By Belo Cipriani
Belo and his Guide Dog Madge live in San Francisco. He's a freelance writer, speaker, and the author of Blind: A Memoir.
I had been walking for about five minutes up and down the numerous hallways when I heard a man offer me help. I told him where I needed to be and he said, “No problem! Should I write the directions down for your dog?” A loud laugh tumbled out of my mouth and I realized the stranger was not kidding when he began to talk to Madge, “Okay puppy, just go down this hallway and make a left at the elevator.” The man had clearly kneeled down as his voice sounded at Madge’s head level.
Interrupting the energetic voice, I pulled Madge closer to me and explained to the man that Madge and I were a team. “I give the directions and she guides me as safely as possible,” I told the stranger.
A big sigh came from the man who mentioned he was also heading toward the same direction and asked if he could walk with us. He continued to praise Madge for guiding me around some boxes, dodging a “Wet Floor” sign, and steering me away from a low hanging branch from an indoor plant.
Madge and I have been a team since 2009 and because I do not always catch every single small step or maneuver that she does in my favor, I realized I had taken some of her guidework for granted. We arrived at my dentist’s office and I verbally thanked the stranger for walking with us and also mentally thanked him for narrating the obstacles Madge dodged to keep me harm free. The man asked, “So, what is the hero’s name?” Smiling and rubbing her velvety ears I cheered, “Her name is Super Madge!”