Blind World Magazine


Hit and run driver injures guide dog.





November 05, 2005.
Florida Today.




The car that hit Frosty didn't stop.


Her blind master, frantic after the leather harness leaped from his hand, found his seeing-eye guide dog by following the sound of her yelps.


"I finally found my dog in the road," said Frank Obremski, who became totally blind two years ago after years of failing sight due to retinitis pigmentosa.


About 7 p.m. Thursday, Frosty and Frank made their nightly 5-mile trek along Windover Way in Titusville, where the speed limit is 35 mph. They clung to a bike path on the roadside, but a car veered close enough to hit the yellow Labrador retriever and kept going.


Obremski can give little information to help police find the driver.


"I think it was a car, the way the thud sounded," said Obremski, 57, who operates a vending concession at Kennedy Space Center.


Frosty suffered a broken pelvis and will survive. Obremski, however, is distraught over the possibility that Frosty might be too crippled to work as his guide dog, which, in a sense, once again deprives him of sight, mobility and freedom.


"Wherever I am, she's there," he said. "She's an extension of me. To have her dragged out of my hand . . . "


He paused to choke back tears for a moment.


"This is the most horrible thing I've ever been through."


Frosty was trained by Southeastern Guide Dogs Inc. in Bradenton. The nonprofit organization carefully selects puppies with the right temperament for the $30,000 worth of training needed to become a guide dog.


In some ways, the 3-year-old Frosty is more human than dog. While sleeping, she cuddles a cloth Mickey Mouse doll. She can lead Obremski back to his hotel room when he attends conventions. She likes grandkids and cats, and seems to enjoy walking with her master to the Waffle House for breakfast. She is streetwise in traffic.


"She will step in front of me and push me back," Obremski said.


By making her master more independent during the past year, Frosty has given the whole family more freedom.


"He'll go out and have breakfast before I'm even up," Obremski's wife, Dee, said.


The family reported the incident to the Brevard County Sheriff's Office and the Florida Highway Patrol. Daughter Tiffany Obremski plans to put up posters offering a reward for information about the hit-and-run driver.


Mother and daughter worry that if Frosty, scheduled for pelvic surgery on Monday, can no longer work as a guide dog, the family will face a dramatic setback.


Already Obremski plans to limit his long walks.


"The longest he's been without Frosty since he got her has been four or five hours," Tiffany Obremski said. "My mom and I are worried that dad is afraid to want to walk on the road anymore. We love that dog so much."


Contact Peterson at 242-3549 or ppeterson@flatoday.net


If you have any information, call the north precinct of the Brevard County Sheriff's Office at 264-5100.



Source URL: http://www.floridatoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051105/NEWS01/511050325/1006.




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