Manasota Key FL (Storch Report) — Zoey is an attractive female and I was drawn to her the minute I saw her across the room when she visited with us here. She was gracious, friendly and with exemplary manners that would put the Royals to shame. I was smitten when in her presence. I was in love.
I could tell she was attracted to me, we bonded immediately, but later found out, much to my dismay, because I thought I was special, that’s the way she behaves with everyone she meets — you could tell by the way her tail wagged.
Yes, she was a working Seeing Eye dog, a black Labrador Retriever who was nestled alongside her buddy David Adams, who’s graciousness and attitude mirror his new eyes, and is now blind as a result of retina pigmentosa, a condition that is often caused by a genetic gene.
Or said in another way, Zoey’s graciousness and attitude was a perfect match for David, because his graciousness and attitude came along first.
There was a striking difference between the way in which Zoey behaved when she was in her harness which signifies her working mode, and when you see this with any working dog, those in their presence should not do anything to distract them.
There are three stages of a working Seeing Eye dog: Actively working; At work, resting; and at Play.
When that harness comes off she is still kept on a leash, but is allowed to explore, but not too far from her buddy, and be friendly and get a pat on the back for her good work.
David and his wife Judith are good friends of ours from across the pond, the United Kingdom, about an hour-and-a-half by train outside of London in a quaint British community. They visited us this past week and introduced us to the new member of their family.
They live in Priors Marston, Warwickshire and once owned a successful bed and breakfast there called the Old Vicarage. My wife and I visited with them, got to know the local pub, some friends in the village and visited David’s office. David once was a financial officer with the deLorean company, and that back to the future car that was featured in the movie with Michael Fox, and now runs a collectable model car company.
Zoey, who is now six, knows Priors Marston. She knows to go to the left for the Hollybush Pub and to go right to David’s office which was an old garage.
Sometimes Zoey likes going where she likes to go. On one occasion David told her to turn right to the office and she turned left to the Pub. Now that’s a woman after my own heart. Because it was the Pub, she knew, where ‘Molly’ was that gave her treats.
On another occasion David found himself in ‘Molly’s’ garden and had to call Judith to find out where Zoey had taken him. The trick was on David, the treat was for Zoey.
David served on the Board of Directors of the Royal National College for the Blind for 13 years and was Chairman of the Board for 10 years and now is President of the European Guide Dog Association.
While visiting us we went with the Adams family to Boca Grande to have lunch at the Pink Elephant. This is a barrier reef south of us, a bastion of wealth, where the DuPont heirs hang out and the Bush family of US presidents vacation.
David sat in the front seat of the car, Zoey climbed in on the floor between his legs, put her head in his lap and didn’t stir except for a few intermittent snores while sleeping, but still working, until we arrived at the Pink a half hour later.
When we got out of the car David told Zoey to find the food and she walked right to the door of the restaurant.
Inside her harness was taken off, a hostess brought her a cup of water, she sat under the table while we dined never making a noise, not even a snore, until she went back to work.
I know of few children, or adults for that matter, that behave this well. There is something to be said for discipline and behavior and Zoey sure proved that.
I’m still in love with Zoey, despite her affection for everyone else she meets.