“I’ve never met a blind dog before,” said the little boy.
He was a foster child, his foster mother was with him. We were all introduced by chance in a public park.
The boy watched my dog, Marigold, walking along, bumping into a nearby fence. We were out for a potty-break. Marigold was trying to find a suitable patch of grass to do what I call, “leaving constructive criticism.”
The boy watched us in rapt wonder. We are a team. Dog and man. Marigold and me.
I am Marigold’s “Seeing Eye” human. My job is to guide her through this world of woe. I have no idea what I’m doing, but I’m trying.
And at this particular moment, I was following Marigold closely with a plastic baggy over my hand, ready to do my duty.
“Why is she blind?” the boy asked.
I chose my words carefully. Because how do you tell an innocent foster child that somebody took a blunt object to this puppy’s head and destroyed her eyes?
How do you tell a child there are humans out there who would use
a length of rebar as a weapon against a soft, floppy-eared puppy?
“Someone hurt her,” I said.
“Not everyone’s a nice person.”
The boy’s eyes grew serious. “Yeah. I know.”
He looked at Marigold prancing along and said nothing. He just observed.
The kid was maybe 6. He wore Levi’s and a striped shirt that showed his little belly. His hair was strawberry. Opie Taylor eat your heart out.
His foster mother said he’s had a rough life. And that is all I’m permitted to tell you about him.
He watched Marigold with great interest. Marigold walks with a cautious gait. Sometimes she high-steps like she’s hiking through tall grass. She does this so she won’t stumble on any sudden obstacles.
We’ve been working on things, every day. When we go for walks, off-leash, I…