#NaBloPoMo – Doggy Diaries – Trash and laundry, robo and canine

There was a discussion on Twitter recently about robotic guide dogs. There was a link, but I didn’t click it. A robotic guide dog? No thanks. The discussion was interesting though, what if it rains, what if the battery dies. I couldn’t help but think about Scott Westerfeld’s “Leviathan” series. Which is better, machine or beastie? It’s a brilliant series of books. You should read them if you like alternate histories and fantastical creations.

Anyway, back to the robo dog. There’s no way a robo dog could intuit when you want the trash vs. the laundry. You would have to give it a command all the time. Sure, you might have to give a dog the command too, left or right etc, but I’m pretty sure most of them begin to read your mind. Ask any guide dog handler and they’ll tell you it’s true.

What amazes me about Jayden and has for awhile now, is that when I’m dragging the laundry cart behind me, he needs no cues. He knows right where to go. As soon as the cart comes out in fact, he gets excited. He takes the “dry” out of laundry, that’s for sure. His excitement makes it less of a chore and more of an outing, until it’s time to put the clothes away that is.

We had stopped taking the trash out, leaving it to the man of the house, after Jayden took me to the neighbor’s house one day after I tossed the bag. I was stuck with my handled trash can. I never just carry a bag in case I have to set it down in a hurry. I felt terrible because the neighbor lady wanted to chat and I had laundry I had to get back to. This must have been months ago now. I don’t think I blogged about it so I can’t remember.

Anyway, doing all the cleaning required trips to the trash so I finally decided to let Jayden take me again. I did some patterning after we tossed each load, using the trash can as a kind of cane, feeling the curb and pointing us in the right direction. Eventually he took me straight home and rekindled my confidence in the route.

Here’s where my amazement really kicked in. One day I had several loads of junk and didn’t fancy taking them one by one with the trash can. So I got the laundry cart out and loaded it with two bags. Hey, at least it cut the trips in half. As usual, Jay got excited when the cart came out and I expected him to try and go to the laundry which is the opposite direction of the trash.

He knew I had trash bags!

With no verbal or physical cue from me he went right to the trash even though I was dragging the laundry cart. This might seem small, but for the proud guide dog handler, this was exhilarating. I love to see his mind working. It’s almost like you witness new paths forming in their brain. I could almost hear him thinking, “she didn’t sort all those clothes first.”

When I did laundry next, I wondered if he’d want to go to the last destination the cart had travelled to. Why did I even doubt? The boy took me right to the laundry. There were more trips to the trash, but never both on the same day. See what I’m leading up to?

Tell me, would a robo dog take you to the laundry with your cart full of clothes and sheets and then an hour later, take you right to the trash with the cart loaded with two trash bags and a box? I think not.

That’s exactly what Jayden did today. After the laundry was put away I decided to haul the last bit of trash from the cleaning adventures. Without missing a beat my boy turned in the direction of the trash with no cues from me. What a smart dog!

We spent lots of time outside today since it was beautiful out. We decided to take a walk after the clothes were put in the dryer which worked out well since the electric bill needed dropping off. We can no longer use the outgoing mail slot since people break into it. Thanks, idiot people. Then again, outgoing mail, the one thing we mail a month, is a great excuse for a trip to the office so maybe I should thank the idiot people. Until summer that is, and then the man of the house can take it down in the heat. 😉

My boy is curled up on the couch after his great work today. If I knelt in front of him, he’d give me a kiss. Robo dog? Fah!

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Filed under Doggy Diaries, gratitude, guide dogs, Jayden, laundry, NaBloPoMo 2011, twitter me this, weather, working dog, wow

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