This morning Wiley and I were taking one of our regular bush walks. I was using my cane and Wiley was on his recreational collar and lead. When he is wearing this gear he knows he is off duty and normally he stops, sniffs, wanders here and there, sometimes lags a little behind or moves ahead. The rules are he mustn’t pull or try and eat anything off the ground.
Not once has Wiley tried to guide me when he is enjoying his pleasure walk. Khan my first guide dog would always walk in the guiding position even if he was off duty but Wiley enjoys his bush time. This morning however he suddenly stopped directly in front of me effectively blocking my way. I felt around with my cane and didn’t find anything blocking the path but then I reached out with my hand and there was a huge tree that had blown down.
There were leaves and smaller branches everywhere so I pulled in Wiley’s lead so he was close to me and asked him to ‘find the way’. This is a guide dog command which means take the best route around an obstacle. Without his harness on I couldn’t feel Wiley’s movements but on a shortish lead I could tell the direction he wanted to go and using my cane we slowly and carefully found a way around the tree.
I am positive Wiley knew the tree was a hazard and even though he wasn’t working he stepped in to protect me. It is not something I expect him to do off duty but it does make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside 🙂
I took a photo of the tree but have no idea if I actually got it in the shot or not.
After recovering from our morning walk Wiley and I headed off to the Farmer’s markets. As always there were distractions galore but Wiley was great. He was a little slow on our walk out of the markets but that might have been because it was busy.