SIPS OF WINE FROM THE GRAPEVINE FALL SERIES
The writer’s Grapevine is a news and literary magazine featuring Writers, Small Business and Nonprofits.
In each issue you’ll find a variety of Articles, Essays, Short Stories and Poems for your enjoyment and education.
Soon, our Writer’s Grapevine Holiday Extravaganza will be out but because many have said it’s too hard to wait, our contributors wish to give you a taste of what’s to come.
Today, I’m kicking things off with poet Joan Myles as she relates her experiences with her new Seeing Eye® Dog Aries.
Here’s Joan with all the furry fun.
A Dog Named Dignity
by Joan Myles
Okay, my new canine partner isn’t actually named Dignity. But she should be.
When I began my journey toward better mobility skills, I really didn’t associate mobility with dignity. Sure, being able to navigate around my neighborhood and elsewhere is tied up with my sense of independence. Of course, my confidence would be boosted by strengthening my ability to use a white cane more efficiently. I would be able to go where I wanted to go without assistance from anyone. I would be able to interact with people and pursue interests in a meaningful way to me. To me. Not based upon someone else’s level of interest, or time restraints, or measure of commitment.
But dignity? Isn’t dignity all about my value as a human being? How can independent travel possibly be intertwined with human dignity?
Since coming to know the history and practices of The Seeing Eye, I now understand.
In the same way that I am what I think, I am what I do. The places I go, the people I engage with, the activities I support and defend are all expressive of who I am.
And if I am not able to express those aspects of myself, if I cannot attend an event, or even leave my seat without help, I feel squashed. Or rather, unseen. Unrecognized as equally valued, as human.
But I didn’t learn all this from my white cane. Nobody cares if you bring a white cane into their car, or their house, or their place of worship. A white cane doesn’t shed or jingle during meetings or take up space on the floor. A white cane can be folded up and put away, silent and uncomplaining.
But a guide dog is a living breathing being. A guide dog has personality and needs and, sorry folks, hair that sometimes wafts away from its body. A guide dog is also an extension of the human at the other end of the harness handle–in ways a white cane can never ever be.
These are the lessons I am learning from my beautiful new canine teammate, Aries. If you care about me, you will not focus on Aries. Yes, she’s gorgeous and talented and a bit of a flirt, but she has a job to do. A job for me, helping me get around with dignity and even a bit of grace. She is not in the room to make you smile. Or to keep your feet warm. She may do these things without your asking, but please do not ask. She is part of me. And if you respect me as a person, you will not grab me or my partner. If you wish to interact with me, don’t make eye contact with her. And if you want to spend time with me, accept her presence as part of the deal.
Because we are a team now. Aries and me. We were paired based on a mysterious mix of physical and emotional attributes according to The Seeing Eye’s 90 plus years of experience. And while we may still be forming our bond, we are off to a good start. Love and trust keep us together. Love and trust. The foundation of every meaningful relationship for partners living in dignity.
Aries and I love hearing from readers.
Feel free to get in touch at: email@example.com
Learn about The Seeing Eye® here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR…
Joan Myles has always been a child of Wonder as well as a spiritual seeker. When she lost her sight at the age of 12, these qualities and writing poetry saved her from despair.
Joan earned a B.A. in Education, a Master’s in Jewish Studies. She married, raised four lively children, worked as a Rehabilitation Teacher, and taught Hebrew and Judaics for over 15 years.
Joan currently lives in Oregon with her best friend, who also happens to be her husband.
Smorgasbord - Variety is the Spice of Life.October 31, 2022
It looks like Joan and Aries are a perfect match and thanks Patty for sharing. hugs
Patty FletcherOctober 31, 2022
Hi Sally, I’m pleased you enjoyed the post.
Thanks for commenting to say you did.
I was over the moon when Joan decided to go to The Seeing Eye for her second dog. She and Aries are gonna do great things.
joanmylesNovember 1, 2022
Thanks so much for sharing this Patty!
And for answering comments when I fall short.
This piece states more perfectly than anything I have yet penned what The Seeing Eye means to me.
Patty FletcherNovember 1, 2022
Hello, Joan and Aries.
You’re most welcome and no worries about answering comments. Everyone is busy and I knew you’d get here when you could.
Give that golden gal a pat for me and Chief Seeing Eye Dog Blue.
Smorgasbord Blogger Weekly – November 7th 2022 – Pete Springer, Judith Barrow with Jane Risdon, Patty Fletcher, Robbie Cheadle, John Howell. | Smorgasbord Blog MagazineNovember 6, 2022
[…] Head over to read this inspiring story: A dog names Dignity with poet Joan Myles […]
MichaelNovember 7, 2022
Thanks to Aries for his great service, and you for sharing the news! Isn’t it wonderful that we humans can trust in our fourlegged partners so much. Maybe they are sometimes a little bit too much self esteemed Lol. Best wishes, Michael
Patty FletcherNovember 7, 2022
Thanks so much for including Joan and Aries in this weekly blogger post.
Patty FletcherNovember 7, 2022
Hi again, Aries is a girl.
She is Joan’s Golden gal.
Robbie’s InspirationNovember 7, 2022
Hi Patty Hi Joan this is a wonderful post and I hope lots of people read it.
Patty FletcherNovember 14, 2022
Hi Robbie, sorry it’s taken me so long to get back.
I’m glad you enjoyed the piece.
Joan is a dear friend.
Her poetry is pretty awesome too.
olganmNovember 13, 2022
A great post full of things to make us think. Thanks, Joan and Patty and all the best to Aries as well.
Patty FletcherNovember 14, 2022
Hi Olgan, thanks for dropping by the blog and for letting us know you enjoyed Joan’s post.