“You just came back from dog jail, huh?” Aunt Nunu nudged my arm.
I laughed. “Exactly!” I’d just spent three weeks training at The Seeing Eye, the world’s oldest guide dog school. “We had to wake up every morning to take our dogs out at 5:30 AM.”
“Are you kidding me?!”
“I wish. We worked all day, until about 8 PM. We trained with our dogs through complicated walks, crossed weird intersections, navigated tight grocery aisles, boarded trains… The goal was to fully invest three weeks of our time, and hearts, to build a strong relationship. Once we go home it’s back to work, house chores, social events, and it becomes harder to prioritize the relationship.”
I reached down and pet my new dog, Mylo. He’s a medium-sized German Shepherd who loves moving at top speed. At the moment he lay stretched out on the floor, perfectly relaxed at a family gathering full of lively conversations, people moving in an out of the house, and lots of delicious Eritrean food. “Good boy.”
“He looks so well-trained. What does he do, exactly?”
“He guides. When we walk, my hand holds his harness handle, which goes around his shoulders and chest. As he turns, slows, or stops, I can feel all of that through the harness. He goes around obstacles, stops at steps, and stops for oncoming cars. I give him instructions, ‘left, right, forward.’ I’m the one who knows where we’re going. He follows instructions. If I tell him to go forward and he thinks it’s not […]