Written November 2002

To The Editor

By

Leonard A. McHugh

This letter was published in the Pottsville Republican & Evening Herald on November 22, 2002.

To the Editor,

Hi I'm Indy, a guide dog for Lenny. I am a working dog,

Protected under both the Americans with Disabilities Act and Pennsylvania law. You can help me while on the job by following these simple requests:

1. Please ignore me while in harness and working. This includes no eye contact, stooping down, or reaching out to pet me. Certainly, talk to Lenny, as he is a very nice person. Just treat me as a beautiful piece of art that you see but do not touch. I am always happy to see you; however, when I am working, it is very important that I keep my focus. It is important for both Lenny's safety and mine. It is important that I do not expect or look forward to the distractions of being petted when working. After all wouldn?t you get in trouble if you were goofing off when you were suppose to be doing your job? See, if I become distracted I may forget about warning Lenny about a curb, steps or heaven forbid an approaching motor vehicle.

2. Please do not call out my name, give me commands, use a high-pitched voice, or move around in a way meant to get me excited or distracted. I am like a skilled musician focusing on completion of a symphony. I get plenty of time to play when my work is over every day. And, boy, do I play! When my harness is put on, I know that it is time to work and focus; and I have been trained by Freedom Guide Dogs to take my work seriously.

3. Please do not ever reach out and touch my harness or leash. If Lenny needs help getting somewhere, he will ask. Then, he may take you by the arm, above the elbow, as you act as, what we call a sighted guide or he may just tell me to follow you.

4. I am on a food/water/relieve schedule so I do not need offers of food or water. Lenny is real careful with this. I have this great diet that keeps me in optimum condition. Thank you for thinking of me, though.

These things are real helpful for Lenny and me. I do want you to know that occasionally there are special, pre-arranged times when Lenny removes my harness so that I am available for petting. These are usually during speaking engagements. Lenny likes to take me to schools, church groups, scouting troops and almost any organization to talk about blindness and guide dogs; and the best part is to show me off! Incidentally if you are interested in what he has to say, please contact Leonard McHugh to set up a time and place. Until then.

Lots of wags,

Freedom Guide Dogs Indy

And

Leonard McHugh

Pottsville

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