Knitting by Blind Faith

The Dance
Tuesday, April 29, 2008, 12:00 am
Filed under: Life,Reflections,Special Moments

Six months ago today, Joy came into my life. I had been told on the morning that I got her that I would probably be getting a female lab. I remember waiting anxiously in my dorm room after lunch, along with every other student, watching the seconds tick by slowly. At 2:20 P.M., there was a knock on my door. My instructor was there with Joy on a leash. I wasn’t aloud to greet her until we walked down to the lounge, but she was excited the whole way. I learned her name on the walk to the lounge, and was greeted with kisses as I put on her leash. I heeled her back to my room, where we got to know each other.

It wasn’t long before she was bored with me and started whining for her trainer and the kennel. It was a warm day, and I had the windows open, so she could hear the dogs barking in the kennels. She was two and half inches taller than my first dog, and a lot more rambunctious. My mouth fell open when she actually put her paws up on the window sill and stared out the window. When I sat in the chair in front of the window (my back was to the window), she would put her front paws up on my shoulders and stare out the window. And when I would sit on the bed, she would try to climb up on the bed past me.

I didn’t figure out why she wanted on the bed until my instructor (also her trainer) came for our first walk. It turned out, he had laid her harness on the bed, and she was ready to do her job (she just didn’t know she would be guiding me instead of him).

Though I was an experienced dog guide user, I did not expect that walking with Joy would feel the way it did. I expected a different pace and pull, maybe, but in truth, it felt like the first time all over again. We had to learn to read each other’s movements and body language. I was not what she was used to, and she was not what I was used to.

But we quickly started to become a team as we walked quiet residential streets and progressed to busier intersections, finally working our way up to train platforms that were 30 feet off the ground with no railings and streets without sidewalks. Our training culminated in traveling the busy streets and subways of New York City. As we moved in and out of the crowds, Joy seeming to say, “Excuse me! Blind lady coming through!”, I thought back to that first walk and realized that we had begun our dance.

We have been home for just over five months, and each day is a new adventure. Joy’s take-a-bite-out-of-life attitude, coupled with her affection and sensitivity, are a true gift from God. God has used her to turn the pain of the loss of my first dog into joy, that in our partnership, He may be glorified.

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What a blessing to have Joy in your life!

Comment by leah

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