GUIDING TO GREATER AWARENESS

Hi there.  Hope that you are all well and have had a good week.  I thought for this week’s entry that I’d like to try out a different style of writing.  Instead of doing a small feature article, I’d write it in a more reflective style and look at something that has happened to me during the week.  Hope that you enjoy it and please, as always, feel free to let me know what you think about this.

It’s been a very weird week you know.  Now this will sound daft but time has flown but at times it has dragged as well.  A kind of stuttering sense of reality.  It has, however, given me plenty to reflect on and hopefully some useful material for this blog entry.

Now how many of you reading this blog are either Guide Dog owners or know someone who has a Guide dog.  As you know, they are fantastic and provide an essential means of mobility.  When not working, they are really just like many other dogs and mine for example is as daft as a brush.

I’ve been a guide dog owner for something like 22 years now.  During that time I’ve had five dogs; all working to different ages due to one reason or the other.  Each of my dogs has had a strong and loveable character, which has left me with some great memories.  However, pondering on them, I’ve also been thinking about some of the misconceptions that there are about how Guide dogs are trained, how they work and what they can and cannot do.  One of the biggest things that isn’t true is that they do not have the ability to indicate when it is safe to cross the road.  I’ve lost count of the number of people that have said to me that they think it’s marvellous how they can tell when the road is clear and I’ve often heard passers by saying to others how great this is.  No matter how much we tell people, this misconception carries on.

On Monday evening this week, it was raining as I left the station.  No, to tell the truth, it was absolutely chucking it down.  To get home, I need to go under a bridge and then cross the main road at the other side of the railway station.  It’s a difficult one to cross as traffic comes quickly around the bend on one side and shoots down from the town on the other.  Trying to cross this road in dry weather conditions is difficult enough but add in rain and wind then the task becomes near impossible on my own.  I tried in vain to ask passers-by to help me across and for my sins, whilst trying this, I was soaked by a passing car who thought it great to speed through a puddle at high speed – thank you.

I eventually managed to cross the road, but the problem still stands – how can we clear this misconception of guide dogs?

I like receiving help and will thank anyone who gives it.  I know many have said to me in the past that they also do not like to ask as one I look confident in what I’m doing and two, I didn’t want to distract or disturb you.  In these cases, it is just a process of explaining what to do and generally this works.  I think the changing of misconceptions is a very difficult and hard thing to do.  Its time consuming and requires a lot of patience.  In the meantime, I think the best thing for me and evans to do is not to stand to near the road when it’s raining because an early shower time before we even get home is certainly not welcome.

Let’s see what this week brings.

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