More than half of this eloquent, informative book is devoted to the author’s first guide dog, Tammy, and it soon becomes plain why. As the dog matured from beginning guide to seasoned veteran, the author went from starting college to embarking on her long marriage and her impressive working life.
Each of the author’s nine guide dogs thus far is described in loving detail: what it looked like, what unique personality traits it had, and why it had to retire from guiding. Age, illness, a tragic accident, and more—each required a return for the author to The Seeing Eye®, the country’s oldest guide dog school. The beautiful German Shepherd pictured on the cover of the book with the author is her ninth dog, Enzo.
In prose and poetry, Noriega describes not just her loyal canine companions, but also the family she was born into, her children and grandchildren, details about her years in college as a blind student, and her subsequent work experience. While she accentuates the positive, she does not shy away from letting us know that there have been more than a few negatives in her life, too, including episodes of abuse and discrimination.
Experienced guide dog handlers will find much here that is movingly familiar to them. Those who have never walked beside such a marvelous companion will benefit greatly from learning what the dogs are trained to do, how they need to be cared for, and how observers should and should not interact with them. Touches of humor lighten almost every chapter, and the book ends with three imaginative, amusing skits in which the players are all guide dogs.