The invitation to embark on this recounting of daily anecdotes on the Amherst Veterinarian Clinic blog, Gilmour’s Guides, coincidently ties to a recent story resulting on the sidewalk portion where I first met Grant Cumberbirch at the clinic that used to be on south Dunbar.  For those residing or who travel through the Dunbar corridor, you will be growing accustomed to saying good bye to familiar faces of retail store fronts, living through the disruption and adjustments and waiting to learn who will occupy the new space.

Down on Dunbar Street between West 39th and West 41st on the gas station side of the street, old retail space has recently undergone more than a face lift.  New infra-structure featuring street level shopping with above ground housing sets the trend for new neighborhood character development.

I had an errand to do in this area recently.  It was a lovely day, Marley and I left our home and walked down Highbury Street to West 39th Avenue.  I used to count blocks to keep my orientation, advancements in technology have made inroads in all of our lives such that some tasks are easier to do and in my case, possible to do.  I walk with a talking global position system.  Confidently guiding me to the corner of Dunbar Street and West 39th Avenue, Marley and I stopped to re-orientate to walk south on Dunbar, the gas station on our immediate right.

Now it is important to share how I was aware I was approaching a construction zone.  Every ten days or so I did this route and would stop in to a popular coffee spot to get me a cup a Joe.  While my intended destination was a physio therapy appointment, not unlike your local hard working veterinarian, why are our appointments typically never on time?  Hence the cup a Joe!

Coming upon the zone of construction noises, Marley slowed down on an approach he very much had on his radar.  Proceeding, following him as if I was his shadow, we veered oh so slightly to our right.  As we continued, the outside left edge of the harness gear caught something, resulting in the sound of a metal resounding crash!  Concerned about what had just happened, Marley stopped, probably worried about what just occurred and feeling a lack of problem solving creativity as he looked further down the sidewalk.

I was soon distracted by the greeting, “You know this sidewalk is closed” What was my recovery line?  “That would have been the sign we just knocked over then right?”  In the seconds to follow, I pointed at Marley in his harness and pointed at my eyes.  This kind minded chap replied, “It’s all making sense to me now.”

When we clarified where I was going and how to assist, I was soon on my way with my cup a Joe, me with a story to tell, the kind mannered man with a story to tell, and me keeping my physio therapist waiting…..

Bruce Gilmour is a long time Amherst client and Dunbar resident who has partnered with five guide dogs over the years since losing his sight as a 20-year old. His current “Guides” are Aurora (retired) and Marley (on duty).

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