Good Citizen Meets Jerk Neighbor

In all my years of walking my Seeing Eye ® dogs around my neighborhood, I have never had any trouble with a neighbor until yesterday. Oh, I’ve had to scold a couple for letting there dogs run free when they would race up to my dog with barking, growling, or just wanting to play, but usually, they either would make no reply or would apologize.

but yesterday, this woman, who lives on Deerwood, a couple of streets away was downright rude. We were walking along, when suddenly, Dora felt a need to urinate. She pulled over near the street and squatted. No harm. Urine from a dog cannot be detected, smelled, or seen once it seeps into the ground. I knew that she had only urinated and not defecated, because I had been taught by the Seeing Eye instructors how to tell which form of elimination is happening. It’s a little secret that not many people know about, unless you’re a guide dog handler. I put my hand on her back, and if she’s defecating, her back will be humped. If she is merely urinating, her back will be straight, like a ski slope.

On this particular walk, she chose to squat very near a driveway, where the owner of this driveway was just pulling in at that very moment. She stopped the car, jumped out and screamed, “You’re going to pick that up, aren’t you.” I replied, “I’d be glad to pick it up, but it’s only pee.”

“Oh no it isn’t,” she argued. “I saw her do something else.” Again, I said, “I’d be glad to pick it up, but you’ll have to show me where it is.” I was confident there was nothing to pick up, but I waited. I waited while she took some packages into the house, returned for more packages, went back into the house, and then closed the garage door. I waited some more, expecting her to come charging out, but after several minutes, I realized that she was not coming out. My guess is that she looked again, saw nothing to pick up, and chose to let me stand there waiting for her. She did not have the you know what to say to me, “You’re right.” I wanted to give her all the time she needed to do so, but no acknowledgement, let alone an apology was forthcoming. Finally, I moved on. I always pick up after my dog, and I proudly carry that little plastic bag down the street as a badge of good citizenship. Not all dog guide users are so considerate, just like not all sighted people are jerks, so I encourage anyone reading this blog to give us the benefit of the doubt. If you see a blind person waiting for her dog to finish her elimination, wait before you scream at her. It might take a few seconds to get the bag out of her pocket and unfold it, but give her a chance to be the good neighbor and citizen that she most probably is.

Mary Hiland

Author of “The Bumpy Road to Assisted Living A Daughter’s Memoir”

Available at


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