A Look Within a Look Without: From My Book of Shadows
And So, It Continues With Mixed Emotions
July 15, 2021
Here I am, just 4 days away from leaving for Guide Dog school at The Seeing Eye in Morristown New Jersey. I’m excited, nervous, and a bit terrified. Mostly though, I simply cannot wait to hold a harness handle in my hand again and go flying freely down the walk with a big, beautiful beasty by my side. If you’re sighted and trying to comprehend what this is like, all I can say is that for me, the difference between walking with a cane and walking with a Guide Dog is similar to the difference between riding a unicycle and driving a car.
I never realized how much junk is in the world. Though I walked with a cane for 31 years before making the change to a Guide Dog, a lot of that time, when going into public places, I had a sighted guide, so I honestly never knew to what extent Campbell was helping me. But when he stopped working in mid-2019 and I found myself going out and about on my own, I began to find things I never knew existed.
The first time I went to the grocery store, I found going from the entrance to the service desk was a major ordeal. Though I knew my way fairly well, up until that point, I had no idea of all the stuff Campbell had been guiding me around.
There were displays galore but walking carefully after about 5 minutes or so I could manage to get close to my goal. When walking this same route with Campbell, I could do it in less than 2 minutes flat and unless someone or something distracted him from his work, we never ran into one person or thing.
When it began to become apparent to those working the front, I was no longer bringing Campbell with me into the store, the staff began calling to me as I made my way in. This helped a lot but if I managed to come in when they were terribly busy or if someone wasn’t manning the front, I found myself totally at sea.
There were other things to worry about too. There were the people who were oblivious to the fact that the woman tapping along with her white cane was blind so there-for couldn’t see them or their stupid carts and I must say, over these last few years of traversing my way into the store I’ve had some nasty encounters. I’ve bumped into small children thus upsetting their mothers. I’ve run into carts left in the way by inconsiderate shoppers, which always seemed to send them rolling into displays sending items swaying or crashing to the floor and once, this old biddy screeched, “Why don’t you look where you’re going?” I must admit to slightly losing my temper because the offender lived on my street and knew perfectly well I couldn’t see and so slamming my cane violently into her cart I said, “Why don’t you drop off the edge of the world?” I’m sure this sounds harsh to some, but she is the woman who used to bully me as I walked Campbell during his retirement years before and during his illness and we’ll just suffice it to say, there is no love lost between us.
My point here is that though I knew without a doubt what a difference having a Guide Dog made in my life, it never appeared to me in such startling clarity until that first trip out alone.
Now, here I am ready to return to training for my second dog and though I know there are some grueling days ahead, I also know it’s going to be worth every drop of sweat, blood and tears.
If you’d like to know more about all I write of here, please feel free to check out the information about me and my books below.
For now, I’m off to finish up readying my clients for the closing of Tell-It-To-The-World marketing at the end of the day.
Thanks for reading, may Harmony find You and blessid be.
About Patty L. Fletcher
Patty Fletcher is a single mother with a beautiful daughter, of whom she is enormously proud. She has a great son-in-law and six beautiful grandchildren. From April 2011 through September 2020, she owned and handled a black Labrador from The Seeing Eye® named King Campbell Lee Fletcher A.K.A. Bubba. Sadly, after a long battle with illness on September 24, 2020, King Campbell went to the Rainbow Bridge where all is peace and love.
Patty will return to The Seeing Eye July 19, 2021, to train for her second dog.
Patty was born one and a half months premature. Her blindness was caused by her being given too much oxygen in the incubator. She was partially sighted until 1991, at which time she lost her sight due to an infection after cataract surgery and high eye pressure. She used a cane for 31 years before making the change to a guide dog.
WHERE SHE LIVES AND WORKS…
Currently, Patty lives and works in Kingsport, Tenn.
She’s the creator and owner of Tell-It-To-The-World Marketing (Author, Blogger, Business Assist), The Writer’s Grapevine Online Magazine and the creator and host of the Talk to Tell-It-To-The-World Marketing Podcast.
Patty writes with the goal of bridging the great chasm which separates the disabled from the non-disabled.
Pathway to Freedom Broken and Healed: Book One How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life Second Edition as well as all Patty’s other works are currently on sale from now until July 31, 2021, at: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/PattyFletcher