The Sad Truth

Charli Saltzman

I always enjoy my time at the Seeing Eye. Weeks before I even go to New Jersey to the Seeing Eye, I await the day with a feeling of excitement and great anticipation. I love meeting new people while at Seeing Eye, enjoy the good food, and, most importantly, I love getting to know my new furry four-legged companion who will become my guide dog. But if there’s one thing I don’t enjoy about Seeing Eye, it’s the story about a faithful guide dog, one mistake, and regret. And they tell this sad story every single time you go back to the Seeing Eye. But I know why they tell us this story. For you to understand better, I’m going to tell the story. However, I’m changing the names so as not to give away anyone’s identity.

Picture sweet little Rosie. She is a wonderful guide dog, very obedient, and adores her owner. And you know what? Her owner loves her too. Every so often, Rosie and her owner, we’ll call him Frank, travel to see family. Frank’s family lives in a farm house, and there is plenty of acreage for Rosie to have fun and run around outside. The only drawback is that there is no fence to keep Rosie in. However, Rosie doesn’t need a fence. She’s a wonderful dog and would never leave her owner. In fact, Rosie can usually be trusted alone outside. Let her out to play, and she will stay in the yard. Or will she?

One evening, Rosie and Frank traveled to the farm, and when they arrived, Rosie was super excited. She knew that now she would get to go outside and play. Sure enough, that harness was taken off, and Rosie was free to roam. Not too long afterword, Frank opened the door and called to her. That’s when he heard it, the screeching tires, and Rosie’s sad, helpless cry.

Frank was shocked. He knew what had just happened without even seeing it. Countless times Rosie was permitted to run free, but in that one moment, Frank’s life changed forever. Rosie had been hit by a car. There was nothing more he could do. Rosie was gone.

No, this story does not have a happy ending. It’s heartbreaking, but it’s not unusual. You think your dog is obedient. He always comes when you call him. But like this story, one moment, one second, can change everything. Moral of the story, be very careful. Your dog may be a very well-behaved dog, but remember, she is still a dog. Therefore, it is really never a good idea to leave a dog unsupervised in an area with no fence. If you take your dog outside where there is nothing to keep the dog in, keep your dog on a chain or leash.

I suppose this story serves its purpose, making sure guide dog owners take much precaution when allowing their dogs freedom. The only time Joba is allowed to run off leash is if he is in a fenced-in area. There are times when I am at home, and I think I could let him loose on the front porch if I’m with him, but that story always comes back to haunt me if I think that way. I know Joba. He listens well, and when he is in the back yard, he will not leave the porch unless I do. Surprisingly, even if he sees the neighbor’s dog on the other side of the fence, he will stay on the porch and not move. However, would he do that in the front yard? Probably, but I won’t chance it. I don’t even let Joba in the backyard alone, but that’s for an entirely different reason.

I don’t mean to make anyone sad. I just want you to understand the dangers of assuming. My advice would be to never take chances when it comes to the possibility of your dog running out onto the road. You want your dog to live a happy and long life. On a happier note, I do believe that man did return to the school for another dog. I’m happy he didn’t let that one mistake keep him from living an independent life with a guide dog.

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