I don’t post in forever, so have this.
This needs absolutely no introduction.
This has taken some time to compile, but thanks to diligence of list members, here’s the completed piece.
Handlers and non handlers, enjoy!
“YOU KNOW YOU ARE A GUIDE DOG HANDLER WHEN…”
By members of the GDB Lounge – a Yahoo Group
When complete strangers give you money and insist you buy your dog something with it, even after you repeatedly assure them that you don’t need it.
When you hear people talk about their pet dogs, and think, “My dog is better than yours. Your dog could never guide me like mine can.
When during a proclamation your city mayor pets your dog in front of a crowd of people at a council meeting. The meeting is aired on cablevision, and He reaches down and says sweet dog while petting him.
When you hear a person start talking to your dog in a high pitched voice, and you cringe and hold tighter to your dog’s leash.
When people start to call my dog by another handler’s name just because they see both of us on the trains and must think it is the same team. Or when I was walking one day when a car pulled up and the driver called out “Terry do you need a ride”. I responded No thank you and I am not Terry!
When you stare purposefully at the ground when people oo and ah at your dog, in case they think you’re up for a very long chat.
When your friends say hi to your puppy before they greet you, and if you have to leave your puppy at home they say “Where’s (insert pup’s name here)!?” Before thinking to ask you how you are doing.
When people say your dog’s name prior to saying your name.
When people ask at your volunteer job, “Where is your Dog’s bandana?”
When you try your best to ignore the remarks from those seeing your dog in the mall, the department store etc. because you know if you stop it’s all done and you may as well stop and set up camp because you could be there for a while.
When someone asks you a question and your dog has just begun sniffing. You say, “No” but you want to say yes to your questioner. Now, you are stuck telling the poor soul that your dog was sniffing him; you had to tell the dog, “No” but really meant to say, “Yes” to his question; and now he tells you that he likes dogs and that sniffing him was just fine.
When you are walking with your dog and speaking to somebody, you say, “Juno, left.” You issue this as a command in mid conversation; tell Juno “Hop up. Good girl.” And then you go back to talking like it’s no big thing.
When a stranger on the bus sees you give your dog a treat for sitting nicely under the seat, asks you what kind they are and then gives you a handful of the treats he gives his dog which he carried for some reason.
When some places you go the people have a treat for your dog and not for you.
When I find kibble in the bottom of my purse, as well as in the pockets.
When I carry my dog’s dinner and a fold-up bowl in my backpack everyday just in case we get stranded somewhere on the train, but, I don’t have a morsel of dinner or a snack for me. Probably more than half the stuff in my backpack or purse is for the dog and not me.
When more of the items in your purse are for your dog than for you: collapsible bowl, baggies, treats, a brush, etc.
When you keep a dog brush or dog bowls in your bag with you at all times “just in case.”
When you and your friend are at a Pampered Chef party with your guide dogs and you agree with her when she says that the mixing bowl that folds flat for storage is the perfect size for a dog bowl.
When you feel your dog’s head in your lap and immediately wonder if you have missed the time for the all important dog dinner.
When you purchase purses with pockets the right Size and with the right placement to carry your treat pouch.
When you find yourself fishing out wet kibble from the bottom of your washing machine. Oops.
When you find doggie treats that have fallen out of your treat pouch at the bottom of your purse.
When you turn down a dress or skirt you like in the store because they don’t have pockets. Because pockets are very necessary for carrying bags or treats when you don’t have a purse, backpack or treat bag with you. They are also good for carrying the bags of poop when you are in elevators with other people and you don’t want to be obvious, smile.
When you find yourself, out of reflex, dutifully digging out grass and pieces of twig from your dog’s mouth, only to realize with dismay that you have no means of cleaning the slime and bits of wet shrubbery off of your hand.
When you wipe dog spit and kibble crumbs on your pant leg and continue walking as if nothing unusual has occurred.
When your dog targets something you taught it to, and you have yourselves a huge party smack of the middle of public, and it just doesn’t matter because you and your dog are in your own little world.
When you see a poorly behaved guide in public and thank heavens it isn’t your dog.
When you compare your dog to other guides and thank God for the fact that your dog is a perfect match.
When you are sitting in a restaurant and have to remind a new handler that the next table probably doesn’t want to hear discussions of dog poo even though she may find it very interesting.
When you can talk about dog waste in any setting and not be grossed out by it.
When you need to be a bit picky about where you sit in a restaurant because keeping the dog out of the way of foot-traffic is very important.
You pack for a trip and your first thought is how many baggies must I take and how much space will the dog food take up in the luggage?
When you try to get direct flights so your dog can comfortably keep a bathroom break schedule during travel.
When you are flying out of town and pay more money just because your dog needs room.
When along with the poop bags and dog food you’re taking on a trip, you must also include a couple of favorite toys which take up space in the suit case, not to mention additional weight.
When you plan your day around doggie meal time And an afternoon snuggle is a routine part of your day.
When you decide to see if your dog needs to poo before heading in. They do…when you dig around frantically for a poop bag, only to come up empty-handed. You ask random passersby if they have a bag. Someone offers you one, but you can’t move because you’re marking the spot with your feet!
When in mid conversation, usually at work, you can look for a doggie poop bag, ask for one from a friend, or simply pick up after your dog, and continue your conversation, like you are not doing any of the above.
When you pull out your winter coat for the first time that season and find a ton of poop bags in the pockets.
When you happen across a couple of unused poop bags, still neatly folded, in the middle of your lawn from having fallen out of your pocket the previous day.
When you wash all your jeans, and find a zillion poop bags in the washer from having been stuffed into pockets.
When you refuse to live where there is no garbage can within throwing distance of the front or back door.
When a frequently visited destination is made better by having a nearby relief area.
When you clap your hands and cheerfully praise your dog for relieving and you don’t care who hears or sees you doing it.
When nothing will rouse you from your sleep…except the sound of your dog beginning to throw up! At which point all hell breaks loose as you run for a tile floor. When you’re out for a meal without your guide dog, and instinctively feel under your leg for their leash.
When you’re out without your guide, and instinctively give your friend the “Forward” command or verbal praise.
When you grab something or step on something which you think is your dog’s leash and it is someone else’s purse strap!
When in your home, dog hair is a condiment.
When dog hair is a fashion statement.
When after you have done your best with trying to brush yourself off, you quit worrying about the blonde fur on your black pants and tell your friends you are wearing fur paisley.
When you have dog hair all over you and you don’t mind.
When you match your clothes to the color of your dog’s fur.
When, because your dog is allowed on the bed along side you, you wash bedding a little more often and aren’t terribly worried about it.
When certain parts of your bed smell forever of frito-foot because so and so was on it with you earlier.
When you decorate your home in ‘dog hair yellow’.
When you ask for the extra-large change room in clothing store so your dog can fit and stretch out.
When you know to greet another handler’s dog very mildly because you know the dangers of getting another guide worked up.
When you know where pretty much every other dog in the neighborhood lives because they all perk up at the sight of your guide.
When you spend more money on doggie birthday/Christmas presents than you do for a human.
When most of the items on your credit card bill are for the dog and not you.
When you move to a new city and look for a vet before you look for your own medical and dental care.
When you step on a very sharp nyla bone and utter as many four-letter words as you can think of, only to pat your dog as they stroll in to claim their prize.
When you find you’re actually getting quite used to nasty breath…of your dog that is.
When you also have perfume for your dog.
When you both drink out of the same glass, and your pocket is full of Gentle Leader.
When purchasing a tent, you immediately ask for the next size up because you’ll have the dog with you.
When you spend more time in the pet store than the grocery store, and when you have ready answers to all the five or 10 most common questions asked.
When you are across the building at work, and you have left your dog under your desk. Your dog stands up and shakes, and you know it is your dog, and not your boss’s dog or another dog in the office, by the sound of the tags.
When you sit in class, and doggie puts her head on your foot, and you smile but nobody else knows what you are smiling about.
When people exclaim, as you leave, that they had no idea a dog was even in the room!
When you have to retire or put down your guide, and a part of you dies along with them.
When you feel your dog stretching out on her side and getting comfortable during your story at a memorial service and you smile and say, “She’s heard this before,” and feel good that she’s added a few giggles to a serious situation.
When your dog gets up and moves around to the chime which indicates your computer is shutting down.
When a friend invites you to their house and your first thought is “Can I bring the dog?”
When You frequently get your dog and your children’s names all mixed together, so whenever you want to call any of the three of them, you have to go through all of the names you are thinking, until you get to the right person’s name or you call everybody else’s name.
When you accidentally call your significant other by your dog’s name.
When you find so much joy in waking in the morning to a sweet nudge of a dog’s nose and wagging tail.
When you grab the harness and 3 dogs come over to go to work.
When you get excited that your leash is feeling warn and flexible over time and you take advantage of any moment to brag about GDB.
When you hear of another team experiencing access discrimination, you want to gather up all the guide dog teams you can find to take the offending business by storm. When you’re trying to describe a route to a cane user, but can’t, for the life of you, remember where certain obstacles may be because your dog swerves around all of them.
When you can independently decide when to leave some place because you know you and your dog will figure your own way home.
When you meet hundreds of friends who know exactly how you feel and the common bond we have as working dog people.