[nfbwatlk] Humor about the Public and Dog guides

Prows, Bennett (HHS/OCR) Bennett.Prows at HHS.GOV
Thu Jun 30 14:59:15 UTC 2011

Barbara Pierce first put this article on a list or two about three years ago.  I just came across it while deleting some material not needed.  Given the discussion about taking dogs to amusement parks, I thought this little amusement would help us all get to Orlando in a good frame of mind.  Hope you enjoy this.


Bennett Prows
From: nfbwatlk-bounces+bjprows=comcast.net at nfbnet.org on behalf of Mike
Freeman [k7uij at panix.com]
Sent: Thursday, May 01, 2008 6:46 PM
To: NFB of Washington Talk
Subject: [nfbwatlk] Fw: I have to share this with someone

----- Original Message -----
From: Barbara Pierce
To: 'NFB of Ohio Announcement and Discussion List'
Sent: Thursday, May 01, 2008 6:08 AM
Subject: [Ohio-talk] I have to share this with someone

Maybe you all won't find this as funny as I do, but this guy seems to me
get the tone right from start to finish.


I'm blind, but there's no need to talk to my dog

The Herald, Scotland (UK), February 06, 2007

I'm utterly exhausted with people constantly asking how I became blind.

Considering that I'm 42, and blind since birth, it could be imagined
that by
now I would be familiar with this question.
On the contrary, if anything I'm getting more impatient with the same
questions day after day.

"Have you been blind all your life?" To this I  always respond: "Not

"Your hearing must be so much better than mine?" Answer: "Pardon?"

"That's a lovely Labrador you have there." Answer: "Labrador? My dog is

Not original answers, but they always make me and Moss, my black

It always happens when I'm trapped and unable to escape. When I'm on a
train or taxi.

People are naturally curious; I understand this. But they can't resist
that little bit too far if you show any glimpse of  being generous with

"Couldn't you get an operation to get your sight back?" Answer: "No! I
walking into bus stops."

"My auntie was blind. She had to stay in bed. You're so brave going out
about." Staying in bed. Umm, now there's an idea. That was one smart

"How do you find your mouth when you eat?" Answer: "In the same way you
find your bum when you wipe it."

"If I was blind I would have to kill myself." Answer: "Why wait?"

These normal questions are the reason I've come up with a fantastic
For years, various organisations have been providing Blind Awareness
Workshops. In fact, I've had to deliver a few. These workshops show the
public how they should respond if they encounter a blind person. Topics
as, don't go up and shout at blind people, they are not deaf. ASK, if
want to cross the road? DON'T drag them across the road by  the ears.
When you are giving directions, DON'T waggle your finger in some  vague
direction and say: "It's just over there next to the post office. SEE,
can't miss it." Wanna bet?

Many years ago I was waiting for a bus in Union Street in Glasgow, when
little old ladies decided to lift me, from behind, on to the bus. They
proceeded to push, heave and shove me. Now, I know I'm not known for my
speed, but I was heading in the right direction of the door under my own
propulsion. You won't be surprised to hear that they failed miserably.
all, I'm 13 stone and 6ft.

To get me safely aboard they caused mayhem: pushing mothers and toddlers
aside to get to their prey. The driver had to leave his cab to untangle
buggies, shopping and various limbs and walking sticks. I wonder if the
ladies survived that day. I know I'm scared.

I've decided to call my new training course The Blind Person's Guide to
General Public. Topics such as dealing with people who are giving
to my dog while ignoring me.

This did happen in Glasgow's Central Station by a member of the railway
police. I couldn't believe it. Was he having a laugh? No, he really was
under the misapprehension that my dog knew what  he was on about.

Not once did he refer to me at all. Bizarre behaviour!

My course will teach blind people how to cope when faced with this kind
attitude. When people come up and say: "You are a lovely boy" - when
to the dog. Say, "Thank you very much but I'm spoken for."

Another tip is always to have a pair of headphones in your pocket. It
awful to be trapped on a train with someone going through all their
and traumas about being blind. Just say that you are going to listen to
audio book. Pop on the headphones and put the jack in your pocket.
never know the difference.

When you get caught by someone asking silly questions, the answer is to
turn the conversation round at the first opportunity. The one main
conversation that everyone likes to talk about is themselves.

Now this doesn't just apply to us blindies - the technique can be used
everyone. Let me give you an example. I was travelling on the Glasgow
Underground. Sitting opposite was a woman who decided to interrogate me
about my then German Shepherd guide dog. "What's its name?" The
questions  took that kind of line. Then she started to get a little more
probing. "So  how did you lose your sight?"

Now in the correct circumstance that is a perfectly reasonable
However, not on the underground when surrounded by ear-wigging

I had a number of options. One is telling her to mind her own business
words  to that effect). I took a different tack. This was the first time
had  put  the technique into action.
It worked a treat. I ignored her question. Then I asked her some
of my own, such  as,  "Where are you off to today?". By the time she got
three stops later,  I  knew that she had just broken up with her
she was looking for a  flat and was thinking of moving south again! But
left the tube feeling  happy.
I hadn't been rude, and the only thing she found out about me was the
and age of my dog.

A good result, I would say. I'm not a reporter for nothing.

Ian Hamilton reports on disability issues for BBC Scotland.

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