Last week taught me the power of trust.
It was my first time being with one of my trainer’s finished guide dogs who got to know her new blind owner. My job is to prepare these dogs to work for the blind/almost fully blind. Every day I proof that they are acting the way they should, but this past week brought my understanding to a whole new level.
It’s just different when you observe someone learn how to be with a dog – without seeing the dog. Luckily, this pair caught on fast. They were whizzing around their little town faster than any of their seeing neighbors. This would not have been possible if it hadn’t been for the man’s undying trust in Emma. He put his life in her paws and said, I trust you’ll make the right decisions. WOW.
Imagine this, or try working with your dog with black padding over your eyes:
If you were blind… How would you know when another dog was coming before they were too close (and then bothering your dog)? How would you reinforce your commands if you can’t see what your dog is doing? How would you know how far away your dog is running on your walk? What’s he chasing? Does he have something in his mouth? Where did he go? Is he distracted? How would you protect your dog from other dogs?
It blew my world watching this man figure out a solution to each and every one of these crucial questions. I followed them (jogged to keep up) as they zoomed through Stuttgart. What trust! Emma guided him through hectic crowds, flocks of pigeons, very busy streets, and safely in and out of trains and buses.
If he had not trusted Emma, she would not have worked as well as she did. Emma, and any other animal, can feel that trust right to their core.
Last week cemented the reminder in my brain to always trust my animals. Stand on your own feet and make decisions when necessary (for your safety), but have that trust. Don’t constantly feel a need to control their every move.