BY SCOTTIE TAYLOR IVERSONCOMMUNITY EDITOR
Nationally recognized professional inspirational speaker, author and musician Gail Hamilton wants the public to be aware of and sensitive to the special attention to be paid to service guide dogs. These precious animals go through rigorous training and offer tremendous value and responsibility. Their loyalty and purpose to their masters is unparalleled. Any accident or thoughtless incident could lead to injury to them or their owner or end of service. One such incident was related by Gail Hamilton who is a visionary although blind. She was crowned Ms. Colorado Senior in 2013 and received a standing ovation when she belted out an aria from Puccini’s Nessun Dorma at the national competition, placing in Top 5. “I had to retire my spectacular Seeing Eye dog on April 28, 2019, after only being with him for six months; which breaks my heart,” she said. “Sarge was the best dog I’ve had in over 20 years!” On her way to church one morning, a woman allowed her dog to come in contact with Sarge in the middle of a busy intersection. The woman had said – “It’s okay,” but it wasn’t. Her actions had a devastating repercussion that changed Sarge’s life and Gail’s. Sarge couldn’t resist the temptation of that barking dog inches from his face and they got into a brawl. Since her life was in his eyes and paws, Gail’s safety was at risk. “Unfortunately, he had to return to the Seeing Eye in Morrsitown, New Jersey on May 9 and I’ll never walk the streets, pet his soft ears or play Kong with him again,” said Gail. “After agonizing weeks, I have learned that Sarge has been selected to be trained as a bomb sniffing police dog. I am still crying over the loss of him. I have applied for dog six, but it could take up to six months to a year before I am matched.”
Gail recently learned of another incident on Washington, D.C. A woman and her guide dog were using an escalator and a man decided he absolutely had to pass them. He accidentally stepped on the dog’s foot and the dog yelped. His foot got caught in the device and he had to have surgery. Very possibly, the dog will not be able to work again – physically or emotionally. This is why Gail is so willing to get the word out. It’s a Class 3 misdemeanor to distract a Seeing Eye dog. This includes when approaching a Seeing Eye dog, interact or speak to a Seeing Eye dog or its owner, feeding or looking into the eyes of a Seeing Eye dog. Or, allow your dog to come in contact with a Seeing Eye dog, no matter what! The holder of two Masters Degrees, she is passionate about everything she undertakes and welcomes opportunities from personal, professional, legislative and media outlets to bring to light this obscure issue and insure independence and safety for all guide dog teams.
Please contact her: Gail@SoaringIntoGreatness.com or 720-984-8082.
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