CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Charlotte woman who is blind is raising awareness about guide dogs.
Luz Marina Rosenfeld has a guide dog serving as her eyes when she leaves her home.
What You Need To Know
A Charlotte woman said she had a close call with a garbage truck while walking with her guide dog
Luz Marina Rosenfeld wants to remind people guide dogs wear harnesses
Rosenfeld asks drivers to make stops and pay close attention to the person who is walking
“I enjoy my life walking with my dog, smelling things, listening to birds. This is more than music,” Rosenfeld said.
Rosenfeld said she became blind after being a victim of domestic violence decades earlier.
“My first husband was a Vietnam veteran, and he had post-traumatic stress [disorder]. I was hit with a gun in the face,” Rosenfeld said.
She said these injuries contributed to her starting to lose her vision at age 48 in one eye and becoming blind six years later.
“It still hurts,” Rosenfeld said.
She pursued rehabilitation programs to maintain her independence.
“Then you live and look for what to do to do better for your life,” Rosenfeld said.
Since the pandemic, she turned her passion for gardening into her job and now designs container gardens.
“If you have a nice vegetable, you can adorn that with flowers,” Rosenfeld said.
She also exercises indoors and walks around her neighborhood thanks to her guide dog.
She’s had her current dog, Verna, since the fall thanks to the nonprofit organization The Seeing Eye. Rosenfeld trained with Verna for a month before bringing her home.
Verna is her second guide dog. Her first guide dog passed away at age 15 after health complications from a surgery.
When Rosenfeld walks in her neighborhood, she pays close attention to sounds and surfaces.
Verna follows suit, if she doesn’t see any danger. Back in February, Verna didn’t follow the "forward" command when crossing the street because of an oncoming garbage truck.
“She yanked me back. The car was right there,” Rosenfeld said. “I thought I was going to have a heart attack.”
Rosenfeld said the vehicle didn’t come to a complete stop at the stop sign.
“Always make your stops, look at the person who is walking,” Rosenfeld said.
Rosenfeld said the driver in question didn’t realize Verna was a guide dog.
“The truck driver said ‘I thought you were training the dog, you didn’t see me?’” Rosenfeld said.
One little thing Rosenfeld wants everyone to know is guide dogs wear harnesses, and they give people like her freedom.
“This is my cane. I don’t have to have a cane for you to know I’m blind,” Rosenfeld said.
She’s grateful Verna saved her life and hopes to raise awareness to keep everyone safe on the road.