Guide Dogs of Texas

IMG_0111_FotorThe Low Vision and Rehabilitation Club, a student organization at RSO, invited its members to a tour of the Guide Dogs of Texas last week.  The Guide Dogs of Texas is a not-for-profit organization that provides quality guide dogs to Texans who are visually impaired to increase the client’s freedom, mobility, and independence.

During the one-hour tour, we got to hear from three different clients about their visual impairment and success stories with guide dogs, and we also got to meet all of the clients’ guide dogs, including one named Cody.  Two staff members and one of the clients, who also served as a volunteer for the organization, gave us a tour of the grounds and facilities.  We were able to tour the kennel, which at the moment housed several guide dogs, including Duncan, and tour the residential training facility, where clients stay for a few weeks to receive training with their matched guide dogs.  We also got to watch Cosmo, another guide dog, navigate a staff member down a walkway with set obstacles to the staff member’s desired destination, in the same fashion as he would with a client in the client’s daily life.

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The tour allowed me to learn more about the advantages, requirements, and limitations of having a guide dog.  Advantages included increased freedom, mobility, and independence for the client.  Some requirements included being legally blind and being capable of caring for the guide dog.  A limitation was that the client had to know how to get to certain destinations (a client must know how many blocks and in which direction the restaurant is away from home) because guide dogs do not initially know that information.  I also learned about several fun volunteer opportunities available with the organization, including puppy raising, puppy sitting, and visiting the kennel to play with the guide dogs, which all sound like dream volunteer opportunities for dog lovers.

If you would like to support Guide Dogs of Texas, there are several ways to donate:

  • Participate in The Big Give S.A., a 24-hour day of giving, on May 6, 2014 and make a minimum online donation of $10 to Guide Dogs of Texas.
  • Make an online donation directly on the Guide Dogs of Texas website.
  • Shop online at AmazonSmile, and Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to Guide Dogs of Texas.
  • Apply for the Guide Dogs of Texas Capital One Visa Card, and Guide Dogs of Texas will receive $50 after your first purchase, 2% donation on gas and grocery purchases, and 1% donation on all other purchases.

AOA 2014 Presidents’ Council Meeting

Jan 17, 2014 — This year’s American Optometric Association (AOA) Presidents’ Council Meeting was held in San Antonio, at Bowden Eye Care & Health Center on 2547 East Commerce Street. The UIW Rosenberg School of Optometry did an amazing job hosting this event! I was blown away at how they made the Eye clinic so festive!

UIWRSO Student Ambassadors

The theme of the event was “fiesta,” a Latin flare blew through the building as the San Antonio all female mariachi band, Las Coronelas, danced and sang. All the state optometric leaders came in by bus around 6-7pm. RSO students in bright red scarves and ties greeted the special guests by giving a tour of the building.

The Bowden Clinic is one of RSO’s newest additions – a 30,000 square-foot modern public health care facility, which serves the vision care needs of residents on the Eastside and surrounding areas. Patients are seen by licensed eye care doctors and student interns from UIWRSO.

Waiters served hors d’œuvres on the first floor; where the lobby and optical was open for the doctors to talk and mingle. Greeters may bring guests upstairs to feast on more Tex Mex food. My favorite was the cheese and bell pepper quesadillas!  When I went upstairs to take pictures, I had a great time talking to Dr. Chapman, O.D., M.S., F.A.A.O., Director of Clinics at the UIW Rosenberg School of Optometry, and he showed me all the new equipment housed at this facility.  I’m very excited to have the opportunity to work with all of the state-of-the-art equipment.

Afterwards, I had a lively chat with the state optometric leaders from Pennsylvania. Dr. Marianne E. Boltz, O.D., F.A.A.O., President of the Pennsylvania Optometric Association, was delighted to hear that I was interested in Pediatric optometry, and told me all about her active experiences in optometry school and with American Optometric Student Association (AOSA).

Just before I left, Denisse Lopez, Class of 2016 and AOSA RSO Trustee 2014-15, said “I want you to meet someone.” So I went downstairs and met up Denisse and Raelyn Ottenbreit UIWRSO Trustee 2013-2014, and they introduced me to James Deom, PCO-Salus, AOSA 2013-2014 President, Devin Sasser, UMSL College of Optometry, AOSA 2014-2015 President, and Robert Foster, AOSA Executive Director. They are a charismatic group and were very attentive when I told them about my passion for COVD and my hopes of getting more involved with the AOSA!