Where do guide dogs sit on planes?

April 15, 2015 • Posted in blindness, guide dogs, questions kids ask, Seeing Eye dogs, Uncategorized, visiting schools by

Yesterday Whitney and I took a train to River Forest, a suburb of Chicago, to do two assemblies at Willard Elementary School. One was for all the kindergarteners, first graders and second graders in the school, and the second was for all the third and fourth graders there. Some examples of questions the kids asked during the Q & A part of the presentations:

  • Does Whitney like other dogs?
  • How do you know when it’s days and when it’s nights?
  • Can you draw?
  • Can you swim?
  • How can you cook?
  • How do you write books?
  • How do you drive?
  • When you dream, do you dream in colors?
  • How do you know if it’s a taxi cab or a car?
  • How do you get through a door?
  • How do you know what you look like?
  • So are your dreams just in black and white, or in other colors, too?
  • When it’s time to get off a plane, and your dog is there underneath, how can you get off the plane if you don’t have your dog with you?

Dog is my co-pilot.

That last question gave me a chance to explain the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Department of Justice’s ADA regulations define a service animal as any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. “Guide dogs don’t have to fly under a plane as cargo,” I said, explaining that Whitney is a service dog, so she comes right on the plane with me. “She sits with her butt under the seat in front of me, and her head between my feet.” Want a measure of how mesmerized the kids were by the magnificent Whitney visiting their school? I didn’t hear one single snicker when I said the word “butt.”

Doug On April 15, 2015 at 8:31 am


Diana On April 15, 2015 at 9:19 am

I hope that you are going to write a book about your visits to schools, including all the questions and answers from kids. They are so open and ask such great questions. Questions adults may wonder about but afraid to ask.

Love your blog!

bethfinke On April 15, 2015 at 9:26 am

Glad to hear you like my blog, Diana.I do, too — if I didn’t blog every week, I might not take the time to write all these delightful questions down!


Sheila A. Donovan On April 15, 2015 at 10:47 am

I love the curiosity of kids. Well, I snickered when I read the word butt. 😉

bethfinke On April 15, 2015 at 2:51 pm

Hmm. I guess whitney’s bottom is the butt of a joke there?


ojdoherty On April 16, 2015 at 4:01 pm

Those kids are much more mature than I am!!

bethfinke On April 17, 2015 at 8:45 am

Oh, I’m not so sure about that, Jen. Muss say, though, I *was * impressed that that one boy knew that when dogs fly, they are usually required to go in cargo.


Benita On April 17, 2015 at 4:01 pm

What’s the most frequently asked question posed by kids?

bethfinke On April 17, 2015 at 5:26 pm

The most frequently asked question? Hmm. Depends on the age of the kids, I guess. Younger kids often ask a question about something I just mentioned. Example: I might lift the dog’s harness, show them how I hold the back end while the dog guides me , and then someone will raise a hand and ask “Why is that thing on her back?” Meaning, of course, the harness. Older kids (3rd, 4th and 5th graders) tend to ask more emotional questions

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