Lucky For Some
I’m very good at my job. Everyone says so. It’s my caring nature that makes me so good at looking after the blind. I take my responsibilities very seriously. And I’m popular. I mean, most Guide Dogs only have one master all their lives, and I’m onto my fifth already! Lucky’s the name, and I am lucky too. Four accidents I’ve been in, and never a scratch on me.
None of them were my fault! I’m very highly trained. I know exactly what to do in any emergency. It’s a pity they don’t train humans to the same standard. Take that bus driver, for example. He was supposed to stop. Just by where we tried to cross there was a sign clearly saying BUS STOP. How was I to know he was on his way back to the depot?
Owner number two was the headstrong type. Thought she knew better than me. Alright, I know we shouldn’t have been on that pier in the first place, but anyone can take a wrong turning. I tried to warn her, but would she listen? Just strode off so confidently I thought, well, she must know what she’s doing. And I jumped in to save her, just like a good dog should, but she kept fighting me off. As if she thought I was trying to drown her.
Number three was another stubborn type. In dangerous places like station platforms we are supposed to keep between our master and the edge, but would he have it? No, he liked to have me on his other side, and when it comes down to it, a good dog does what his master tells him. I am a very good dog. I am also courteous, and when I see a lady coming along loaded down with parcels and dragging a litter of children I move out of her way, politely. Only we were rather near the edge and the train just coming in. It was all very unfortunate, not to say messy, but at the enquiry I was completely exonerated.
I’m afraid people were not quite so understanding after number four. I admit, the rules say one should wait for the road to be clear before leading one’s owner across – but have you seen the traffic nowadays? You’d be stuck on the kerb forever. You have to take your chance, but it needs perfect trust between owner and dog.
That’s what went wrong last time. I had a feeling there was trouble coming when I saw that visitor she had. I recognized him from my time with number three. I don’t know what he told her, but the next time we went out I could tell he’d really managed to undermine her confidence in me. And the middle of a main road with a truck bearing down on you is no place to start having doubts! If only she’d stuck with me, instead of panicking and trying to run back, we’d have been fine. As it was, she nearly got us both run over.
After that there were some who pointed the finger at me. There was even a suggestion that I should be Put Down, but my trainer still had faith in me. He said I was the best he’d ever trained, and I could not be held responsible for circumstances beyond my control. So they’ve given me another chance.
I’m fine, you see, as long as nothing makes me nervous, and I’m only nervous if my owner is. That’s why they haven’t told my new owner anything about me. They’ve sent me right away, into the country, where there’s no busy roads and railways and suchlike hazards. I’m not likely to meet anyone I know, either. So far it’s gone really well. He’s a nice old gentleman, tall, white hair, very distinguished. And he does just as he’s told, unlike some.
This evening I thought I’d take him back along the canal, as a treat. It’s lovely and peaceful here, and the towpath’s nice and dry, except for a bit of mud under the bridge we’re just coming to. Have to move him right up to the edge, ‘cos the arch is higher there. Dear me, he’s taller than I thought.
Duck, you fool!