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Mobility & Travel

Being the Object of Prayer

If you’re blind, you’re no stranger to the experience of having a religious zealot approach you to tell you that they’re going to pray for you, and that God will listen to their prayers, and give you your sight back. Such encounters used to irritate the hell out of me, but no longer. As someone who starts off with a deep theoretical interest in religion and its expression, I’ve come to view these experiences as an opportunity for a little informal research, and scope for entertainment.

Travelling as A Blind Uber Rider in Canada

For those who have been unsure about trying out Uber or how well it works. I want to assure you that it is a fantastic service. As a blind person, I don’t drive and therefore only have public transit, taxis and the good will of others as transport options. It is great to have other choices. Signing up was straight forward and like any other app. There is an Uber app for both iOS and Android. Both are accessible if not intuitive.

I have used Uber a dozen or so times this year. I can’t speak to guide dog access but I have had extremely excellent service every time.

There are 3 categories of Uber in Ottawa - , the city I live in:

  1. Uber X = standard Uber
  2. Uber XL = van

Non-Consensual Touching Seems to Depend On Who's Being Touched

I place the highest value on the impulse to help. One of my favourite things about my neighbourhood is that people ask me if I need help all the time. It never ever irritates me; it makes me happy. 19 times out of 20 I don’t, and I decline with a friendly word of thanks. In many other parts of the city however, I’m regularly physically accosted by well-meaning busybodies who haven’t learned to use their words. It’s not just me of course; most other blind people I know have the same problem. There’s a depressing distance between the good intentions of strangers who grab me on the street or in the subway, assuming I need help when I don’t, and the anger I often feel at being touched without consent.

People want to help. People want to make my unimaginable life a little easier.

Over The Rainbow Bridge - A Celebration of life for Nayttor Tayttor (November 22, 2002 - August 21, 2015)

This was written by Nate and Louise Johnson.

I was born on November 22, 2002 at GDB California Campus. I joined my puppy family in February of 2003, and enjoyed my time there. I was very well loved and learned a lot with my puppy family.

I arrived back at GDB's California Campus for my formal training in February 2004. My trainer was Darren Walsh who was an apprentice at that time. I learned slowly, but I never forgot what I learned. My training at GDB was longer than other guides. I became ready for class when I understood what was required of me, as a guide dog.

The first time I was partnered in class, it didn’t work out for the two of us. I went back to the kennels to wait for my perfect match.

Shack Whacky

I woke up this morning to a wind chill of minus 32 degrees. Didn’t we just do this two weeks ago? This is my second winter with Hope, my second dog guide and I am sure we only missed two days of walking last winter. We seem to miss two days every week lately. When she is limping after our first venture out for the morning relief, I know we are not walking that day. When I swear aloud during our first venture out, I know we are not walking anywhere that day. I am officially becoming “shack whacky”.

White cane, black canes -- what's in a colour?

I currently use a black cane as I am between guide dogs. I will not have a new dog guide for about two years due to the waiting list. As such I am tip tapping it. So, I have elected to use the black cane.

I got my first black cane a few years ago and travelled with it. I found that that no matter where I went folks could figure out that I was blind, the cane worked exactly like the white one but I did not get the pity party. Nor did I get any nonsense from folks as I tip tapped by them.

As a person with no sight I do not need the public to distract me when I am concentrating on my surroundings and traversing from one place to another.

Safety and accessibility at sea: Concerns from the BC Coastal Transportation Society

I received the following message from Captain William Cursiter, President of the British Columbia Coastal Transportation Society. In it, he raises concerns about the safety protocols used aboard ferries (in BC and elsewhere) and the potential problems that this presents for people with disabilities in an emergency situation.

We're accustomed to worrying about accessibility on busses; on trains; on planes; and on the road, but let's not forget that there are also thousands of people who rely on ferries (in one form or another) to get around, too.

Small Town Kindnesses

I am a walker. I walk to exercise myself, to exercise my guide dog, to breath fresh air, to clear my mind and to have an uninterrupted 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours to listen to music (one earbud only - the other ear is to listen to traffic. And yes, I have an off/on switch on the earphones to turn the tunes off at intersections, railway tracks and obstacles). I woke up this morning to the sound of a soft rain falling outside the window. Normally rain does not deter me - I don’t think I will melt. Rain does, however, deter my dog. Hope is a bit of a princess in the rain. She does not work as well when she gets wet and she abhors puddles. She will skirt around a puddle, taking me right through the centre.

Family

So last time I talked about friends - today I am going to talk about family. I have an amazing family and over the next few months you will understand why I say my family is amazing.

One of the reasons I chose to return to this small town was because I raised my family here. My children grew up here, I established friendships here, my children established friendships here, I understand the geographical issues here and small town people know one another and everyone knows who the blind woman is. There is only one blind woman working with a dog guide in this small town, so I have no anonymity. I do have unconditional support.

Let me share an amusing story. Early this Spring, I called a friend and invited myself over for morning coffee.

Blind sex offender skips jail: Corrections cannot accommodate blind prisoners

The accused, blind since the age of 16 as a result of a car accident, worked with the City of Calgary as a spokesperson and presenter on issues of blindness and disability. He has represented Canada at the Paralympic Games in 1984 and 1992. (By my reckoning, he must be at least in his 40's as a result.)

The accused, who has a prior criminal record for fraud over $5000, was convicted in 2012 of assault and sexual assault involving a friend. The question of sentencing -- and whether it would be proper for the accused to "be sentenced to a period of incarceration in a correctional facility given that he is blind and requires 24 hour assistance from his guide dog" -- was considered by a judge of the Alberta Provincial Court in April of this year: [R. v.

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