Good afternoon campbellsworld visitors.
I hope everyone is doing fabulous today.
Here, I’ve been working on my latest book, and I’ve also been enjoying some leisure blog reading.
Earlier today I read a post from a fellow blogger about ‘dog-walking and thinking’
This got me thinking about something that happened to me as a result of walking and thinking.
In the fellow blogger’s post, he writes about how sometimes while walking his mind meanders off on its own, and this got me thinking about a chapter in my book, Campbell’s Rambles: How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life where my mind meandered, and I ended up hopelessly lost.
Here’s the URL to the post that started me thinking and after that is the excerpt which tells the tale of what can happen when a blind person lets their mind go meandering while working their guide dog.
To read the post, Dog-Walking and Thinking visit: | URL: https://wp.me/p2Dk9J-43t
EXCERPT FROM CAMPBELL’S RAMBLES: HOW A SEEING EYE DOG RETRIEVED MY LIFE
As summer progressed, I began to walk more in the evenings. After supper was over, I would volunteer to walk to the corner store for smokes, sodas, beer, or whatever else we might need for the evening. I always loved to take Campbell on that particular walk, because it was a confidence–builder for us. Once we crossed the two streets we needed to, we were on a long stretch of unbroken sidewalk, and it was fantastic to let Campbell wind up and go. He would stretch himself out and walk full tilt, really boogie down that long sidewalk. Even when other dogs would come to the ends of their chains or to their fences, Campbell would just ignore them. He would simply blow by them, sniffing and snorting, as if to say, “HUMPH! Not only am I not on a chain or behind a fence, but I’m runnin’ with my mom. And when we get to the store, I get to actually go in there!” It has always been obvious to me that Campbell knows darned well that he’s special. He knows he’s different from other dogs. Furthermore, he’s doggone proud of that. And well he should be!
On one such evening walk, Campbell and I got ourselves totally lost. I was walking to the store as usual, Donnie was home cleaning up after dinner, and I was looking forward to a nice evening of watching TV and playing with the dogs. Donnie seemed to be in a great mood for a change, and the house was free of kids and Donnie’s buddies. It would be just us.
Campbell and I were almost to the store, when suddenly he stopped right in the middle of the sidewalk and would not move. I encouraged him forward, but he would not go. I encouraged him to find a way around whatever was in the way, but he would not do it. I reached forward slowly, to see what had stopped my dog. Although the sidewalk was sometimes blocked by a car or bike, it had no breaks in it and no curbs, nothing that should get this type of reaction from him.
As I reached out, my fingers touched some sort of machine. I felt as far to one side and then the other as I could, and like Campbell, I saw no safe way around it. I couldn’t tell what it was, either, and having no idea what it might do if I accidentally touched something I shouldn’t, I decided that I would turn around and go back. I knew another way to the store, but I needed to get back a bit toward the house and onto a different street to get there. I expected to have no trouble doing that, and so off we went.
Well, sometimes things just do not go as we think they will. As we started back the way we’d come, I began to drift a little. Daydreaming while walking is something you can do when the trip you’re taking with your dog is uneventful, meaning that you’ll encounter no steps or street crossings, but you should never simply space out, and that is exactly what I did. Somehow, at the place where we should have turned right, we ended up actually angling out into the street and then crossing to the other side. I realized this was happening way too late. I was already crossing the street. I’d learned that going back from the middle of the street and trying to correct could be dangerous, so instead of retracing my steps, I went ahead and crossed.
Now, what I should’ve done immediately when I got to the other side was re–cross the street. But no! I decided that I would walk down the street on that side a bit. Not remembering that I was on the other side of Wilcox rather than on Garden, I made a huge mistake. Where I was would not lead me to the other end of Garden, as I expected. It would not put me on the right side of the street to go back and redo the trip in the other direction.
So what ended up happening was that I got myself totally turned around and lost. On top of this, I did not have my house keys with me, and they had always been Campbell’s trigger to let him know in no uncertain terms that I wanted to go home. I tried unsuccessfully to say, in an upbeat voice, “Campbell, let’s go see Rocky!” I tried to figure out where I should turn myself around, but I only confused myself and Campbell more.
Although I was now completely lost, and I knew that it must be starting to get dark, I was fascinated by being on such unfamiliar ground and by being able to navigate as I was. Even though I didn’t know anything about the places I was walking, I did not stumble and stagger, as I would have with a cane. With a cane, had I gotten lost the same way I was at that moment, I’d have simply hunted for a driveway, gone to the house at the end of it, and taken a chance with whoever came to the door.
This, however, was something of an adventure, and for a bit, I literally forgot about being lost. Campbell seemed to be as turned on by having something new to do as I was by the realization that yes, I might be lost, but I was still managing to keep my feet under me and my wits about me.
Like Dorothy, I was soon reminded very forcefully that we “weren’t in Kansas anymore.” That was when we began to go down a long street, and I realized that the street to my right had to be one of our main streets in town. That’s because there was suddenly a huge amount of traffic. It still amazes me that twice, I tried to flag down a car, and twice, it seemed that they sped up rather than stopping to see what on earth a blind girl and her dog were doing out at night, alone on a busy street.
I’m still not sure, but I kind of think we had started toward another store that Campbell, Donnie, and I walked to sometimes. I remember laughing to myself and thinking, “Damn dog’s decided that if he can’t take me to one store, he’ll take me to another!”
Even with the frustration of being lost, and even though Campbell and I were starting to tire a bit, I still did not panic. When I got us turned around, going back in the other direction, I began to recognize a few things along our way. Suddenly, up ahead of us, I heard voices, and at that same moment, Campbell sped up.
*** What happened next? Want to know more? Read below for more about me and how to find mine and Campbell’s work…
Patty L. Fletcher lives in Kingsport Tennessee where she works full time as a Writer and Social Media Promotional Assistant.
She is the owner and creator of Tell-It-To-The-World Marketing, and is the published author of two books, Campbell’s Rambles: How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life, and Bubba Tails From the Puppy Nursery At The Seeing Eye.
She can also be found in two anthologies which are, December Awethology Light
And A Treasure Chest of Children’s Tales
For more details visit: https://www.amazon.com/Patty-L.-Fletcher/e/B00Q9I7RWG
Campbell’s Rambles: How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life can also be found at: bard.loc.gov/nls