Dick Hunt's Blog

March 26, 2013

“Emma and I.”

Filed under: Current — Tags: , — Dick Hunt's Blog @ 10:35 am

“Emma and I.”
by Dick Hunt, March 26th, 2013.

I have borrowed the name from a book I just read and thoroughly enjoyed. Emma was a Seeing Eye Dog, a real live Dog. A precious Dog, and “I” was the Author, a woman who lost her eyesight very early in life. She wrote the book. I can’t loan you the book. I borrowed it. But with the large number of Canine pets in Fraserview Village and generally throughout Maple Ridge, I can rejoice with you for these fine friends which bring such joy and comfort to so many people. When I visit my dear Ruth in Holyrood Manor, I often see dogs on leash, taken by their owners to visit patients and lighten their days and bring smiles to their faces and sparkle to their eyes.

Emma was a most remarkable Dog, and the author wrote the book herself. Just reading it brought chuckles – and tears to my eyes. I have often observed blind persons with their dogs and I am now much better informed of the process through which both the person and the dog go to make a team of them and provide freedom of movement and mobility when out in public. It is uncanny to me how they can function safely when out in public, in the midst of heavy traffic, understand spoken directions and requests from person to dog and tugs and gentle nudges from dogs to person to go shopping in the right stores and then get back through the hazards to the relative safety of their homes. There are kerbs to be negotiated, steps to be ascended and descended and numerous on the spot decisions to be made by Person and Dog each minute.

In no instance did the Author exhibit any kind of teary “help me” attitude, but sought only to live life to the fullest degree possible while helping other people to understand Blindness in the midst of the hosts of “Sighted People”. She became a well employed Switchboard Operator, learned how to purchase becoming clothes, apply make up to compliment her clothes, speak clearly to meetings when she shared her experiences. Braille was her way of recording and sharing her knowledge. In due course she married a wonderful man and together they enjoyed life in their own home, had a lovely baby daughter and brought great joy to each other.

Then she heard from her brother of a Doctor who was an early pioneer in Eye Surgery and was having some success with early Cataract removal. Although her case was very advanced and the technique in it’s early stages, she underwent the surgery and regained the sight she had lost progressively from a very young age. Then began the recovery of the “Life of the Sighted Person” after so many years of being partnered with her Emma and the undoing of all the habits and activities of more than eleven years dependent upon each other. She had never seen a tree in leaf, an ocean, colors, human faces – anything and was now living in a world where everything was new. The color of her Dog, her husbands face, the buses on which she rode, the dogs which barked, the streams which sounded friendly. Blind people live in a different world to sighted people and the change from one way of life to the other is a major step, both ways. How greatly I enjoyed the book!

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