Have Dog, Will Travel : A Poet's Journey
by Stephen Kuusisto


Overview - In a lyrical love letter to guide dogs everywhere, a blind poet shares his delightful story of how a guide dog changed his life and helped him discover a newfound appreciation for travel and independence.

Stephen Kuusisto was born legally blind--but he was also raised in the 1950s and taught to deny his blindness in order to "pass" as sighted.  Read more...


 
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More About Have Dog, Will Travel by Stephen Kuusisto
 
 
 
Overview
In a lyrical love letter to guide dogs everywhere, a blind poet shares his delightful story of how a guide dog changed his life and helped him discover a newfound appreciation for travel and independence.

Stephen Kuusisto was born legally blind--but he was also raised in the 1950s and taught to deny his blindness in order to "pass" as sighted. Stephen attended public school, rode a bike, and read books pressed right up against his nose. As an adult, he coped with his limited vision by becoming a professor in a small college town, memorizing routes for all of the places he needed to be. Then, at the age of 38, he was laid off. With no other job opportunities in his vicinity, he would have to travel to find work.

This is how he found himself at Guiding Eyes paired with a Labrador named Corky. In this vivid and lyrical memoir, Stephen Kuusisto recounts how an incredible partnership with a guide dog changed his life and the heart-stopping, wondrous adventure that began for him in midlife. Profound and deeply moving, this is a spiritual journey, the story of discovering that life with a guide dog is both a method and a state of mind.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781451689792
  • ISBN-10: 1451689799
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publish Date: March 2018
  • Page Count: 256
  • Dimensions: 7.1 x 5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.5 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Biography & Autobiography > Literary Figures
Books > Pets > Dogs - General
Books > Biography & Autobiography > People with Disabilities

 
BookPage Reviews

A poet’s best friend

Poet Stephen Kuusisto faced a crisis when he lost his job as a poetry professor in upstate New York. Kuusisto has been legally blind since birth, and he now needed a new job—and a new way of navigating the world. It’s a journey he explores in Have Dog, Will Travel.

Growing up in the 1950s, Kuusisto’s parents taught him to never show others his blindness, to live actively and try to ignore his limitations. He writes, “My parents thought disabled kids were victims of a nearly unimaginable fate, a predatory darkness.” Incredibly, he rode a bike, marched in Boy Scout parades and read with books pressed against his face. But he also faced endless bullying and was forced to live in a carefully circumscribed world that he navigated by familiarity and step counting. “Faking sight is like being illiterate—you pretend to competence but live by guesswork,” he writes. Nearing 40, he finally decided to stop pretending.

Kuusisto met with a representative from the New York State Commission for the Blind, who was hardly encouraging and doubted Kuusisto would find work. He referred Kuusisto to a company that manufactured plastic lemons for lemon juice, saying they sometimes hired blind people.

Yet he did not let this less-than- heartening meeting deter him from seeking assistance. Enter Kuusisto’s first guide dog, a yellow Labrador named Corky. Their “arranged marriage” expanded Kuusisto’s world by literal leaps and bounds, and their relationship forms the heart of this enchanting, enlightening book. As Kuusisto describes, having a guide dog “doesn’t feel like driving a car. It’s not like running. Sometimes I think it’s a bit like swimming. A really long swim when you’re buoyant and fast.”

Before long, Kuusisto is navigating the streets of New York City with Corky, experiencing a sense of freedom he’d never felt before. And in the years that followed, Corky not only liberated this poet but also ushered him back into the world, opening up his life in ways that he would never have imagined. Have Dog, Will Travel is an illuminating memoir of mobility, ability, delight and discovery.

 

This article was originally published in the March 2018 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews