Friday, April 29, 2011

Great things about being blind. Always there!

I always thought that  international guide dog day was on april 29.  I found this particularly appropriate because it was on April 29 1992, that I was introduced to my first guide dog.  The other day, I was horrified that guide dog day seems to have moved to april 27.  However, for me, guide dog day is april 29.  That was when my first guide (black lab Gwenny) came bouncing into my life.  I've had four guide dogs altogether.  I thank them all.  My howling blakc lab Gwenny (she howled when she got excited).  She was a fast fast walker!  A calm and steady worker.  A hard puller.  Hated the rain (as does my current black lab Tulia).  She showed me what guide dogs could do.  My yellow lab Margaret.  Very animal distracted.  One of the nicest dogs ever.  Barked a lot in the house.  Taught me how to handle with creativity challenging guide dog behaviours.  My golden retreiver Gia.  Steady and calm, sensitive and compassionate, quirky and fun.  She loved stuffed animal birds, she made fun squeaking noises when she got excited.  She guided me through my terrible arthritis flare with class and dignity.  My tiny shiny black lab Tulia.  Who wakes up happy every morning ready for the adventure.  With a phenomenal memory and a fun cute personality.  for all of them, who have been there through everything.  If I reach a hand out, there they are.  Beside the chair at the dentists, at my feet in planes, trains, buses, and cars.  Inboats and canoes.  Guiding us through heat and cold, blizzards and around and over snowbanks, across icy patches, in subways.  They sit through meetings, classes, workshops, storytelling perforamnces and concerts.  They are steady through sickness, loss and grief, laughter and fun times.  They have been up for walks and hikes and equally willing to lie quietly while I work at my desk.  They make me laugh, cause me to cry at their loss, fill me with independence, allow me to travel with dignity.  I thank them all.  I also thank the raisers who raised them and gave them up and the guide dog trainers who showed them their jobs.  Happy guide dog day.  Always the 29th for me.

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