My dog guide, Ufi, is a six-year-old German Shepherd. He was trained by the Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation. We were matched on January 11,2013. Ufi is an excellent worker and an even better friend.
When he’s working, Ufi leads me around obstacles, stops for curbs, finds entrances to buildings, locates elevators and stairs, and more.
Using traffic patterns and/or audible pedestrian signals, I decide when Ufi and I will cross streets. Through a concept called intelligent disobedience, Ufi has been trained to ignore my instruction to cross if he believes crossing would be unsafe. So far, he hasn’t had to disobey. I’m knocking on wood.
Ufi is supposed to always take direction from me. In reality, he has an excellent memory and often knows where we are going. When we get off the train at our home stop, Ufi takes us home without a single instruction.
When he’s not working, I treat Ufi like a pet. Since I love dogs and enjoy spoiling them, I am happy satisfying his addiction to fetch. One day last week, he played fetch for 10 hours–that is not a typo. If his grandma wasn’t as addicted to yard work as Ufi is to fetch, I don’t know what I would do.
Sometimes, Ufi gets people food and cleans plates. Like me, he’s more excited for his grandma’s cooking than he is mine.
If you see us, feel free to say hello. Ufi and I enjoy our travels more when we meet people.