I Wont Distract You!

Yesterday, I was traveling up on the escalators at London Victoria underground station with my guide dog Trigger, when the following incident took place:

Man a couple of steps above me, speaking directly to Trigger,
“I know you are a working guide dog so I wont disturb you”.
Me, “thank you”.
Man, (looking directly at Trigger, “I wont distract you”, at which Trigger wags his tail and becomes rather distracted!

The above incident is, on one level comical. The comedy arising from the man in question doing precisely what he said he wouldn’t do, namely distract my working guide dog! However the actions of this gentleman where potentially dangerous and (not to put too fine a point on it, stupid)!

Guide dogs are trained to assist visually impaired people to navigate safely around streets, roads etc. They do wonderful work. However they are, when all is said and done dogs, who love attention and who can, when given it, become distracted.

I am very happy (when Trigger is not working) for him to receive strokes and cuddles (provided the person giving the attention has asked first). I rarely refuse a request to pet Trigger. However it is my absolute right to give such a refusal and the stupidity (albeit unintentional) of the gentleman in question had the potential to put my safety (and that of others) in danger. For example had Trigger pulled forward to reach the gentleman I might have fallen putting myself and those behind me, on the escalator at risk.

Fortunately the overwhelming majority of people behave responsibly around guide dogs. I only wish that everyone did so.

Kevin

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26 thoughts on “I Wont Distract You!

    1. K Morris Poet Post author

      Indeed, “people!”. Someone once remarked that “there is nout so queer as folk”, (to use an expression from the north of England), and I think that whoever coined that phrase, is correct! Thanks for your comment – Kevin

      Reply
  1. blindzanygirl

    Sad incident Kevin. Glad you are ok but people sometimes can be stupid. Glad you came to no harm, and yes, dogs are dogs! They just love attention etc.

    Reply
      1. blindzanygirl

        It is so wonderful how they can be trained though, to do certain things, like being Guide Dogs. Actually sometimes my dog seems almost human lol. And sometimes she trainsnus rather than the itger way around. She has certainly got my husband trained to guve her neaty chews as acreward for comng in when she is calked! Digs are wonderful.

      1. K Morris Poet Post author

        You are right that “people are quite often stupid”. I must confess to having done one or 2 stupid things in my own life from time to time! Many thanks for your comment – Kevin

    1. K Morris Poet Post author

      I agree that dogs are wonderful, Lorraine. I also know what you mean when you say that they can come across as “almost human”. Someone once quipped that “the more I see of humanity, the more I love my dog”. Looking at how some humans behave, I have considerable sympathy for that perspective!

      Reply
      1. blindzanygirl

        Me too Kevin. I am replying from my iPhone so hope this comes through as sometimes things from my iPhone don’t. We have our dog with us in the car right now and she is trying to see what I am writing. She says woof

    2. K Morris Poet Post author

      Your comment came through, Lorraine. Indeed dogs do speak to us in their own unique way whether that be through a woof or a wag of the tail, or simply by a head on one’s knee.

      Reply
  2. debbiejonesalwaysamused

    It’s interesting that you should post this today, Kevin. There was a tv programme I caught the end of, this week, all about the dangers of escalators. It was definitely a reminder of how hazardous they can be. Distracting Trigger like that could’ve been a classic example! Thank goodness it wasn’t, though! I guess not everyone knows that you should never distract a working guide dog, as the consequences could be very serious. It’s good that you reminded us of that fact, Kevin. I’m glad everything turned out ok in the end! Pity escalator man probably won’t see this!

    Reply
    1. K Morris Poet Post author

      I was interested to read that you watched a programme about the dangers of escalators, Debbie, particularly given the subject matter of this post!

      As you say, not everyone will be aware that you should not distract a working guide dog. However the irony of the situation in which I found myself was that the gentleman was aware of this fact (he said, several times “I wont distract you”). Hence, in his case, I can only conclude that a lack of basic commonsense lay at the root of his behaviour.

      All the best and thanks for your comments.

      Kevin

      Reply
    2. K Morris Poet Post author

      If we could predict how people would behave (and comprehend why they do so) both you and I Debbie would be very rich! Thanks as ever for your comment and have a good weekend – Kevin

      Reply
  3. V.M.Sang

    So pleased you didn’t come to any harm, Kevin. I can’t imagine what was going through this man’s head.
    I’ve seen working dogs with a jacket that says something like ‘Please don’t distract me while I’m working.’ Not those words but the sentiment, anyway.
    Having said that, it would seem common sense to me that if a dog is obviously doing its job it shouldn’t be distracted. But then, when did people have common sense?

    Reply
    1. K Morris Poet Post author

      Many thanks for your comment and kind words. I used to own a guide dog harness with wording like that described in your comment. However, when the harness needed replacing, the replacement equipment didn’t contain that wording. I shall request a harness/jacket to fit over my existing harness, with wording saying not to distract my working guide dog. However, as you rightly say, its commonsense not to distract a working guide dog. Best – Kevin

      Reply
  4. Victoria Zigler (@VictoriaZigler)

    I’m glad you weren’t hurt because of the distraction. As you said, working dogs are, at the end of the day, dogs like any other, so easily distracted by attention. This is one of the things that makes me reluctant to get one myself. Not the only thing, but part of it. I have enough trouble with pet dogs because of distractions… People will insist on just coming up to us and stroking them without asking first, which is annoying, especially when they only afterwards see my cane and say things like, “Oh, sorry… Is she/he a guide dog? You didn’t mind me saying hi did you?” Well, by that point, it’s a bit late if I did mind. I mean, I’d have said it was fine, since they aren’t guide dogs, and I know the dogs would be extremely disappointed if I didn’t let the people stroke them. But you should always ask, guide dog or not, and blind person or sighted. It’s just even more important with a blind person using a service dog.

    Reply

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