It was a hot sticky day in Sydney as I walked along the leafy suburban street with my first guide dog Jordie. I was wearing shorts and T-shirt, so I put my phone and keys in the little backpack she used to wear — it’s usually filled with plastic bags for when I go on poop patrol.
As I walked past an outdoor cafe my phone rang.
“Hey Jordie,” I said, “your phone’s ringing,” as I stopped to unzip the backpack and take the call.
I laughed out loud when I heard one of the latte sippers say to another — “Oh look, that guide dog has its own mobile phone.”
Guide or assistance dogs often draw attention to the user. This can sometimes be positive — they can be an excellent “chick magnet” — but sometimes the attention is not preferred. And sometimes the questions that are asked will range from funny to bizarre, as perfectly captured in this song by Emma Bennison.
Here are some I have experienced. I’d love to hear your stories to celebrate International Assistance Dog Day.
- As I arrive (usually from a female): “Awww, isn’t he cute!”
My response: “Thanks, and the dog’s not bad looking either.”
- As I get off the train, from an amazed schoolboy: “Wow, how does the dog know which station to get off?”
My reply: “She listens to the announcements, just like I do.”
- Question to me: “Is this the first time you have been here? How did the dog know the way?”
My reply: “I let her borrow my GPS.”
- I walk into the supermarket, and ask for some assistance to locate the items I need: “But can’t the dog find them for you?”
5. As I get into a taxi: “Does your dog bite?”
My response: “Only when she’s hungry. That reminds me, I haven’t fed her today.”
All of these stories are true. Please share your experiences with The Copy Collective readers in the comments.