I was on Facebook the other day and saw a post from another dog guide user stating that her life doesn’t center on the whims of her dog guide. I wasn’t sure she was being facetious or not. I was admittedly, a little concerned about the statement. Do folks really think there is nothing else? Do I somehow turn off people just by posting about my dogs on social media? Do my friends and co-workers secretly roll their eyes, hoping I’ll shut up?
I don’t know; but if some folks do occasionally swivel their orbs to the heavens in a tired, world weary gesture, here are some non-dog guide highlights.
I married my husband, raised my children, and obtained my graduate degree without the assistance of a guide dog. I run my home with my human family, who assist me in caring for our canine family.
I work full-time for the VA and volunteer for a number of philanthropic and advocacy organizations without the use of my guide dog, however, my dog does take me to meetings as well as inspire me to volunteer for a few of these organizations.
I write more than a few stories and poems with subjects other than my dog guide.
Just like being blind is only part of the whole, being a handler is also a part of who I am and how I cope with my disability. Is owning a guide dog a burden? Honestly, there times it is annoying, like when it’s minus 3 out and the doggie needs to go out. Other than that, I’d say the unconditional love from our canines vastly outweighs any blustery day. But this is just my opinion. Do I, at times, over identify with being a guide dog user? Yes. It’s akin to being a proud parent, at least for me. It’s also much more positive then over identifying in a negative sense or being in denial about my blindness.
Okay, I think y’all get the idea and folks who know me personally know, by this point I am being a little snarky. I’ll end this with a quote by Andy Rooney (I think) “most dogs are better people than most of the people I know.”