My track record trying to help visually impaired folks is less than stellar. There was my stint as a waitress, when a blind customer asked the size of our draft beer and I answered, “The guy over there has one.” Oh, and the time I tried to help a blind lady cross the street, and ended up crashing her into a trash bin.
So when I saw a middle-aged woman in a stylish black wool coat this morning trying to guide her seeing-eye Lab through the turnstile at the subway, I froze for a second, not wanting to get in her way.
She was managing fine and I didn’t want to offer help that wasn’t welcome, so I just took a few steps back to give her space enough to guide her dog through. What happened next took me by surprise. Not the way she adroitly made her way through, dog first, but the way a tall lanky businessman took the space I’d left between us as an opportunity to jump in front of me in line.
Chivalry may not be dead, but it sure is on life support….
Puppy Walking Program
As it happens, I recently saw someone walking a puppy that was wearing a little jacket that read “Guide Dog in Training,” so I looked for more info online and here’s what I found out:
Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind places puppies at approximately 7 weeks of age with foster families called “puppy walkers” who raise the pups for 12 to 18 months. The Puppy Walkers socialize the puppies, which are mainly golden retrievers and Labrador retrievers, to as many different, everyday environments as possible — from home to quiet residential areas, then to restaurants, shopping malls, public transit, elevators, etc.
The puppy stays with the foster family until they are between 12 and 18 months of age, after which the pup begins its formal training at the Training Centre with a Guide Dog Mobility Instructor.
P.S. Heard Canada’s Roxanne Potvin sing this on the radio this morning. Enjoy!