Throughout the course of my life I have seen a good number of service dogs or seeing eye dogs. They literally come in all shapes and sizes.
Sure, you’re not gonna see a Great Dane or a bull mastiff helping someone navigate their way through a grocery store but you get the idea. If you are someone that gets a well trained service dog they can be worth its weight in gold and then some.
Couple of years ago I had the opportunity to be in a grocery store when there was a lady that was doing some grocery shopping. She had her service dog with her and she dropped a box of cereal that she was putting into her shopping cart. The dog actually picked it up and put it in the cart for her. It was one of the more amazing things I have seen in a while.
It’s amazing the things people have learned how to train dogs to do. For example, the fact that people can train dogs to guide blind people around safely or alert people when they’re about to suffer a seizure, boggles my mind – and that’s not even including the K-9 units, bomb-sniffing dogs, and canines that go to war to support the men and women in the United States military.
However, one blind woman was kicked off a public bus because of her guide dog. Not because the bus driver did not understand the dog’s purpose – but because it was black.
22-year-old Megan Taylor relies on her guide dog, Rowley, for many everyday things. Rowley helps Taylor navigate the sidewalk and get to and from wherever she needs to go. However, during a recent bus ride, a fellow passenger ordered Taylor to “get her f***ing dog off” the bus!
Taylor was shocked. The young woman from St. Helens, Merseyside, was approached by a woman, whom she cannot identify because Taylor is blind, and was shouted at.
“Why is there a f***ing dog on the bus? Get it off!”
Taylor tried to explain that Rowley was a guide dog calmly. But the passenger “knew” this was a lie because every guide dog is “yellow.” Not black.
The offender called Taylor a “liar” because “guide dogs are yellow Labradors and your dog is black.”
During an interview following the incident, Taylor said: “I tried to explain to her that guide and assistance dogs can be any color and don’t have to be Labradors, although Rowley is. She told me I was wrong. I decided at this point there was nothing I could say to educate this woman and that it wasn’t worth my time. I instead chose to ignore her while she continued to talk nonsense.”
Because Taylor has “episodic blindness,” Rowley helps keep her safe.
Life is not easy for Taylor. That’s why it was a godsend when she got Rowley, her guide dog. Rowley is Taylor’s second guide dog. Her first one, Ruby, was retired after she suffered from an attack from another dog.
Rowley can phone for help if Taylor loses consciousness.