Monday, July 25, 2011

Great things about being blind. Safety in traffic.

When I decided to try getting a guide dog, I thought about how nice a dog would be to have around.  How they would help me to travel around more quickly.  I didn't think much about their work in traffic.  But, all of my dogs calmly and competently have saved us from being hit by vehicles.  Bikes, cars, taxis etc.  It is not true that our guide dogs read traffic lights.  They don't.  The dog and handler work together as a team.  When we reach an intersection, I tell the dog when to go forward by listening to the way the traffic is flowing.  If it is unsafe to do so however, the dog will refuse to cross.  But, it isn't in these situations that my dogs have saved us from being hit.  It is the vehicles who speed out of parking lot entrances without looking, one cab that actually drove on the sidewalk and Gia pulled me out of the way, and yesterday someone coming out of a driveway fast without looking where they were going.  My guide dog and I were out for a walk in the early quiet of the morning.
We were walking along a street where buses travel.  As a bus went by, we also had to cross a driveway entrance.  I could only hear the bus but hadn't heard anything as I approached the driveway.  Tulia stopped dead.  I felt a car go by and heard the tail end of it after the bus left.  The driver was obviously going fast and not looking!  I hugged tulia and gave her kibbles but she just walked calmly along.  Yes this is my job.  Yes it is good.  Yes we're okay.  No big deal.
Always, these incidents with traffic make me feel closer and more bonded with my guides.
Especially with crazy driving these days and people driving while texting, I'm so glad I have that extra set of eyes with me all of the time.

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