Carmel and Sylvia together for 2 years!

On May 22, 2010 I travelled to Morristown, New Jersey to start my guide dog journey. I described my experience at the training in my blog, and had hoped that I would continue a bit over the time Carmel and I worked together. But, I find myself at 2 years with Carmel and limited blogs. All I can say is life has been busy for both me and Carmel.

We’ve had lots of great experiences-we’ve flown on planes, rode on tour buses, stayed in many many hotels, met many great people, been to lots of events, gone hiking, played with lots of children, and gone to lots of business meetings and networking events-and we’ve spent lots of time at home and in the office!

Carmel is still a puppy at heart at 3 ½ years, but she has matured so much. She is a great dog guide and a wonderful companion. She is loved by all. Carmel is so friendly and sweet-you can always count on her to put a smile on everyone’s face.

Of course, she thinks about eating all of the time-she wkes me up on Saturday at 7 a.m. still to get fed, and then she goes back to sleep, which of course now I am up so can’t myself. She loves attention and gives eyes to everyone. She’s sweet and really smart. She loves to take a bath now-b/c she knows it leads to a carrot. Sometimes she even tries to get in our baths if she hears the water running-so she can get her treat. She loves to get her teeth brushed-yes, it’s all about licking the doggie toothpaste. She will sit and listen to my daughter play the piano like she’s a real person-she just gives her full attention-it’s so cute. She loves to play and is so jealous of us all. If any of us hug on each other in the family Carmel thinks she has to be right in the middle of us.

Carmel is a great guide and seems to get better everyday. We have really learned each other and work well together. I look forward to many more years with my Carmel girl.

Best to you all.

Sylvia

P.S. there are photos on the website of the Lighthouse http://www.lvib.org

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One Year with Carmel-my Guide Dog!

May 24, 2010 was the day I met my Carmel! I remember it like it was yesterday, but in fact it was one year ago-and what a year it has been.

My time at The Seeing Eye was a tremendous learning experience, and very challenging in many ways. We had a dog growing up, but I had minimal responsibility for it, so learning how to take care of a dog was big for me. All will be interested and amused to hear that I no longer think picking up poop is such a big deal-even though I thought so the first week or two I did it at seeing eye. I can say it is a lot easier to take care of a long cane than a dog, but Carmel is well worth the great amount of work she is. As you know, I have an 11 year old daughter, and Carmel reminds me so much of when my daughter was 2 all of the work…smile.

In addition to learning how to take care of my Carmel, I had to learn to handle her. It is very very different than using a long cane. As stated before, a cane finds obstacles and a guide dog avoids obstacles. Carmel is a great guide dog, and she has done a great job. We’ve avoided most obstacles (smile). I’ve learned to trust her, especially with steps, which was really a difficult trust for me to build. As the year has progressed I have learned I can really trust her. I do occasionally use my cane, and interestingly enough think my cane skills have actually gotten better. I think this has happened b/c Carmel has provided me a level of travel confidence I didn’t previously have, so now I am much more willing to go outside of my previous boundaries. I’ve learned to explore more and go further, with her and with my cane. My orientation has also improved. So many people still think Carmel is there to take me places, but I keep reminding them that I am the brains-I have to know where I am and where I am going. Because I’ve learned to pay so much more attention to my sensory information I believe it has really improved my skills as a traveler who is blind. My confidence in unfamiliar areas is growing every day.

Carmel and I have been lots of places. We’ve travelled in the last year to New York, Chicago, Littlerock, Washington, D.C., Kansas, and all over Florida. We’ve had our challenges, especially in airports, but she has gradually improved and “grown up”. She is still a puppy (2 years old), but maturing every day. And, of course I am maturing as a guide dog handler myself.

Carmel still loves to play and is the most friendly dog you could meet. She loves people, dogs, birds, cats, and ducks. But, most of the time when the harness goes on she gets back to wrok. She loves to get her harness on in the morning and go to work, but she loves to come home to play with her friend Olivia. Carmel is a total piggy-she always thinks she is starving. I’ve had some challenges keeping her trim, but have been able to keep her at her proper size, within 5 pounds.

Just wanted to say a huge thank you to The Seeing Eye and all who have supported my guide dog journey!

Sylvia

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Happy New Year from Carmel and Sylvia!!!

Greetings from Sylvia and Carmel,

We want to wish everyone a very wonderful 2011.

Carmel had a great holiday season-receiving several toys. Of course, she proceeded to destroy one within 48 hours. It was a very coll “bowling pin”. She loved that it squeked, and she chewed it right to bits. However, I have to say she did amazing with not touching all of the holiday decorations. She never touched the tree, except initially when she thought the shiny balls on it were for her-smile!. I thought she would really want to play with all of our stuffed bears, but she didn’t even touch them once.

Anyway, it was a great holiday, and we are back to work.

On another note, we have learned that Carmel is most likely allergic to wheat/grain. We discovered in a regular vet visit that she had an ear infection-she had been shaking her head a bit occasionally. The vet said wheat/grain allergies are common among labs. So, it’s been ear drops for about a month. Yesterday she was back for a check up and the vet said things are looking better but still to continue with the ear drops. By the way, I did change her food.

Would you believe Carmel and I have been together over 6 months now-and every day she matures. She is still a puppy at heart and loves to play-but she is getting more and more reliable. I can barely remember life before Carmel.

And, of course, Olivia loves her so much.

So, have a wonderful 2011

Sylvia and Carmel the guide dog!

Sylvia Stinson-Perez

Executive Director

sperez

www.lvib.org

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Holiday photo of Carmel the guide dog and her friend Heidi

And of course, Sylvia (with Carmel) and Laurel (with Heidi)!

Happy Holidays!

Be sure to visit our website www.lvib.org and help us win $5000.00 with Pepsi Refresh.

Also, sign up for our e newsletter!

Sylvia

Sylvia Stinson-Perez

Executive Director

sperez

www.lvib.org

Join us on FaceBook at:

Enjoy my BLOG at blog.lighthouse-pasco.org

Lighthouse for the Visually Impaired and Blind

Serving Pasco, Hernando and Citrus

Pasco

8610 Galen Wilson Blvd., Port Richey, Fl. 34668

Phone: 727-815-0303 FAX: 727-815-0203

Brooksville

6492 California Road, Brooksville, Fl. 34604

Phone: 352-754-1132 FAX: 352-754-5118

The mission of the Lighthouse is to

provide blind and visually impaired persons

with the skills needed to

achieve their maximum independence.

The most beautiful things cannot be seen or touched

But are felt with the heart.

Helen Keller

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Help the Lighthouse win $5,000. from Pepsi Refresh

We need your help to get the word out-we need votes, votes, votes.

Please share with all of your friends and colleagues.

Please help the Lighthouse for the Visually Impaired and Blind win a $5000.00 grant from Pepsi Refresh for recreation equipment for use by persons who are blind and visually impaired. Please forward this onto everyone you know and your email lists and post on your facebook and twitter. Vote Every day in December!!!!

Directions below:

Instructions for Voting:

If you would like to participate, please go to http://www.refresheverything.com and sign up to vote.

Voting is Easy:

Search for: Provide safe, healthy and fun recreation to blind children & adults

Click on ‘Vote’

You can also search for Lighthouse for the Visually Impaired and Blind or projects in your area and find us.

Click on ‘Confirm’ if prompted

Facebook Users:

You will be asked if you’d like to ‘Share this to your profile page’

Click on ‘Yes’ or ‘Share’ if you would like to share it to your wall

Click on ‘Allow’ to post on your wall

Easy Access from Facebook:

For easy access from your profile page in Facebook, you can add a link to contest on your home page:

In Facebook, search for ‘Pepsi Refresh Voting App’

Click on the ‘Go To Application’ button on the left

Click on ‘Allow’ to allow Pepsi to access your personal information

You will be directed to the Pepsi Refresh Website where you can place your vote

If possible, please vote online once a day, every day in the month of December

For Voters using Network IP’s:

Please note, only one vote can be placed per day per network IP address.

Please vote online once a day, every day of the month of December.

Please encourage your friends and family to vote.

Thank you for supporting the Lighthouse and for supporting people of all ages who are visually impaired and blind.

Sylvia

Sylvia Perez

Executive Director

Lighthouse for the Visually Impaired and Blind

Serving Pasco, Hernando and Citrus

www.lvib.org

“Alone we can do so little, together so much.” –Helen Keller

Instructions for Voting:

If you would like to participate, please go to http://www.refresheverything.com and sign up to vote.

Voting is Easy:

Search for: Provide safe, healthy and fun recreation to blind children & adults

Click on ‘Vote’

Click on ‘Confirm’ if prompted

Facebook Users:

You will be asked if you’d like to ‘Share this to your profile page’

Click on ‘Yes’ or ‘Share’ if you would like to share it to your wall

Click on ‘Allow’ to post on your wall

Easy Access from Facebook:

For easy access from your profile page in Facebook, you can add a link to contest on your home page:

In Facebook, search for ‘Pepsi Refresh Voting App’

Click on the ‘Go To Application’ button on the left

Click on ‘Allow’ to allow Pepsi to access your personal information

You will be directed to the Pepsi Refresh Website where you can place your vote

If possible, please vote online once a day, every day in the month of December

For Voters using Network IP’s:

Please note, only one vote can be placed per day per network IP address.

Please vote online once a day, every day of the month of December.

Please encourage your friends and family to vote.

Thank you for supporting the Lighthouse and for supporting people of all ages who are visually impaired and blind.

Comments (3)

Carmel the Guide Dog and I are together 6 montomorrow (Thanksgiving)

This Thanksgiving in addition to all I have to give thanks for, I am also thankful for my new guide dog Carmel. Carmel and I were matched on May 24, 2010, and so will be together a half year tomorrow. It is amazing! My daughter Olivia said yesterday that it is hard to remember life before Carmel, and I have to say that is true.

Carmel and I are doing well. She is maturing every day. She is learning and more important I am learning. We have travelled a lot-about 5 trips and daily get plenty of opportunities to build skills.

Of course, when the harness comes off-she is a puppy.

She has quite a personality, and it comes out more and more.

She is well loved and much appreciated.

Sylvia

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Happy Birthday to Carmel-my 2 year old guide dog

It’s Carmel’s birthday! Carmel and I have been together for about 4 ½ months and every day she gets better and better. In our 4 months we’ve had so many experiences. We’ve traveled to Little Rock, ARK., Washington D.C., and Cincinnati, Ohio. We’ve gone to lunches and dinners galore. We’ve attended meetings, and done lots of office work just hanging out in my office. Carmel and I walk every day about a mile to keep in shape and build her skills-and mine.

We’ve had some challenging times-but overall I see our relationship getting better and better. She is awesome!

So, Happy birthday to my sweet, smart and funny Carmel girl!

Sylvia

Comments (3)

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