Saturday, January 21, 2012

Icy sidewalks

People often ask me how I get around in the snow.  With banks to clamber over, mounds of snow in our path, icy sidewalks.  I tackle first, the icy sidewalk question.  I do wear ice grippers on my boots when I know it is going to be particularly icy.  These, I have to choose carefully though as they can hurt my guide dog's paws if I get ones that are too sharp.  I also have to remember to take them off quickly before going inside as they are dangerous when walking on floors.  If you wear them outside, you can fall inside with them on.  If you don't, you are safe inside but can fall outside!  I imagine that sighted people scan upcoming sidewalks for icy patches.  They watch others, watch the ground.  I listen.  Do I hear others slipping.  And, I walk carefully.  All of my guide dogs have gotten to the place where they recognize ice and slow down for it.  Unfortunately, I have had to fall with each dog before they figured this out.  I fell last year on ice with Tulia.  She instantly jumped into my lap and was concerned that she made a mistake.  This morning, some sidewalks were snow covered.  Some were icy.  It was terribly cold when we headed off for our yoga class.  We were walking along over snow covered sidewalks.  We turned a corner.  The sidewalk was shere ice.  I started to slide a little.  I wasn't wearing ice grippers.  Tulia slowed right down.  Then she curved herself in front of my legs and stopped, bracing me.  No one taught her to do that.  She stood there.  Her little black body against my legs.  Wagging.  I hugged her.  Then, as we carried on up the icy sidewalk, I heard the neat sound of doggy boots on the ground on a quiet saturday morning.  A pitter patter sound.  tulia remembers ice and has figured out what to do.  Slow down, be careful, and if necessary, provide a brace for moving legs.  Good good girl!  Lots of kibbles inhaled at the next corner.

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