Sunday, December 28, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

A walk with Lava

By
From page A13 | January 05, 2014 |

dunaway and lavaW

Marlene Dunaway of Davis celebrates Lava's graduation from the Guide Dogs for the Blind program. Dunaway, who lost her vision about three years ago, has had Lava for one year. Courtesy photo

By Marlene Dunaway

It is 7:00 in the morning. I know because my internal alarm clock insists that I open my eyes. The news says the weather will be sunny and warm, and I think to myself, “Yes, let’s take a walk on the greenbelt today.”

As I roll over to the edge of the bed, I feel a soft kiss on my lips as Lava, my black Labrador guide dog, does her graceful “downward dog” stretch, reminding me that I must do that myself. Lava lies down by my bed and patiently waits. Occasionally she groans just to let me know she is there and getting hungry.

When I do get out of bed, she romps around me, tail wagging, and dashes to the kitchen and back again to see if I am also coming. After eating enthusiastically and taking a short outside potty break, she is willing to relax in her bed while I get dressed and do my daily morning tasks. She knows I am getting ready to take a walk.

I get my sunglasses, hat, water and snacks for Lava and me. Then I put on her leash and she glides into the harness with little effort. I give her kisses on the nose and tell her she is now my eyes and I want her to focus and take care of me. She is now in her serious mode and lies down and waits until I get the key in the door, turn off the lights and do a couple of other things I have forgotten to attend to.

Finally, we are on our way. Before I leave the house, I say to myself, “What will we encounter today? I hope there are no loose or aggressive dogs on our walk. I hope the sidewalk will be clear of toys, buckets and anything else.” Then I put all my fears aside and say “forward” to Lava. Immediately, I am propelled at a fast-paced clip in the direction I tell her to go.

We whisk around the pile of leaves in the way. We avoid the small chair sitting in the middle of the sidewalk and stop when a car’s door is left open in our path. I’m not even sure what we are avoiding, but I know I feel a flow of movement and a freedom I cannot get any other time.

I am invigorated as I crunch on the leaves beneath my feet, smell the aroma of the Asian noodles and the teriyaki chicken or the enchilada sauce and chiles simmering as I wind my way past the row of inviting houses. I almost want to knock on a door to get a clearer image of what is really cooking.

Lava sees and hears everything: squirrels darting up the trees, children shouting as they play on the swings, dogs, bicyclists and strollers. Some people say “Good morning” while others avoid getting too close. No matter. Lava dutifully continues her pace without getting distracted by the environment. I praise her as we move, and sometimes we find a bench where she rests and enjoys some extra petting.

I feel brave when I am with Lava. I don’t have to see what is lurking within the pockets of shadows and light. She takes me right through them without hesitation. She remembers where the bench I like to sit on is located, and she knows the correct doors to enter at the restaurants I frequent.

She stops at curbs or stairs to alert me or uses the flat part of a curb so we don’t have to stop. When we go to a restaurant or go shopping, she patiently waits for hours while I talk to my friends or look at items to purchase.

I am so grateful for my lovely Lava that at times I am overwhelmed with emotion. It is a gift I treasure, and I am content to explore my new world with this amazing companion.

— Marlene Dunaway, a Davis resident, lost her vision about three years ago. Because she wanted to remain independent, she left home and attended a school for the blind in Albany for seven months. There, she learned many skills, including mobility and cane travel, which enabled her to get Lava from Guide Dogs for the Blind. She has had Lava for a year.

Comments

comments

Special to The Enterprise

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
    Yolo makes hydrogen connection

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    NYC officer mourned at funeral as tensions linger

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    N. Korea uses racial slur against Obama over hack

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    AirAsia plane with 162 aboard missing in Indonesia

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Sacramento man convicted for 2011 bar shooting

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

     
    Drugs, stolen car lead to women’s arrests

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

    Pedal around Davis on weekly bike ride

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Nominate teens for Golden Heart awards

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    USA Weekend calls it quits

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Supplies collected for victims of abuse

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Sweet success: Cancer Center helps young patient celebrate end of treatment

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Reserve tickets soon for Chamber’s Installation Gala

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Holiday hours continue at The Enterprise

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Covell Gardens hosts New Year’s Eve dance

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    UC Davis debate team wins national championship

    By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Portuguese breakfast set for Jan. 25

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    At the Pond: It all started with kayaking on Putah Creek

    By Jean Jackman | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Find the first cabbage white butterfly, and win a pitcher

    By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A6 | Gallery

    Does pre-eclampsia raise autism risk?

    By Phyllis Brown | From Page: A6

     
    Long will talk about value of hedgerows for adjacent farms

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6 | Gallery

     
    It’s a wonderful life — and a wonderful state

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    College sees benefits in loan guarantees

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

     
    Tickets for New Year’s Eve party going fast

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12

    .

    Forum

    This cat is on life No. 7

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B4

     
     
    It was a busy, black-eye year for disease control

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

    Say thanks to the caregivers

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Bombing is not the answer

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

    Just Us in Davis: Despair and hope for the new year

    By Jonathan London | From Page: A10

     
    Commission’s list needs vetting

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Rifkin’s statement is offensive

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Writer’s arguments fall flat

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A11

    Cuba policy changes highlight a momentous opportunity

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    .

    Sports

    DHS boys get good film in tournament loss

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Sacramento survives Knicks in OT

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Kings cruise past Sharks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Lady Blue Devils top Tigers to reach Ram Jam title game

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Sports briefs: Republic FC to host camp series

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

     
    College bowl roundup: Sun Bowl goes to the Sun Devils

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    Kaiser’s trauma center in Vacaville earns verification

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Rob White: Davis tech community is growing

    By Rob White | From Page: A9

    Yolo County real estate sales

    By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A9

     
    First Northern adds Peyret to agribusiness loan team

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    .

    Obituaries

    Ruth Allen Barr

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Charles ‘Bud’ Meyer

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, December 28, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B8