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Tiny horse trains as guide for blind Muslim woman
by Ben Leubsdorf
Mona Ramouni seems more nervous than Cali as they ride the rattling bus to work for the first time.
"You're a good girl, you're OK, you're OK," Ramouni says softly, stroking Cali -- a 3-year-old former show horse that stands about 2 1/2 feet tall, weighs about 125 pounds and has trained since November to become Ramouni's guide.
Ramouni lost her sight to retinopathy of prematurity shortly after birth. She relies on her family to guide her around the Detroit suburbs where she's lived, studied and worked for all of her 28 years.
She wants more independence, but a traditional guide dog isn't an option. Many Muslims consider dogs unclean, and Ramouni, an observant Sunni, respects her Jordanian-born parents' aversion to having a dog in the home where she lives along with three of her six siblings.
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