[nagdu] guide dog responsibilities

Pickrell, Rebecca M (IS) REBECCA.PICKRELL at ngc.com
Tue Dec 1 17:34:12 UTC 2009

		Thank you Meghan. 
A couple other things which I failed to leave out of my earlier post. 
I found that when I was using a dog, people expected the dog to just
know things. For example, I wanted a high chair for my daughter and when
I asked for assistance, the question was "Can't your dog find one"? She
could find chairs, but she couldn't distinguish between a high chair and
a big person chair. So, no, in this case, she couldn't do the task I
asked of her. When I used my cane, people were happy to help. The same
thing was true of diaper changing facilities. Some places have changing
tables in the rest rooms, some places hve tables that come down from the
wall, and some have nothing. Other places have "diaper changing areas".
My dog couldn't find the tables that fold out of the wall, and she
treated the kind that are standing like counters. I find changing a
diaper on the floor extremely painful and prefer to use a surface when
possible, though I also want to use the right surface if one is present.
The general attitude seemed to be "Won't the dog find what you need?" I
even had someone ask me once, when my daughter was having a red-zone
tantrum once "Why won't the dog calm her down"? 
With a cane, I get none of this. People are willing to show me things,
sometimes a little too much, but at least they have the right attitude
even if it may be for the wrong reasons. And, wrong reasons don't much
matter when you've got a squirming kid with a poopie diaper stinking up
the joint.  
The other thing is that you cannot ever leave a child alone. So if I got
into a situation where I had to decide which one I was going to take, it
was always the kid. I can remember once trying to get ready to go
someplace, my daughter was fussy, it was pouring down rain, and I just
couldn't deal with putting her down, getting my coat on, taking the dog
out to go park, and then getting my daughter ready. I'd already gotten
wet once taking the dog out at her regularly scheduled park break which
was about an hour before we were to head out, I didn't think she would
use the bathroom, and I simply didn't have it in me to take her out
again for an event that was unlikely to happen.  So, I left the dog home
and used my cane. Leaving my daughter home and taking the dog was not an
option legally or morally. We can debate all day if I morally was in the
right with regard to the dog, but I didn't do anything illegal. I left
water for her, I'd be home soon and she'd had a chance to go park. 

Finally, it's physically easier to use a cane with my daughter. She
likes to stop and look at random things, flowers, trucks, other kids,
lights, and my dog was getting frustrated. She didn't understand why we
didn't keep on moving. She would also get frustrated when I'd use my
hands to look for the forementioned changing tables. She would either
take me to the sink or the toilet, or she'd shut down and be like "Well,
if you don't want me to guide in here, then I just won't guide when
we're done either".I sympathize with the dog's perspective as nobody
likes to feel useless, but I also couldn't deal with it either. It just
took too much out of me.  

-----Original Message-----
From: nagdu-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nagdu-bounces at nfbnet.org] On
Behalf Of Meghan Whalen
Sent: Tuesday, December 01, 2009 10:25 AM
To: NAGDU Mailing List,the National Association of Guide Dog Users
Subject: Re: [nagdu] guide dog responsibilities

Thank you for this post.  I can tell a lot of time/thought went into it.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Bebecca.


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