For over ten years, my husband and I have attended the Renaissance Fair in Tuxedo, New York. I started going to these fairs when I lived in the San Francisco Bay area and convinced Jerry it was fun. Eventually, we purchased costumes and bought multiple visit passes for the fair in New York. Jerry is a pirate–the most unrestricted kind of costume, of course. As for me, I am dressed in shades of blue. I hear it makes my eyes look really cool, as they are multicolored; green and brown with blue specks. I was using a white cane back then, and it was one of the most difficult mobility challenges because of the uneven ground, tree roots, gravel, and sunken slate pathways that comprised the walkways meandering this way and that way throughout the fair grounds. Most of the time, I used a person to guide me and a few times I tripped over things or stepped in the mud.
The first time I went with Verona guiding me it was hard, but in a different way. She had to learn to avoid obstacles like rocks and roots, and I had to learn how to go with her, how to interpret the signals she was providing with her body language and through the harness handle. The first time was mostly successful, especially the guide work. I no longer had to hold on to someone and use my cane as a walking stick. The harness handle gave me back my balance and I was finally able to enjoy the surroundings. I relaxed more, smiled more.
We worked out a method so Verona would follow Jerry through the crowds, even if we were separated by them, she always found him again. One thing that I still have to watch out for, though, is the food left on the ground. One time she snatched up a whole turkey leg and another time she ate some discarded nuts.
Verona has a special party collar to wear and it matches my costume, too. Now, every year we go, the employees working the fair know us and say hi to “Ye working Canine,” in an English accent. The best part is they all know the rules, “Ye best not pet ye canine, upon orders of the Queen.” Huzzah!
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