Ever been walking down the sidewalk and think, "That blind motherfucker could sure use a small pony to help him along with his daily activities."? Neither have I. Until now. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the seeing eye pony:
Your eyes (pun intended) are not deceiving you. That is a small pony that leads some poor blind person around. These seeing eye ponies wear not horseshoes, but sneakers. Oh yes, these miniature horses are wearing people shoes. And if that's not enough, they're leading around people who will have no idea if said shoes become untied.
Gone are the days of highly trained golden retrievers. In today's rough-and-tumble world, blind people need a better escape plan than a dog whose back might break if sat on. Hi-ho Silver, away! By the way, if I ever see a blind person, legs flailing in the air, sitting on the back of a Shetland pony galloping down the sidewalk away from a would-be mugger, I make no apologies for my immediate suicide because, let's face it, it's never gonna get better than that.
As if that picture up above wasn't glorious enough, check out this guy and try not to laugh.
Notice the two different pairs of shoes, the completely humiliated look in its eyes, the well-combed hairdo complemented by the freakishly strange beard, and the giant, barrel-shaped gut. And THIS, my friends, is supposed to carry a blind person on its back to safety.
Thanks to Ari for alerting me to this phenomenon and for looking into it to determine whether or not it was real. It is very real. I did some research of my own. There is a Guide Horse Foundation. Holy Mother of Barbaro, what have we stumbled upon?
The home page comes across as defensive to seeing eye dogs, offering some of the many reasons why seeing eye ponies are preferable to seeing eye dogs. One of the bullet points is entitled -- guys, I'm not making this up -- "Better acceptance."
"Many guide dog users report problems getting access to public places because their dog is perceived as a pet. Most people do not associate a horse as a pet, and Guide Horse users report that they are immediately recognized as a working service animal."
Where to start, where to start. First, I never realized that there was problem with blind people with seeing eye dogs being denied access anywhere. Maybe there is an epidemic that I don't know about where non-blind people are using golden retrievers to gain access to places where they would already be able to go. The statement, "Most people do not associate a horse as a pet" is certainly true, since most people do not associate a horse as a pet. Because horses are farm animals. Maybe I'm sniffing glue, but I'm guessing someone riding a miniature horse wearing tennis shoes is going to have a tougher time getting into a restaurant than your run-of-the-mill blind man with a seeing eye dog. If I was a maitre d -- and for the sake of blind people with horses, be glad I'm not -- I would assume Alan Funt or Ashton Kutcher was somehow behind it, and the phrase "Blind guy with a horse. Nice try, asshole" would be uttered enough times to warrant an informal complaint -- and possibly an ADA discrimination suit -- against the restaurant. "[I]mmediately recognized as a working service animal." Come on. Immediately recognized as the funniest thing since Valtrex commercials is more like it.
I encourage you to check out the photo page, showing these small steeds in action. My favorite picture was this one:
Guys, if I see a pony wearing Nikes on the L, I'm not sure what would going to happen, other than to say that you will not hear laughter that genuine again in your lives. In case this isn't clear, these are miniature horses that wear running shoes and lead blind people around, possibly on their backs.
And apparently they also go on planes.
There's nothing I would enjoy more than sitting next to a dude with a sneaker-wearing horse for four hours. Those things shit, you know. And they don't care where because they're used to being around someone who can't see where they shit.
Mr. Carpenter's Wild Ride
Oh yes, there's more. In Paw Paw, Michigan, Ben Carpenter, a wheelchair-bound 21-year-old with muscular dystrophy, got more than he bargained for when he didn't cross an intersection fast enough. Prepare for ridiculousness.
As the light turned green and Carpenter was in the middle of the crosswalk, a semi that had been stopped at the light began to move, not seeing Carpenter because he was directly in front of the semi. In a cruel or perhaps fortunate twist of fate, Carpenter was not run over. Instead, his wheelchair's handles became lodged in the semi's grille. And then the truck started moving. So there he was, a 21-year-old with a debilitating physical disability, sitting in a wheelchair being pushed face forward down a highway at about 50 mph by a semi, probably thinking, "Well, that's the end of me." The semi drove about four miles before being stopped, and luckily Carpenter was not injured.
This is like something out of a Pee Wee Herman movie, or maybe a Jim Varney movie. Can you imagine what this looked like? I just have this image in my head of Carpenter, eyes wide as can be, yelling "STOP THE TTTTRRRRUUUUUUUUUUCCCCCCKKKKKK!!!!" over and over again at the top of his lungs for the entire ride, while the trucker has his windows rolled up, chain smoking Basics (or perhaps Vantages), drinking Mountain Dew out of a refillable 128oz. mug, singing along to C.W. McCall's "Convoy," which is blaring from the speakers.
Thanks to Christoff for sending me the link. Being the gentleman that he is, Christoff suggested that he "would probably have paid money to see this," but then again he also sold his dog to Michael Vick for $40 and a bag of weed, so I'm not surprised by anything at this point.
So I got what I think are two spider bites on my neck while I was sleeping last night. Sweet.