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Bruce, Caroline

Why I Will Never Get a Guide Dog

First of all, this is not a treatise against guide dogs. It is also not meant to be disparaging of anyone who has a guide dog, who wants a guide dog, or who thinks they may one day want a guide dog. This is just about me, personally. I also want to make it clear that I love animals, including dogs.

I will never get a guide dog. Plain and simple. A lot of people have asked me why. I think the main reason is that I don't want the responsibility inherent in having one of these working dogs. In so many ways, a guide dog controls its owner. And again, that's not meant to be disparaging, it's a necessary reality of having a guide dog, and some people are cut out for it and others, like me, are not. But I, personally, don't want to live my life around getting up at set times, following set routines that the dog will understand and recognize, and have to ask myself at every turn whether such and such an environment or situation is suitable for the dog. It's just not the sort of thing I want to deal with. Then there's the hair and other messes that come with the territory. I almost stepped into a still-steaming guide dog patty once at CNIB. This did little to make me more prone to liking the idea of guide dog ownership. But again, it's just me.

Then there was dinner on Wednesday. I come from the old-fashioned school of thought. I know it's outdated and barbaric, but where I come from, you used a table to put food on when you weren't eating it. disgusting and primitive, I know. But I'm set in my ways. So when I was visiting a friend on Wednesday, I made the mistake of practising this bit of savagery, and put my really yummy meal down on the TV tray in front of me. I leaned back for a second, and immediately, there was the guide dog, eating out of my plate. I'm sorry, but I will not, can not, eat out of a plate that a dog has just been slobbering out of. I lack the cultural refinement, I suppose. So there was a whole bunch of good food wasted.

Guide dogs are wonderful, please don't get me wrong. They have done immense good for a lot of people, and if a guide dog is for you, you have my full and undying support. And if I am around you, I will treat your dog with respect, I will follow all of the protocols, and when your dog is out of harness, I will gladly and with joy play with your dog and we'll have a great time! But just don't expect me to ever get a dog, that's all.


You have a few vallid points

It was not right for any dog, guide, pet, service, whatever to eat off your plate. I have five dogs, one guide, and I never let them do that. Occasionally I'll slip my Lab a piece of food. Here's my school of thought. I'll eat. If I drop something, I might let you have it after I'm done. Don't beg when I make a tuna sandwich, I know you love lettuce. Again, you might get some, ok you probably will. Look for it in your food bowl, not from me. As for the set routines, that's sort of true and sort of not. You can make a dog sleep till one in the afternoon if you want before you feed them. You say guide dogs control the owner, I think it's more a fifty fifty team. I don't want my dog going to the next Metallica concert obviously, but I also can't bring her with me where i'm going because the friend swears she's allergic to dogs. She isn't, but there are some things you just don't fight with her. As for stepping in that steaming pile, I've done that, it's irresponsibility of the public in general but moreso guide dog owners who feel oh well the sighted peeps will pick up my dog's poop, I'm above that. If it's soft, unable to be picked up by you that's one thing. Obvious snobishness, is completely unacceptable. if it were me I would've corrected that guide dog for eating so hard it might've had a broken blood vessil. Ok not that hard but. This is why my view of the blind is generally shit. Just so you know, my user name is choco lab as in chocolate Lab, I know it sounds like choke a Lab.

Edited at 2008-08-23 03:43 pm (UTC)
In life you make sacrifices for things that you love. Sometimes it's a dog, sometimes it's a child, sometimes it's caring for a sick family member. Only you can choose what sacrifices you are willing to make and what you get out of it.

I have four dogs but would never want children, for example. Nobody has the right to judge you for your choices.

Some people casn never imagine making the choices you've made and it gets old answering the same question from well meaning chatter boxes over and over again. I know because I get the kid question all of the bleeding time and it annoys me.

and as for a strange dog eating out of your plate? ewww! The only time my dog is allowed to touch the tale is when she is clearing dishes off of it for me.
I agree. I don't know why dog users want to convert every cane user to be a dog user and vice versa. it's so stupid. Not every choice is the right choice for every person.
It's all in the responsibility, and training. Obviously, that particular guide dog wasn't trained to leave it the hell alone. I grew up around dogs almost my entire life, and never had a guide dog. I wouldn't get one now, but *only* because if I'm gonna be spending 8 hours a day behind a desk, with the exception of maybe an hour for lunch to take it outside, the dog might as well spend that time at home where it's got free access to food and water. With that said, though, if any of the dogs I grew up with so much as sniffed at the plate, there'd be a stop put to that so fast it's not funny. Because anyone with half a brain knows what comes next. Obviously the particular owner is too lazy to train that dog not to and prefers instead to adjust his/her routine to suit the dog. Not your problem. Like chocolab said basicly, the dog doesn't make the routine. If anything, it'll built its own routine around yours. The most you have to worry about is it waking you up early morning (happened to me) to take them out simply because they can't hold it. Oh well. So they do their thing, come back inside, and you go back to bed. They'll live.
concerning both of your encounters, gross! Obviously, there was a lack of control with both dogs in the situations you mentioned.

As for getting up at a certain time, I agree with what another person has already said. I have a pet dog. She wakes me up extremely early, not because she wants out, but because she loves her breakfast! LOL! Anyway, after eating and being let out, both of us go back to bed. In fact, after doing that yesterday, I had trouble getting her up when it was actually time for me to go somewhere.
Well, I gotta say, whoever owned the dog that ate out of your plate has a lot to answer for. That is not something that any guide dog owners/users I know of would tolerate. As for you not getting a dog, I completely understand. I had one years back and while it was fine and I learned a lot, it also brought me a lot of grief and I am still trying to get over some of the stuff that happened. I, while I've waffled about it off and on, know that for now, it's not for me. IN some ways a dog would be nice, the huge streets here would be easier to cross I think with a dog, the wide blocks, huge open parking lots-I've thought about it. But with doing what I have to do for my second daughter and keeping up with a high schooler-I don't have the energy or time. I think that you've thought it out, know what you want and need and that's great.
Interesting, it totally read like a rant against guide dogs.

In thirteen years of having a guide dog I have never had one crap in a public place indoors for someone else to step on.

I don't get up at set times.

A dog eating off your TV tray is totally horrible. I mean that is nasty and an ill trained dog. If these are your only experiences I can see why you don't want a dog, but I don't think your theory is at all well researched. Yet, I agree that people who don't want the responsibility should not have a dog.
I'm sorry you think it reads like a rant against guide dogs, because it's not at all. But if that's how you want to see it, that's how you'll see it and I haven't the energy or the inclination to worry about it now.
This is one of those subjects that a lot of blind folks are really passionate about. I, personally, don't think I'm cut out for a guide dog. There are a lot of responsibilities attached to being a guide dog owner, and that's just not something I think I would ever be able to do with a lot of success. I also grew up with a lot of dogs when I was a kid, most of them were not very well-beaved. I know that when a dog is trained that it behaves most of the time and they're a lot better than your average dog. However, some people are cane users, some are dog users. Nothing wrong with that.