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Company for Christmas: Part One


My first Christmas guest has arrived and, after bumping into everything there is to bump into, has made herself right at home.

Cheyenne, raised to be a guide dog for the blind, never got to fulfill that role. The possibility that she was going to develop hip problems prevented her from going on with her training. The hip problems never came to be, but Cheyenne, now 11, started going blind herself at age 5.

As dogs will do, she has adapted magnificently.

She walks slowly and gingerly, high-stepping when in unfamiliar surroundings. When she bonks her head on something, she backs up and heads in a new direction. Outdoors, when we come to a curb, I, as instructed, say “step,” and she seeks it out with her paw and steps up. aceandchy

I have her for the week, while her owners visit family down south, and it has been amazing to watch her as she adjusts to new surroundings. Equally amazing has been watching how gracious my dog Ace has been — sharing the couch (it’s his favorite spot, too); not raising a stink when she walks over, into and even under him; and helping herd her in from the two feet of snow in the backyard when she loses her bearings.

On their first trip to the yard, Ace ran circles around and did that downward dog stance dogs do. Cheyenne just sat there, not knowing Ace was sending the play signal. Since then Ace has caught on, I think, to the fact that she’s blind. He’s extra careful around her, and acting like a big brother.

Cheyenne, who loves carrots and lettuce, will be with me through Christmas, and two more canine house guests are still to arrive. We’ll keep you posted on how it goes. My prediction: The couch is going to get pretty crowded.

(To read all of the “Company for Christmas” series, click here.)


Comment from bluhawkk
Time December 23, 2009 at 7:24 am


Thank you

Comment from Eighteenpaws
Time December 23, 2009 at 9:13 am

This really touched my heart. What a great experience for all 3 of you! That’s what the holiday season is all about: interdependence and caring. THANKS

Comment from bluhawkk
Time December 23, 2009 at 1:24 pm

Cheyenne looks like a puppy.

I was thinking a bit more about her blindness and Ace’s reaction. By looking into her eyes, and not seeing a normal response I think Ace instinctively knows that she is blind.

I think that there is also some low level communication that eludes human understanding,

Comment from Anne’n’Spencer
Time December 23, 2009 at 2:56 pm

Ace sounds like a great host. Looking forward to hearing about the other house guests.

Comment from Melissa
Time December 23, 2009 at 4:20 pm

What a cutie! Thanks for sharing the pics