It's All Relative
By Cheryl Sacrates
Little did Harold "Bud" Green know in the 80s as he sat watching people from a nearby community work their guide dogs that he would someday need one himself.
On April 9, 2012, Bud received a precious gift—a golden retriever named Albert Einstein. Although this Albert was no physicist, he would prove to be a wonderful guide and companion, bringing joy to those around him.
Bud reminisces about an experience he had with Leader Dog Albert only two weeks after becoming a team. Bud went to a conference in Pittsburgh. They were on the ground floor of the convention center and Bud asked for directions to the men's room. At the restroom, Bud tapped the door two times and said, "Men's room," to Albert. They proceeded inside and then afterward went through numerous doors, up elevators and around corners to the conference upstairs.
After seven hours at the conference, Bud turned to Albert and said, "Find the men's room." After only being to the men's room once earlier that day, Albert made 11 turns and wound up in front of the elevator. Bud thought, "This dog knows what he's doing. I'd better trust him." After getting off the elevator they made four more turns before arriving at the men's rest room.
Bud admits he would never have made the trip to Pittsburgh without a guide dog. "It was the most wonderful bonding experience."
A short time later, a former college roommate of Bud's proposed taking a trip to Florida together. Although his wife was a bit apprehensive, Bud had no worries about traveling with Albert at his side. Albert sat with his chin on the window sill and remained quiet the entire trip. "He was great to fly with!" Bud proclaims.
When Bud isn't taking trips out of state, he is spending time at home with his wife and other two dogs. They own 19 acres, two of which are fenced for the dogs to play.
Besides being an excellent guide for Bud, Albert makes the day a little brighter for many of the people he meets along the way. Three days a week Albert accompanies Bud to dialysis for six hours. The other patients used to dread coming every week but now that Albert is there, they don't mind as much. Bud flies treats in the air like an airplane and tells Albert to "open up the hanger." As Albert opens his mouth, Bud pops in the treat!
Alfred has also brightened the life of a little girl with Down Syndrome at Bud's church. "The girl has blossomed around Albert and her parents have even contacted Leader Dog about adopting a career changed dog," reports Bud.
During group gatherings with other friends who are visually impaired, Bud says, "Other guide dogs are running around and unruly, but not Albert." Bud proclaims Leader Dog to be "the Ivy League school of guide dogs" and says that when he was issued Albert, it was like upgrading to a Mercedes.