Guide Dogs and Coronavirus

Fauna being safe

My guide dog Fauna has a habit of engaging with people when we are out and about. She won’t actually go up to them or elicit attention, but she is very attentive and when we are not walking she is making eye contact with people around her. This habit tends to make people think that she wants their attention and they talk to her or me. Just yesterday while in the grocery store we reached the cashier with our cart and I instructed her to sit while I paid for the groceries. My son, who was with me told me that she was making eye contact with the gentleman bagging our groceries and he asked if he could pet her. I generally don’t let people pet my guide, and I realized that the pandemic has made it easier than ever to “let people down” when they ask. 

For my safety

The CDC, as of this writing has issued guidelines for pets during this pandemic. Generally, they say that they are still learning about the virus and how it is most effectively transmitted. This seems to change daily, which is not unusual because they are working and discovering new things about this virus every day.  From their website, the CDC says the following about pets and the virus:

  • We do not know the exact source of the current outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), but we know that it originally came from an animal source.
  • At this time, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • Based on the limited information available to date, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low.
  • We are still learning about this virus, but it appears that it can spread from people to animals in some situations.

It makes sense that anyone petting your dog can leave the virus on their fur. The likelihood of transmission to you may be small, but I would rather just say that the virus is a great reason to not allow anyone to pet my guide. I explain to people that especially during the pandemic, I don;t let anyone pet my guide for my safety and theirs. This usually works fine. It is tough, guides like the attention and people like to pet dogs. If you would like to read the Covid and pets guidelines from the CDC here is a link:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/animals.html

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