Now hear this! The following is a bogus blog. This COULD have happened… but DID NOT… well, maybe not ALL of it is a hoax.
Guide dogs get to play just like pet dogs do. I take Opal out on her ‘Flexi’ (retractable leash) so that she can have an opportunity to run a bit and sniff a lot. We use the grassy area just outside of our apartment building. It’s a large area, 200 X 30 feet situated between the building line and a little walkway leading to the main door. I put her play collar on (it has a tag, a bell and a ring to secure the flexi clasp onto) and stow her regular leash in my pocket. Out comes the squeaky rubber boomerang toy! It’s a dollar store purchase, remarkably resilient. Trouble is, it’s pink. Dog’s don’t see the pink/red/yellow colour spectrum much. These dog toys come in red and pink so that they appeal to humans. If you want your dog to really see his toy or ball, pick a blue or green one. It’s usually fine locating it, just as long as the thing is moving. I fling it within Flexi range (30 feet). Opal takes off and grabs it, running the perimeter of the grassy area until she has “blown the stink off” , as we say in Nova Scotia. After that, it becomes more of an idle retieving game, interspersed with breaks to sniff and eat the grass. That’s the point at which she loses track of her toy. I’m pretty good at finding the thing myself, though sometimes we enlist sighted help to locate it. That was the case the other day. It was hot by Nova Scotia standards, so Opal quickly tired of running, and chose to sniff and graze instead. The boomerang was out of sight and mind (both of our sights, and HER mind). I heard footsteps on the pavement nearby. “Oooh, hello Helen”, says one of my neighbours in her old, shaky voice. Margaret is a very tiny old lady, at least 900 years old by the sound of her voice. She’s probably only 85 or so, and still quite spry for someone with such a shaky voice. “Margaret, do you see our toy?”, I ask. “Opal has lost it on the grass again”. Margaret wandered onto the grass with us (this was her first mistake). “Oooh, there it is. I’ll get it for you, Helen”. (this was her second mistake).By now, I am running the potential for disaster through my mind. Opal is all excited with anticipation of a new play partner. Margaret picks up the boomerang and hands it to me. I’ve had Opal on a short length all the while (beauty of the flexi). I thought that Margaret was wandering back to the pavement (my first mistake). She had not (her third mistake). I threw the pink toy in the opposite direction and Opal took off. Opal picked up steam after she nabbed it (Opal’s first mistake) and moved like a runaway freight train towards Margaret (everyone’s mistake). I realized too late that Margaret was still on the lawn (my second or third mistake?). THIS IS THE BOGUS PART!!!– Opal knocked Margaret off her pins. After the paramedics left, I had a long talk with Opal… at the dog pound.. through the bars of the cage. THIS IS WHAT REALLY HAPPENED!!! I applied the flexi’s brake a nano-second before Opal made contact. Margaret, as usual had no idea how close she came to an emergency room visit. We all went inside. Margaret was fine. I was shaking. Opal had no clue… but I decided to start a social program with some friends. Opal needs more people (bedsides me) in her social and play life. Why does everyone want to fuss with her when she’s working? She could really use some off-the-clock time with people.