Tag Archives: guide dogs

K Morris reading his poem ‘Dog Bed’.

On 2nd September I wrote about the sad death of my guide dog Trigger, which can be found here: https://kmorrispoet.com/2020/09/02/trigger/

I have now recorded my poem ‘Dog Bed’, which was written in memory of Trigger.

DOG BED

The mark
Of your teeth is still there,
On your old dog bed.
I walk in the park,
Where
The dead
Leaves lie.

Shadows on the grass
Mistook for an old friend.
All things pass,
However much we pretend
Otherwise. You closed your eyes,
And left your mark
Upon my heart.

Below are some photographs:

If you would like to donate to the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, who receive no government funding you can do so here: https://www.guidedogs.org.uk/donate-now

Many thanks in advance to anyone who kindly donates.

To A Departed Dog (Dedicated To Trigger)

Sometimes I see
You in front of me,
Or imagine you at
My side. I
Go to pat
You under the table,
Where you so often sat.
I am not able.
You are not coming back.

Dog Bed (revised poem)

On 3 September, I posted my poem “Dog Bed”, https://kmorrispoet.com/2020/09/03/dog-bed/.

The poem as originally posted consists of 3 stanzas. However, I now feel that the second verse is unnecessary. Consequently I have revised the poem, which now consists of 2 stanzas. The revised poem can be found below:

The mark
Of your teeth is still there,
On your old dog bed.
I walk in the park,
Where
The dead
Leaves lie.

Shadows on the grass
Mistook for an old friend.
All things pass,
However much we pretend
Otherwise. You closed your eyes,
And left your mark
Upon my heart.

Dog Bed

The mark
Of your teeth is still there,
On your old dog bed.
I walk in the park,
Where
The dead
Leaves lie.

I
Hear the breeze
And pause by
Trees
You sniffed
‘Ere you where
Cold, and stiff.

Shadows on the grass
Mistook for an old friend.
All things pass,
However much we pretend
Otherwise. You closed your eyes,
And left your mark
Upon my heart

https://kmorrispoet.com/2020/09/02/trigger/

Trigger

A close up of Trigger!

I have lost my dear old friend Trigger. My guide dog who brought so much joy into my life (and that of others), and who served me faithfully as my guide from 4 July 2011.

Trigger relaxing on the ground

Trigger became very unwell on the evening of Saturday 29 July. My mum, sister and I rushed him to the vets. Although Trigger received excellent treatment his condition deteriated. There was no chance of recovery and to avoid unnecessary suffering I took the heart breaking decision to have my dear old friend euthanised yesterday (Tuesday 1 September).

My mum and I spent some 20 minutes or so with Trigger prior to him being sent into that sleep from which none of us return. He circled us with a pilow case in his mouth, his tail wagging and died, peacefully with that same case in his mouth.

I have so often seen Trigger greet me and family and friends with his blanket or some other object in his mouth, his tail waving wildly.

He has left a huge hole in my life. But he died as he lived, happy with a pillow case clamped in his jaws, surrounded by people he loved, and people who loved him.

Trigger in his bed

The below poem, “The Power of The Dog”, by Rudyard Kipling sums up how I feel and, doubtless how countless other dog owners feel (and have felt) on losing a faithful friend:

“There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie—
Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart for a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
And the vet’s unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
Then you will find—it’s your own affair—
But… you’ve given your heart to a dog to tear.

When the body that lived at your single will,
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!).
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone—wherever it goes—for good,
You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart to a dog to tear.

We’ve sorrow enough in the natural way,
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent.
Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we’ve kept ’em, the more do we grieve:
For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short-time loan is as bad as a long—
So why in—Heaven (before we are there)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?”.

(The above poem is in the public domain).

Below are some photographs of Trigger taken several weeks ago, by my friend Jeff, in a park close to my home.

Trigger relaxing on the ground

 

My friend Trigger and me at the Park

Me petting Trigger

 

Me talking about Trigger

Me remembering Trigger

How to Assist a Blind Person During Social Distancing

I received this message from the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association (GDBA), the charity which trains guide dogs in the UK, and thought it would be of value to my readers as it offers useful tips on how to assist a visually impaired person during this time of social distancing:

“Did you know that only one fifth of the public ‘completely comfortable’ offering to help someone with sight loss while social distancing is in place?*

“Today Guide Dogs has launched a new campaign called ‘Be There’ to give the public ways of supporting people with sight loss during social distancing.

“Social distancing is the most challenging aspect for me in the whole Covid-19 situation… it would really help if people have an awareness of how they can play their part.” Jonathan, guide dog owner

Jon is not alone in this, we’ve heard similar stories many times over the past few months. That’s why we’ve come up with 3 simple tips for the wider public to help them support people with sight loss:

1. Keep your distance, but don’t disappear – People with sight loss may find it challenging to social distance, so if you see someone with a Guide Dog or a long cane then you can help them by making sure you keep 2m away, but that doesn’t mean you can’t also offer your help.

2. Say hello and offer your help – Simply by letting someone with sight loss know you are nearby; you are giving them the opportunity to ask for any help if they need it. People often feel unsure about their ability to help someone with sight loss, but their request could be a simple as finding out where a shopping queue starts, or if there is a safer place to cross a road.

3. Describe the scene – We’ve all had to adapt to unusual sights during lockdown – people standing apart in long lines outside of supermarkets for example. But those with sight loss haven’t always witnessed this to the same extent, which can be isolating and confusing. By describing what you can see to someone with sight loss, you can help them to understand the environment and navigate accordingly”.

As a visually impaired person and a guide dog owner, I have, I think been lucky as I’ve continued to find the public helpful during the current COVID-19 situation. Just last evening I was walking home after having spent a couple of hours with a friend in Crystal Palace park, when I became aware that the pavement was blocked by workmen carrying out pavement works. Without me asking, one of the workmen offered me his arm and guided me passed the obstruction. Again, a few weeks back, a gentleman helped me navigate fallen branches in my local woodland by allowing me to take his arm.

(You can find out more about the work of Guide Dogs here, https://www.guidedogs.org.uk/).

Breakdown

When my landline rang earlier today, I was in 2 minds as to whether or not I should answer it. Other than my mum, few people call me at home, most of my arrangements to meet with friends being made either via email, face-to-face or, occasionally via text message.

My home number is not in the Directory so no one (other than those I choose to give my number to) should know it. However, for whatever reason, my number has fallen into the hands of scammers who entertain me from time to time with their antics.

Returning to today, I determined to answer my landline:

Me: “Hello?”
Unidentified individual: “how are you today?”
Me: “OK”.
Unidentified individual: “your breakdown cover has expired”.

I was, of course concerned that the breakdown insurance I have for my guide dog needed renewing. How could I have been so absent minded as to forget to pay my annual premium for breakdown Cover to Dogs Are Us Breakdown Insurance LTD. I knew that I ought to have set up an automatic direct debit so as to ensure that the cover renews without me having to take any action, but chose not to do so.

I was, of course deeply concerned that no mechanic from Dogs Are Us Breakdown Insurance LTD would come out where my guide dog to develop a mechanical fault, consequently I reached, straight away for my bank details and provided them to the nice gentleman at the other end of the line.

I must go now as I need to check whether my bank account has been debited in favour of Dogs Are Us Breakdown Insurance LTD …

The Meteor-Eyes Book Club enabling visually impaired children to read large print books

A great video about the Meteor-Eyes book club, which enables visually impaired children (those who are able to read large print), to enter into the pleasure of reading. The Guide Dogs charity produce large print books specifically tailored to the requirements of the children. You can see the video here,

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