the new book, “Thunder Dog, The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero.”
The other seven finalists were Bino, who served with the 35th Military Police Detachment at Fort Gordon in Augusta; Harley, a hearing dog from Fountain Hills, Ariz.; Ricochet, the surfing dog from Escondido, Calif., who helps special needs children and people with disabilities; Sadie, a Labrador retriever from Westminster, Colo., who works as an accelerant detection dog for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation; Sage, a search and rescue dog from Hagerman, N.M., who detected the remains of a terrorist in the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the Pentagon; Stacey Mae, a therapy dog from Guffey, Colo. who has helped collect thousands of Teddy bears from around the world for hospitalized children; and Zurich, a service dog in Des Plaines, Ill.
The runners-up each won $5,000 to be donated to one of the American Humane Association’s charity partners.
The ceremony will be shown Nov. 11 on the Hallmark Channel.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 3rd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 9-11, american humane association, animals, awards, dog, dogs, guide dog, hero, hero dog awards, michael hingson, pets, roselle, world trade center
Renee Brady, who has relied on her six-year-old golden retriever, named Able, to be her eyes for the last five years, said she was taken aback when the manager of the restaurant in Winnepeg told her she had to eat her food outside because of the dog.
Brady said at first she thought the manager didn’t realize Able was a guide dog — but quickly learned she was mistaken.
“…He said ‘I know it’s a guide dog, but you’ll have to leave,’ ” she told the Winnepeg Free Press.
Officials from McDonald’s Canada said they have apologized to Brady.
“Our procedures for assisting customers with special needs were not followed and we have addressed the situation directly with the restaurant staff to ensure this does not happen again,” McDonald’s said in a statement.
But Brady says that’s not enough.
“I’m not looking for an apology — I want more. I want positive action. I want training of management and staff so this doesn’t happen again.”
Brady wrote to McDonald’s, asking the restaurant chain to put stickers on their doors letting people know while pets are not allowed to enter, service dogs are welcome.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 24th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: able, animals, blind, blindness, canada, disability, dogs, guide dog, kicked out, mcdonald's, news, ohmidog!, pets, renee brady, restaurant, winnepeg, working dogs
For nearly a decade, Ruger was at the side of Kevin Coughlin as the two went up against taxi drivers, restaurants and other establishments that illegally denied them entry.
Coughlin, 48, undertook several high-profile cases against businesses in the city that to refused to open their doors to guide dogs, including two complaints against the Taxi and Limousine Commission for refusing Ruger a ride.
In 2002, Coughlin filed a discrimination complaint against a coffee shop for throwing his dog out, leading to a $1,000 against the owner.
The “CBS Evening News” once followed Coughlin and Ruger with a hidden camera and recorded business owners and taxi drivers giving him a hard time because of his dog.
Ruger, who had retired as a guide dog in 2008 and was living in Warwick, N.Y., died Wednesday at the age of 13, the New York Times reported.
“After losing my vision, I truly felt like I wasn’t going to experience joy again,” Coughlin, who became blind in 1997 as a result of a genetic condition, said Thursday. “But Ruger was just so full of joy. It was this in-your-face, all encompassing feeling. That was the biggest gift. He allowed me once again to experience joy.”
Mr. Coughlin held a retirement party for Ruger in 2008, but has not seen him since. He said it would have been too difficult emotionally.
Coughlin has been working with a new guide dog, a black Lab named Elias, but Coughlin’s e-mail handle remains “misterruger.”
Posted by jwoestendiek May 21st, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: advocate, animals, blind, dead, death, denied, dies, disability, discrimination, dogs, entry, guide dog, kevin coughlin, law, new york, news, ohmidog!, pets, restaurants, rights, ruger, taxis, yellow lab
A Thai restaurant in Australia that refused a blind man entry because it thought his guide dog was “gay” has been ordered to pay the man $1,500.
Ian Jolly, 57, was barred from dining at the Thai Spice restaurant, in the Sydney suburb of Adelaide, in May 2009 after a staff member mistook his guide dog Nudge for a “gay dog,” according to testimony before an Equal Opportunity Tribunal last week.
Restaurant owners Hong Hoa Thi To and Anh Hoang Le said one of the restaurant’s waiters said that Jolly’s partner, Chris Lawrence, stated “she wanted to bring a gay dog into the restaurant.”
According to the Herald Sun in Australia, Jolly and Lawrence were refused entry to the restaurant, which displays a “guide dogs welcome” sign.
At a hearing on Friday, the restaurant agreed to provide Jolly with a written apology, attend an Equal Opportunity education course and pay him $1,500.
“The staff genuinely believed that Nudge was an ordinary pet dog which had been desexed to become a gay dog,” a statement from the hearing said.
That makes it sound like the misunderstandings run deeper than matters of accents and language. For one thing, neutered dogs — if that’s what they mean by “desexed” — don’t become gay. It seems like maybe the restaurant owners may be in more need of guiding than Ian Jolly.
Jolly said he was happy with the result, but added, ”I just want to be like everybody else and be able to go out for dinner, to be left alone and just enjoy a meal.”
Posted by jwoestendiek April 26th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adelaide, animals, australia, bars, denies, dog, dogs, entry, equal opportunity, gay, gay dog, guide, guide dog, ian jolly, mistake, misunderstanding, news, ohmidog!, pets, restaurant, rules, sydney, thai spice, tribunal