Blind World Magazine

Pet Peeves of Guide Dogs.
by Alysia Wells.

From time to time, in addition to it's regular features and articles, Blind World Magazine likes to include original material submitted by it's readers.

This month's selection, Pet Peeves of Guide Dogs, was written by Alysia Wells from the viewpoint of the Guide Dogs themselves. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Pet Peeves of Guide Dogs.
by Alysia Wells.
September 2006.

Hi, welcome to our monthly guide dog support group. Present today are: Alex, Fred, BJ, John, Teddy, and Heidi. Two of us are yellow labs, two are golden retrievers, Teddy is a black lab, and Heidi is the proud German shepherd. We are here to talk about stuff, things that happen, what we do, what our people do. We gnaw our bones, brag, complain, compare notes. For the most part, we try to keep things light, just loosen up, stretch and yawn, groan and shed a little.

Sometimes we share adventures like when Alex and Fred went on a cruise! During one session, we talked exclusively about various weather conditions and all the stress with that. We like to daydream and speculate, like asking each other: Did you ever wish you worked for someone else or that you were just a pampered pet? Today, our topic is how the public treats us. We would like to organize an article for Dog Tales Magazine about this subject, but we're kind of lazy. Now if you're an observer here, keep these confessions confidential because we have reputations to protect and we have noses to keep clean.

We are trained professionally as guide dogs for our blind users, but we inevitably serve other purposes for the public. We evoke a variety of emotions from intense fear to passionate adoration. We invite it all from being scorned to being worshipped. We influence people's attitudes and behavior because we're so visible, and well, so amazing and beautiful! We constantly enter situations where other dogs aren't allowed.

Last week in this restaurant, this lady just stared at me wildly and rushed over to our table, Fred offers. She focused on me and completely ignored my person. She immediately bent down, petted me, not realizing her hand smelled so strongly of her recently devoured hamburger. I started to oblige, just a little response, a tiny tailwag, then I was corrected! He's working and should not be distracted, my person stated in a friendly tone, because of course, this lady's dignity must be spared, I suppose.

Yeah, in this drugstore yesterday, John chimes in, this kid just zoomed toward me and pounced on me, like I have no private space! The kid didn't want to hear that I was working and said: I want to play with him! He's not working at all!

Hey, were any of you ever confused with a statue or stuffed animal? BJ asks. The other day in the Hallmark store, someone exclaimed, oh, I thought that dog was on display! But look, she's real, a real dog sitting there so still!

I don't approve of cars honking at me when I'm minding my own business, Heidi grumbles. And then it's bad enough when dogs bark out of a car window, but it's worse when people bark or howl from a car to get my attention! It just makes me want to bite somebody, or chew a shoe, or dump over a trash can or something!

Just chill out, Heidi! Alex admonishes. You're too smart to do anything like that! Just chase your tail or something! Last Tuesday, in the doctor's office with my person, I was acting so impeccably good, and these two nurses just had a fit over me, so silly and excited, out of proportion to my simple presence. They just couldn't rein in their delighted enthusiasm, over me, a handsome yellow lab, just such a refreshing change from same old human faces and forms. Anyway, I didn't budge or fume or let their praise go to my head.

Good for you, Alex! Teddy, our quietest, most thoughtful member, finally speaks out today. You know, guys, I think it's hilarious when some people shrink in terror, freeze in place, or run away to avoid an encounter with me! It's kind of opposite from what you all were mentioning, isn't it? Just for a minute, though, I imagine I'm an attack dog in my mind! I'd love to show my teeth and tease these fraidy cat people, but that wouldn't be nice!

We all agree that we have to keep a low profile, enhancing our people's lives, not creating more obstacles. We all understand how to maintain a professional image of competence, but it's doggone fun to toss around harmless fantasies.

Collect the bones; our people need to get going! See you next time!

End of article.

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