Over the past couple of days, two people, both total strangers, talked about my guide dogs. They have both seen my last two guides in action. Tulia (my current guide who is a tiny black lab) and Gia (my retired golden retriever guide who lived with us after her retirement last fall until she died of cancer this past winter).
One woman came up to us on the street. There was a lot of construction. It was hot. Tulia was having some difficulty figuring out the way. So was I.
Tulia does not always like strange surfaces under foot and was hesitant to cross this surface of bricks and go past the machines.
I had stopped to listen and figure things out.
This woman came up and said, "Your new dog isn't very good. Not as good as your old one is it?"
I was incensed.
I hate when people ask me to compare guides.
All of my guides have been different and similar in some ways.
It is like people comparing kids.
Besides, it was a complex siutation and I was trying to figure it out too.
I said very nastily to her that all of my guides have been wonderful. They've all had quirks and personalities and which of us people also hasn't made a mistake or had a rough day?
She thought about it and said, "I never thought of that. I just thought they were perfect all of the time."
I said, "They're dogs. They're not robots. NOne of us is perfect."
"That's true," she said, and then she said, "I like goldens better than labs. YOur other dog was so beautiful but I guess this one is good too."
Okay! Now we get to the bottom of it. She prefers long golden fur.
The next day, Tulia was guiding me through a crowded local building. She slowed down, was very careful, and found the door outside without hesitation.
A man came up and said, "That dog is so much smarter than you're other one isn't she?"
"No." I said and then asked if he had a lab preference.
Turns out he did.
I gave him the same speech I gave her.
He seemed happy to converse about it.
He too thoughts guides were always perfect.
I smiled as we left the building.
I'm so glad to have met and worked with these four wonderful doggy souls who each give me so much and teach me a lot.
Each one has been different and unique with strengths and weaknesses and it has been and continues to be a pleasure getting to figure these out and work together.