I believe in my Seeing Eye Dog? Karl with a K. While in my mid-forties when we met Memorial Day 2000 at the Seeing Eye, little did I know that he would quickly teach me ALL the important life lessons.
First, Karl taught me the importance of limits both when, and when not to push them. We both know what the other is able to do. Whether it is traveling overseas alone, teaching medical staff on naval ships, hiking in Muir Woods, or playing with combat casualty marines, Karl is always ready to forge forward within the context of his limits. His calm competent and confident manner feeds me.
Secondly, Karl taught me how to respectfully acknowledge mistakes. The moment he makes his rare work error I give a correction and then a “good boy” when he reworks the error correctly. Most importantly, when the incident is over, it is truly over for both of us.
Finally, he taught me the importance of positive reinforcement. Every time I issue a command and he follows it, there is an immediate upbeat “good boy” in response. I say, “Good boy” a hundred times a day, and feel better just for saying it. For humans, unconditional positive reinforcement every time we complete a task successfully ceases shortly after finishing potty training. As we age often we hear and say more about what is wrong versus right. Imagine our world if we acknowledged each other EVERY time we did something right! When I say “good boy” or “good girl” in my life folks will say, “You’re talking to me just like you do to Karl”. Instantly I respond, “Maybe, but I like, respect, and appreciate everything Karl does”!
Good boy Karl, for your continued support on these life lessons!
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