This post might have been titled Guardian Angel, but you might have thought it was going to have a religious theme. But its the story of Ciscos first solo walk home from our training session in town last Saturday.
Kara and I had worked with Cisco on finding the pole that has the audible signal button, finding the right place to stand where well be lined up correctly for the crosswalk, walking straight across the street within the crosswalk lines, and turning into the 2 businesses I wanted to patronize. It was an intense workout for everybody. Because the downtown area is about 2 miles from my house, we drove part way and parked about a third of a mile from downtown. When we started home and approached the place where the car was parked, Kara suggested that I might want to go ahead and walk the rest of the way. I had walked that route dozens of times with previous Seeing Eye ® dogs, and Cisco had the basics down pat, so I was comfortable with the idea. What touched me was that Kara was too. She saw that even though Cisco is young and inexperienced, he demonstrated that together, as a team, we were quite capable of going the distance, without Karas watchful eye. You know how you felt when your kindergartner walked to school by himself the first time? Or when your 16-year-old daughter drove down the street by herself for the first time? Its not exactly the same, but there must have been a little of that feeling as she got in her car and then passed us by as we walked. Then, it started to sprinkle. No problem. We had walked in pouring rain in Manhattan, in our early training. Then it rained harder, and I heard thunder in the distance. No problem. I had my cell phone, in case I needed Kara to come and get us.
At the beginning of the last third of the route, we had to cross a busy street, but it has an audible signal. This should not have been a problem. But with the rain and the traffic, I couldnt hear the ticking sound it makes to help you locate the pole. Cisco was not familiar enough with this crossing to show me the pole yet, so it was up to me to find it. My talking GPS told me that I had passed the street, several times, that I needed to get to, but I couldnt find the pole that held the magic button that would stop all the cars. Then out of nowhere came a womans voice. You want some help? Oh thank God, it was Kara. Apparently, she had parked nearby and had observed my predicament. She agreed that the ticking sound was not loud enough to hear it over the traffic noise, so my fears of losing my hearing were allayed. After we located the pole, pushed the button, waited for the voice of the audible system to tell me it was safe to cross, off we went toward home. Kara wont always be there to rescue me, I know, but having a guardian angel at a crucial time I recognize as a blessing.
Since then, Ive called the city and asked them to turn up the sound a notch or 2, and Kara and I did some clicker training with cisco at that pole.
Today, Cisco and I traveled that route alone. The clicker training worked, and the audible signal was audible. Kara wasnt there, but a different kind of guardian angel was. Karas confidence in Cisco, affirming my own, was the key to completion of a successful training session.