Disclaimer: How I wish the boys were mine. But nope, they belong to someone else. The song How Does It Feel from Avril Lavigne had inspired me to write this story.
What you are about to read is apart of what had happened to my guide dog Hula and my family and I this passed weekend. Its part of a daily struggle for those of us using guide and service dogs.
It all began as an innocent weekend away from the island for the family. We never leave the island without someone staying behind but, this time those working for us had put their feet down and kicked us off the island for one weekend.
So with only an hour to get our things for the weekend and leave I had hurriedly packed what I would need. Then I had grabbed everything my new guide dog Hula would need for the trip.
As soon as we had landed on the mainland we were met with problems. We got to the first hotel just after seven. When they saw my guide dog they just said without thinking twice. "no dogs allowed."
We never told them who we were. We wanted to see how people reacted to a family of six with a dog.
I wanted my Father and brothers to see what someone with a disability have to go through when searching for a place to stay. I wanted them to see how much people with service dogs has to go through just to get into a nice warm bed. We would have known along time ago if Gordon had applied for a service dog after his accident.
The world knows so little about people like me. They don't know that some of us uses dogs to guide us or dogs to help us with basic tasks everyday. They don't know what it feels like to be free when you have a guide or service dog by your side.
Have you ever tried to do things with your eyes closed? Walk in a shop or even outside. You'll be a different person. You'll be scared and alone. You wouldn't know where you are or where to go. You would wonder when you would be falling down a hole.
All we ask is to be treated like normal people. Something my family had learned as I started to lose my site. They new that all hell would brake loose if they told me that I can't do something just because I'm blind.
As we drove to another hotel I felt tired. Not tired as in wanting to go to sleep. Tired of fighting to be seen as a normal person. Fighting to be let into places with my guide dog. We do have an access card that we could pull out and show to whoever stops us but, there comes a time when you just want to pull your hare out and scream at the world to except you and to let you be.
My brothers was watching me. I didn't have to have site to see that. They new my frustrations. Hell, Gordon knows it very well. I know that his starting to get angry. And believe me. I felt sorry for the guy who would end up in Gordon's line of fire.
We stopped at hotel number two. Surely they would let us in right? Wrong. When my Father walked out the doors his face told my brothers all that they wanted to know. Even this hotel had said no to my guide.
I got kicked out of a shop one year ago when I went there just to buy myself some basic things. I had gone to that shop that entire year and when it came near the end I was stopped because of my guide dog. The reason was that they didn't want to clean after my guide. What a lame excuse that was. If the manager didn't see my guide and me at the shop I'm dam sure that my dad mite have had to bail me out of jail. I was just about to snap. We don't lift our hands unless we have to but, I got sick and tired of the man standing in front of me.
There were many days that I would just brake down and cry when I couldn't see something. Find whatever it was that I had dropped on the ground. Or when everything just went wrong. I never felt ashamed when I did cry in front of my family. One of them always came to my rescue.
Before we started a new hotel search we decided that a breakfast at one a clock was in order. My guide was getting restless and I new that she needed to relieve herself. My guide had a spot between Virgil and me. She had been between Gordon and Alan at the back but, when she had snatched a empty packet of chips from Alan's hand I had given her a correction and made her lie down between Virgil and me. I new that she was hungry but, she new the rules I've set for her.
We had found a place to eat and bought enough food to take with us on the search. Scott had taken my guide from me and had gone off in search of a nice peace of grass. So when he got back I had already eaten.
Again we ended up driving until we found hotel number three. This time Scott and the rest of my brothers followed my Father into the hotel. I had dropped off to sleep thinking that now we'll have a place to sleep. When my guide stepped on me I had shot up and banged my head against her muzzle. Dam that really woke me up. I new right there and then that Virgil was going to be looking me over. I was glad when he just sat himself down nest to my guide when he got back into the car. He didn't see it. Or if he did see it happen he was to tired to react to it.
I could hear Gordon as he gave a soft groaned. I new instantly that his back was at it again. Sitting in a car for so long also got to me. My legs were aching.
So as my Father started driving again I new that we would have a even bigger problem soon if we didn't get to a place where my brother could lie down flat. I felt so horrible to put my family through all of this. It was my fault. I should have left Hula at the island or somewhere in a nice kennel. I felt like just disappearing. Letting my head rest against the seat in front of me I had softly said sorry to my family for all of this. I didn't know that we wouldn't be able to find a hotel that would take guide dogs. I didn't know.
I had nearly banged my head against the window when a hand had planted itself on my back. Letting my left hand find the owners hand I found that it was Gordon. He had heard what I said and it was his way of telling me that I shouldn't blame myself for what was happening.
When we finally got to hotel number for I just had to get out and take my guide to the grass myself. I couldn't take it in the car anymore. Walking to where my brother Alan directed me I found a step and a small strip of grass for my guide to sniff and relieve herself. Walking forward I stopped suddenly when Alan yelled at me to watch out for the fence in front of me. Stepping to my right I had ended up stepping into a few plants. Turning I found my brother Virgil taking my hand and guiding me out of the plants I was currently crushing.
Again I had to let my guide jump into the car and get in myself. Again we had to hear that no guide dogs were allowed. We were all tired, frustrated and really angry. I wanted to go into that hotel and yell at the idiot behind the desk and show him exactly what an tired and angry blind man could do when ticked off the wrong way around.
We had one more hotel to try. I just hoped and I mean really hoped that the fifth hotel was the right one. I felt bad enough and not hearing my second youngest brother talk away behind me or making some joke about the hotels we had visited so far I new that he was not doing to grate behind me.
Finally we stopped and when my Father returned I got a feeling that this time it was the right hotel. Opening my door I heard my Father tell Virgil to get Gordon upstairs and into bed. When Virgil passed me I had put out my hand and found that he was carrying Gordon. My second youngest little brother would never ever let someone carry him into a hotel. Unless he had a bit to much. I felt even worse when I heard him say that his back are really hurting bad.
When I got my dog settled and got into bed myself I nearly shot back out of it again. I had heard a soft laugh and then a Ow as Gordon tried to stop himself from laughing loudly.
Turning to where I new he was I gave him my best glare. Getting a snort from him. Boy. I wanted to kill him. Now I was wide awake. I new that my brother was grinning at me because when he spoke I heard it in his voice.
"I'm okay. You didn't know and this isn't your fault. You did nothing wrong. As soon as we get back home again. I'm going to help you to report this. Where do they think people like you should go when your in town? This is discrimination."
I only smiled at my brother. I new that he'll keep his word and I also new that once the rest of my brothers got some much needed sleep. They would be all fired up and if I new my Father and Scott. They would be going at this guns blazing. Turning myself over I was finally able to relax. Everything was sorted now. We got a place for the weekend to stay. Everything would be okay.
Well, that's life for guide and service dog owners for you.