Seniors Situation by Dawn Ford – Seeing Eye Dogs, Cats, Hospice Needs & Why No Bus Service on Christmas in Cornwall?


DawnFord_SSRCFN – In 1927, a young man who was blind , Morris Frank, read a story about dogs being trained as guide dogs for blinded WW1 veterans.


According to the Seeing eye Organization website, he wrote to the author of the article asking for help because he was so frustrated with his mobility issues. The letter reached Dorothy Harrison Eustis, who at the time, was training German Shepherds in Switzerland to become Guide Dogs. She agreed to help him and he agreed to return home to the States and help the organization which was forming, to spread this wonderful good news of Guide Dogs.


After having completed his training in 1928 in Switzerland, Frank returned to New York City with his Guide Dog ‘Buddy, a female German Shepherd, to show the dog’s ability to lead a blind person safely. He proved that a blind man with his Guide could lead a normal life. The Seeing Eye , as the web site says, was born.

DF ed 35I was happily surprised to learn that the Seeing eye Organization is also in Canada. I received a note from their office in Toronto. I went on their web site and was deighted to see some of their gorgeous puppies and info about their organization. Guide Dogs are available for anyone 16-75 years of age who meets the organizations eligibility requirements. Please go to their website for more information and to read about this wonderful organization.

I first heard about the Seeing Eye organization when I read a book some years ago titled, ‘Love Leads the Way’. It was originally published as the “First Lady of the Seeing Eye’. It is the story of Morris Frank and his struggles with his blindness which occured after a boxing match accident . He also had to accept his new canine companion and guide.


As well, it tells how the Seeing Eye Organization was formed and its struggles to gain legislative and public acceptance of the Guide dog. Later, I saw the movie made by Walt Disney Studios starring Timothy Buttons, Eva Marie Saint and appearances by the wonderful Ralph Bellamy, Ernest Borgnine and Patricia Neal and still have my copy . It is an inspiring movie which tugs at the heart strings but also shows what can be accomplished with determination and courage.

Dogs are available in Canada now through the Seeing Eye Organization as well as our wonderful Canadian Guide Dogs .The Mira Foundation in Montreal offers companion dogs for different maladies as well as Guide dogs also. Go to their web sites for more information on these wonderful dogs.

dawn catPeople ask me where I got Tiger, my cat, big big baby. When my female cat died, after awhile, I went to the SPCA to get a short haired little female I could easily carry. I had had two long haired Main Coone cat types and although they were beautiful. the fur was always a big brushing job or it was all over the house. As I was looking at the poor little darling female cats in their cages, a male cat in a bottem cage kept poking his paw out and meowing at me.


The attendant said that she thought he had picked me out. I didn’t want a great big long haired male. He kept it up so she took him out of his cage and put him in my arms. He snuggled up and purred and purred. He was five years old and had been in the shelter for quite awhile. I guess that is why I looked good to him. It was love at first sight, I’m afraid. However, it wasn’t really what I wanted to do, so I decided to go home and think about it. But all I could think about was Tiger. So, I went back the next day. I asked the staff if Tiger was still available. She said, “He’s waiting for you”. I took him home. That was over six years ago. He’s put on a few pounds have I…lol

I was so sad to see that there would be no transportation for anyone on Christmas Day. Someone said to me that it was not an essential service. Well, I bet if you are disabled or can’t afford a cab to get somewhere, it is pretty essential to them. And the weather was so awful for anyone who had to walk anywhere. I wonder how these decisions are made and why??..especially at a very big holiday like Christmas .I know several people in electric wheelchairs who must have had to stay home. It is heartbreaking especially with turkey dinners being served at the Agora Center, the Agape Center and Trinity Anglican Church. Surely we can do better than that .

Hospice could use a few articles: Dove body Wash, white Tshirts(Med), Baby wipes, Paper towels and Lysol wet wipes. Call 613-938-2763for more information or visit their web site:

I was thinking about Hanukkah one day when I was getting my candles ready to light my menorah on Dec. 17th., the first day of Hanukkah. I am not Jewish but I love the Festival of Lights and I love my menorah. As I was lighting the menorah, all of a sudden a Jewish song, Hava Nagila ( Let us rejoice and be glad) which I had learned in Girl Guides as a teenager, came into my head. I remembered every word of it and even the dance we had learned which was probably the Hora. What prompted that, I wondered, when I can hardly remember all of the English songs we learned .I am beginning to think the aging brain is very strange . Well, mine is anyway. I have not heard ‘Hava Nagila in many many moons…too many to even guess and yet, every word was there for me to recite. I then realized I could also remember the words to a French song we had also learned, ‘Quand Le Soleil Dit Bonjour Aux Montagne’ but not all the words to an English song, ‘Land of the Silver Birch’. We used to sing that song paddling our canoes up in Doe Lake. I would really like to know why the brain has recorded the Jewish and French song so well in my brain and not the English ones. Someone said they thought it was because I had to memorize a different language. Could be .Any ideas??

From the newsletter that I receive from Robert and Sara Genn, artists:

Here are the four stages of life:

1) You believe in Santa Claus

2) You don’t believe in Santa Claus

3) You are Santa Claus

4) You look like Santa Claus

Happy New Year, Dawn

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  1. No bus service on Christmas Day….not uncommon in small cities. There is no bus service in Cornwall, Brockville or Kingston on Christmas Day. In small cities there are only a few bus drivers. So, there is not an abundance of drivers willing to give up their civic holiday to work. And probably their union contract calls for the day off. It’s not an easy situation to fix.

  2. Dawn here in Ottawa the buses run from very early morning till 2 a.m. some of them. I couldn’t live in a place that has no public transportation. Small places are out for us. There are small cities and have amalgamated and have transit to the other nearby towns but Cornwall remained behind. Ontario is literally broke and no hope for recovery. You are very lucky to remember the words and dances whereas I forget a lot of things and have to write things down to look up the meanings, etc.

    You sure are a lucky lady that the cat Tiger chose you that day and you have to be a mighty good person for Tiger to have sensed that he wanted you as his owner. Tiger keeps you company and keeps you busy at the same time. Happy New Year Dawn and all the best to you and to Tiger.

  3. Reality check….it just isn’t Cornwall that doesn’t have tramsit services on civic holidays.

  4. Hugger public transit is a must and there should never be strikes and call it an essential service. This service should be everyday and from early morning till late at night and should compromise all the small areas like Long Sault, Ingleside, Morriburg, St. Andrews, etc. etc. etc. People live and work in all these communities and there should be service. There is absolutely no excuse. What is going on in Cornwall is the theft of money and people work mighty hard to pay for taxes and get nothing in return. When we go down to Cornwall it is so mighty dead that it is like looking at a funeral that someone died – no life and nothing like what it used to be at all. The town literally died and it is the truth.

  5. I agree that transit is essential. However, the taxpayers cannot and will not continue to pay for services that are at the bare minimum revenue nuetral. We cannot continue to pay for services that costs continue to escalate without a fair return on investment. Transit is one service that should be more user paid and not taxpayer driven.

  6. Hugger and Jules, Happy New year to you both. I see transportation as an essential service for everyone who needs it also – especially in all the different kinds of weather we have from heat to cold. People need it to get around whether for work , shopping ,recreation, medical trips or whatever their needs are. Maybe smaller buses could be put on the road for those times of the least usage. The elements are apparently hard on things like electric wheelchairs and can cause costly repairs. Guess we have work to do to bring more transportation hours about.

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    What would really be nice is if drivers were given the option to volunteer for Christmas Day if they so chose. Limited service would not be a bad thing, even on the smaller buses as Dawn suggests.

  8. I agree transit service is essential. But running a transit route just for the sake of running a transit route makes no sense. Running transit routes that have little or no riders costs the taxpayers money and raises taxes. Perhaps on civic holidays the Handi-Transit service could be run with pre-book rides. But running any bus does not just involve a driver. You need admin and technical support available. It would not be as simple as drivers volunteering to drive on civic holidays.

  9. Yes, as Hugger suggests, it would be a team effort. But there is always a different way to do something. We could look for one that works for all concerned. In the 90’s, my husband who was blind and had a Guide dog, had to take the regular bus whenever he went somewhere. Several years ago, rules changed and he was allowed on the Handi-Transit bus with his Guide Dog. He told me how great all the drivers were to him. On Christmas and New year’s Eve, a lady arrived at our church in an electric wheelchair. She has to come on Saturday evenings because there is no transportation for her on Sundays. The driver brought her right into the front of the pews. I thought how special he seemed because he was so attentive to her, smiling at her and said something about coming back later. Nice to see.

  10. Hugger and Dawn there is a man who is blind who lives down the ways from me in one of the new single homes and he is blind and works in the federal government and rides the regular transit with his dog. When someone is disabled all passengers in the front seats have to get up and give their seats to the disabled. Even pregnant ladies have that priority as well. When I was pregnant here in Ottawa nobody gave their seat up for me and I had my son in my arms less than a year old with a sachel of diapers and bottles coming back from the babysitter from the west end of Ottawa and people were so mighty ignorant and I was pregnant and sick for my daughter. There are beefs that I have about the people of Ottawa and my husband who is sitting beside me now agrees.

  11. The bus wasn’t so much the problem as he had to wait on the side of the curb near where we lived on Iroquois Drive. He had to wait at the junction of St. Felix and Iroquois and wait. It was hard on the dog and he was always nervous of the dog stepping off the curb. He was much happier on the Handi-Transit bus which came right to our door for him.

  12. Yesterday being New Years OC Transpo was running and not charging the people so as to pick up people impaired and that is a good thing. Many people complain about the service here in Ottawa and yes I have to agree with the way some drivers behave as well as the general public. Dealing with the public is no easy thing and the abuse runs both ways. Many people who live in the Nepean area find things inconvenient and I have to agree with that having been out with my husband in the car and seeing where the bus doesn’t go in certain areas and very hard on seniors and people with disabilities.

  13. Dawn the handi transit is best and my mom always took that system to shop, go to the doctor, etc. People who cannot use the regular transit because of certain handicaps this is a great system and they come to my apartment building here in Ottawa to pick up passengers and they do a great job. That was good to hear about the man that you know about taking him to the church and placing him where the pews are located and told him that they would be back for him. Very good service.

  14. In Cornwall people can use those small buses like the size of the handi transit for regular use. You have to know the daily count of how many people use the bus and where they are going, etc. In the past during my childhood and onwards in Cornwall people used the bus system and people went to work using that system. Here in Ottawa it is non stop. We have big buses here in Ottawa even the accordion ones to hold more people. I hate those buses that are of England and I am petrified to get on that ever since that bus driver killed any people in Barrhaven along with CN train. Those should be eliminated altogether.

  15. Those “accordion” or “articulated” buses are actually made in North America. The ones Jules refers to were previously made in an Eastern Bloc country. The Eastern Bloc buses were never truly designed or tested for the Canadian climate.

  16. I have often seen empty buses or near empty ones during off hours. I was thinking that if the small buses were used during those times,gas money would be saved as well as wear and tear on the big buses and that money put toward some limited hours on Sundays and holidays. If there is a free bus day as we had this summer, it could be saved for July 1st when it is so hot or Christmas, etc. , just as one suggestion. Anything to help our more vulnerable citizens such as those in financial need and mobility problems. .

  17. Dawn I was saying that for a long time now hat small buses would be best for Cornwall and yes many people are under financial duress and need a little help. Here in Ottawa those ho receive welfare do get a free pass and I know this because of a woman that I used to know who lived in government housing but people who work making low incomes do not get that free pass. Small buses are the way to go.

  18. Dawn Ford…..a good idea. But it costs the same to run a large or a small bus. As well, it’s a question of supply. I don’t think the city has that many small buses.

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