Newsplex - Martha Jefferson HealthWise - Headlines

Healthwise: Guiding Eyes for the Blind

February 23, 2011

In this week's Martha Jefferson Healthwise, CBS19's Stephanie Satchell highlights the work of an unique physical therapist hoping to make life much easier for one person living in a world of darkness.

Bette is a seven month old guide dog in training for the "Guiding Eyes for the Blind" program. Michele Howe works with Bette at the Martha Jefferson Outpatient Care Center in Charlottesville.

"Usually, we come to the Outpatient Care Center about 5:30 a.m. and go down to the gym where nobody is. There we run around the gym and play ball and work on her commands and then when my first patient comes at 6:30 a.m., she is here in the room with me and she is on a leash," said Michele Howe, a physical therapist.

Whether Howe is treating patients on the table or watching them walk on the treadmill, Bette tags along and learns how to interact with people.

"When she's a guide dog she'll be out in the world with her blind person, so bringing her to work she's able to meet a lot of people, she's able to learn how to sit and stay for prolonged periods," said Howe.

Howe says all the training will help to make Bette a better guide dog, and help the future owner of Bette to be more independent.

"It opens up their world they can travel throughout the city and know where they're going. It's also a great ice breaker people are very receptive to blind people with dogs, and they give them a certain sense of security," said Howe.

After her training, Bette will travel to New York for an evaluation. If she passes she will go through more intense training and then be paired with a blind person who needs her.


The comments sections of Newsplex.com are designed for thoughtful, intelligent conversation and debate. We want to hear from our viewers, but we only ask that you use your best judgment. E-mail is required, but will not be displayed with comment.

  • Comments cannot be profane or vulgar. We will not post comments that use profanity or cross the lines of good taste.
  • We will not post comments that use hate speech. Slurs, stereotypes and violent talk aren’t welcome on our website.
  • Comments should not attack other readers or people featured in our stories personally. Any accusations should be backed up with facts.
  • Any comment we post will be posted in its entirety. We do not edit any comment that we post.
     
  • Comments should contribute to the discussion. We will not post comments that don't advance the discussion. Flaming and/or trolling will not be tolerated.
     
  • Comments should not attack other posters. Let's keep the focus on the content of the story.

    As a host Newsplex.com welcomes a wide spectrum of opinions. However this is a site that we host. We have a responsibility to all our readers to try to keep our comment section fair and decent. For that reason The Newsplex reserves the right to not post or to remove any comment.

    If you have any ideas to improve the conversation or this section let us know. Send an e-mail to webmaster@newsplex.com.

 

powered by Disqus
The Charlottesville Newsplex 999 2nd Street S.E. Charlottesville, VA 22902 434.242.1919 – Main 434.220.7522 - Newsroom
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 116780028