So apparently, because of the place where I live, I am not qualified for a guide dog. I'm just wondering, what says that you're qualified or not? Everywhere you go around this town, it's easy to tell if you're on a cross walk or a street, only difference is that there's no truncated domes. You definitely don't need domes to tell you where you're at, because usually the gutters can tell you, and dogs are very smart so they can see them and act accordingly if given the proper training. Is it a money issue, because I can see them not wanting to do it because of either not having the money to pay, or having it and not wanting to spend more than they have to.

Thumbs up

First where exactly do you live? I know it's the us, but which town, and more specifically which school said you were not qualified? or is it about the insurance? or maybe your age?

I thought in the Us you applied to a guide dog school such as the seeing eye and were assessed by the school directly, after which you essentially buy the dog and training from them, well you or your insurance company buy the dog.
Indeed from what I've seen of Us medical insurance it wouldn't surprise me if this is an insurance issue since they seemed to be the worst sort of money grubbing crooks who would charge a fortune and then use any excuse under the son not to pay when you needed them, egy decide a guide dog wouldn't be safe as an excuse not to pay for one (I do recall my lady mentioning something about a similar fight with an insurance company at one point).

In the uk there is no insurance shenanigans, you apply to the guide dogs association, they do an assessment, and you'll get put on the waiting list for a dog based on how that assessment goes which covers things like eg, can you look after the dog, is your mobility reasonably good without a dog etc, but then again #Guide dogs in the Uk is a charity and you don't actually need to pay for your dog, though equally guide dogs will keep an eye on you and do have the power to remove your dog from you if the dog is being mistreated or things aren't working, albeit  in practice this only happens if something seriously! bad is going on.

In the past you needed to be 18 for a guide dog, though this more recently dropped to 15, and these days I've even heard of 13 year olds with dogs provided they are in a reasonably dog friendly family. I don't know how this is in the states (my lady was 17 when she got her first dog).

Thumbs up

I live in Hayesville NC, and no I'm not nervous about posting that info because it's not like someone's gonna track me down or anything like that. You have to be 15 or older for a guide dog, and I'm 17. You have to go all the way to Canada to get a dog, and they claim that my town isn't guide dog friendly even though it clearly is. I can tell the difference between a sidewalk and a parking lot, and a dogs senses are amplified so they can definitely tell the difference. I don't get what's up with them about that, but they make the decision and I don't, so what do I know?

Thumbs up

Hmmm, well I'm afraid I still don't know where in the states you are exactly since I don't know which state the code nc refers to.

AAccording to my lady there are different schools in the states, she went to the seeing eye when she was 17, so maybe applying to a different school?

I also wonder perhaps if it was a matter in your application.
One thing which guide dogs over here in Britain will do, is make absolutely %100 sure that your able to take care of the dog and that the dog won't be in some sort of trouble.
They actually state in their statutes that you cannot have a dog if suffering a severe mental illness.

I'd suggest myself that you examine  the reasons they gave for you not having a dog perhaps consider trying another school.

On the matter of mobility, I will say generally you yourself need to be fairly good before! you have a dog, after all there is no having a dog help you avoid obstacles if you get yourself run over big_smile.

This isn't usually a matter of adaptations in the environment so much though as it is a matter of your own personal skills with mobility, learning landmarks etc, indeed that is a case you might make either to this school or another if you decide to reapply.

Thumbs up

NC means North Carolina. All the points you make are great, but that's not why they won't give me a dog, they say it's because the town isn't equipped for that, and I still don't get what they mean by that.

Thumbs up

Which school are you attempting to get a dog through?

Thumbs up

I don't get guide dogs from my school, I get them from people in Canada. Who they are I'm not to sure. Besides, my school doesn't do much for me anyways, and when they do they rely on other third party companies and organizations to buy the stuff for them. In my case, they get equipment from Voke Rehab, but they don't give out guide dog training.

Thumbs up

yeah, I'm calling bullcrap on the "your town isn't good for dogs" rubbish.
1. Do they not expect you to ever go anywhere else at all?
2. From your description, I have no idea what aspect of your town they'd be referring to as the deal-breaker. There are loads of guide-dogs in Ruston, Louisiana. Your town sounds much more pedestrian-friendly than Ruston.
3" I ... forgot what my third point "was sad

I would try to find other organizations which offer or can help with this matter. I don't know which those would be; maybe Google "How to get a guide dog in the US"?

Thumbs up

@shotgunshell, when I say "school" I don't mean your actual school, I mean a guide dog training school, ie, an organization  trains guide dogs and matches them with blind people.

apparently there are several in the states, so goodness knows why your going to Canida.

Indeed I wonder if this business about "your town isn't setup for a dog" is the entire truth as I said, the hole situation seems a bit strange, but you need to handle it like an adult, find out the facts and then either argue accordingly or go somewhere else.

I will say over here generally if you apply for a guide dog and don't get there is usually a dam good reason, eg, an old person who is unwell and couldn't take care of a dog, or a partner who has a fir allergy, or a majorly serious mental illness such as the dog, and likely the person as well would be in danger, and even in these circusmtances the guide dogs association would still provide things like mobility training if they could and likely might change their in the future if a person's circumstances change.

As I said I don't know how it is in the states, but certainly my lady's experiences with the seeing eye were pretty positive.

Thumbs up

When we refer to schools, we're not talking about your high school or college. We're referring to a training facility which breeds and trains dogs. The only US school I know of that operates in Canada is The Seeing Eye. Guide dogs *typically* come from one of a handful of training schools across the country. The Seeing Eye, Guide Dogs for the Blind, Guide Dog Foundation, Guiding Eyes... there are many more. It sounds like you're working with some kind of private or independent organization. I've never heard of one of the bigger schools telling anyone their town isn't compadible. My dog is trained in country work at any rate, so she could handle a lack of sidewalks. Smaller organizations may have their own rules. What is the name of this place if you're comfortable sharing? Do they train for guide work specifically?

Thumbs up

@Cinnamon I would tell you, but honestly I have no idea what the name is. I think I pretty much covered all the details that I'm aware of but I'll come back when I find out more.

Thumbs up

Using the "friendliness" of the town as an excuse seems absurd. There seems to be a number of organizations that have locations in North Carolina that offer Guide Dog services and training that you can apply for through their websites, such as the previously mentioned [Guiding Eyes], [MIRA], and [Southeastern Guide Dogs].

I've also come across some NC legal resources regarding accessibility and Guide Dogs that may be useful, [Disability Rights NC] and [Animal Law NC].

Thumbs up

If you apply to a larger guide dog school, it is less likely that you will be refused a dog. Perhaps they are refusing you the dog because:
1. They are based in Canada, and it would cost too much for them to send instructors to NC to train you on the use of the dog and to monitor how you are going.
2. If something went wrong, you may not want to seek assistance because they are based so far away.
3. Does your town have enough parks/natural spaces for the dog to run around and exercise in?

Thumbs up

Hint. Don't go to a school in Canada when there are better ones in the US... I don't know why they are refusing you, either, but I wouldn't go to the school here if it's the one I'm thinking, and I'm Canadian! Just out of curiocity, why do you want to go to Canada to get a guide dog instead of staying in the US?

Thumbs up

15 (edited by shotgunshell 2017-04-15 20:03:35)

So I talked to my parents about it because I really didn't know. Apparently, you have to walk 3 miles with your dog every day, which I can't do very easily. It's also a 10 mile trip to town, and there aren't any sidewalks until you actually get to town. Also, they'd rather me use Clay County transportation to get from point A to point B, which I'm not happy about either, I know it's a 10 mile trip but I don't see why I couldn't live in town. Either way, that's the reason. As for why I couldn't get a dog in the US, I think it's because we can't find a school that's closer, but I don't know on that 1.

Thumbs up

Okay. Ignore my revious post since I posted it befoe you posted...

I'll go through those points one by one and offer my thoughts:

Yes, you have to go X miles with a dog. I know for a fact I can't, yet certain relatives keep hinting I ought to get a dog. I've joked with my family about training one of my two but that won't happen.

Second point: Ten miles to town with no sidewalks: Maybe it's my horse experience talking here but there are absolutely ways to mitigate that,

Transportation: I'll admit, I'm going by 4-5 years ago memory here but I thought that by the ADA laws and such the transport had to accept guide dogs and their handlers and such by default?

As for why can't you just live in town? Alright, this may just be the issue....

If you live in town you still need to go X miles with the dog a day, and you have to prove you can be independent, and pay for utilities and for any bills that come up, vet bills, etc.

I'd STILL suggest going with a local county school or school in state however that knows the area, you'll probably get muh, much better advice on your situation from them.

Thumbs up

They do have to accept guide dogs and handlers, I'm talking about the fact that I have to take transportation, I'd rather walk to the store and back by myself.

Thumbs up

Not sure how that makes sense... any school in state or in the US would be closer than Canada from NC, as far as I know. I would recommend looking into a local school, and that only when you can be certain of being able to support both yourself and the dog.

Thumbs up

shotgunshell wrote:

So I talked to my parents about it because I really didn't know. Apparently, you have to walk 3 miles with your dog every day, which I can't do very easily.

No you don't. It is true that a dog will need walks first as exercise and second to maintain their skills, however where the rather arbitrary "three miles" comes from I don't know, indeed most guide dogs here in the Uk are labradors, retrievers or crosses (with the odd german Sheepherd or labradoodle), and generally speaking most labs and retrievers are fairly laid back, aka lazy.

It's about two miles to the town center which I do a couple of times a week, on days when I don't do that I will sometimes do a walk of roughly a mile, ---- well about half an hour anyway), just as a general refresher, and also give Reever a run in the field behind the house.

Of course, it also depends upon the dogs' personality, at least in the Uk the personality of the dog and eg, how much he/she needs by way of exercise  fairly carefully matched to the life style of the owner, so you won't have some bouncy over active puppy left with an old person who walks slowly or some huge, layed back rug of a dog that tires easily with someone who goes hill walking for miles and miles each day.

shotgunshell wrote:

It's also a 10 mile trip to town, and there aren't any sidewalks until you actually get to town. [/Also, they'd rather me use Clay County transportation to get from point A to point B, which I'm not happy about either, I know it's a 10 mile trip but I don't see why I couldn't live in town.

While the ten miles lack of pavements thing is worrying (most guide dogs are okay with lack of pavements over short periods but probably not for a ten mile walk), I'm a bit uncertain as to what this county transportation has to do with you getting a dog.
As has been said most guide dogs, if not all guide dogs are quite okay on pretty much all forms of transport from busses, to trains, to aeroplanes, and indeed in a busy town center is just where you would likely want a dog to help, so if you do decide to live in town, or just visit town  it would be rather useful however you get there. Indeed I wonder if your parents assume that a guide dog is basically a substitute for having a car and that once in a crowded area you wouldn't need the dog.

shotgunshell wrote:

Either way, that's the reason.

As for why I couldn't get a dog in the US, I think it's because we can't find a school that's closer, but I don't know on that 1.

I'm genuinely confused about this one given that there seem to be several schools around the Us. Indeedd my lady who is in Pensylvania went to the seeing eye which I believe is based in New York.

You mention here Shotgunshell that your parents have basically been heavily involved with this, suggesting that you go to Canida, giving you reasons why not, not wanting you to live in town  etc.

I would suggest discussing this matter sensibly with them, since it sounds like you have been getting a lot of information from them which is perhaps rather strange, or at least biased. maybe it is that your parents don't want you to move out, maybe they are worried about you taking care of a dog, either I do wonder, given how odd these reasons are and given that you yourself don't seem to have talked to this school in Canida to what extent the actual matter is related to the school, and to what related to your parents.
Having a guide dog is hugely helpful in many ways, including with depression,, but it is a major decision and a responsability, and something you need to be adult about, which includes taking responsability for things yourself and talking things out with your parents in a reasonable manner if possible.

Thumbs up

A quick Google came up with guide dog schools in NC, so not sure where that came from at all.

FWIW Dark, I can attest to Retrievers being....laid back, put it that way smile Whenever I sit down I get a pair of them bookending me, and both laing down and relaxing. The other dog on the other hand....yeah, bouncy as anything and none of us have any idea what breed.

As said by Dark, yeah guide dogs are okay on transport and there are certainly things both a handler and transport can do to make it easier and absolutely, a guide dog can be invaluable in a town or busy setting.

I've heard varying mines per day from differing organizations Dark,, differing ones in the US, the UK seems to be more laid back about it as long as the dog isn't being mistreated. Also, on the subject of guide dog breeds, I once ran into a guide chihuahua...yappy thing made sure you knew where it was at all times. On the other end of the scale...I also ran into a guide St Bernard, that was more interested in loping along than anything else. Also, for some reason, I am insanely jealous of guide malamutes....aka huskies, aka the best looking type of dogs.onth

Thumbs up

21 (edited by Phil 2017-04-16 10:53:11)

You wrote, You have to be 15 or older for a guide dog, and I'm 17.
The Seeing eye, the guide dog school in Morristown New Jersey requires you to be 16.
During the 3 ½ weeks training, or 2 ½ weeks for a returning student, you go on different routes through the town with sidewalks, then take a trip into New York City for practice on city streets and also a trip to a town without sidewalks.
I think some of these walks are about a mile long.
They train you in getting on and off cars, buses, trains and subways.
You can get more information at:

Thumbs up

Being from North Carolina myself, I know how country/rural some of those towns can be. I've never even heard of Hayesville! Apparently, it has a population of 311. My Hometown is about 4250 if you don't take in the surrounding towns. I think living out in the sticks can be hard as a blind person in general. Town may be ten miles away, but do you have parks around your house? a little run-in store? Is it all just woods? Can you take transportation from your house and get into town so you can work the dog there? What might you and the dog do together on a day to day basis?

You're 17 now, so what are your plans after high school? Are you going to continue your education, or stay home while you plan things out? If you stay at home for a bit, what are you and the dog going to do with your time? My girl is lazy and does okay with fewer walks, but other dogs will be higher energy. A guide dog school will ask you questions like this. what is your routine like? What destinations will you travel to? What are you going to be doing with your life? Will the dog get enough work, or will you just keep it at home all the time?

It sounds like your parents are driving this train, and that concerns me. A dog is your responsibility, as others have said. The key word here is your. Your partner. Dependent on you. You are its lleader. you aren't just responsible for feeding it and cleaning up after it, but it's on you to make sure the dog is exercised, and behaves well, and isn't bored. When people refuse you access to a place, it's on you to step up and speak for yourself. You have to keep up the dog's training. You have to take on a guardian role and decide what is best for your dog, and for you both as a working team. It's your job to educate yourself and figure out which school is best for you. You have to be at the front of this train, leading this whole process.

All that said, I think you absolutely can work a dog in po-dunk rural North Carolina. But I think it requires a lot of self-advocacy, meaning you have to stand up for yourself and take charge of your own life. I think it will certainly be harder for a team than living in town, but it can be done if you're motivated. I didn't get my dog until after college, because I was barely able to manage my own life at the time, let alone be a parent/guardian/leader for another living being. Do your own research on the internet. Your parents absolutely should not be the ones handling all this for you.

Thumbs up +1

I want to add that when I was 16 in small town North Carolina, my teachers/grandmother decided to apply me for two guide dog schools. That was ten years ago. I don't remember having a whole lot of say in the process. I don't remember if I researched the schools or not. I didn't know anything about dogs or walking. I was terrified of cane mobility and didn't like going anywhere on my own. I'd only been totally blind for 5 years at that point, and I really didn't have a handle on my own life at all. We had sidewalks and a van that would take people around town. I theoretically could have done it, but I really wasn't ready.

Looking back now after college and now having a job, I can't believe anybody thought I was ready for a dog. I wasn't independent at all. In hindsight, having gone through the process of getting the dog with no help from anyone, I see how harmful it could have been had I gone off for a dog at that point. I wasn't ready to be a leader. I was still looking to adults to help me instead of helping myself. I wasn't able to advocate for myself, so how could I have taken charge of a dog? I thought about getting a dog midway through college. After looking at schools and researching requirements, I decided that a dog wasn't right for me then. But the key is that I was able to decide that for myself. My last year of college, I knew I was bailing on North Carolina and escaping to Colorado. I felt ready at that point. I researched again, assessed my financial situation, and felt like I could handle a dog.

A lot of this has to come from you. I wrote this post hoping that an experience from another teenager in small town North Carolina would give you some kind of idea what the path *might* be like.

Thumbs up

@Cinnamon That's part of the reason why I can't get a dog. We have similar experiences, I'm not really fluent in taking care myself either. The other reason is that the only places I really go are school and home, although I think it could be said that I'd definitely be able to find a great use for a guide dog at school.

Thumbs up

As I read in many online documents, the breeds considered suitable for guiding are Labradors, Golden Retrievers, and German Shepherds. (It would be amazing to have a guiding Dachshund or a guiding English Mastiff). And honestly though, I don't know why they don't consider Mastiffs since they are very obedient and have a loving nature.
I would be interested to know the temperament of your guidedogs, since, if they are Labradors, I don't think they are so lazy. A friend of mine has a Labrador, and he is really playful. He likes to play with nearly everyone.
Here where I live, not only there is no chance of getting or training a guide dog, but your dog could be badly injured by any colony of Street dogs that come randomly when they feel hungry. It would really help me everyday go to university which is around 1.3 miles away from my house. But sadly, the infrastructure is very poor, plus the emancipation of people is very low. If they see you here being guided by a dog, they will think like you're walking for fun and they won't respect you in any circumstance. I have a dachshund and by the day I got him, I have completely changed my view about dogs. They are so nice and so loving. Now we consider him a family member. Great companions, sometimes, way better than some people.

Thumbs up