Thursday, May 31, 2007

Seeing Eye Dogs for Seeing Eye Dogs

A man with a visual impairment lives somewhere along one of the major streets I travel daily. I see him from time to time with his seeing-eye-dog, so have grown accustomed to them and always watch out when they are on the side of the street should he take a mis-step (not supposed to happen, but better safe than sorry).

A couple nights ago I watched Everything is Illuminated starring Elijah Wood as a collector of artifacts of family members. It is just what he does as one of the characters explains. While he conducts the search for a person in a picture with his grandfather, he comes across a rather eccentric family who has made a living for years by taking Jews on tours in search of heritage that was lost during the Holocaust. Grandfather has a “seeing eye bitch” because he went blind after grandmother died. The dog is truly demented and nothing more than a dog rescued from the shelter because grandfather is not really blind and everyone knows.

The morning after watching Illuminated, I was making my usual way to work and noticed the man with the visual impairment up ahead of me. I paid extra close attention because he was at an intersection waiting to cross as the cars zipped past. He stood there patiently with a grip on the handle attached to the dog’s harness.

As the car in front of me passed, the dog darted into the street with the man in tow.

I managed to slam on the brakes and stop before hitting them. The last thing I wanted to do was hit a blind man, though it would clearly not be my fault, but it would be so hard to pin it on a dead seeing-eye dog. Seeing-eye dogs are Rin Tin Tin, Lassie, and Benji wrapped into one.

I think this seeing-eye-dog is either as demented as the one in the movie or else he needs his own seeing-eye-bitch.
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