Dog Dream

I was riding home on a city bus two nights ago when a blind man with a cane clambered aboard and the driver shouted "watch out for the dog!" as though the man might have a miraculous recovery right there in the aisle of the old number 2, and the man managed to get himself situated opposite me and we were off again heading north on state route 23.

The man with the cane asked me if "the dog" was a "blind dog" and I resisted the opportunity to make a joke and I said that he was a guide dog for the blind.  "Sometimes they’re called seeing-eye dogs, but the correct term is guide dog, or dog guide" I said.

Then a funny feeling came over me.  It was like the intuition you sometimes get at the racetrack–"bet on olde Doctor Boondoggle right now, don’t give it a second thought.  I asked the man if he’d like to "see" my dog.

Ordinarily you don’t let anyone interact with a guide dog, especially if you’re on a bus.

And so with Vidal’s head resting on the man’s knee and with his evident joy rising around us, I heard the story of how he lost his eyesight by gun shot, and how he has been learning to walk with his "Braille stick" as he called it.

He didn’t know that guide dogs for the blind are offered free of charge or that the training and the transportation are also free.  He didn’t know that the guide dog programs offer funding for veterinary care.

Pretty soon the bus driver was getting in on the conversation.  She was saying things like, "My God, that’s fantastic!"

Soon enough the man with the cane had arrived at his stop.  He repeated the name of the guide dog school that I had given him.  He climbed down the steps of the bus with a sense of uplift.  You can sometimes descend stairs while feeling that you’re going up.  Maybe that’s a "blind thing"?

I don’t know if he will ever get his dog.  I find that most days I live in hope.  On those days I don’t feel hope I take some Prozac and read a book by Mark Twain.

In the meantime, I hope that man calls Guiding Eyes for the Blind.  I hope his life opens before him.  He sure liked having my dog’s head on his knee.


Author: skuusisto

Poet, Essayist, Blogger, Journalist, Memoirist, Disability Rights Advocate, Public Speaker, Professor, Syracuse University

0 thoughts on “Dog Dream”

  1. A few days ago, while my daughter, Maria, and I were waiting for our takeout food in an Indian restaurant in Fresno, a couple came in and each of ’em had a guide dog, Golden Retrievers to be exact. At first I thought the dogs were in training; I’d never seen two at the same time, but Maria astutely observed that both humans were blind.
    Having gotten to know Vidal a bit, I can think of no other guide dog I’d rather have rest his head on my knee. I’m a student in the MFA program at Pacific Lutheran University, where Steve teaches, and one of my fondest memories, though, was lying snuggled up to Vidal on the floor last summer. He’s an exceptionally sweet dog.
    Happy Mother’s Day, Connie!!


  2. That’s great. I hope he’s able to get a dog and more of the help he needs because he ran into you.
    “And so with Vidal’s head resting on the man’s knee and with his evident joy rising around us…”
    That was my favorite part of your post. (Besides the overall message, of course.) And I’m not surprised you ended your story with that thought.
    Wonderful, wonderful.


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