Commando would never let that happen

Hello once again.

As regular readers will know there has never been any love lost between me and the cane.  I will only ever use it if I absolutely have to, or to brush up on my skills every now and then, just in case.

A cane is not as clever as a guide dog, it has no desire to keep the person wielding it safe, and it doesn’t care if you hit something.  But occasionally there are times when it’s the only option.

On New Year’s Day I had to head over to my parents’ house.  Unfortunately I had literally just fed Commando.  Since we are not supposed to work our dogs for at least one hour after feeding, and not let them free-run for at least two hours, there was no other option but to leave Commando at home, and venture out with the cane.  Although Commando does not like to be left behind, especially in favour of the cane, the weather this particular evening was, to put it mildly, rather unpleasant.  So even though I had to head out I was at least happy that Commando was going to stay nice and warm.

From my house to my parents is a short journey, maybe 2-3 minutes by cane.  So even with dismal weather, which included strong winds, I wasn’t too concerned, especially as that particular journey is one of my cane practice routes, and I’d never encountered anything more problematic than the cane getting stuck in some of the paving, something else that doesn’t happen with a guide dog.

But I suppose I should have remembered the golden rule, that no two journeys are ever quite the same…

I ventured out of my gate, with the wind blowing, and the rain coming down.  I headed towards the small road in the street where I would need to cross in order to get where I was going.  I had heard a car coming around the cul-de-sac a moment earlier, so I took care to find the edge of the curb and wait for the car to get past.  Once that had happened I proceeded to cross the road, and here dear readers is where things went wrong.  When crossing I came upon a parked vehicle.  Now, there’s nothing wrong with that, it was parked on the road, where vehicles are supposed to be parked after all.  So I turned around 90 degrees to proceed past it and head up onto the path.  I walked forward a step, and then SMACK…!!!

To this day, I am still not exactly sure what I hit.  I know that the vehicle in question was not, as I had thought, just a car that was parked there.  In fact I think it may have been a truck of some sort, and clearly had something sticking out, which I had not noticed or even suspected, via using the cane.  Fortunately I know better than to linger on a road, for any reason, and managed to make it onto the path.  Where I subsequently stopped, made use of some rather colourful language and felt an equal mix of fury, frustration, pain, and some blood in my mouth.

I proceeded on my journey, thinking the same thing all the way “Commando would never have let that happen”.  I made it to my parents, and instead of my customary “hello” my first words were “am I bleeding?”   I was quite sure that I had split my lip open as a result of the impact, and although I had, it was on the inside of my mouth so no blood on the outside, which I suppose was something.

Even now when I think about that incident, the prevailing thought is still that Commando would never have let that happen.  We make that same road crossing regularly, and every time we move seamlessly from one side of the road to the other, with Commando simply changing course slightly if there’s something in his way.  Even when we are out, if he sees something that he’s not sure about, he’ll start to slow down in order to have a better look at it, and a little think about the best course of action.  This not only lets him think about what to do next, but also alerts me to the fact that there’s something potentially problematic ahead of us.

Fortunately though my lip has healed, and I can take some comfort from the idea that it could have been worse.  But this incident is, as far as I am concerned, just one more reason why a guide dog will always be superior to a cane.


Charlotte, 10:59am Thu 24 Jul 2014:

I quolifid with my guide dog a few weeks ago... I dicided to get one after braking my wrist when my cane got court in a nasty pot hole. My Guide dog means I no longer have to worry about this. Crage and Comando it was really helpful to be able to read about yourexpirences while I was on the waiting list Thank you

David, 6:35pm Tue 8 Jul 2014:

Another great post. Very informative. This is the very reason I got involved in volunteering for Guide Dogs... Hearing how Guide Dogs really do change lives.

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Craig And Commando

Craig is in his early thirties and completely blind. His blog details the day-to-day adventures he experiences with his first guide dog, Commando.

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