Guide Dog Tales Vol. 20


By Carolyn Dale Newell

“Yes!” tells Iva she did a good job and a treat is making its way to her mouth. Iva had planted us firmly on the curb. We paused for traffic. Birds sang praises to God, and the scent of freshly cut grass filled the air.

“Iva, forward.” She turned left, and I redirected her with the leash, reassuring her I was correct. I wondered if I really was right. A few steps down the sidewalk hinted that we were in new territory. Suddenly, without warning, several tree branches slapped my face, revealing it was definitely the wrong block. I wish I could read Iva’s mind as I directed her to turn around. Was she thinking, “I wish you would make up your mind, Mom.”

Or was an “I told you so.” In her thoughts?

Undoubtedly, I had lost track of the streets as I counted, and we turned one block early.

I am always amazed by Iva’s intelligence. I was surprised to find Labrador Retrievers at number seven on a list of the ten most intelligent breeds of dogs according to an article on Border Collies took first place.

Are some animals smarter than humans? Could we be reaping the results of a dummy-down society?

I have commanded Iva to go to the bench at the front of Walmart when we are in the back of the store. With no more commands, Iva takes me to that bench. In our driveway, I can suggest we need to check the mail, and right to the mailbox Iva goes. Our mailbox is located in an odd place, not near our driveway.

Four days ago, I taught Iva to stop at a pothole, so we can avoid it. Today was the first time we walked that route since then, and she handled it perfectly.

When Iva guides me, she rarely misses a step or curb. People forget. I have had plenty of stumbles depending on humans.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. (James 1:5-6 NKJV)

Do we not ask God for wisdom, or do we doubt the understanding He gives us? Have we cluttered our minds with too many priorities, allowing things to slip past us? Yes, yes, and yes.

Blind people must remember an incredible amount of information. Here is a small list of things I need to keep in mind that sighted people don’t need:

  • Clothes in my closet are organized from right to left in this order: black, white, yellow, red… freezer, pork on top, hamburger second, chicken third …
  • Again freezer, lima beans on the left, fourth bin down.
  • Computer – “Alt” plus” S” sends an email.
  • A million more computer keyboard commands.
  • A mental map of everywhere I walk.

Do you remember the commercial with a frying pan and eggs? It demonstrated that a mind is a terrible thing to waste. Cluttered thoughts, unnecessary trivia, and busyness has taken up precious space. Christians can improve memory and keep our minds sharp with Bible verse memorization. Why not start today?



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