Debóra Szabó was confidently preparing for her traffic-safety exam, but then, something happened unexpectedly in Kaposvár, and then something else in Pécs and it was not over after all.
“I had some pain in my leg which has not gone. The doctor found out, that I had fatigue fracture, which with the trouble is, that it needed the same length time for healing as the other type of fractures, therefore I could not get away with casting. Unikum is an energetic, happy dog, therefore after a few steps, I had to command him to slow down in guiding me, and I am proud of him, that he understood it at once.”
Emese Királyné Barkóczi, Unikum’s trainer has added, that the dog was nicely adapted to the new situation and the to the lower pace.
This was the beginning of the four-week period time of having walking cast on Debóra’s leg, moreover in an active way. She was participating in a course which she could not break off. Unikum was happy for this as he likes working and he was looking forward to get in his harness again. It would have been dangerous to rush about with casted leg, white cane and a guide dog, therefore they proceeded carefully which had its result as well.
I usually don’t use white cane, but this time I needed it, as lot of big potholes are along the pavements and my leg was in plaster, in spite of all I was doing well. On one occasion, I looked so miserable that the Volán-bus driver waived the price of the ticket. My friends, sighted and visually impaired as well, had a good laugh at this story when I told them. Well, from that time, I rather forced my trousers’ leg onto the cast.
“Did you take a drunk driving test?”
When the plaster was taken off, Emese went to Pécs from Miskolc, to practice. They spent lot of time together to practice participating in the traffic. “When I was handing over to Debóra, it seemed that they will be super together, Unikum beautifully guided her at once” – told Emese. Within professional circle we call “handing over” those few months when the guide dog and its owner practice with the trainer of our Foundation and when they perform well, they take an exam to prove that they can participate in traffic on their own. After taking off the cast it was a little bit hard for Debora to get back to the same level, she had stiffness as well for a few times.
Before the exam day, the bus company was often in the news due to a possible strike. Debora had tried to gain information about this, called the company but she could not receive reliable information from them. She would travel from Kaposvár to Pécs by a bus-route which was not cancelled from the schedule, therefore she trusted in it, which seemed to be a mistake, so uselessly she stood and waited for the bus with many others. Luckily one of her relatives could drive her to Pécs so she was at the location of the exam in time. But the excitement further increased, because the chip-scanner could not sense the guide dog’s chip, which may happen of course, but no one wants this before an exam. So Unikum was taken to a vet who implanted another chip and they all have to rush back to the place where the exam started.
According to Debóra, the exam went on well, they were walking and using bus. They had to go on a busy street, there was a pedestrian cross opposite, they had to turn right, she knew that there is a pole, a litter bin beside and smoking people around it, therefore it is difficult to avoid, but finally they managed to.
When I happily told my friends that we succeeded, one of them asked “Did you take the drunk driving test?” I start to get used to the jokes by some people when they hear my dog’s name. I don’t mind if it is a smart one
– said Debóra smiling.
What kind of dog is Unikum?
We asked Emese and Debóra about the personality of Unikum as they know the most about him. “He is an always determined, strong willed, intelligent dog, whom has such a look that penetrates to your soul when he looks at you. He was a well-motivated dog during the training, he was eager to learn and to showed his knowledge. He was always working in his harness as a responsible and mature dog, but he remained a child during his spare time” – said Emese.
Now, I have to get used to that I have a Labi. It is not possible to have a pleasant tantrum beside Unikum. It sometimes happens to me in the mornings that a drag myself on the street as a half-zombie, I mumble grumpily, and in contrast, Unikum is always happy and wagging his tail even in rainy weather. I don’t know if this dog can be in a bad mood ever. I don’t think so. So far, I have not experienced it. His enthusiasm is a good motivation for me. It is easy to go with him as he works with a great happiness, and if I ask him something else, he expected, he is helping with great pleasure as well
– said Debóra.
It is true, that Unikum is a dog who is always ready for action, but in return it is difficult to tire him out. His owner is hopeful: “He got used to be active at his puppy raiser and his trainer, I also do everything to make him happy, we play with ball for one and a half – two hours in the dog running ground. Besides, I am wondering what will be the effective way of tire him out. Among my friends, there are cat owners, and those who do not keep dogs, for them it is not a pleasure if a ball is pushed to them by a dog.
Otherwise, I prefer a dog with a good-willed character, not an easy-going one, therefore why Unikum suits me. Emi, my previous guide dog, had disciplined me well because she was a stubborn figure. I got used to that the last word was hers. So, I am prepared for the new task.”