Izzy 11Alive’s “Puppy with a Purpose” visits VRS

We were fortunate to have a visitor here at VRS today…Izzy from 11Alive.  He is a 5 month old male Labrador who joined the 11Alive staff back in February.  He appears each Wednesday on the show, arriving at 5:30AM to the studio.  Izzy joined our  local NBC station who is one of only a handful of NBC stations across the country participating in NBC’s TODAY Show program ‘Puppy with a Purpose’.

11Alive is working with the Guide Dog Foundation who will help them raise and train Izzy for about 16 months.  In the end, Izzy will become a guide dog for an individual who experiences low vision and is legally or totally blind.  To learn more about Izzy joining 11Alive take a look at this video:  https://www.11alive.com/article/news/local/meet-izzy-11alives-puppy-with-a-purpose/85-523447701

Our own instructor here at VRS, Jamie Marks, has a guide dog that also came from the Guide Dog Foundation .  Her name is Frenchie and she and Jamie have been together 5 years this July.  There are a few mis-conceptions about a guide dog and a lot of unknown etiquette tips that VRS can share.  For instance, the purpose of the dog is to only guide the person around obstacles and indicate the location of steps and curbs, they may even be trained to find a few specific objects such as “Find the door” or “Find the elevator”.  But, the person actually directs the dog and must possess their own orientation and mobility knowledge.  In fact, the dog doesn’t know when it’s safe to cross the the street, he/she merely stops or tries to move the person if they see a car approaching too close.

A few etiquette tips from The Guide Dog Foundation include:

  • DO NOT pet or make eye contact with a working guide dog, especially when the dog is wearing it’s harness.  The dog is on duty and should NOT be distracted as the person is depending on the dog to do it’s job
  • Speak directly to the person not to the dog or another person accompanying the visually impaired person
  • Be specific when giving directions such as go left or right
  • DON’T grab the arm of a visually impaired/blind person to guide them, allow them to take your arm and walk a half-stp behind to anticipate curbs and steps.

While there are a number of types of service dogs, a guide dog is the top elite position.  Not all service dogs, of course, can be guide dogs.  Guide dogs are specially bred and trained for their positions.  Being a puppy raiser for a guide dog or service dog is a very honorable and fulfilling position.  So, if interested, contact the Guide Dog Foundation for more information.

It was a pleasure having Izzy visit VRS today and Frenchie certainly enjoyed meeting him.  It was nice for all of us who hadn’t met Frenchie as a puppy to see and hear how he started.  We’re sure Izzy appreciated meeting Frenchie too so he could see what his future holds for him!

Happy Memorial Day

“May we never forget freedom isn’t free.”

VRS will be closed for Memorial Day on Monday, May 28th.  As you enjoy time with friends and family, please take a moment to thank those who have given so much to our country.  

 Shared by our Executive Director, Sharon Croyle:
“My now deceased Aunt Grace was an Army nurse.  She spoke of traveling on a hospital train with our wounded WWII soldiers as they traveled to Army hospitals or home.  I don’t think she ever thought of how much she meant to those boys.  But I know from stories about my Dad, also a wounded WWII soldier just how meaningful it was to him that those doctors and nurses healed not only their wounds, but their spirit as well.
 
Many serve and it is not always in combat.
 
Wishing you a relaxing and safe weekend”

Resolutions for Health and Wellness

The New Year is a great time to recommit yourself to controlling your diabetes. With the modern conveniences of scheduling and glucose monitoring apps, there’s no excuse to not stay on top of your diabetes. Go ahead and pull out your calendar and set reminders to do the following in 2017:

  1.  Schedule appointments to see your doctor at least twice a year. Make sure you schedule the next appointment while you’re in the office after the first one. Remember, you should have regular visits even if you feel well.
  2. Schedule an appointment to see a foot specialist at least once in 2017.
  3. Be sure to tell your doctor about all the medications you’re taking in addition to your diabetes medication, including over-the-counter drugs and herbal remedies.
  4. Review the instructions for every medication you are taking. Set up automatic refills with your pharmacy to ensure you don’t forget to get them filled in a timely manner.
  5. Follow your schedule for checking your blood sugar. Put alarms on your phone to remind yourself when to check your sugar. Use an app to record your readings.
  6. Know the numbers that define your health: A1C, cholesterol, triglycerides, microalbumin, and blood pressure.
  7. Keep moving. Regular, moderate exercise can turn your body into a sugar burning machine. Start slowly — even a leisurely walk around the block is a step in the right direction.
  8. Take a look at your diet. Are you getting enough fruits, vegetables, and whole grains? Are you going easy on fat? See a dietitian if you have any doubts about your meals.
  9. Have a yearly Dilated Retinal Eye (DRE) exam. Make sure the eye specialist sends the results to your primary doctor.
  10. Schedule a dental exam twice a year.
  11. Get a flu shot in the fall.
  12. Get a renal function test and microalbumin test once during the year.
  13. Be prepared. Review the warning signs of low blood sugar and other complications. Keep necessary items such as glucose tablets on you at all times.
  14. Finally, Plan time for Fun. Doing the things you enjoy and trying something new is beneficial to your emotional health and well-being and can help build meaningful community connections that we sometimes lose when we are working hard to manage a chronic condition such as Diabetes.

For more information on trying new things – tune into our Blog in January 2017

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