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Come, Let Me Guide You A Life Shared with a Guide Dog

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Photo of author and Teela happy together on beach

About the Author

Susan Krieger, a sociologist and writer, teaches in the Program in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Stanford University. She is the author of six previously published books: Traveling Blind: Adventures in Vision with a Guide Dog by My Side (2010), Things No Longer There: A Memoir of Losing Sight and Finding Vision (2005), The Family Silver: Essays on Relationships among Women (1996), Social Science and the Self: Personal Essays on an Art Form (1991), The Mirror Dance: Identity in a Women's Community (1983), and Hip Capitalism (1979).

Interviews and Presentations

Listen to interviews with Susan Krieger on The Larry Meiller Show (Wisconsin Public Radio, November 5, 2015) and on the Eyes on Success podcast (Program on "Transition to Blindness," October 17, 2015).

Listen to the author speaking at Book Passage (Corte Madera, California, October 17, 2015) and hear a reading by the audiobook narrator, Ann M. Richardson.

Listen to Susan’s presentation at the Commonwealth Club of California (San Francisco,  January 28, 2016), or the National Podcast version of the Commonwealth Club talk.

Listen as Susan speaks to a class at Stanford University discussing Disability and Personal Identity (February 9, 2017).

Loving family picture of author with partner Estelle, Teela, and Fresco sitting together outdoors

From the Author

Come, Let Me Guide You covers a period of ten years during which I was increasingly, though gradually, losing my eyesight to a condition called "birdshot retinochoroidopathy." Amidst all the challenges I faced as my vision faded, I had a large golden dog by my side, usually a few steps ahead, guiding me into the future. Far more than an aid to my blindness, Teela has been an aid to my sense of self. When with her, I have walked through the world far less anonymously than I ever expected to be and with a sureness and sense of pride that I would not have had otherwise. Teela's spirit, her openness to adventure and joy, have greatly enhanced my own. In Come, Let Me Guide You, I attempt to convey a sense of our relationship over time and to show how the intimacy it has provided for me has been intertwined with so many other aspects of my life. The stories in this book are an honoring of Teela and of our time together. I thank her for her guidance and I thank Fresco, who joined us as my second guide dog in 2013, for continuing to lead me safely on city streets and country paths. Especially, I wish to express my debt to my life partner, Estelle Freedman, who has guided all of us and helped me make a home that provides respite from the adventures of the world. I am privileged now to present to the reader the intimate stories in Come, Let Me Guide You. Please come share the road with us.

Teela and Fresco

Photo of Teela and Fresco lying side by side

It has been a pleasure and a unique experience to share my life with two guide dogs, one retired but still guiding me in spirit, and the other newly leading me. As I reflect in Chapter 14:

"'I have two guide dogs,' I say to myself at times—as I did a few weeks ago when Hannah, Fresco, Teela, Esperanza, and I were at the beach. It was a calm, sunny day, the waves breaking in the background. Leaving Fresco's harness behind, I took two nylon leashes, attached one to Fresco, and one to Teela, and followed as they guided me along the shore. The leashes, deep royal blue, were hard to distinguish from one another as I sought to keep them from tangling together, just as the dogs were sometimes indistinguishable. They pulled me, but not too strongly. They wanted to go along the cliffs by the shore, to smell, and, for Teela, to lick at the cliffs' edge, where the dampness in the sand catches scents of seaweed and sea birds and dead fish. Teela was leading, I think, more than Fresco, teaching him how to walk with your person along the beach. 'Don't dawdle. Keep on sniffing,' she said. 'Keep on moving, Fresco. You can grab something small to eat, but don't let her see you.' They pulled, and she led, and I followed along. 'I have two guide dogs,' I said to myself, as if it opened up a mystery. I have been that fortunate. I am learning from them about my connections, my relationships—about not replacing one with another, about coming to know each on their own terms."

Photo of Teela bounding forward in snow

Further Author Information

I have long written sociological narratives in a uniquely personal style, seeking to draw from my experience in a way that may be more broadly useful to readers. Further information about my ethnographic approach can be found in Chapter 12 "The Art of the Intimate Narrative," and in my previous books, particularly Social Science and the Self: Personal Essays on an Art Form. For a more detailed discussion of "blindness and sight" issues and of my experiences coming to terms with loss of vision, please see Traveling Blind: Adventures in Vision with a Guide Dog by My Side and Things No Longer There: A Memoir of Losing Sight and Finding Vision.

For more information about my other publications and professional background, please see C.V. for Susan Krieger.

In Come, Let Me Guide You, Chapter 13 describes my teaching a course on women and disabilities at Stanford University. Read a syllabus for this class for further references to literature in this important field.