If you are taking classes with Aria Mia, you'll have a furry companion joining you in the classroom. Because Aria is legally blind, Ingrid will be accompanying her during instruction to offer guidance when needed. For those of you that may have questions or concerns about sharing space with Ingrid, below is some more information about what to expect. We hope you will join us in offering support to Aria as she continues her yogic journey, now with a loving companion by her side.
Ingrid is a black English Labrador Retriever, bred, raised, and trained by Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) in San Rafael, California, specifically as a service animal for a blind or legally blind handler. She began her Guide Dog socialization at about six weeks old, started rigorous formal training at about nine months old, and underwent several official examinations to earn her status as a certified service animal. Based on her speed, stature, temperament, and personality, Ingrid was specially matched with Aria by GDB. Aria and Ingrid then underwent an intensive training and examination process together as a working team.
No. Many of guide dog handlers do have some vision. Guide dog handlers must be either blind (no vision) or legally blind (low vision). All guide dog handlers have been trained professionally in orientation and mobility skills with and without their guide dogs.
Aria Mia’s eye condition is called Achromatopisa. This means that she is legally blind and fully color blind. Her vision is 20/250 in typical indoor lighting like the studio, meaning what she can see 20 feet away, the average person with 20/20 vision can see at 250 feet away. Outdoors in sunlight, Aria Mia is completely blind unless she wears dark glasses. A guide dog helps Aria Mia navigate throughout and between different environments safely.
The guide dog helps her navigate between classes and in and out of the building in a safe and efficient manner. It must be with her at all times and is trained to sit stilly and quietly in this type of environment.
If students have allergies, they should place their yoga mat in the back row. Ingrid will remain in the front of the room next to Aria Mia’s yoga mat throughout the entire class. She sheds very little, and to cut down, if not eliminate, what little shedding she has, Ingrid will be groomed every Monday immediately prior to arriving at All That Matters. She is also eating anti-shed dog food, and Aria Mia will wipe down her coat with anti-allergy dog wipes before every class
A guide dog should not be petted, touched, distracted, or engaged while it is working and wearing its harness. Even if it appears that the guide dog is resting and is sitting quietly or not actively guiding the handler, it is still working. It's important for a working dog to stay focused for the safety of the team and maintenance of training standards. It's an essential courtesy to first ask for permission from the handler before engaging with a guide dog. Do not offer a guide dog food or treats.
Yes. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, a guide dog must be allowed any place a person can go and must accompany their handlers in all environments and circumstances as such. Guide Dogs are legally protected. Guide dogs are trained to stand, sit, or lie quietly in public places when not leading.