[nagdu] A Dog Guide Christmas Poem
stevencjohnson at centurytel.net
Wed Dec 23 02:09:50 UTC 2009
I just received this from a dear friend and fellow dog-guide team, and wanted to share. More so from the experiential aspect rather than the fund-raising part. And, how truly accurate it is! Enjoy! Smile
It's Christmas time and what do I hear?
Donation requests filled with holiday cheer.
You may call me Scrooge, but I cannot abide These pleas on
me, the dog guide!
Yes I lead a blind person cross that busy road, Past trash
tree limbs back to our abode.
But I'm not a savior, an angel with wings.
I really don't do all those miraculous things.
There's a part of this business you don't understand.
I can't read the street signs,
The blind person's in command.
I've been trained for some time at significant expense.
My duties are vast, responsibilities immense.
But listen, this dog guide stuff doesn't happen alone.
My handler has brains and a life of his own.
He had friends before me, and interests and fun.
I just make him look better getting all his work done.
He finds he has new friends because I am here, But sometimes
new friends really do interfere.
My handler and I have become quite a team With indescribable
that build both our esteem.
So off we go for a trip to the mall,
Where I'll show you examples of good, bad and all.
Yes, it's Christmas time and my handler must shop.
We know what we want and we don't want to stop!
Oh here comes a woman from way over there!
She has a dog just like me, was my handler aware?
She goes on to say "I bet he's your best friend!"
In a sugary tone, oh Lord when will this end?
Can't this well-meaning woman look at me and see?
His wife's his best friend and I am a She!
We move quickly away and into a store Where my handler finds
buy presents galore.
This time things go well, that is until We get to the register
settle our bill.
Some man comes from nowhere with the purpose to tell, That
"trained" seven puppies as guide dogs, oh swell.
He badgers my handler, asking him why Some blind folks get
when he stops them to pry.
"Don't you people know what we raisers give up?
We expend so much money and love raising your pup.
We clean up their messes all day and all night.
The least you blind people could do is to write.
I don't get a card or a letter to say, That my baby is good
Now as a dog guide I recall long ago
When I was just a puppy with my raisers you know.
They loved me and tried hard to follow each rule So I would do
later in dog guide school.
They hoped my new handler would love me as much, But it wasn't
deal if he didn't stay in touch.
When raising a dog guide, you do it because You want a good
representing the cause.
So don't let your big ego get in the way.
Blind handlers appreciate you just fine, OK?
Our shopping all done now it's time for some food!
What do you mean not for dogs? But I'm in the mood!
For some popcorn, a cheese steak or maybe some fries, So I'll
swoop down here and take one where it lies.
Oops, leash correction, yeh, I should have known.
Taking food like that's wrong. My cover is blown!
Much as the public thinks I'm perfect all day, I am just a dog
behaving in a dog way.
No big deal though, I'm back to being a guide.
My handler's moved on too, with me by his side.
He goes to the food court and what do we hear?
"Do you know where you're going? Do you need some help, Dear?"
I can feel my brave handler just gritting his jaw.
He hates stupid people. There must be a law Against such dumb
questions. They're offensive and rude.
But people don't know just how much they intrude.
My handler is saved though by an old friend of ours.
I know him and jump up! I rode in his cars!
He once cared for me while my handler was sick!
I love our old friend but I must behave, quick!
As they get their food and sit down to eat, an elderly couple
over to greet.
They don't speak to the humans, not even a word.
They get right down on the floor with me, how absurd.
With a sigh and a groan my handler bends down to say "Please
her alone. She's on duty today.
Don't pet her or feed her. Please leave her alone.
We're having our lunch here. No! Don't give her that bone!"
But it's too late! The biscuit is here in my lips!
The lady then yells at him, hands on her hips.
"I donate money to the guide dog school every year!
I can pet that dog any time I want. Now you listen here."
As if her tirade was not bad enough,
Her husband chimes in with some more nasty stuff.
"If it weren't for us young man, you would not have that dog."
They storm away in a huff with no more dialog.
People don't understand that I'm on duty now.
Whether guiding or lying still, they just don't see how I'm
public property just because I am here.
It's not a big deal to see a working dog near.
It's all nice to contribute but listen my friend, Your right
ends where my fur begins!
After laughing at our adventures we stand To leave our good
who does quite understand.
In spite of these people who've made our day strange, My
certain some day things will change.
More and more people make comments like this.
"You two really work well, Look at how good she is!"
They tell others "Don't bother that dog. She's working right
They speak right to my handler and marvel at how He and I
become such a good team.
They are honest and sincere or at least they do seem.
Some people do talk about raising a pup.
They really want to know just how to bring one up.
They are eager to learn and those who have raised Are most
humble and human and truly amazed At what all their efforts
eventually lead to A team that works well in whatever we do.
All that I ask in this season of cheer Is that we think about
why we are here.
We dogs live to work and get praise and reward.
Our handlers give us all that they can afford.
That's not always something you measure in cents.
The work of a team is too vast, too intense.
We share things that no charity can ever define Dignity,
independence, pride, ties that bind.
I am not an angel, a savior, a saint, A "rescuer from
I do know my job though and I will tell you My handler knows
together we do Work well and play well and all that I ask Is
when you speak of us, remember our task.
So this holiday season when you get in the mail That donation
that arrives without fail, Put in your check or sign your
Don't fall for the hype. Think long and think hard.
Why should you give money to help out "The Blind?"
Some day you could be in just such a bind.
Your sight could go south and you'd wonder aloud How you would
navigate that crazy mall crowd.
You'd know who you are and all the things you've had You'd
blindness isn't a death sentence and life's not so bad.
You would want to go places, go see the world wide, To get
with grace, you will need a dog guide.
"For we walk by faith, not by sight." IICorinthians 5:3
More information about the NAGDU