It was a hot sticky day in Sydney as I walked along the leafy suburban street with my first guide dog Jordie. I was wearing shorts and t-shirt, so put my phone and keys in the little backpack she wears – it’s usually filled with plastic bags for when I go on poop patrol.
As I walked past an outdoor cafe my phone rang.
“Hey Jordie,” I said “your phone’s ringing,” as I stopped to unzip the backpack and take the call.
I laughed out loud when I heard one of the latte sippers say to another – “oh look, that guide dog has its own mobile phone.”
Guide dogs often draw attention to the user. This can sometimes be positive – they are an excellent “chick magnet” – but sometimes the attention is not preferred. And sometimes the questions asked range from funny to bizarre.
Here are some I have experienced. I’d love to hear your stories as a build-up to International Guide Dog Day on 30 April.
As I arrive (usually from a female) “Awww, isn’t he cute!”
My response, “Thanks, and the dog’s not bad looking either.”
As I get off the train, from an amazed schoolboy: “Wow, how does the dog know which station to get off?” My reply “She listens to the announcements, just like I do.”
Question to me “Is this the first time you have been here. How did the dog know the way?” My reply: “I let her borrow my GPS.”
I walk into the supermarket, and ask for some assistance to locate the items I need. Response “But can’t the dog find them for you?”
As I get into a taxi: “Does your dog bite?”
My response: “Only when she’s hungry. That reminds me, I haven’t fed her today.”
All of these stories are true. Please share your experiences with me and readers.
Graeme Innes is a man with a smart mouth, who constantly shares what amuses him with the rest of the world. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook ágraemeinnes.
One thought on “Things That Make You Go Hmmm”
I was in the supermarket with my Assistance Dog, which everyone always confuses with a Guide Dog, and assumes I’m blind. I was reading the items on the shelf and could not find what I was looking for. It was not urgent, so I decided to simply come back when it was less busy and when I needed other things. I commented to the dog, “it doesn’t look like they have what we need, so we’ll come back another time”. I should remember by now, to never talk to the dog in public. A lady behind me, whom I had not noticed there, then commented “the writing no those labels is a bit small and squiggly, might be a bit hard for the dog to read, would you like some assistance!”. I thought why not, if you intend to find it, great. She could not find it and decided to go and get some help. She concidently got the manager, who knows me well, and has a great understanding of disabilty, and does regularly help a vision impaired person who uses a guide dog in the same supermarket. The woman then says to the manager, “the dog was trying to find it, and then I tried to find it, because it was only a small packet, so it must be hard for the dog to read”. She then left, and the manager turned to me bewilded and said “please tell me you don’t get that sort of comment every day”. My response, only about every second day!
Standing at the side of the road and a parent points out to a child, that is a Guide Dog (no not a Guide Dog, it does not have a harness on!), and it helps that woman who can’t see. The dog is going to look both ways and when it sees no cars coming it is going to say to the woman “time to cross now”.
On the bus, a woman asks, how does the dog know when to get off, to which the driver responds before I have a chance to, that’s my job”. To which another passager responds, it is not the drivers job, and the dog would loose self esteeem if you did that. The dog counts the stops! The driver tried to point out that the bus only stops when a person wants to get off or someone is going to get on, and no one can possibly predict how many stops that would be, not that the dog would be able to count anyway. The passanager was not having it and was adamant that it was the dogs job to notify the handler of the stop!
On the bus and I tell my dog to get up, as our stop is next. Then I hear a woman say to her friend, “that dog just told the woman when her stop was”. The dog had been lying on the floor the whole journey and more than likely had its eyes closed!