TO THE MARKET

Jane and Margeaux

Jane Mosbacher Morris, Founder and CEO of TO THE MARKET (left) with Margeaux Gray and Junebug. | Photo credit: Chelsea Hudson Photography

Margeaux Gray, my mom, survived a traumatic childhood. However, she has not let the trauma define her. Today she is passionate about advocating against the injustice that was done to her. She has come upon many obstacles such as living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and blindness, but sees these simply as hurdles. They may have slowed her down a bit, but she has not let them stop her. She has found a way around. My mom is an advocate, motivational speaker, and artist. Through her voice and art she is educating, empowering, and working to create the change she envisions for the world.

Part of my job as my mom’s guide dog is to guide her to all of her advocacy and speaking engagements. Last Friday I flew with my mom to Washington D.C. The weather was beautiful. The warm blanket of sunshine rested on my fur as I guided her from our hotel to speak at TO THE MARKET‘s “Sip, Shop, and Be Inspired” pop-up event.

TO THE MARKET | Survivor-Made Goods | Photo credit: Chelsea Hudson Photography

TTM2 TO THE MARKET | Survivor-Made Goods | Photo credit: Chelsea Hudson Photography

TO THE MARKET, founded by Jane Mosbacher Morris (CEO), is a retailer that sales survivor-made goods crafted by artisans who have lived through abuse, conflict, and disease. Their mission, “combines the powers of commerce and storytelling to empower the world’s most courageous survivor populations, in the belief that resilience is more powerful than suffering.” I definitely recommend that you check the online store out.

My mom is on TO THE MARKET‘s advisory board and I supposed that means by proxy I am as well. Personally, if you ask me, I think I can offer some pretty dog gone good advice. 😉

I am proud of the work my mom is doing. We are a team and I love being her guide dog as well as a co-advocate on her mission to make a difference.

At the event my mom spoke about action and freedom.

Two things my mom stressed in her speech was:

“With thoughtful action, we can all make a difference.”

“Freedom is not black and white. It is a kaleidoscope of different colors, shapes, and sizes.”

The big laugh of the night came when mom was trying on shoes which were being sold at TO THE MARKET‘s pop-up shop. After trying on a few pairs, she went to put back on the shoes she came to the event wearing. Something wasn’t feeling right. After a minute of trying to find her right shoe, she suddenly realized the problem. My mom had worn two different shoes and they were both lefts! How funny is that? Needless to say, we all had a good laugh.

Sometimes, my mom’s blind girl problems ultimately work out in her favor. The Root Collective was their selling shoes and mom left with a beautiful pair Dusty Cayenne Diamond ballet flats.

On our flight home my mom was reflecting on her gratitude for independence. I was comfortably resting my head on her shoes. She told me she loved me and thanked me for giving her another whole level of freedom. She said that liberty can even come in the form of a 62 pound yellow Labrador guide dog named Junebug.

Junebug

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Junebug Stops at the Grocery

Junebug guiding Margeaux down the grocery store isle. | © 2015

My friends, the other day, at the Trader Joe’s (grocery), I prevented a mass collision of all kinds of dramatic sorts.

Let me explain.

Junebug, stopping for the grocery carts. | © 2015

This past Sunday morning I was guiding my mom into the store. At the same time, a clerk was pushing in a line of stacked back-to-back carts. My mom was oblivious to them. I however, was not. I remembered my training from Guide Dogs for the Blind. I came to a sudden stop when I concluded there would not be enough time for me to guide my mom further forward without us being run down.

My coming to a sudden stop was a que to my mom that we had an obstacle of some kind in our way. She saw with her peripheral vision (her central vision is impaired) a red line and heard the sound of the carts. Mom realized what I had just done for her— that this Bug came to her rescue once again, wags.

The clerk stopped at the same time I did. He was thoroughly impressed with my guide dog skills.

Are you impressed, too?

Junebug guiding Margeaux at the grocery store. | © 2015

After that, I went on to guide my mom to shop for her groceries. We were shopping with a store clerk. My moms visual impairment prevents her from being able to see to read print. I do a lot of things for my mom, but I leave the reading up to her human  assistants. I guided  mom to the stores customer service desk where she requested help shopping. The clerk helped her by reading to her the prices of items, ingredients, and etc.

I listened to my mom as I guided her through the store and she gave me directions to “follow,” “Junebug, left,” and “Junebug, right.” I guided her around poles and other peoples carts. The cool thing is with me as her transportation, unless she sees these things in her peripheral vision, she doesn’t even know they are there. You got it, I guide her right around them. Safely, of course. How cool is that? My mom says it makes for a smooth ride, wags.

My favorite isle at the grocery, paws down, is the dog food/treat/toy isle. I always make a premeditated effort to take a trip down this section.

Lastly I guided my mom to the checkout counter. She used her knowledge of the stores layout and her ears to direct me to the general area. She then gave me the command to “find the checkout.” And, I found it for her, wags!

My mom said she is so grateful and thankful for the extra independence having me as her guide gives her.

This Bug has skills. If I’m guiding and it’s not safe to continue, I’ll stop in the name of love. Admittedly, part of that might be a little self-preservation. 😉

When we got home, mom put up the groceries and proceeded to give me a great big tummy rub. They are the BEST, ever. While she was rubbing my tummy, I couldn’t keep my tail from wagging (see video). I was a proud Bug.

Junebug holds her new stuffing free bunny toy in her mouth.| © 2015

Oh oh oh, and guess what? That evening, my mom bought me a new toy. She bought me a stuffing free bunny rabbit. It’s soft, crinkly, and squeaks. I LOVE it!

Here’s the truth. The truth is, I love my mom. We are one PAWsome team. I love doing a good job and I am proud to be a guide dog for the blind.

Wags,
Junebug

* Note from my mom, Margeaux: Thank you for following my guide dog, Junebug’s adventures. I am an advocate, motivational speaker and artist. I also happen to be partially blind/visually impaired. Please feel free to visit my site margeauxgray.com  If interested in contacting me and or booking me (and Junebug of course, too!) for your event, please click here and fill out the contact form. I will reply to your email in which I’ll attach a speakers request form and an honorarium and travel guidelines document.

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