Are you living with vision loss?
Interested in starting, extending, or restarting your career?
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to take a dog guide to work?
Two different guide dogs have been a part of my life over the last 10 years. Naturally, working in an office setting forced me to make some adjustments to my personal routine. When the changes became good habits, taking a guide dog to work became easier.
As you create your career action plan, consider these basic suggestions for taking a guide dog to work.
Suggestions for Taking a Dog Guide to Work
Wake Up Early
Getting ready for work every morning was a snap when I relied on a long white cane. However, shortly after Cody became my new guide dog, I quickly realized time management was a top priority.
Catching a timely ride to the office meant changes were necessary. Two things needed to be accomplished for Cody to start his day. First, a trip outside to be relieved. Then, a delicious bowl of food. Yes, that is all. But, 15 to 20 minutes could be spent on these tasks.
I began waking up about 30 minutes earlier than normal. This change gave me plenty of time to care for Cody and to finish my own morning routine. This little change made our mornings run smoothly.
Pack the Food
Feeding myself was my sole priority during the lunch hour at work. After Cody joined me, I realized he also needed some food and water throughout the day, so I kept a small bowl for him by my desk.
Cody’s second meal of the day came at 5:30 p.m. or right after we returned home from work. Quite a long time for him to go without some food. I learned to stash a bag of treats in my desk drawer for that purpose.
Occasionally, I had to pack his dinner for certain days we had to work late. I set reminders on my smartphone for them. Otherwise, his dinner would be about two hours late. Yikes!
Walk It Off
Under the right circumstances, you may want to take a short walk with your guide dog during breaks or after lunch. Sitting all day is hard on our bodies. Frankly, guide dogs get a little bored laying around all day. I addressed both issues by taking a brief stroll on the grounds of our office buildings. On a nice day, we would find a seat outside and enjoy sunshine and fresh air.
Incorporating short walks into your work day breaks the monotony of an office job. Before long, you and your guide dog will be looking forward to your time together.
Get Some Relief
Speaking of taking a walk outside, guide dogs need a chance to relieve themselves a few times during the work day. Disposable bags are a must for picking up after your dog!
Lucky for us, lots of nice grass grew around our office building, and a nearby trash can was conveniently situated along the side walk.
Store a package of disposable bags in your desk drawer. Take one with you as the two of you go outside for a break. Be kind and courteous by disposing of the mess. Locate the nearest trash can on premises or ask for directions to one.
Make a guide dog’s time in the office comfortable. When he arrives at a destination, it is quite common for him to take a nap. My office was big enough to place a large dog bed in a corner of the room.
If your work space is small, consider using a thick bathroom mat. He will appreciate it! It will become his special spot regardless of the size.
Occupy his time while you work. Other creature comforts are chew bones and chew toys. If your budget allows, buy him some different, yet safe, chew toys and rotate them weekly. Give the chew toys a good cleaning too. Be sure to protect your coworkers from tripping on the toys. Put them in a safe place when the day is over.
If you are living with vision loss, a guide dog could be right for you if you seek to start, extend, or restart your career. They are capable of helping you travel to any destination where opportunity awaits. Contact a reputable guide dog school to learn more about their services. Tell them about your aspirations and goals, then ask how a guide dog can help you too!