Saturday, September 26, 2009

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Public Transportation

There is a list. A long list. And on the list are the sorts of experiences that we are supposed to expose Bingo to so that he will become an amazing guide dog. The list includes things like restaurants, theaters, etc. It also has public transportation on it. I think school buses count as public transportation and we took a school bus for a field trip on Friday.

The big yellow school bus is a thing of legend. Big and yellow, it exist almost on another dimension, a clown dimension. The first clownish thing we encountered was actually trying to enter the school bus. "Bingo, stairs up," I said as I tried to go up the stairs at the same time with Bingo and my big canvas bag of field trip necessities, but we all couldn't fit. I became hopelessly wedged in the door, Bingo still on the ground looking up at me with a curious expression. If I were to categorize it, it might fall into that, did you really think you could fit in that space? category, but he's much to sweet a dog to be so caustic. Really. How could a blind person actually use a guide dog to get on a school bus? I don't think they could and get on the bus together. It's too narrow.

Did you know that school bus steps start fairly narrow and then get steadily MORE narrow as they go up? Did you know that they are VERY tall? Taller than normal stairs? This is all very instructive for the small, 18 week old lab who is at my feet looking up at the stairs and thinking, "No, these do not look like any stairs I am used to. I am not going up them. Thanks, but I will not be doing this. I'll sit now."

I give my bag to a student to put on the bus. Then I turn to my recalcitrant puppy. "Really, these stairs are stairs, they are just very clownish stairs on a noisy and smelly and yellow bus. But all the kids you love are on this bus. We should get on this bus too. Bingo, stairs up."

He did it. That first step was a doozy, but he did it. As you can tell from the photo, he wasn't too pleased with the clown bus, but he dealt with it. He also dealt with the walkers and wheelchairs at University Village where we went to see the Veterans for lunch. He's a good boy.

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