Tag Archive for safety

An Open Letter


Thank you for your kindness. I do not want this post to sound ungrateful. Really I don’t:

When you see me and my working girl (guide dog) Fizz waiting patiently at the curb edge to cross the road, I do not think you rude for driving on.

Stopping and (I can only assume) flash your lights, waving at me or even tooting your horn, (this I can hear) will not make me walk out into the road.

By stopping early for the junction you are being kind. But you are also putting me in danger. If I were to cross in front of you, your engine noise could mask that of a car coming the other way, or a car behind you could decide to overtake.

Unless I am on a designated crossing, Fizz is trained to not go before you. So I will stand and I will wave you on. I will put my hand up to wave a thank you, or give you a thumbs up; but please just keep going.

(Even more so when it is dark, both me and Fizz will be in high viz, but we are both dazzled by your headlights)

When I wave the first car on, why would I then walk before the 2nd? I am not doing it to be ‘carist’ I will wave each and everyone of you on.

I am not being rude, I am ensuring my own safely. Please understand, by stopping early you are often creating traffic build up, reducing the ‘natural gaps’ that would enable me and Fizz to cross safely.

I am not alone with this, all guide dog owners are taught this, as are all (or where when I was trained) long cane users.

If I am with a friend or a kind stranger has offered to help me cross.  AND if crossing in front of you would be the only option, I will drop Fizz’s harness handle (walking her just by her lead) and taking the arm of the person with me.  This removes the responsibility to guide me from my guide dog and is the only time I will ‘break the rules’

This is because we have assistance from a sighted guide.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter xx

safe travelling to you all xx

Warm Wishes xx Tink

Feeling lazy as I can’t cross the road.

I am not a car driver (for obvious reasons) nor have I ever been a driver, so please bere with me here.

I have recently found myself taking a bus for a short route I was happy to walk in the past.  Literally for just 2 stops.

Why? I hear you ask.

Simply because of ‘Kind’ drivers.

I attend a meeting every Thursday at a church hall, the road by the church is quite a major route, but a relitively easy road to cross, or rather it was until recently.

The place I cross is a good distance from the junction, the reason for this is so that I can hear the traffic on my road clearer without confusion from the road beside it.

Mizz Fizz takes me to the same spot on the curb and sits awaiting my instruction to go on.

When she sits, I take a step back with my right foot, which not only makes it easier for me to step forward when it is clear to do so, but also to enable road users to see Fizz.

As the traffic starts to slow for the junction I find that many drivers will stop early to allow me to cross.

I can hear that they have stopped.

I can’t see them waving at me, nor can I see it if they flash their headlights. 

I stay put.

Without being on a designated crossing Fizz will not cross and nor will I allow her to.

The car engine sitting so close can be of real danger, it can distract from a car coming in the opposite direction, from a cyclist coming up the inside of the car.  And even, as I have heard of, a car from overtaking those who were kind enough to stop.

If my hands are free I will wave my hand to move the car on, giving a thumbs up as they move.  If not I will jerk my head to indicate they should move on.  And mouth ‘Thank You’ as they go on their way.

Thank you to all the cars that stop,  for all the acts of kindness, but please do not feel I or any other person with a guide dog or a long cane are being rude.  We simply need to ensure we stay safe.

When I cross the road, it is for me to tell Fizz when it is safe to go, not for her to tell me.

So, why get the bus?

Because by getting the bus I can save myself over 15 minutes on average.  The bus saves me from having to cross the road, as not only is it one car stopping, but several.

And each time a car stops it slows the traffic flow, meaning that in turn there are less ‘natural breaks’ in the traffic that are safe enough for us to cross safely.

So, next time you see someone waiting to cross the road, don’t feel you are being rude by continuing to drive.  You are helping to keep both them and you safe.

Funny ….. Most Definately NOT !!

Me and Mizz Fizz have some amazing journeys together, she is my independance, she is my world, just as Vicky was before her.  And I will do all I can to protect her, as she protects me.

Several weeks ago on one of our walks we ‘only just’ missed the green man to cross the road.  Not an issue though, it just meant we both knew we were in for a bit of a long wait.  As the lights in question run in a sequence for the traffic as well as for pedestrians.

So, to save my arm and to help Fizz feel more comfortable I let her handled drop (not literally, a term to explain it sitting against her back).  Several people came and stood awaiting the lights to change.  A small group of college girls were amongst them.  They politely asked if they could stoke the dog, I said they could, until I took hold of the harness.

They only quickly stroked her and then crossed the road, they crossed when there was a gap in the traffic, rather than waiting for the green man.

As they crossed they were laughing with each other.  I thought nothing of it and less than a moment later, the lights changed and it was time for us to cross.

I picked up the harness and gave Fizz the command to go…… That’s when it happened.

Fizz took a step forward and I followed, but on the next step I lost the tension on the harness and found myself infront of Fizz while crossing the road.

I felt panicked, why wasn’t she walking?  I focused down and that was when I found out.

We had been the subject of the girls joke.  While stroking her, it appears that one of them had Unclipped her harness.

Which when I walked forward had moved off her.

Thankfully her lead was still attached and I still had control of her.  I quickly moved us off of the road.

Once on the safety of the path, I checked her harness, no break, no damage.  I clipped it back together and checked, it wasn’t loose, it didn’t even wiggle when I moved it.  It was clear that it had been Unclipped.

Mizz Fizz and myself were safe, Fizz was no worse for her ordeal, but I was still quite shaken.

I couldn’t believe that someone would think of doing something like that, let alone ACTUALLY do it as a joke.

Thankfully they didn’t undo her lead too.  I really don’t know or want to think about what could have happened.

Fizz has a lock button on her collar to stop it being Unclipped, since this incident I have made sure that not only is this locked, but that the catch on her collar sits on her neck underneath her mouth (so that it is harder to reach)

I find myself feeling nervous When groups are near us at crossings and will not allow anyone to stroke Fizz now.

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