That tinkling sound I just heard wasn’t the discreet coin dropping text alert I have set up for my office profile, no, it was the sound of a penny dropping in my head. Its just occurred to me that there is a good reason why I hate people distracting my guide dog when its working. This is beside the fact that it is rude, disruptive and disrespectful.
I was walking outside our office building just now and someone was nearby. I realised that they were walking almost sideways in an attempt to get a good look at the dog. The dog was clearly distracted by this so not working well.
So, said person was communicating with my dog. Not in an audible way that I could interact with. I’m sure if I’d challenged them they’d have said they weren’t doing anything. They were communicating visually, thus totally excluding me from the communication.
Yes, there are people out there who would like to interact with my dog, and those working dogs of other blind people, without ever once considering the blind handler, let alone afford them the respect of being included.
My message to these people is clear and harsh. If you can’t be bothered with the handler, back off the dog and mind your own business.
On the other hand, if you engage me in conversation, I’d be more than likely to want to interact with you and to allow my dog to.
Some would rightly ask me why I didn’t initiate a conversation with this person. My answer is this. I’m not an ambassador for blind people, but society expects me to be. I can’t always be sunshine and smiles despite people’s ignorance, I have busy or difficult days like everyone else. Therefore I figure that if I can’t trust myself to be polite when I open my mouth, its probably best to keep it closed and go on my way.