By William H. Grignon
Here is the latest chapter in my quest to get my first guide dog. I now have a date to meet my dog. It is March 13, 2021. That is when I come face-to-face with Thunder: a seventy-pound yellow Lab from Freedom Guide Dogs.
I am told that Thunder “has a lot of energy” and “can get rather goofy.” Well, duh, he’s a Lab. At least I have lived with a goofy high-energy Lab for years, Percy, and I’ve seen how my wife, Mary Ann, has handled him and how he has responded by being a superb guide.
I still have some reservations, but trepidation appears to be giving way to anticipation. One thing about cane travel I think I will miss is knowing what the ground around me feels like and being able to locate things in my immediate vicinity with my cane. This tactile exploration helps me to create a mental picture of what is around me and I wonder if I will miss this when I have a dog.
Mary Ann says that the freedom and confidence I will enjoy with Thunder will outweigh the loss of tactile data, but I might just keep a telescoping cane around to point the tip of my tap in the blank abyss.