“Have you ever thought of getting a blind dog?” I get this question a lot. And on mischievous days I reply that “Well, no. Blind dog and blind owner would be a disaster wouldn’t it?”
But yes, I have actually thought of a guide dog. I have even tried walking with them several times and in several settings and I love it. I’m also amazed at what the dogs can do and how they lead me through crowded places. But there’s one problem. When you don’t walk around with them, they have to be taken care of. Fed, watered, patted, played with and let’s not forget that the poop and vomit as well. And this is the part I’m not ready to deal with.
When I graduated after my bachelor’s degree, most of my blind friends were with me on that. Besides, they, like me, felt that they were doing just fine with the white cane, so why be tied down by a dog.
But as the years went past, even some of the most avid guide dog resisters have gone and gotten themselves a pooch and they keep telling me that I will soon change as well.
But guess what, I haven’t. And I probably won’t anytime soon. As much as a dog is a good mobility aid, I really am doing just fine with the cane. And as much as I travel I think the cane will be my preferred mobility aid for some time to come. It doesn’t need vaccines a passport or special travelling arrangements.
The guide dog converts seems astounded that I’d quite happily have a baby when I won’t have a guide dog, reminding me that babies too poop and vomit. And while this is true, I am more okay with that since I’m generally more of a people person than an animal one. Don’t get me wrong, I love animals, but I’m happy to hand them back to their owners when I’m done playing with them. A bit like what people who love kids but don’t want them say about kids.
Maybe I will change my mind about guide dogs one day, but if I don’t its okay. Because guide dogs aren’t for everyone. I have two blind friends who gave back their dogs because they felt it wasn’t the right thing for them.
I may perhaps choose to have a pet dog one day. I’m a lot freer to choose the breed etc. And it won’t require the same level of training and maintenance to keep up skills. But that’s in the future if ever. For now, I’m dog free.