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Guest Blogger: Leader Dog Willow

July 24, 2019


A Canine Perspective of Today’s Telephone


by guest blogger and resident guide dog Willow



Due to Alice’s being very, very busy with trying to learn how to use her new, pink i-phone, I have graciously agreed to be a guest blogger/dogger for WORDWALK this Wednesday, July 24, 2019.  Thank you, Alice, for the PUPportunity; and thanks to all of you WORDWALK readers for your attention on this lovely summer day.


First, I must tell you that I have been hearing a lot about “fingerprints.”  A-PUP-ently, the way Alice has to start this incredible telephone is with a fingerprint.  Trying to do so has been problematic.  I do want to help; but in the settings menu, we find no option for a PAWPRINT.  Well, this is not my idea of accessible!  After all, I, as a British Black Labrador, have smaller paws than most Labs.


Furthermore, Alice keeps telling somebody called “Siri” to turn on “Voiceover.”  I just got used to hearing Alexa so often; now, I am hearing this Siri lady a lot.  Unfortunately, just like that Alexa, Siri has never spoken directly to me and has never petted me–not even once, not even when I am out of my working harness!  Nevertheless, Alice is quite partial to Alexa and is trying to become acquainted with Siri.  Frankly, I could do without these two house guests very nicely.


Now, back to “Voiceover.”  If this pink telephone were truly accessible, wouldn’t it have a setting called “BARKover”?  On the other paw, I must confess that Alice has never heard me bark–except for the time when I was having a wonderful dream and gave out a muted bark in the midst of my running in my sweetest sleep state.  Happily, when I guide Alice past a barking or yapping dog, she gives me high praise for being a very good dog who is not a “barker.”  Alice reminds me that I have work to do and that, PUPhaps, the barking dog only has barking to do.  I love my much-deserved praise and guide onward as any proud Leader Dog should.


Next, I will tell you that Alice keeps checking the battery level of this so-called “amazing” telephone.  Fortunately, Alice never has to ask me about my battery level.  At any time, whenever she calls my name, I am ready to respond, go, and lead.  “Willow, come” and “Harness up” are the only words I need to hear to begin my important work.


If this pink phone were more appropriately accessible, I would call Leader Dog School and tell whomever answers my first canine call:  “Thank you ever so much for matching me with Alice Massa in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Even with sharing the house with Alexa and Siri, I am leading a wonderful life and love this person whom I guide every day.”  My second canine call would be to my puppy-raiser family to tell them how much I appreciate the great and loving start which they gave to my Leader Dog life.


Finally, whenever you meet a guide dog in harness, please remember to speak directly to the blind or visually impaired handler:  do not distract the guide dog in any way.  Thank you for not disturbing my extremely important work.  I do appreciate your not petting me, not making eye contact with me, and not talking to me.  I love my work and want to do my job to the best  of my ability.



Faithfully yours,

Leader Dog Willow, guest blogger


July 24, 2019, Wednesday



From → Uncategorized

  1. Katherine Binole permalink

    Hello Willow, guest blogger, I think you may be giving Alice some competition. You were very creative and funny. I really enjoyed reading your blog. I do hope Alice and her pink phone become friends soon. Love, Aunt Kathy

    • Hello, Aunt Kathy–I am PAWticularly grateful for your nice comment on my blog post!  We are thinking of you and sending good wishes your way.

      Take good care!  Enjoy your company!

      Love, Willow

  2. Dear Willow,
    How nice to be able to respond to you as Alice’s guest blogger! I agree with Aunt Kathy’s comment—your blog was clever and cute and I enjoyed reading it! I also appreciated your more serious message at the end. When I am walking with you and Alice, you are always very focused on your job of guiding Alice and keeping of you safe on Milwaukee’s busy streets. Thanks for the great work that you do each and every day!
    Lots of pets (but only when you are not in harness) and love,
    Auntie Mary

    • Good evening, Auntie Mary–Oh!  Thanks for your comment on my blog post!  We will look forward to your coming from Colorado for a visit again.

      Enjoy all of your company!

      Best wishes–Willow

  3. Reblogged this on My Corner and commented:
    This guide dog provides an interesting perspective and important advice when encountering such a dog and handler.

  4. Willow, please tell Alice that Mystic Access offers reasonably priced audio courses on using the iPhone and IOS. They’re called modules. They start with the basics, then talk about different apps you can use that are accessible. Lisa, the gal who teaches these modules, is blind. She doesn’t have a dog like you, but I’m sure Alice could learn a lot from her. Here’s a link to the Mystic Access site.

    • Hi, Abbie–Thanks for the information about Mystic Access.  I checked out their website earlier, but will contact them tomorrow.

          Willow thanks you for the comment, too!

      Hoping the sales of your new book, THE RED DRESS, are starting off very well, Alice and Willow

  5. Susan M McKendry permalink

    Dear Willow,
    Thanks for helping Alice while she resolves her issues with technology. Most of us humans could learn a lot from our canine companions and friends. I always enjoy reading your guest blogs, and I will try to remember your comment about eye contact with working dogs–it’s just that some of you are so beautiful it is a hard thing to do. Keep up the good work!

    • Hi, Sue–Thanks so much for reading my blog/dog post!  I was very Labby happy to see you and John last week.  One of Alice’s writer friends in Wyoming re-blogged my post:  so, I am especially DOGlighted to report that 543 extra people were able to read the July 24 post.

         Now, we have to listen to “Garden Talk” on Wisconsin Public Radio’s Larry Meiller Show.

      Enjoy a warm Wisconsin weekend!

      Your friend, Willow

  6. Carole permalink

    Greetings, Guest Blogger Willow! You are quite an excellent blogger and guide dog! Not only do you have an enormous responsibility in guiding Alice and keeping her safe, but you are also very gifted in humorously writing about your perspectives. Even though Alice enjoys using Alexa and Siri for guidance, there is no comparison to your faithful obedience, unconditional love, and unique wisdom.

    Hoping to hear from you again soon, Willow, as you make me smile!
    Hugs and kisses from Carole, your #2 auntie

    • Dear Auntie Carole,

          Making people, like you, smile is another aspect of my important duties.  Thanks for letting me know that I brought a smile to your face!  Fear not, I am at the ready to blog again whenever Alice lets me paw on my canine computer.  Soon, I know I will return to WORDWALK by popular demand, so keep the fan club flowing!

      Thanks for commenting!


  7. Paula J. Lumb permalink

    This is so clever, Alice. I believe you have captured the heart, mind and soul of Willow! I appreciate her instruction on proper etiquette when coming upon a working guide dog, as well. Keep on writing, Alice.

    • Hi, Paula–You and family were in my thoughts today; then, this evening, I was delighted to find your very nice comment on Willow’s blog post.  I do hope that your summer is going well.  I do appreciate your continuing to keep in touch.

      Best always to you and yours–Alice and Willow

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