|Female black lab, Megan, sits in harness looking at the camera |
with a focused, serious expression on her face.
As a new team, you are working to build a relationship. This beautiful, expertly trained, furry ball of energy enters your life, and you begin to get to know one another--not just who you were--the dog and the girl--but who you are, two together, the team. Every day, each route, and every new experience you share together helps you become a team. Unlike getting to know a new friend, you don't have words--you learn from one another and about one another through the leash, harness, touch, movement, and body language. You begin to recognize and sense how your guide is feeling--happy, excited, serious, focused, anxious, concerned, even afraid. If you are lucky, you get to observe and experience your guide developing relationships with others as well: other dogs (pets and guides), friends and family (including their puppy raisers), and their trainers and others who have cared for them. And if you really pay attention you realize that our dogs can teach us so much more than we think. Everyday I learn from them, but these are a few things they've tried to teach me...
1. Your success doesn't impede my success--don't hold one another back, help one another move forward. Help one another grow.
|Megan and her best guide dog friend, Samurai, sitting in harness|
on a break during a route together. Both look lovingly up at the camera.
3. Good friends make all the difference. Let them in. Let them know you. Let them see your fears.
4. When life feels just a little too big and scary, a friend by your side is the best medicine. Watch out for each other.
|Megan, Picassa, and the Toddler watching with great anticipation|
as the Tween gets home from school.
|Sammy (left) and Megan (right) laying on the floor out of harness after|
romping around playing together for the first time.
7. Be grateful. Tell them you appreciate them. Tell them you love them. Tell them how they make your life different, better. Tell them they make YOU better.
|Megan (left) snuggling in blankets with her sister, retired guide dog, Picassa (right)|
|Rainbow image with white letters "Nicole"|