I’m reading a wonderful book at the moment called For the Benefit of Those Who See: Dispatches from the World of the Blind. As many of you know, I train guide dogs for the blind here in Germany so, naturally, I find this book very interesting. Not only is it written well, but every now and then it gracefully displays what we can learn from the blind. Working regularly with the blind and visually impaired, I can relate with the author.
Now you might be thinking, Well great, Tiamat, I’m happy for you. But, uh, what does this have to do with animals?!
No worries, I’m getting to that.
The author visits schools for the blind and visually impaired in India and Tibet. While in Tibet, she had the joy of discovering that, in a small village, the electricity (lights, water, everything) stopped working after late afternoon. So there she was, stumbling around her bathroom, trying desperately to get her teeth brushed at the very least. After 5 minutes, her hairbrush and toothbrush are both in the toilet, she has hit her head hard on something, run into the door, and banged her knee.
Two children from the next room come to check on her after hearing the clatter, having no problems themselves (being blind and all). „Is everything alright?“, they ask. „Yes, nothing bad happened… but how do you guys not get frustrated when you constantly bang into and lose things?!“ She asks them. They smile in the darkness and respond, „We can’t afford to always get frustrated, this is our life. It can always happen that we run into something.“ (These are not direct quotes from the book, just the general conversation.) So to be blind and not completely lose control of your life means having patience… so much patience.
Then the author is in India, walking down the street. Two Indian women are making their way to a bus stop. When the two women see the bus arriving, they start sprinting at full speed. The moment they get to the bus stop, the bus drives off at full speed, leaving them standing in a dust cloud. Oh wow, the author thought. I would be so mad, yelling after the driver and maybe find a rock to throw.
To her surprise, the two women let their heads fall back and laughed. They laughed until their cheeks hurt at the bus driver’s ignorance and rudeness. They laughed…!!
So what’s my point telling these two stories? Don’t let these little problems and hiccups in everyday life get you down. Sometimes your dog, horse, pig or llama might do something that bothers you. Okay, let it go. Try laughing about it, even if you have to force yourself at first. Maybe one day it will come naturally. Someone might not agree with your training and say something rude or that might upset you. Don’t let it, just smile at them and say, „Okay, well have a nice day! I’m glad your method works for you!“
If your dog misbehaves, laugh a little and say, „Hey buddy, did you wake up on the wrong side of the dog bed?“
Today’s reminders for us all: laugh and have more patience.