Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I just got a comment from Melissa K. asking me about whether or not I'd like a Guide Dog, and instead of addressing her comment in my comments, I took it here. Thanks for asking the question, Melissa.

I have been reading a blog for about a year from a woman who has gone through what I'm going through now (RP, young kids, ... all of it), and she does it with so much poise and power, it's going to make my blog look like swamp water and phlegm, but I'll direct you there anyway, because I truly admire and adore her. Becky at Cruisin' with Cricket has had a Guide Dog (Cricket. Pay attention!) for many, many years, and she has been so inspirational in my decision to apply for a Guide Dog of my own. Her dogs have been vital to her success and support in losing her sight, and it's really such a beautiful relationship to watch unfold.

I am eligible for a dog now, if I wanted to go that route, and I've begun the application process a couple of times, but I've been placed on waiting lists, or asked to live at a training facility for at least a month, while I bond with my dog and learn the ropes. Both of these things have discouraged me enough to just give up on it, for now. Waiting lists are out of my control, and living somewhere without my kids for a month would just make me a great big Saddy Pants, but I could exchange one for the other, and really there are enough training facilities in the country where neither of these is really an issue. I'm just being all Excusey.

One of my biggest hangups about having a guide dog is the fact that I don't have a very active life. I walk my daughter to school, and back, and I walk to peoples' homes in my neighborhood, but I'm mostly at my house all day, and I don't know if that's because I don't have a dog to help me get to the grocery store, or because I'm just lazy and it's too hot to walk anywhere. I would just hate for my guide dog to get all dumpy like me. I liken it to buying a limo, but driving it myself. To Walmart. To buy orange soda. Just a lot of "What's the point?" in there, you know?

We also just watched a couple of dogs for my friend who was moving, and even though I loved their company (SNUGGLES!!), I realized our house, or more pointedly, our yard is just not an ideal place for a dog. It's big enough, but it's all dirt, and dogs like to kick that kind of thing up in the air, causing everything in our house to get caked with it. They were only here for two days, and it took me a whole extra day just to clean up after them, and we were all sneezing like crazy. Not a make or break kind of problem, but it's something to consider. We'll probably get grass next year or the year after, and then it'll be a non-issue.

Lastly, my mom hates dogs. I know that she would probably make an exception for a dog that gave me independence and security, but I also know that she's not the only one who feels this way about animals inside her home. I just don't know enough about how people would react. However, I am approaching 30, and I've learned that 30 is the age when you start to realize that what makes other people comfortable is not a good enough reason to not get what you need. I'm getting there, but it's slow-going. More therapy would probably help. I feel like I made a huge leap in the right direction when I stopped telling myself that I shouldn't "take" a dog from someone who needs it more than me. As my friend Erin would say, "Pbbbbfft"

So, I don't know, maybe I'll direct the question to you guys. If you were in my situation, would you take the leap into Guide Dog Bliss, or would you wait it out? ... until....?


Becky said...

Well, first of all can I fly down to your warmer weather to chat about this and for your nice comments - lunch is on me :)! Here's my thoughts: I was not a dog lover nor was my mom before my first guide dog. Now, my mom is crazy in love with my guide - even gets teary and sends them birthday and christmas gifts so there is hope for a mom that doesn't like dogs when they see what they will do for their daughter. Secondly, I am so thrilled that the training is now cut to 2 - 3 weeks instead of the month training. That is so much more doable. Thirdly, walks to school and such are an important job of a guide dog. They love being with you and able to go when you need to or being home when that is the option. Walking is actually enjoyable again with a guide dog. I am not tentatively watching my steps. GDB: www.guidedogs.com is amazing. They will come, interview, let you go through a walk to see how it feels, answer all your questions and concerns and support you along the journey. Okay, I'll stop now and sorry I have taken much space on your comment post! Love!

The Wizzle said...

I am wholly unqualified to speak on this, but I think you should do it. DO IT, Renee! Stop pussyfooting. Jump in. Do it. We can talk ourselves out of anything. You'll never know how much this could benefit you unless you try!

HanneeNz said...

I've only recently started reading your blog and I always find your posts to be so thoughtful and insightful, very honest and they often make me chuckle too. I really admire your strength and they way you take on all challenges in everyday life. I'm not sure about the guide dog, before reading your post I probably would have said yes straight away, but reading your different points made me think a little more about it and now I'm not sure. It's difficult to know what you would do unless you are actually in the situation. I think you should do what is best for you, like you say, other peoples comfort (and opinions) don't matter when it comes down to your own health, safety and quality of life. I look forward to reading more of your adventures! (Also...your kids are gorgeous!)

The Mayor said...

If I were you, and I'm not so take this comment with a grain of sodium-rich Doritos, but I would get a guide dog in a heartbeat. A guide dog isn't like a regular dog - they're a working dog. You are their boss and they never want to get fired. So you don't have to deal with all the crappy parts of having a dog (jumping up on your guests, shitting behind the couch because someone startled it, barking at nothing). Plus, your kids would get so much out of a dog. A dog really becomes part of your family (rather than being like a pet). And plus, you want to get your dog while you still have some good looking-skills in your eyes so you can see how happy your dog's face will get when he's helping you. You'll always want to remember that. Dogs are excellent at smizing.

Melissa K. said...

Well, I would vote "dog", but then again, I think I started this whole thing... :)

As the Mayor pointed out, a guide dog is a working dog, not just a fountain of slobber and pet hair. It's a very different experience to meet a Trained Dog than someone's dear yet drooly pet.

And Harri and Lennon would LOVE it.

Just my $.02!

Kristin said...

You know my vote! Great advice from everyone else, too.