Guide dog schools in the United States, charities all, like to say blind people are completed or set free by having dogs, an assertion that invites charitable dollars but isn’t entirely true. Fund raising lingo varies from school to school but the general pretense is: “with” a guide dog the blind have new opportunities, hope, freedom, and dignity leaving the public to imagine “without” a dog blind people are rather wretched indeed.
One school has the motto: “open your hearts for closed eyes” which is presumably Dickensian enough to moisten donors.
I am alive because of my guide dogs. I can never say enough about the advantages of having a professionally trained service dog by my side.
But I’m not more dignified because of my dog. I am more or less dignified because of myself.
Does the self, in the case of dog loving men and women feel better in situ “mitt” canine?
You bet. But follow the thread: is a man or woman more dignified because they take Prozac?
Dignitas, from Latin, means worthy. I am not more or less worthy because of my dog.
Now it costs a lot of money to breed, raise, and train each and every guide dog. It is altogether fit and appropriate to ask the public to assist with charitable dollars. But why the old fashioned idea that the blind are either dignified or without worth according to the provision of your services?
Tell true stories of success and joy. Leave out the semiotics of wretchedness.
If the guide dog schools tried this they’d be as daring as their clients who face the unknown with a strong belief in essential goodness.