Guide Dog Tales Vol. 17


By Carolyn Dale Newell

My heartbeat accelerated as the dog barked at us. I heard a chain being tugged on. Once again, bark and clang. The third time was different. The chain broke. My mind raced as he came toward Iva and me barking.

I pulled my stun gun, but it was stuck. When it finally came out of the case, it barely popped. I only wanted to scare the dog, but by this time, he stood as if there was a barrier between him and Iva. Looking back, I believe it was angels. I froze as they stared at one another. Not sure what the dog would do next.

I began to video the situation. I could no longer see the dog, but that is not unusual with my limited vision. Then I detected a whisper, as if she wanted to go undetected by a sightless person.

Pointing the camera across the street toward the dog and his master, I questioned her about the dog running at large. She claimed the fence broke, not a chain. I later learned this fence was only a baby-gate on her deck. She claimed she was there all along, but she offered no apology. If she had been present, she would have jumped into action. Maybe she was too engrossed in her phone.

Foolishly, I thought this time the cops would help. I called. I waited. First to arrive were two nice policemen. They called Buena Vista Animal Control. We chatted and one admitted the problem of leashj-law breakers in the city.

Animal Control arrived. He viewed the video and accused me of being argumentative with the woman and him. Yes, my hands were trembling. My voice grew louder with frustration. Impatient with the lack of compassion with her and now with him. His sharp words and attitude alarmed me. He refused to charge her. He even told me to expect this in a residential section. Really? In a neighborhood where people know a blind woman walks? What happened to “Love thy neighbor”?

Neither of them understood the severity of this situation. We were only ten feet from a busy highway. Cars whip in there, barely slowing down. Yelling was necessary to be heard over the loud traffic. Screaming also occurs when I get angry. Angry that sighted people do not get it.

Distracting a working guide dog can have detrimental effects. It is equal to someone jerking the steering wheel from a driver’s hands,

Defeated, I walked off before tears escaped my eyes. There was no need to continue standing there with an officer of the law treating a blind woman harshly. No consideration for my safety. No consideration for the fear that consumes you when you can only hear your surroundings.

Visually impaired folks cannot expect sighted folks to comprehend our lives. To them, it was just a barking dog who got away from his owner. To me, it was a fearful event that could have turned into a nightmare.

I have to advocate for myself. No one else will. Being a Christian does not make me a doormat. Feeling like nobody understands, nobody helps, and nobody cares aggravates you enough to bring out the human instinct to fight. Don’t judge me, until you walk in my shoes.

Now, before leaving the house, I pray. I will trust Jesus Christ and His hand of protection. Satan desires to steal my independence and create dismay. Angels encamp around me and Iva.

My goal is to educate the public. Will you help teach others by sharing this?

Copyright 2017 Carolyn Dale Newell


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