A Lifestyle Change-- Getting a Dog

July 31, 2006
It was a week ago yesterday afternoon that Paige's leash was handed to me. I can't believe how much I've learned. I can't believe how much I have yet to learn. A friend of mine who is a cane user came to visit last Sunday. He asked me the same question I've been asked a hundred times: "Does it make much difference walking with a dog instead of a cane?" In the past, all I could say was, "I hope so. That's the plan." This time, I gave my friend the one-week dog-guide-user answer. I hope some…

Beginning to Work Together: the Dog Guide Team

July 28, 2006
(This post is part of a series that begins with "Getting a Dog, Day 1." I'm at the Seeing Eye, getting my first dog guide.) Paige knows everything about guiding. She's had four months of training, during which she's had obstacles block her path, had cars pull in front of her, had people's pet dogs try to distract her, had people walk in all crazy directions in front of her and around her... and she's been taught how to handle those things. What Paige doesn't know is how to work with an…

Learning the Basics with a Dog Guide

July 25, 2006
A few weeks before my class began, a friend who is a dog guide user was telling me some of her experiences. She described some of the early frustrations of taking over the ownership of a well-trained dog. I said it must be like trying to do things with someone else's dog. I remembered a Will Rogers quote I had heard sometime in the distant past, and it's been stuck in my head ever since. "If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try ordering somebody else's dog around." Well,…

We Meet the Dog!

July 24, 2006
Crista and Paige Her name is Paige! She's a black Golden Retriever/Labrador Retriever cross. She looks exactly like a lab to me. Her coat is short like a lab's and she's as black as black can be. She's a very high-energy dog. Ralph called me to the lounge just down from the women's dorm, and I went down to meet her. She pushed close, then laid down on the floor and asked me to scratch her tummy. She got up and scooted under my chair for a moment, then wanted to sniff all around the room. We…

Getting a Dog, Day 2

July 23, 2006
Yesterday was full of exciting new experiences! Everything is leading up to preparations to match us with our dogs this afternoon. (In case you're just tuning in, I'm at the Seeing Eye, getting my first dog guide.) We had breakfast at 8:00, then went into a Morristown neighborhood for Juno walks. According to Ralph, one major purpose of these walks is to help the trainers determine which dog is best for each student. All the trainers took their small groups to the same area, so we saw our…

Getting a Dog, Day 1

July 22, 2006
The author at the Seeing Eye school in Morristown, NJ What's it like to get a dog guide? I arrived yesterday at the Seeing Eye in Morristown, New Jersey and will leave here, if all goes well, with my first dog guide. I'm beside myself with excitement — I took a long time deciding that a dog was right for me and then choosing the school. Then, there was the application and admissions process. Now I'm finally here. I'll share at least the big events with you, since you may have the same…

Good things coming out of Carnegie Mellon

April 26, 2006
Earlier this month a friend sent us an interesting article from the Carnegie Mellon newspaper about a new technology developed on campus to make it easier for people who are blind to go shopping. According to the school's paper, the technology works as follows: "Imagine a blind man walks into Entropy [Carnegie Mellon's campus store] and wants to pick up a bottle of mustard. As he walks past one aisle to another, he uses a UPC-reading Baracoda pencil integrated with his phone to scan…
Author Carl Augusto
Blog Topics Assistive Technology

Braille Bug I Love You's

February 14, 2006
It's that one day of the year when everyone's talking about love... and we have a cute, creative way to celebrate here at AFB. If you visit our Braille Bug web site, you can e-mail braille love notes (like the "I love you" above) to your friends and loved ones. The recipient of your note will be taken to a page where they can easily decode your message. We think it's a fun, different way to say I love you. Rumor has it Cupid likes it too.
Author Carl Augusto
Blog Topics Arts and Leisure

Online Shopping Makes for a Happy, Hassle-Free Holiday Season

November 22, 2005
Holiday shopping is right around the corner and this year I'm doing mine online. Long gone are the days of mile-long lines, busy sales clerks, and crowded stores; online shopping is convenient and hassle-free. One of the things I like most about shopping on the web is that the majority of sites contain useful descriptions of their products and are very accessible to people with vision loss. A recent review of online shopping sites in AccessWorld® shows that most e-tailers are actually ahead of…
Author Carl Augusto
Blog Topics Web Accessibility