Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Great things about being blind. Having a dog with you when you are lost

I have always had very good sense of direction and good mobility skills. However, we all get lost. Before I had my guide dog, getting lost was much more scary. There was no one to share that experience with. The expression, "two heads are better than one" applies here. Two heads, six legs, one wagging tail, are better than one head, two legs for sure. All of my guides and I have been turned around or lost at one time or another. And we've always made it back to where we wanted to be. With a dog, people stop to tell you how beautiful they are. You can then ask for directions. No one ever stops to admire a white cane. With a dog, you can stop, take a breath, pat them, and feel the calmness a dog brings you. You can then think clearly. Often too, our dogs just know where we should go. You can listen and head towards where you hear traffic, people talking or moving etc. I wouldn't say being lost is fun at any time. It is more fun with a dog though. Someone in sending kind words about my guide Gia who just died, talked about her guiding our whole volunteer management class out of a building. soon after I got home with Gia, I was taking a certificate in volunteer management. We had some courses in the most confusing building ever. The building was like a circle and so you could wander around and around looking for the right class and looking for the way out. Blind or sighted, no one liked that building. We started a class in there one night. Somehow we found our way to class and at the end, Gia bounced up and started guiding me confidently down the hall. Classmates asked if I knew where I was going and how to find the walkway to the next building and the way to get ouside? I said I didn't know where I was at all but Gia seemed to know where she wanted to go. The whole class was following us in a line. Gia started to really wag and strut. She would turn her head to look back and wag even more proudly. She walked for quite some time. I started to think she didn't know where we were either but then she made a quick turn and there we were on the walk way between buildings and headed for the entrance. At the end of each class, Miss Gia led the group out. She was so proud and I was so proud of her. Without her, I might still be wandering around in that crazy building. Thank you Gia.

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