Sarah’s Dog Guide FAQs and Blog

This page serves as host to my dog guide blog as well as the dog guide FAQ. If you’ve come looking to read about my experiences as a dog guide user, please scroll past the dog guide FAQ categories.

Dog Guide FAQS

3 dogs wearing Seeing Eye harnesses
Elli and Dori (black Labs) and Meghan (yellow Lab) wearing harnesses, November 2001

Sarah and Loretta
Sarah and Loretta at Sarah’s M.Div. graduation

I worked with dog guides from 1991 until September, 2014. During my years of traveling with dog guides, I have had opportunities to speak to groups of people of all ages about what it is like to work with a dog guide. I also answered a lot of questions from people as I was out and about doing things like eating at restaurants, shopping, etc. I thought it might be fun and useful to put some of the answers to questions people ask most often up on the Web so that readers might have the chance to find out some interesting things. I often got lots of questions from children; so I try to write these pages with children in mind.

The most important question: What are the laws about service dogs and public access? This link is to the ADA regulations regarding service animals. If you are looking for answers regarding what animals are legally recognized in public spaces as service animals, whether an entity can charge a fee for access, etc, look here.

My fifth dog ceased working with me in September, 2014, and returned to the Seeing Eye for evaluation of a medical condition and her suitability to continue guiding. I also chose to evaluate my own medical situation. I had been monitoring an allergy to dogs that manifested in moderate to severe asthma attacks. I have chosen not to train with a new dog at this time. I will, however, continue to write about life and work with dogs as I have experienced it. I hope that my writings will benefit other dog users as well as members of the community who encounter people working with dog guides.

If you have a question you’d like me to answer on my site, please post a comment and I’ll do my best to answer it. If you are a teacher and your class would like to put a list of questions together, you can also email me.

The FAQ is broken up into categories. Please follow the links for answers to types of questions about special topics.

Dog Guide Training
Dogs at Home
Dogs at Play
Dogs on the Street and on the Plane
dog guides and public perceptions
FAQs under development:
dogs at work
dogs and retirement
fun stories

dog guides – Sarah Blake LaRose

Last feed update: Thursday July 27th, 2017 11:06:35 PM

To the Dogs and Beyond 11: Would I Ever Like to Drive?

Tuesday March 1st, 2016 12:00:33 PM Sarah Blake LaRose
Today’s post is a bit of a departure from my stories about my experiences with dog guides. Part of my goal for this series was to communicate about travel and things that affect me as a blind person who travels. That is something I want to do today. During my adult life, I have taken […]

To the Dogs and Beyond 10: My Humbling

Monday February 29th, 2016 12:00:43 PM Sarah Blake LaRose
Many people report that their confidence increases as they begin to travel widely with their first dog guide. My experience was no exception as Elli and I came home from training and went about our routines. I am not convinced that the increase in confidence had everything to do with Elli. A good deal of […]

To the Dogs and Beyond 09: Elli’s Great Distraction

Monday February 22nd, 2016 12:00:31 PM Sarah Blake LaRose
While I was in training with Elli, I decided to solve the problem of my voice loss by teaching her to work in response to hand signals only. During times when we were not practicing routes, we walked around the building, and I gave her hand signals corresponding to my verbal commands, praising her with […]

To the Dogs and Beyond 08: The Great Nap

Saturday February 20th, 2016 12:00:55 PM Sarah Blake LaRose
Elli and I spent one year at Anderson University, the college I had attended during the year prior to my training. This year was very challenging. Elli developed some stress-related illness, and I struggled with loss of my vision which eventually required surgery. For my third year of college, I transferred to a large college […]

To the Dogs and Beyond 07: The Tree

Friday February 19th, 2016 12:00:08 PM Sarah Blake LaRose
My neighborhood was fairly quiet; and Elli and I could walk on residential sidewalks most of the time. Elli had to learn to ignore toads, which were plentiful in Texas during the summer. With my cane, I never thought about toads. With Elli, I knew about every toad we encountered–at least, until she learned to […]

To the Dogs and Beyond 06: Elli and the Cat

Thursday February 18th, 2016 12:00:32 PM Sarah Blake LaRose
Training with a dog guide has evolved in many ways over the last 25 years. Schools have addressed discipline techniques so that the relationship focuses on preventing distractions and rewarding positive behaviors. New strategies for traffic work have been introduced so that dogs are able to work effectively in our society’s complex environment. Additionally, The […]

To the Dogs and Beyond 05: The Parking Lot

Wednesday February 17th, 2016 12:00:53 PM Sarah Blake LaRose
Training was not always a smooth experience. It is very intense; and I struggled with a great fear of failure. I realize now that this is a common experience for people who are training with their first dogs. Some people talk about it openly, and some hide it deep inside. I hid my fear. for […]

To the Dogs and Beyond 04: What a Big Mouth You Have

Tuesday February 16th, 2016 12:00:10 PM Sarah Blake LaRose
After lunch on Sunday afternoon, all students retired to their rooms. No, this was not an afternoon siesta. It wasn’t even quiet. For me, it felt a bit like a strange game of hide and seek, except that I wasn’t allowed to do any seeking. I heard instructors walking around the halls, accompanied by panting […]

To the Dogs and Beyond 03: Waiting for Dog

Monday February 15th, 2016 12:00:00 PM Sarah Blake LaRose
Today, social media makes it easy to know who is doing what in dog training. People can easily follow the progress of a friend or family member who chooses to post updates on Facebook or in a blog. The Seeing Eye installed a technology center in 1994 so that students could access reading machines and […]

To the Dogs and Beyond 02: Into the Lion’s Den

Monday February 15th, 2016 01:03:29 AM Sarah Blake LaRose
My first class date at The Seeing Eye was scheduled for July, 1991. I was notified in January, and I was comfortable that I had plenty of time to prepare. My second semester at Anderson University ended in early May, and I took a trip to visit a friend for a few days. When I […]

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