People are often nervous about using an escalator when they’re with me in case something happens. I thought it might be useful to create a video showing how Fiji and I navigate an escalator so you can see how easy it actually is.
Here’s what you’re seeing: Fiji and I approach the escalator and Fiji stops with her head facing the pole that prevents people taking trolleys onto the escalator. I reach forward and touch the left-hand handrail of the escalator. Incidentally, usually I would find the pole by feeling where Fiji’s head was – I just happened to find the handrail first so I chose to navigate from there instead… after all, they say a change is as good as a holiday!
From there it’s simply a case of finding the right-hand arm rail, checking that Fiji’s leash is clear of the pole and stepping onto the top step, simultaneously giving Fiji the instruction to go forward. As the steps drop away I check we are positioned safely and then simply ride down the escalator. Fiji stands and waits patiently for me to give her the instruction to jump off. My first guide dog, Leila, used to sit down with her rear end on one step and her front paws on the step below and sit like that the whole way down, which caused much amusement amongst people who saw her!
Maybe you’re wondering how I know when we’re getting near to the end of the escalator? It’s quite simple – both the steps and the handrails begin to flatten out and it’s simply a case of putting one foot forward and waiting to feel the ridge where the floor starts. As soon as I feel that I tell Fiji to move forward and step off myself… and off we go.
And that’s what you’re seeing on the video…
PS Did you see how Fiji wagged her tail the whole way down the escalator? My dog truly loves to work!