The Return of the Corner Shop

Greetings one and all.

Although Commando and I are quite well known in our local high street, especially in the shops we frequent, there are a few shops that we don’t bother with, even though they may sell things which could be useful. This is primarily because they lack the kind of personal, direct assistance that you can get in a butchers or bakers, or are just far too crowded with stock or people. I have, every now and then, toyed with the idea of taking Commando into one of these shops to see how long it would take for a member of staff to even notice us, much less ask if we needed assistance. However, it’s simply an experiment I’ve never gotten around to.

Fortunately, it may now be a test I never need to run, as recently a long established, but dormant corner shop has re-opened. The shop has been around for as long as I can remember, and as corner shops sometimes are, this one was not only a shop but a kind of hub for the local area, with a shop keeper who knew his customers on a personal level and so was always happy to help them. The shop closed in early 2009, and I’ve often lamented its loss. I couldn’t help but think that it could have come in very handy, not only in the severe winter of 2010, but also when I was doing my initial cane training, as it would have provided a reasonable route to work on. Not to mention it would have provided a shop keeper who would have been happy to assist with finding items for me. But, as indicated by the title of this post, the shop has recently re-opened, and is being run by the son of the previous shop keeper.

As regular readers may know, a regular route for Commando and I is the route to the local post box. The post box serves not only as a convenient place to post mail, but it’s distance from home also serves as a nice short walk for Commando, and as an opportunity for him to show off his post box finding skills.

The route to the shop is a good little extension to this route, with the shop being around three minutes from the post box. Once or twice I have extended that walk to take us near the shop, one day hoping that it might re-open. With that in mind it has proven quite easy for Commando to find.

When we were heading there for our first visit, I was pleased to realize that Commando remembered that he didn’t need to go up to the curb, but instead needed to veer off to the left along a kind of dog leg shaped stretch of path to take the most direct route towards the shop.

Therefore, on our first visit Commando found the shop, and the door without any problems, and once inside I directed him to the counter, rewarding him with a kibble when he found it. This not only gave Commando some good shop practice but also gave me a chance to introduce us both to the shop keeper. I must also admit to being a little opportunistic, seeing a newly opened business and the owner’s positive reaction to Commandos presence, I asked if he would be kind enough to consider having a Guide Dogs collection box. I had fully expected him to want to think about it for a little while, but he was kind enough to agree immediately.

Since the shops re-opening Commando and I have made a number of visits. Each time, we receive a friendly welcome, and all I need to do is take Commando up to the counter and ask for the items I need. The shop keeper is kind enough to collect them for me and bag them up, making the entire experience extremely simple and quick, and in my opinion showing just how useful these local shops can be.

Although Commando has taken to getting us to the shop without any problems, I think he’s still under the impression that we’re supposed to be going to the post box. I suppose this is understandable after 2 years of that being the main reason for heading to that area. But to his credit, when I tell him “forward” at the curb, rather than turning him around to “find the box” he always heads off without hesitation. Although on our first couple of return trips he did take me directly to the post box once we came up onto the curb near the box. Fortunately on the first couple of journeys I did have something to post. But more recently I’ve had to let him know that we don’t want the box, and as much as he loves taking me right up to it, I have to steer him onward with a quick “not today”, which to his credit he does listen to. But I think he is always just a little disappointed not to be able to find the box.

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Craig And Commando

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

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