Author Archive | smartin

Head shot of Kismet in harness

Our Sixtieth Year On This Good Earth, Part 1

  Thirty Years With Harness In Hand I brought my first dog home to Birmingham from The Seeing Eye in 1985. Her name was Sadie and she was a yellow Labrador. Since then one dog or another has been guiding me everywhere: at work, on leisurely walks, on mountain trails, through busy airports, and on […]

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Taken while training with Quan in February, 2016

“Never forget.” “Where were you?”

Jim and I lived in Ellsworth, Maine on September 11, 2001. Jim was on the road downeast of Ellsworth. I was in the Ellsworth Career Center. I was talking with Jean who was, then, the director of services for blind children when the line went silent. It didn’t go dead – Jean just abruptly stopped […]

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An open house during which the author shared the stage with Debby Boone

Say It Out Loud — Suicide

“S U I C I D E” There, your computer didn’t blow up. Your phone didn’t burst into flames. I guess it’s no secret that people are afraid of blindness and, by extension, blind people. But what about suicide. If you want to empty a room in ten seconds flat start talking about suicide! Towards […]

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Picture of an Apple IIE computer

You Can’t Make This “Stuff” Up!

The First Student I’ll call him Robert. Robert had been a high powered attorney in Connecticut until he threw it all in and moved to Maine. He bought quite a bit of property on a mountain in Maine and moved into a sort of shack. He lived in the shack while he built his house. […]

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Photo of Dr. Branscomb courtesy of al.com

The End Of An Era

  Caring. That’s what Ben Branscomb did. Ben was a second father to me and he wasn’t alone. Lee McGriff Jr. (Daddy Pete) was my other second father. Daddy Pete died several years ago and it was pretty devastating. He had always been there solid as a rock. And then he was gone. We celebrated […]

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The author uses her computer without looking at it or touching it

Veterans Affairs Gets It Right!

I began teaching speech-recognition 15 years ago. At that time, I was employed by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs as a subject matter expert. Many veterans have multiple disabilities such as an inability to use their hands and blindness. They find speech-recognition is the most effective way to work with the computer. In […]

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The author and her new Seeing Eye dog in New York City

My “Quandary”

My “Quandary” It’s a boy. It’s a *big* boy.   When Joan handed me his leash and told me his name, Quan, I was, what? What does it feel like when somebody gives you the next decade of your life? I have to admit my first feeling was that of humility. Seeing Eye was trusting […]

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Kismet: -Beloved -Impish -Brilliant

Kismet Crosses The Rainbow Bridge

  First post to “Whirlpool” since late November… I’ll never be a “professional” blogger!   Here’s the personal side of that post.   On November 4 I had my first ever “Juno” walk. What? You’ve been handling Seeing Eye dogs for over thirty years and it was your first Juno walk? The Seeing Eye admissions […]

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