As both Jamie and I have mentioned in a past post or two, my guide dog Keeta and I head out for a walk for an hour or so every morning. As a recently diagnosed diabetic, the exercise is great for me. Keeta loves it too, and to tell the honest truth I really enjoy walking.
Today, I happened upon a couple of other people who got me to thinking about different responses that can either help or hinder the individual who is being guided by a dog. In both cases, the folks who I encountered had the best of intentions, but one strategy succeeded, while the other didn't. Let me elaborate.
As Keeta and I walked along the sidewalk enjoying the weather, I noticed someone approaching. I really didn't give it much thought until, the person was passing in the opposite direction on my left. Just as she passed right next to me, the small dog, apparently held high in her arms chose that very second to inflate eager lungs and bellow forth directly into my ear. With no idea that the lady was even carrying a dog, I was instantly nearly airborn.
"Woof!" Keeta replied, not to be outdone. "Woo woo woof!"
The little guy who had just passed us from it's perch in the lady's arms apparently suddenly saw his position as unsafe. At least I assume that was the case as suddenly the lady shouted, "Ouch! You're hurting me! Bad bad bad little boy! Your wittle cwahzies are sharp and they hurt!"
She then mumbled something else that I won't print here as we run a family blog. And was it my imagination or did I feel Keeta's tail wag against my leg. Just a small wag and only one, but yes, I'm fairly sure that I'm right.
Keeta and I continued along on our walk, when we encountered yet another dog. How do I know? Well, the lady who was walking along nearby said, "I'm walking in the street with my dog." With those few words, I knew all that I needed to know. A few feet to my left was a person and a dog. I could then watch for any sign of Keeta's distraction and move along on my way.
The moral of the stories is a simple yet important one. If you're one of those wonderful people who treats your good dog to a good walk and you should happen to encounter a blind person with a dog, let them know that you and your dog are nearby. More often than not, the guide dog handler will thank you for it.
Contributed by Larry Naessens