It’s amazing the things people have learned how to train dogs to do. For example, the fact that people can train dogs to guide blind people around safely or alert people when they’re about to suffer a seizure, boggles my mind – and that’s not even including the K-9 units, bomb-sniffing dogs, and canines that go to war to support the men and women in the United States military.
If there’s one thing that we can all agree with, it is that when it comes to service dogs, guide dogs, the ones who help the blind navigate the world around them, are among the most necessary out there. These dogs are not like the “emotional support” peacocks and alligators people use to take on planes with them. These dogs serve a basic purpose that is undeniable and obvious.
However, one blind woman was kicked off a public bus because of her guide dog. Not because the bus driver did not understand the dog’s purpose – but because it was black.
22-year-old Megan Taylor relies on her guide dog, Rowley, for many everyday things. Rowley helps Taylor navigate the sidewalk and get to and from wherever she needs to go. However, during a recent bus ride, a fellow passenger ordered Taylor to “get her f***ing dog off” the bus!
Taylor was shocked. The young woman from St. Helens, Merseyside, was approached by a woman, whom she cannot identify because Taylor is blind, and was shouted at.
“Why is there a f***ing dog on the bus? Get it off!”
Taylor tried to explain that Rowley was a guide dog calmly. But the passenger “knew” this was a lie because every guide dog is “yellow.” Not black.
The offender called Taylor a “liar” because “guide dogs are yellow Labradors and your dog is black.”
During an interview following the incident, Taylor said: “I tried to explain to her that guide and assistance dogs can be any color and don’t have to be Labradors, although Rowley is. She told me I was wrong. I decided at this point there was nothing I could say to educate this woman and that it wasn’t worth my time. I instead chose to ignore her while she continued to talk nonsense.”
Because Taylor has “episodic blindness,” Rowley helps keep her safe.
“I suffered multiple fractures to my skull in the incident which left me with multiple disabilities. I can temporarily lose my sight without warning at any time, which is truly terrifying. Even when I can see I become so dizzy and disoriented when walking that I bump into obstacles and trip over things.”
Life is not easy for Taylor. That’s why it was a godsend when she got Rowley, her guide dog. Rowley is Taylor’s second guide dog. Her first one, Ruby, was retired after she suffered from an attack from another dog.
Rowley can phone for help if Taylor loses consciousness.
“People should know assistance dogs come in many shapes and sizes and are trained to support people with a range of disabilities.”
Hopefully, the woman on the bus learned her lesson.