April 30 For The Dogs

When my husband and I go for a walk or a tandem bike ride, we have noticed increased dog walking. We will stop to admire a well behave dog. I am asked “Why don’t you have a leader dog?” I usually laugh and reply,”I have a seeing eye husband.” But the real story is below.

For The Dogs
A number of years ago I was sent to training in Kalamazoo for computers, braille and cooking.
During the two week session I was exposed to many aspects of living with low vision. I adapted to most situations ,except leader dogs.
Two dogs were brought to the schools to introduce them to us. Gus a golden lab and Helga a large German Shepherd were paired with us to try to be lead by them through the halls.
Helga was paired with the men and the women were paired with the smaller Gus.
When it was my turn I was given some simple hand instructions to tell the Gus to go, stop, left and right. I have to confess that being a lefty I have always had difficulty telling my left from my right.
I grabbed the harness handle and flicked my hand forward while saying Gus forward. He happily complied . The trouble came when I wanted him to turn right. I said Gus Right but I gave the hand movement to turn left. He was confused and hesitated. I gave the verbal command but still gave the wrong hand signal. In desperation I told Gus to go forward but gave the hand signal to stop. Gus flopped down on the tiles and refused to get up. I guess that he was n’t going anywhere with a person that didn’t know her left from her right. Now if I had been paired with Helga , she would have probably been more aggressive and indicated you will come with me.
I don’t know if the dogs graduated to be leader dogs. Except for the brief introduction to leader dogs I did pass my classes. I know that I don’t have the skills to be partnered with a dog. I can only hope that Gus’s brief interaction with me didn’t ruin his training.

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