Ann Chiappetta

Making Meaningful Connections

The Dogs Of Selas Manor

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The dogs of Selas Manor

As most of you already know, I am a first-time dog guide handler. My immersion into the dog guide sub- culture has been both interesting and satisfying, and my most current foray in attending a local dog guide association was my first experience with an organized group for handlers and their dogs.

My good friend, Mike and his dog, Kaiser, a large yellowLabbie, met Ro and I and showed us how to take the bus into New York City. I hadn’t been in the city with Ro since last January and it was great knowing that once we stepped off the bus, Ro would keep me safe. I’m still amazed with the freedom she provides; she seems to know when I need her to be more assertive. She understands that when I’m in unfamiliar places, I’m not as confident and she takes charge.

We set off down Fifth Avenue, Mike and Kaiser setting a quick pace. Too fast for a short-legged woman and dog, but we do our best.We catch up to them at every corner and ro quickens her pace as we go. By the time we are on the long block leading to our destination, we’re not too far behind.

All goes well and we arrive at Selas Manor, an apartment building for people with disabilities and folks over 55. We sign in and go up to the fifth floor to meet Z and her dog guide, Margo, a black Labbie. We unharness and the three dogs play, sniff, and settle down after about ten minutes. There is not one instance of bad manners and this proves our guide dogs are bred and trained with superb results. Ro just falls right into the doggie group and our visit is uneventful.

Z, short for Zurline, is a wonderful hostess, and we talk until it’s time for our meeting. Her apartment smells like sweet potato pie, which she is heating up for the dessert after our meeting concludes. It reminds me of the upcoming holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas being around the corner.

The meeting is focused and our ballots for a new executive board concludes within an hour. I’m impressed by the fact that there are over 20 handlers and dogs present and no one seems to have trouble settling down for the discussions and voting in the new board members.
This shows that well bred and trained dogs demonstrate their merit at times like this. Verona and her doggie friends take a break, snoozing under our feet as we talk and complete the meeting.

Mike and I leave a few hours later and catch the bus back to Westchester, Kaiser and Verona leading the way. We manage not to lag behind too much as we walk the city blocks back to the bus stop.

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