FejaThis year, on 16th of July, it was the third anniversary of my working relationship with my guide dog Feja. On September 23rd, we’ll celebrate the dog’s fifth birthday.

Yes, it was exactly three years ago that, as a first group invalid, I received a guide dog trained by Service dog association TEODORS. I must admit that the presence of a guide dog at my side marked the start of a new period in my life. Unquestionably, I started a much more mobile and active life. Time flies and therefore I’d like to share the experiences that have enriched my life during this period.

For the 100th time, I’m going to repeat myself by saying that visually impaired people who get about with the help of a guide dog are very fortunate. This saves us the trouble of stepping out of a car or bus into a pothole or puddle, and helps us to avoid bumping into an obstacle like a pedestrian or post, etc. In other words, with Feja at my side, getting about from one place to another has become much easier and simpler. Of course, travelling about with a guide dog invariably means being the centre of attention. Everyone, ranging from small kids to pensioners, pays a lot of attention when they spot my guide dog. Unfortunately, a large section of society does not know what a guide dog is, but this does not prevent people from making all kinds of guesses, “It’s an orderly dog, a medical dog, a rescuer dog.” One of the funniest versions I’ve heard recently is that she’s a driver dog. However, those who do recognise her as a guide dog come up to me and offer me their assistance.

My guide dog Feja really loves small children. If my brother or sister and their kids pay me a visit, Feja enjoys the presence of kids with all her heart. She lets kids play with her and is happy spending time in their company. If one of the toddlers is taking a nap in his pram in the garden, Feja lies down next to him like a babysitter, and if the baby wakes up, Feja immediately runs and lets the grown-ups know. I have to admit that in her great love for children, Feja has got into some mischief. More than once, when walking along the payment and passing a mum pushing a pram with a baby inside, Feja has given the baby a kiss. Fortunately, so far these mums have been understanding, and instead of screaming at me to keep my dog under control, have merely commented, “The doggy just kissed you!”

Besides her love for children, Feja loves travelling by car. In this regard, we’ve also shared some very funny experiences. Feja has this tendency to bring me to a parked car with an open door. I interpret this conduct on Feta’s part as a desire to take a ride. Despite such mistakes in Feta’s work, getting about with her at my side is like a fairy- tale! I hope that in future in Latvia, there will be a lot more people as lucky as me!

Andris Ošāns, September 23rd, 2017.
Feja. Daugavpils

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