My guide dog Sophie is amazing. As we trained together to become a team, she wowed and captivated me with her sharp skills, attentive gaze, and beautiful face.
I was certain she was the right dog for me from the very start.
And I was so excited to begin my life with her. I had no idea what it took to become a good team. As I learned the intricacies of being a dog handler from Sophie and the instructors, I began to realize the complexities of this new relationship.
Sophie was born to be a guide dog. She has been expertly trained to be a guide dog. And she is an excellent guide dog. But first and foremost, she is a dog! She has all of the wonderful and natural instincts of a regular dog, even though they tried to breed them down and train them out of her! It is what I love the most about her…she knows who she is. However, she also has this incredible drive to obey and please me and the discipline to do so…most of the time! You see, she is not a perfect guide dog all of the time. When she was young and I was inexperienced, to my great horror she snatched pumpkin muffins off the counter at a friend’s house! (truth!) Nor am I the perfect owner/dog handler all of the time. I have allowed her in my lap on furniture-her favorite place to be.
We make a great team in our imperfect ways. I adore her, she adores me. She leads me, I follow her. I feed and brush her and she repays me with warm snuggles and wet kisses. She loves to be rubbed and I love rubbing her. She keeps me safe and I keep her healthy. She is my eyes and I am her world. I discipline her and she listens. She understands me and I understand her. She needs me and I need her. She is not a perfect dog but she is perfect for me. And I am not a perfect handler, but I am perfect for her. Together, we move through life connected by mutual love and respect.