My little red tether is my anchor in running with my friends. A beautiful guide dog has been my tether/anchor in mobility and independence for 17 years: 1. Pantera 2. Cricket, and now my beautiful 3. Georgina (Georgie). A life of family and friends is my joy and anchor in life.

The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it. CC Scott

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Cricket Makes My Day

Some of you reading this blog know very well what a guide dog can do for a person -- others perhaps are wondering how this cute, adorable dog that off harness can be so silly can be serious and focus on my safety when in harness. After 12 years and two guides, the whole process still really amazes me and I am so grateful for Guide Dogs for the Blind and their training program and support (for me and my guide).

Today was a pretty simple, low-key day. A few of the ways Cricket helped me today:
* We were able to go for a nice 1 1/2 mile brisk walk this morning. Thanks to Cricket, this was enjoyable - She was in charge of the obstacles (ie, yes still the sidewalk is under repair, a crossing that I later learned had cones in the street because they were painting the crosswalk, overhanging branches to mention a few of her obstacles to go around. I asked her to go forward in crossing the street and she patiently waited somehow realizing that I couldn't tell there was a construction mess and so cars were having to make a wide angle right turn. She is in charge and knows if I request something that is not safe she will not do it.

* During my counseling sessions at my office she provides a fine example in the corner of what relaxation looks like! A funny story about her relaxing in the corner: she had been on her bed for 4 sessions (4 hours) so she was in a pretty deep sleep. Halfway into our session my client asked what that noise was -- I thought he would know if it was Cricket so I went into quite a lengthy explanation about how one of our therapists (Michael Van Dam, LCSW) also has an added certification in music therapy and will sometimes bring in a kazoo or other musical instruments. Oh, okay that made sense and we continued to talk... then he said 'there it is, again' - we both stopped and listened and realized our kazoo was actually cricket in the corner in a very deep sleep!

*After work, she walked me safely to my driver's car and we rode home.

* Later, we went to the grocery store and she guided me through the store. She knows - find the door, find the car, outside, find the counter. I love how she continues to learn and know my mannerisms and what I need (sometimes it seems before I know). I am trying to eat a little healthier (I'm not ready to put out a major commitment on my blog) so we spent a little longer in the produce section than the candy aisle tonight! That area is a little more trickier because it is not a straight path but lots of curves, etc. We were with Steve so he could give me a verbal cue to tell Cricket.

Cricket really is my eyes ( I sure would love her beautiful brown eyes with built in eyeliner) and allows me the ability to carry on with my day with really a lot of the time forgetting that I can't see.

Then, we got home and my parents stopped for a visit so we enjoyed a summer evening on the deck. Cricket loves to bring her bone to family or friends and have them hold it while she chews on it. It really is cute to hear her in the dog room searching for the best bone to bring out to the guest.

Another day in the life of Cricket. Good night!


OSU 98 said...

She is just too darn cute. In spending time with my blind friend, I have always been intrigued by the "intelligent disobedience" concept. I have had only one chance to see it in action, and it was amazing - we were crossing the street between 2 cars, and one of the cars was idling. My friend gave the "forward" command, but Tru just balked. We ended up having to find a different place to cross the street...after a few moments of some serious praise...:)

I love to watch my friend's dog work...she knows it is all about her and loves working in new places so she can show off her abilities. All of these dogs are so special - and just too darn cute for their own good!!!

BTW - if I have not told you already, Cricket is a BEAUTIFUL girl!!!!

Becky said...

Agree -- it totally amazes me and sounds like your friend has a wonderful working guide also! Thanks -- I'll tell Cricket she is beautiful!

2 labs 4 me said...

Watching you & Cricket work together, brings tears to my eyes every time!!! It really is amazing. Love ya both, Debi