Posted by: givney42 | September 15, 2010

Lessons from the city.

Tuesday was a pretty productive day. I’m very happy to have been able to get out of the hotel and into town. Bought the necessary items needed to continue blister healing and a different pair of sandals to switch into when not able to walk in boots. 

Leon is a busy, chaotic city. One minute the area you are walking along is for pedestrians only, the next cars are allowed to zoom past at a feverish pace.  Nigel and I did go to the cathedral and it is as beautiful inside as people have said it is. We only stayed for a short while as a volunteer who most have been having a very bad day was trying to kick us out because I had Nigel with me. I showed him the note from ONCE the organization that is primary for guide dogs. Nigel is registered with them for this trip. However the volunteer didn’t want to either see, read or hear it. I asked for his supervisor as the volunteer was becoming more loud and enraged. When I asked for this then started to push me. I could see Nigel just waiting for the command to go after this guy. I must say, when Nigel needs to listen, he does it very well. Finally the supervisor came over, read the note, apologized profusely and put the volunteer in his place. Overall, I really wish that did not have to happen. I could tell it made many feel uncomfortable including myself. 

I am seeing a lot more of how people get stuck in their own perception of what a guide/service dog is. It is much more apparent here. That if you don’t look the part it must not be real. In the cities those who check train, bus, ticket and other public areas seem to be the worst for being caught in the cycle of, “if it don’t look the part it is not”.  While in the smaller towns and villages things are a bit more relaxed. I know where I feel best in. 

And if nothing else is learned from this journey, not to judge by what you think your eyes see, is a big lesson. The other for me, is to see what help can be done to help start bringing awareness to other places, countries the special gifts dogs can bring to those  with different abilities. 

Tomorrow, we are finally out of Leon and on our way to Astorga. It will be good to be walking again. 

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