Recently I’ve done a few PR visits with the South African guide-Dog Association for the Blind. Fiji and I both love being part of these PR visits, especially when we’re asked to visit a school.
We recently went to one of the local primary schools. When we got there we were delighted to find we weren’t the only ones there –service dog Burlesque and puppy-in-training Cosmo met us at the gate with exuberantly wagging tails. The dogs had a wild romp around the school grounds before we entered the school hall –a chance for all of them to burn off a little excitement and energy before we went to talk to the learners about how guide dogs and service dogs work with their owners.
Of course, even when we were in the hall, the dogs didn’t realize that playtime was over and spent much of the school visit trying to entice each other to continue playing… much to the delight of the learners who giggled as the dogs tried to leopard-crawl across the floor to continue their games.
When it was my turn to speak I told the learners what a help Fiji is to me. I explained a little about how we work, how she shows me where steps are and how we avoid obstacles. The teachers told me afterwards that the children were wide-eyed with wonder at all that Fiji is able to do.
There is no doubt in my mind that Cosmo stole the show by insisting on adding his voice when his puppy-walker was speaking. With almost delicious irony he started barking just as Jhanet was explaining that one of her tasks is to try and keep him quiet.
The photograph of Jhanet and Cosmo, Burlesque and owners Gail and Craig, and Fiji and myself was taken after all the excitement was over, and the dogs had calmed down enough to pose for a photograph.
As an aside, just after this picture was taken Fiji decided she deserved a treat and stuck her nose into the doggy treat bag Gail kept for Burlesque… and stole several pieces of biltong! Luckily we caught her before she ate too much.
If you’d like Fiji and I to come and speak at your children’s school please make contact with us on my website: www.loisstrachan.local