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My Day at the Capitol

by Guide Dog Lassen

Yellow Lab Guide Dog Lassen, his handler Betsy Grenevitch, and the Georgia Statewide Coalition on Blindness group, with Governor Nathan Deal on the capitol building steps
Ever since I began working here in Georgia in September 2006, one of my favorite places to go has been to the State Capitol in Atlanta, Georgia. I love any place where there are crowds to maneuver but the Capitol is especially exciting. That is about the only time during the year where I have to watch for a lot of traffic and cross a lot of busy streets. This year at the Capitol was especially exciting!

My handler, Betsy Grenevitch, belongs to a group called the Georgia Statewide Coalition on Blindness. One of their many goals has been to try to get legislation passed that will enhance the lives of the blind and visually impaired as well as the lives of the deaf/blind. We usually end up going down to the Capitol two to three times each State legislative season. This year had many "firsts" in it for me.

My handler's two oldest children went with us this year. The past couple of years it was just Paul but this year, his older sister, Danielle, was home, so she also went to learn where Paul has been parking the car. Because we were running a little late, I did not have to walk from the parking garage but was dropped off near the Capitol. The security guards allowed us to go right through the checkpoint and I did not even have to be touched. I guess I have been there so often through the past four years that they all know me there.

Normally, we do not have to do as much walking as we did this year. This year we had a lot more appointments than we have had in the past years. One of the highlights of this visit was getting my picture taken with our new Governor, Nathan Deal. We had been trying to get this accomplished with the past Governor but it had never happened. I love getting my picture taken so it was a lot of fun. I can't wait to actually get to meet the Governor when we get a meeting with him privately. He did not have time to talk with us at length this time, but he did try to greet all of us who were in the group.

I love the challenge of having to retrace our steps. My handler felt for sure I would be able to retrace back to the elevator as we had been on this particular floor several times during the day. She asked me to find the elevator and I did! I was so excited because I received a lot of praise when I guided her to the elevator. It was not just a straight hallway, but there were several turns. This next part is really funny! Her daughter, Danielle, was down the hall a few feet and my handler called out to her to tell her that "The dog did it!" She did not realize that a man was holding open the elevator door and he thought she was telling her daughter that a dog was holding open the door. The man told her that it was not a dog holding the door but it was him. We all got a great laugh out of that--even I was smiling.

I am already looking forward to our next visit to the Capitol. It is great to get so much attention from people there. It makes it all worthwhile.


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