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

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

All in a Guide Dog's Day, #2

One of the joys of a guide dog is their ability to steer one clear of objects. Helpful #2 -- a major one. This can be anything from a little Missy pug in this set-up picture, or other people, obstacles that are in one's line of travel. Basically, a guide dog is told to go forward and if something is in the way, Cricket is going to walk around it and return to her line of travel (the straight line she is walking towards). If there is not enough space for us to both fit in the area, she will stop and let me know there is something blocking our path.
(I know in this picture, besides me looking tired and time for bed, other notes - tat this moment Cricket has stopped because there isn't a lot of space between so she is waiting for me to put my foot out and see what the obstacle is, Missy Girl, before she proceeds. Also the space was tight between the couch and Missy. Cricket is looking up at me to help her understand if I know the situation. Again, this whole process can be a matter of a few seconds as we assess the situation as a team and she communicates with me what is going on and we move forward.)

It could be a stick in the sidewalk that I put my foot one and realize is there and then maybe push it away and we proceed. It could be a person standing in the aisle at the grocery store that she weaves around. It might be a chair in a room that she moves around. Sometimes, I may know the obstacle that she has guided around and other times, I just feel her weaving around and know that she is doing good work. Good Girl, Cricket.

A tricky part is she must have an understanding of the size of us together when she is anticipating about whether we can move around something or not. She is a busy girl while she is working.

When Cricket is in our home, her harness is off. Also, in my office majority of the time her harness is off. Although, today as I whacked my body on an open door, I reminded myself that Cricket is available to work there, too!

I don't know how well I explained this - do you have any questions or comments? I thrive on them, you know :D


Brittany said...

Does she still try to guide you when just on leash?

During my internship at GDB I walked a little retired guide and she always tried to control where we were walking to avoid obstacles.

Becky said...

Brittany - that is so neat you were able to do an internship at GDB! what a sweet retired guide. Cricket does NOT guide when on leash, only. She seems to really make a distinction.

karen (Mom) said...

We have watched Cricket work and she is amazing as was Pantera. We just didn't understand what a guide dog did until we welcomed them in to the family.


Reddunappy said...

It is so cool to read how you and Cricket work together!
Even as a pup Dublin is starting to show signs of awareness of his suroundings. I will be sad, and excited both, when he goes back for training! We have a preliminary date of Oct. 15th, for his return.
I know he is going to be another incredible guide for someone!

s day @ said...

I LOVE hearing about Cricket's work. I can't imagine all the little wheels constantly turning in her head all the time! What a smart and dedicated spirit to work so hard for your safety. You deserve it!
Yay for Cricket!

3 labs 4 me said...

I get such a thrill to watch the two of you working as a team. It is amazing that Cricket, as well as other guide dogs can be taught to do the things that they do. Even after all these years, when I see a guide dog working, I get chills! Good job Crickers!

Lacey said...

I love hearing how they work. The other day I was talking to Kendyll about dogs and why we don't have one at our house and then Kendyll was asking about you and Cricket and she said, "Can we get a dog like Cricket? Then you won't run into things?" But I think that in actuality this is just her way of getting a dog at our house!

Ro said...

They're amazing eh? Jayden guides on leash. I remember when were very newly home and I had to keep him on leash until I knew how he'd be in the house. I had left the laundry cart out and was about to run into it and he stopped, just on leash. Also, once time taking him outside with no harness, he put his body in front of mine and wouldn't move. I reached out and had been about to run into the jutting wall in our foyer. He's darned smart, that dog o mine! Love them all!

wendy said...

It amazes me what Cricket is able to do for you.