Road works, dog works, partnership works…

Hello again.

As I have said before, no two walks are ever completely the same.  But having a certain level of routine can be helpful.  Knowing when and where you’re likely to cross roads for example.  But every now and then something unexpected can turn up which has the potential to cause some problems.

Recently, Commando and I were heading up to the local high-street.  I had been made aware that there were road works taking place along our usual route, and in fact Commando and I had walked past these road works a couple of days earlier without any problems.  However the dates for the works indicated, that by the time of our taking this latest walk, they should have finished.

However, a few minutes into the walk, I started hearing sounds indicating that the work was still well and truly underway.  After a second or twos thought I decided that rather than turn around, we would keep going.  We had, after all, encountered them previously without any real problems.  But, of course then there’s that golden rule about two walks never being quite the same. 

It appears that this time, with the road works having progressed there were more problems to deal with than last time.  Combine this fact with the fact that it was once again bin day and things get really interesting…

Fortunately the wheeled menace wasn’t too difficult to deal with on this particular day.  Commando was able to weave us around any that were in the way without too much difficulty.  But a major problem with road works, dear readers, is that they make a great deal of noise.  As a result far more care must be taken when crossing roads.  Fortunately I was able to hear one or two cars passing us as we waited at a crossing where, to the left on the main road, the majority of the work was going on.  We crossed the road, and then found that our path was blocked.  Commando moved to make an attempt at an off curb manoeuvre, but I felt that the noise levels were far too high to safely make such an attempt.  At this point I was ready to turn around and head home.  However one of the workmen then said that it would be safe for us to walk onto the road and around whatever was blocking the path.  So, I suppose Commando had the right idea all along about what we should be doing.  My decision to turn around when Commando initially indicated this option was not a case of me doubting Commando, but more a case of considering a number of other factors which could potentially have jeopardised our safety.  The noise was all encompassing, meaning that there was no way I’d have heard anything coming.  Additionally I could not be certain exactly what had been done to the road, and so couldn’t be certain that it would be safe for Commando or myself to set foot upon it.  But with reassurance that we could proceed safely, proceed we did.

Aside from some more weaving around by Commando, to dodge wheelie bins, signs, or whatever else may have been in our way, the remainder of the journey into the high-street was uneventful.

We began the return leg of our journey, and things were running nice and smoothly.  We had managed to cross the road at our usual crossing point, one of the very few instances in the area where the tactile paving is actually in the proper place, and we were now once again heading towards the road works.  We were approaching another small side road crossing, again with the road works on our left, and once again we encountered something unexpected.  As we approached the corner, where Commando usually indents prior to crossing, Commando came to a full stop.  He did not make for the curb, or make any other move in any direction, indicating to me that he likely couldn’t see an alternative route for us…

At this point, dear readers, I must take you all back to our early days of training in our local area.  We have a very strange situation of having some curb like arrangements on a path we use regularly, which initially caused Commando and I some confusion, as Commando would often head towards them thinking perhaps that we had to use them for something.  On a couple of occasions this caused me some confusion as I would suddenly worry that somehow we had ended up on the road without me realizing, but in fairly short order Commando realised that we didn’t need them and they were for all intents and purposes utterly pointless.  That is until this particular day.  I knew we were at the crossing which had this extra curb, and I knew from our approximate position that it was very close by, a fact confirmed when I moved my right foot a little and felt the curb.  I had no way to know whether or not using this curb would be enough to get us around whatever was in our way, but Commando couldn’t see an alternative, so I felt that it was worth a try.

Since Commando had realised long ago that he should really leave this curb alone I wasn’t entirely sure how much coaxing I would have to do to get him to take us up onto it.  But my boy obviously trusts my judgement as much as I trust his, and seeing me gesture for him to take us up onto the extra curb he promptly did so.  At which point I suspect he realised that it would provide us with the way around we needed as he took us along for a few seconds then turned towards the curb, indicating that we could now cross the road. 

So, cross we did.  We then proceeded past the road works once again, with Commando utterly unfazed by all of the noise and activity going on close by.  We again did some more weaving around various, and unknown items, until we were clear of the situation and moving smoothly on the final leg of our journey home.  Naturally I was heaping massive amounts of praise onto Commando as we moved clear of the road works, even throwing in an extra stroke and kibble when we were at our final road crossing.

Although a challenging trip, I think it served to demonstrate very well the essence of a guide dog partnership, with both human and guide dog working together to overcome unexpected problems, and of course it was just one more journey which ended with me beaming with pride in Commando for once again bringing us home safely.


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