Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Zane Train Part 6: Career Change in the Air
Good morning canines,
It is summer in Colorado right now and the cool nights are just great. Back in the Fall of 2006, I was adjusting to a time of change.
The leaves were starting to change colors and by then I was in a regular pattern of socialization and began to realize I was somehow different than the other “pet” dogs at the house.
That's when I found out that Marcel, my black lab buddy, was a “career change” dog. Does this mean that there is a “career” for me?
I began to sense that there was something else being planned for me. My puppy raiser family, even though clearly in love with me, seems to be preparing me for something other than living with them for the rest of my life.
In late autumn, while leaving a department store with Vicki and Gary, we met a man and lady in the parking lot. The man had a large black Lab dog with him and he could not see at all. His name was Alex. His dog's was named Rocca, and he was a working guide dog for the blind.
Alex was very friendly to me and a half-hour-long conversation followed. During that conversation, I observed that Rocca was more interested in Alex than in playing with me.
I couldn’t understand that at first. How could another dog prefer a person to a fellow puppy?! Rocca’s interest was totally focused on the needs of Alex. Was this the plan for me?
Gary later told Gwenn, the puppy raiser group leader, about his meeting with Alex and Rocca. Gwenn knew Alex from her work with the Guide Dogs for the Blind school many years before and asked Gary to see if Alex would attend one of our bi-weekly puppy club meetings.
Alex agreed and one day, we picked up Alex and Rocca at their house in Berea. Gary took the old Cadillac convertible that day. (I LOVE that car! Lots of puppy room on the floor and such a pretty shade of blue.)
Alex enjoyed looking at it, but I noticed that his way of looking was different than mine. He ran his hand all along the side of the car, along the front where he saw the headlights and large bumper.
He than felt the interior fabric and finally got inside with his dog. I let Alex and Rocca sit in the front that day, where I usually ride. Alex reminded Gary of his mother, Nanny, who is also blind. I could tell right away that he liked and respected Alex a lot.
We had a great meeting that day at a park, where the sun was warm, and Alex gave stories about his life with his guide dog, Rocca.
That day, I learned more about my new career of being a guide dog like Rocca. Gosh, that looks like a lot of work!
It is a lot of work, but that's what I do - provide vision for Dad and show him the way. And hey, I do get time off and Dad plays with me a LOT!
It's great to know that my eyes can make such a difference.
Big licks and belly rubs,