How true it is that you really appreciate something or someone when you no longer have it. I have been a dog guide user since 1982, when I got my first Seeing Eye named Mindy. Between dogs, that is after 1 dies or retires, or in the case of Cisco, is reassigned, I renew my vow to never be dogless again if I can help it.

When I walk into a room full of strangers, I feel awkward and self conscious when I have only my white cane to identify me as someone who is blind. While I might get more help that way, I much prefer being regarded as an independent and self confident person with a beautiful and self confident dog to match. Striding into a room feels much better than tapping my way in. My apologies to any cane devotees, but you are surely much more proficient at cane travel than I.

Then there was this past Saturday, when the sun came out after weeks of cold dreary days, and the temperature rose to 52. what a perfect day for an outdoor activity, like taking a good long walk. But where was I? Inside, reading a book. Sure, I could have unfolded the white cane and made my way down the street, but again, that would be far from invigorating and stressful besides.

Today, as I walked across the lobby of my mothers assisted living home, holding the elbow of an aid, I noted that Id have to make arrangements for her to come back for me at the end of my visit. Yes, I could practice walking through the lobby, but what if a person in a wheelchair, or person using a walker, or worse yet, a wobbly person with no equipment at all, would cut in front of me, across my practiced path? It might be dangerous for us both. A guide dog would take me around such obstacles, and I wouldnt even know they were there.

Yes, Im counting the days when I can return to the Seeing Eye to train again with a new, energetic, bright, and beautiful guide. We all miss Cisco, for various reasons, but well all just have to fall in love again with a new love of my life.


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