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Guest Blogger: Zoe

April 23, 2013

Guest Blogger: Zoe

I am pleased to announce that the first guest blogger for Wordwalk is Leader Dog Zoe. Rather than dogtating (dictating) an essay or pawing a poem, Ms. Zoe chose to hold a press conference. We are happy to share with you the transcript of this PAWticularly interesting press conference, which took place on April 23, 2013—the sixth birthday of my third guide dog.

Official Transcript of Press Conference

OPENING REBARKS (REMARKS) FROM LEADER DOG ZOE: Thank you, thank you all for coming today. On this special day when I turn six years of age—in people years—I want to take a few minutes from my busy schedule of guiding to answer some of your questions about guide dogs. Oh, yes, I do want to thank the person who designed this PAWdium (podium) which is the perfect height for me. Of course, I also thank my groomer, Alice, who gave special time and attention to my looking my very best for my first press conference.
Well, let’s start at the very beginning. My mother is a black labrador retriever named Breezy, and my father is a golden retriever called Quincy. A wonderful family in the Detroit area raised me; these extraordinary people are the ones who named me “Zoe.” Then, the puppy-raisers sent me to Leader Dog School in Rochester, Michigan, where I met Alice on June 6, 2009.
Now, let us begin with your questions. I see that CBS (Canine Broadcasting System) is very well-represented today, so I will turn to Mr. Scott Poodle for the first question.

SCOTT POODLE: Thank you, Ms. Zoe. How long is the training for a typical guide dog?

ZOE: After learning especially good house manners, socialization, and basic obedience from the puppy raiser, a potential guide dog trains with the professional trainer at the guide dog school for approximately three months. During the fourth month of training at the school, the blind or visually impaired handler joins the training process. This phase of training is usually 25 days for a first-time guide-dog user while an experienced
guide-dog handler may need only about 21 days of training with the professional trainer.
I am delighted to see that Mr. Walter Caninekite is here with the next question.

WALTER CANINEKITE: What are some of the commands that you follow in your work each day?

ZOE: In addition to basic obedience, we learn and follow through with not only commands, but also suggestions. For example, “Forward” and “Hup up” may be considered suggestions for moving forward for a distance or a short way because if the path ahead is not clear nor safe, my duty is to not proceed. This particular type of staying is referred to as “intelligent disobedience” which is very important in my line of work, Mr. Caninekite. Of course, I know the commands “Left,” “Right,” “Find the door,” “Find the curb,” …

CANINEKITE: Yes, about those curb stops, how do you know when to guide your handler across the street?

ZOE: My handler listens intently for the traffic at each intersection. When she hears the onset of parallel traffic, she says “Forward” and also uses an accompanying hand motion; then, if I see that the way is clear, I guide her safely across the street.
“Find a chair” is another command that we learn. After our training at the school is over, guide dogs and handlers continue to learn their own areas. For example, during the first two years I worked with Alice, I amazingly quickly learned my way around the technical college where she taught. I proudly followed through with commands such as “Find the office,” “Find the classroom,” “Find the library,” Find the restroom,.” At our apartment complex, some of my specialties are “Find the tower door,” “Find the mailbox,” and “Find the office.” At the post office, I can either “Find the deposit” or “Find the line” to take Alice to the counter. At a place like Panera or Classy Girl Cupcake Shop, I know how to “Find the counter.” At Metro Market, I always take Alice to the service window before we begin our shopping.When we are at a doctor’s office and someone calls the name “Alice,” I stand because I know that we will be on the move as soon as Alice gives me the command.
Now to the distinguished Mr. Edward R. Mutt for a question.

EDWARD R MUTT: I understand that you are not to be petted while you are working; however, how do we know when you are working?

ZOE: Great question, Mr. Mutt. A guide dog is in working mode whenever the guide dog is in harness. Even if I am lying down beside my handler’s feet, if I am in harness, I am still in working mode and certainly do appreciate other people’s refraining from stroking my beautiful coat. I must add that I receive many compliments about my shiny coat, as well as my nearly perfect behavior and impressive work. I like hearing all the praise from my fans and handler. When I am in my harness, I am always pleased when my handler pets me—she knows just the right times to do so.
Ms. Bow-bow-wow Walters, please, the next question.

BOW-BOW-WOW WALTERS: When you are at home, do I understand correctly that you do not wear your harness nor your leash?

ZOE: Absolutely correct, Ms. Walters. At our home, I am like any other very
well-behaved, well-trained pet dog who is truly loved and extremely well cared for each day.
That is all the time we have for questions. Thank you again. Good day!

ALL REPORTERS: Happy Birthday, Zoe!

(Leader Dog Zoe and her handler made a happy and grand exit from the conference room.)

End of Transcript: April 23, 2013

If you have a question concerning guide dogs, please ask the question in the comment section of this blog. Either Zoe or I will answer your question as soon as possible.

With thanks to Zoe’s many fans,
Alice and Zoe


From → Uncategorized

  1. I made it home just in time to DVR the interview. Great job on Zowie’s coat. Rather fetching appearance if you ask me.

    Real nice post. I’m still chuckling.


    Deon Lyons

    Author of Sully Street

    A Fiction Novel


    Personal Blog

    “The happiest of people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything they have.”

    Unknown Author


  2. This gave me a good laugh, but it’s a great way to educate others about guide dogs. Zoie, keep up the good work.

    • Abbie–Leader Dog Zoe welcomes you to her fan club and thanks you for your comment about her blog post. AJM & Z

  3. How cute, Alice and Zoe! I LOVED the award-winning dialogue and the distinguished, creatively-named CBS crew! XOXO . . . A true fan

    • To the President of my Florida Fan Club: Thanks for your comments! Take care! Zoe, guest blogger

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