Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Following the Instructor, Part 2

By Joanne Ritter

Thanks to all of you who left positive comments from our first video in this series about Guide Dog training.

At the start of this 2:33 minute video, Instructor Ben Cawley grabs a cuppa' joe and gets ready for the drive into San Francisco.

A dog's gotta' look good for a day in the big city, so it's a quick brush down and then on with the leather harness and we're ready to roll.

Guide Dog in training is harnessed to begin his training workout
Music cannot mask the sounds of the city -- the car horns and loud engines are almost ear-splitting. Distractions abound. It takes a lot of focus to be a Guide Dog. Focus, patience and an eagerness to please.

Stopping for curbs wins a pat and praise. The dog waits calmly until Instructor Paolo Pompanin gives the cue to cross the street. It seems like a simple task, but it can mean the difference between life and death to someone who is blind. Unlike our focused dogs, pedestrians and drivers often aren't paying full attention to safe travel.

What about you? Do you multi-task when you're driving? Have you experienced a close call because you or someone else wasn't paying attention to traveling safely?

Here's a link to a short video of the day's excursion!
(2:33 minutes)

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