[nagdu] Treatment of People with Guide Dogs

Nicole Torcolini ntorcolini at wavecable.com
Sat Sep 14 05:53:38 UTC 2013

Luckily, I haven't had too many people try to give Lexia directions. But,
yes, I know the whole thing about people somehow thinking that our canes or
dogs can't do the job, so they have to tell us everything. There are certain
people who do this to me whenever they are around. One of the people did it
once when I was using my cane instead of Lexia, so I walked faster to get
ahead of that person. However, I forgot that, for me, cane speed is not dog
speed, and I ended up whacking my hip on a railing that was sticking out
into the sidewalk that Lexia would have usually taken me around. 

-----Original Message-----
From: nagdu [mailto:nagdu-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Tami Jarvis
Sent: Friday, September 13, 2013 7:25 AM
To: NAGDU Mailing List,the National Association of Guide Dog Users
Subject: Re: [nagdu] Treatment of People with Guide Dogs


Interesting observations. Human interactions are very different for me with
the dog than with the cane... I was still getting used to different
interactions from the presence of the cane when I started going around with
dog, so I feel like I've been in a crazy sociology experiment. /lol/

With the dog, people will call her and give her directions, but I have
trained her to ignore them (mostly). With the cane, people give me
directions that are often silly and may be more likely to try to take my arm
or something when I don't want them to. The dog has learned to help me out
when the directions involve the phrase "over there." Whichever tool I am
using, people still seem to think they need to tell me about every curb and
step. People are more likely to talk to me at random when I'm using the
guide dog, but they will often talk to or about the dog. 
I've kind of learned some techniques to then guide conversation into non-dog
topics and get the focus away from her if I want to. If I'm lazy and not
that interested in connecting, then a nice chat about the dog is fine.

It used to bug me that people seemed horrified that the dog might make a
mistake because that would be awful somehow. Then I noticed that people are
terrified I will make a mistake with the cane because that will be awful
somehow. The annoying thing when I'm using the cane is when there are people
around who are terrified the cane might touch something, especially if they
are the type to insist that I watch where I'm going and where I'm swinging
that thing! This doesn't happen often, but sometimes there will be gasps of
terror or shock when my cane taps a pole or something. OMG! I ran into it!
/lol/ I guess there have been a few times when I've missed a bit stepping up
a curb with my dog and heard the gasps. But in general, with the dog, I do
not appear to be running into things by tapping them with her.

Hm... Standing at street corners with the dog often means discussing how she
knows how to cross the street since dogs are color blind or something like
that. I'm trying to remember if I've ever stood at a street corner trying to
explain how I cross with the cane. Seems I have at one time or another.
Maybe it's that Portland friendliness? If you don't say something weird to
someone standing at the same corner, you're just not with it in Portland!
Refreshingly, people seem as likely to say something outlandish and
controversial about politics, religion or even the weather as they are about
the dog or the cane. /lol/


On 09/12/2013 05:42 PM, Nicole Torcolini wrote:
> Some of the recent threads have made me think of something kind of 
> interesting. No, you don't interact with someone who has a guide dog 
> the same way that you interact with someone who has a cane, but, if 
> people would treat us more like we were using canes instead of dogs, 
> we would not have as many problems. For example, some people have 
> problems with people trying to give their dog directions. When someone 
> has a cane instead of a dog, this problem does not happen. The same 
> goes for interacting with the dog. You don't hear about people messing 
> with canes as often as you hear about people messing with dogs. What do
people think of this?
> Nicole
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