Thursday, January 13, 2011

Great things about being blind. Listening to dogs walk in their boots.

Okay okay once again you are on hold with the airline material. I'm a storyteller. I know what it is to build suspense! Smile! Yesterday, Tulia wore her dog boots when we were out and about. I've had quite a history with dog boots. In fact, I have a pile of dog boots at home. Lots of colours, lots of types, but very few full sets. Until now! Touch wood. Tulia tolerates boots and even keeps them on. AMAZING! My first experience with dog boots was with my first guide dog. She hated the road salt as all of my guides have. The vet suggested to get some boots, put them on, harness her up, and go for a walk right away all the time praising her for wearing her boots. So, I did. Now, this was a dog who wouldn't wear a coat. Would actually sit down in the pouring rain until you removed it. Would refuse to walk if wearing anything more than her harness. I should have known she would't stand boots. So off we went for our walk around the neighbourhood. Every few minutes, I kept saying, "Good girl for wearing your boots." Blind rooky mistake. I didn't check to see if boots were all on. Now, this is a problem in itself when you're totally blind. It's freezing cold winter weather. The dog needs boots on. I need gloves on. With gloves on, it is as if I am blindfolded. I can't feel whether or not boots are on. In that first walk, I chirped enthusiastically, "Good good girl for wearing your boots." When I arrived home and went to remove boots, only one boot remained on a paw. So whoever heard me enthusiastically talking about nonexistent dog boots, if you're out there, I eventually figured it out. My second dog wouldn't wear boots either. Gia my retired dog (still living with me now) tolerated them but didn't keep them on well. Once, going to work in the midst of a bad snow, she lost two and work staff went out searching. They found one. In the spring, one of my colleagues found the other hanging from a bush. She almost had a car accident stopping her car to run and grab the dog boot. In the mean time, another colleague went to a pet store, found a package of three boots and begged the staff to give it to the blind woman and her hard working guide dog. He actually did. So now, Tulia will wear her boots. She has nice red ones given to us by guide dogs for the blind
But she also has purple balloon boots called pawz which she wears too.
Her red boots are ruffwear and they are very good as well.
I don't hear it so much with the pawz boots but with the ruffwear boots, I love to hear her walk in them.
Sometimes she sounds like someone shuffling their feet in bedroom slippers.
Sometimes her feet make a little pat pat pat noise on the ground.
I love the sound of it.
And yes yesterday I did the usual.
Get to a corner or somewhere to stop, pull off one glove, lean down, feel each leg to make sure boot is in place, give kibble reward to the dog, put glove on, and proceed forwards.
I've wished that someone could invent something like those strings for mittens moms used to put in our coats so even if the dog loses a boot, she doesn't. It's very cold today. You may see us. Tulia prancing and tapping and shuffling. Me, gloves off, check boots, offer kibble, gloves on. If you do see me, you could save me a little coldness by telling me Tulia still is wearing all four boots. My hands will thank you.

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