Since losing my vision completely at the age of six, I was introduced to the long cane. It was an intrusive thing that I resented for many years, not truly comprehending the advantages to using one. But then at twenty-two I qualified with my first guide dog Bailey and never really looked back. So what were the pros and cons of the cane and what are the advantages and disadvantages of the four-legged friend?

Pros of a cane

1. It can fold away in your bag if it’s a folding cane.
2. You never have to take it out, feed it, groom it, exercise it, take it to the vet, cuddle it.
3. Doesn’t cost you anything to travel abroad with it or have to make special privileges.
4. It really can go anywhere with you. [I took mine to a concert with me lol]
5. It’s always ready to work and never gets sick.

Cons of a cane

1. It gets stuck in every crack of the pavement.
2. If it has a roller tip, the roller gets clogged with leaves/dirt/crap from the floor and gets jammed.
3. After using it for a while, Repetitive strain injury may occur.
4. People look at you as though you’re an alien with it and as though you must be nuts to carry a white stick around with you.
5. YOu can’t talk to the cane, well, you could if you wanted to spend some time in the psych ward.
6. If its windy/raining hard, you can guarantee that you’ll be all over the place instead of a straight line.
7. You hit every bollard/lam pole/trash can on the pavement.

Pros to a guide dog

1. They are cute and irresistible.
2. They usually have you walking in a straight line.
3. If they are excited, you are guaranteed to walk faster to your destination.
4. They remember, usually which shops you’ve been in and if they like the shop try to take you there again. Works great for shops you like to go in regularly, I.E. Starbucks and the Apple store for me.
5. You’ve always got a friend especially if you’re lost.
6. You avoid the annoying obstacles that the local authorities love to plant in your way.
7. People tend to want to help Guide dog owners, we seem more approachable with the cute cuddlies by our sides.
8. You seem less vulnerable with a dog, this for me, being a woman is very important.

Cons of the cute cuddlies

1. They are cute and irresistible, making the public see them as a magnet for strokes, pets and all over attention seemingly when they are working.
2. They bring with them a lot of responsibility, walks, feeding, grooming, general well being.
3. They cost money, [even though guide dogs pay for their vet bills and food] you just can’t resist buying that one new bone or cute toy that your pup just would really love, and the new beds, collars, bowls, etc.
4. Sometimes they get sick and you need to care for them and can’t use them until they’re better.
5. They are still dogs, and still love to do the doggy things, I.E. sniffing, rolling in dirt, barking at other dogs, etc.
6. Not everyone likes dogs. Can get really problematic in getting into taxis or being permitted to some places If the manager/driver doesn’t like dogs, even if it is discrimination.
7. You can’t leave them alone too long so weekends away, vacations have to be planned with the dog in mind.
8. And last but not least, you get emotionally attached to those cute ears, wet nose and wonderfully waggy tail and sadly at some point that pup has to leave. It must be the most heartbreaking moment for any guide dog owner, a moment I will have to endure but hopefully not for a long time yet.


Despite the pros and cons of both, I can honestly say that the pup wins every time. despite the responsibility and the emotional attachment, my pup is my world and I can’t imagine not having the comfort of my eyes by my side. The cane is awkward and has a very negative connotation in society so Guide Dogs for Life for me.

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