Author Archive | smartin

Sue, wearing a mask with Quan observing

A Dog’s Eye View

    In my 35 years of handling guide dogs, they’ve all seen some pretty bizarre things! This is about how dogs react to seeing or hearing something unusual. The first time I noticed such a reaction was when I was training with my first dog. Seeing Eye employs security guards who patrol the school […]

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Daddy and me in our dining room in Mountain Brook, Alabama

He Saw the Need

  In the first weeks and months after I became blind I struggled to find things to do, things that would interest and engage me. Even before my rehab teacher, now called a vision rehabilitation therapist, came to see me for the first time, I learned something infinitely precious from my father. Daddy had lots […]

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Quan guides me between branches

Watch Out For That Tree!

        Have you ever wondered about guide dogs and clearance of overhead obstacles? We usually go for a walk in the woods every day. A couple of days ago, Jim said, “Did you know about that tree over the trail?” “What tree?” I replied. The tree over the trail was well above […]

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The author skiing with her dog, Quan

Cross Country Skiing: A Mirror of Life

We’re just back from a ski trip to The Birches Resort on Moosehead Lake. The best – and maybe the worst – skiing was on our first day there. How can something be “the best” and “the worst” at the same time?   The conditions were tricky. There was plenty of snow but it had […]

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Quan, the Seeing Eye dog, with no human attached

What Climbing A Mountain Taught Me About Teamwork

    Recently my husband, Jim, my Seeing Eye dog, Quan, and I climbed a mountain. The experience of this particular climb taught me lessons about teamwork I never learned in guide dog school. The beginning of the hike was fairly routine. Quan guided flawlessly and I followed his lead, turning when he turned, stepping […]

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A formal shot of Quan in harness

Intelligent Disobedience

Veterans Affairs uses a social media platform called Pulse. The other day I received a notification from Pulse about a book entitled Intelligent Disobedience. The concept of intelligent disobedience is not new to me as all of my Seeing Eye dogs have been trained to intelligently disobey me in certain circumstances. Interested, I downloaded and […]

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View from the top of the mountain including Bar Harbor and a cruise ship

A Sound Diary Of Climbing A Mountain

In Autumn, 2012, we took a whirlwind trip from Alabama to Maine and, among other things, climbed Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park. What follows is simply a “sound diary” of that climb. This first clip was during the very beginning of the hike when we were in the woods near the foot of the […]

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A triangular bed with soil ready to receive plants

Maine Garden: 2017

Timing Is Everything After fourteen years in Alabama we’re having to reacclimate ourselves to growing a garden in Maine. By now, in Alabama, our garden would be in and we’d probably be harvesting early crops such as lettuce and spinach. Here in Maine we only have seeds started in the house – all in trays […]

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Martin and her Seeing Eye dog, Quan

American Airlines: One Month Later

How I Felt There are many misconceptions about blindness and blind people with which I’ve been successfully coping for over three decades. I’m often told, “We’re going to <fill in the blank> for your own good.” When flying the things with which the blank can be filled in range from “Move you to the bulkhead […]

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