Going to the Dogs

Well, if I haven’t already said somewhere, I’m blind. I don’t like that to be in only the second post you read of mine, but since the point I’m rambling towards kind of makes no sense without telling you I’m blind, there it is. I guess not technically completely blind, I see light and sometimes I think a pole is a person and vice versa. Yea embarrassing conversations with street signs and coat racks!

But anyway, I’ve been thinking about getting a guide dog. Har har har what a corny post title. So for people who don’t know, to get a guide dog, it’s not like you show up at the local dog pound with someone and they go, “Hmmm, this one looks about the right size for you. Get ’em a harness! Fleas? Ah they’ll go away.” That’s not really the way it works. Also, benevolent forces don’t run around and give unto blind people guide dogs like they’re the chosen ones. Believe me I have had people think both things. The dogs are specially trained and you have to apply to schools, and there’s more than one school. Yep, apply.

Ok, that was boring. Bla bla bla. But I’m thinking about getting a guide dog, so I called up a couple schools, and my god the differences between the packages the schools sent is like night and day. One sent this super sweet package and said that I could send back the package on disk, tape, email, on the web, they’d even let me phone back and have someone take my application down by dictation, hell if I said I had to send it back in hyrogliphics pounded into rocks I think they would have found a way. These people seemed so accommodating. Sure there was print, but everything that was in print was on tape, and a whole bunch of staff all talked on the tapes they sent, which was cool, cause I’m going to meet these people possibly, so it’s cool to hear them talk.

Now the other school. Let me just shake my head. First of all, they sent me a CD with some stuff about the realities of living with a guide dog. Sweet awesome cool. But on this CD, which only had 15 minutes of recording on it I might add, it kept saying there was a section about how to apply. Guess what? They neglected to record that section. Then, everything else in that package was in print, including the infamous instructions on how to apply. Luckily, through the joys of technology, I have something that will scan print and turn it into text that my computer can read. So I scanned every page of these papers, and there were a lot of papers. A ton. Among them I found a fliar! A fliar! What in the blue sweet holy christ am I going to do with a fliar? Post it somewhere? Are they really that broke for money? They seem to like repeatedly telling me that they are a registered charity, on every page of the papers, certain costs I will have to pay for, and instructing me on how to fund raise so the school will be there when I want another dog. Holy crap is the building I’m staying in during training about to cave in?

I also notice that it is repeatedly instructing me to please print on the form. If I’m blind enough to need a guide dog, how do they suppose I’m able to a. read the stuff without scanning it, and b. be able to print between the right lines? ” Oh crap. I just told them my name was Canada. Oh shit what do I do now?” I hear you. “But Carin, people with all kinds of different degrees of vision get guide dogs. Maybe it’s big and they assume you can read the print.” I stop you with this. Next, I came across something that killed me. My computer clearly said, “Guide dog application for training, small print version.” Maybe I’m crazy, but I don’t remember specifying to them, “oh sure send me the small print version.” I do remember them asking me if I could read large print, but I said no. That does not mean send me small print. That’s like saying, “He’s in a wheelchair, so even small steps are trouble. Well how about we send him up these big ones?” I don’t know. You’d think, “I can’t read large print.” means “find another way than print to give me the shit.” Even if they sent the print along, cause I have to have other people fill some of this shit out. but at least give me another way to do the application.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a super nutty crazy accessibility advocate, so bad that if you so much as send me one piece of print, I cry discrimination. I accept that this is a sighted world, and of course sighties for sighted things are going to send me print first. I’ll ask if there’s a way for me to do it another way, but if it has to be print, so be it. But this is a school to help blinks get dogs to make sure they don’t hit things they can’t see. If I can’t see a hydro pole, how am I going to read this paper with little black specks on it, and write little specks back?

Ok now I have thoroughly bored everyone. I didn’t mean to make this into a preaching session. It was just shit that I was thinking about cause I just finished scanning every last blessed piece of paper from one of the schools. Maybe I’ll have something more interesting to say tomorrow.

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