Guide Dogs, or as they are quaintly called in some colonial parts “Seeing-Eye Dogs”…
How do they work then ?
How do they know where their blind owner wants to go today ?
So imagine your blind for the day and you’re stood in your kitchen and you’ve had a good feel around in the refrigerator and all the cupboards and you’re really short of food – what happens then ?
“Go get my coat Arthur” you say to Arthur your Labrador guide dog, “and get your yellow harness while you’re in the stairs cupboard, there’s a good lad”
Thats fairly simple for Arthur to follow, after all he will have hung up your coat and his own harness yesterday when you came back from that walk in the park, so he’ll go to the cupboard under the stairs, open it with his teeth, pick up and put on his own harness and bring your coat to you.
“and my boots Arthur” you’ll remind him, “I shouldn’t have to keep telling you about the boots, dear god, its every time, you think I’m going out there in my socks ?”
And he’ll go back for your boots and you’ll put them on and he’ll do up the knots for you with his teeth while you hold your finger on the knot and then you’re ready and you stand outside on the pavement with your braille shopping list that you scribbled earlier with a pin and you give him his first command…
“Arthur, take me to Asda, theres a good dog”
And now heres the bit that puzzles me, when Arthur was being bred and trained in Leamington they didn’t know whereabouts in the country they were going to send him until the very last week or so, so how does Arthur know where your local Asda is ?
Do they arrive in the back of an estate car and get driven around your locality for a couple of hours with the trainer sat in the front of the car pointing out all the places of interest, “Arthur are you watching, look Arthur, Asda, he’ll probably shop there, and they’ve got a Johnsons Cleaners too, are you remembering all this Arthur ?”
And yet still, every morning when you stand on the pavement with your braille shopping list in your hand and a command to your guide dog to take you to Predergast’s Hardware Shop you will find yourself stood asking for a plug for your bathroom sink only to hear a voice explain “Arthur’s brought you to the butchers shop again mate, he must like it here …”