Come, Let Me Guide You explores the intimate communication between author Susan Krieger and her guide dog Teela over the 10-year span of their working life together.
This is a book about being led by a dog to new places in the world and new places in the self, a book about facing life's challenges outwardly and within, and about reading those clues—those deeply felt signals—that can help guide the way. It is also, more broadly, about the importance of intimate connection in human-animal relationships, academic work, and personal life.
In her previous book, Traveling Blind: Adventures in Vision with a Guide Dog by My Side, Krieger focused on her first two years with Teela, her lively Golden Retriever-Yellow Labrador. Come, Let Me Guide You continues the narrative, beginning at the moment the author must confront Teela's retirement and then reflecting on the span of their relationship. These emotionally moving stories offer the reader personal entrée into a life of increasing pleasure and insight as Krieger describes how her relationship with her guide dog has had far-reaching effects, not only on her abilities to navigate the world while blind, but also on her writing and teaching, her ability to face loss, and her sense of self.
Come, Let Me Guide You is an invaluable contribution to the literature on human-animal communication and on the guide-dog-human experience, as well as to disability and feminist ethnographic studies. It shows how a relationship with a guide dog is unique among bonds, for it rests upon highly regulated connections yet touches deep emotional chords. For Krieger, those chords have resulted in these memorable stories, often humorous and playful, always instructive, and generative of broader insight.
PART I: SHARING THE ROAD
Chapter 1: An Older Guide Dog
Chapter 2: When She Was Young
Chapter 3: This Furry Companion
Chapter 4: Our Intimate Bond
PART II: SEARCHING FOR SIGHT
Chapter 5: Framing My Pictures
Chapter 6: In Search of a Camera
Chapter 7: On Not Seeing the Ground
PART III: WEATHERING LIFE’S LOSSES
Chapter 8: On a Distant Hillside
Chapter 9: My Mother’s Bracelet
Chapter 10: Visiting Her Memory
Chapter 11: Writing My Way through It
PART IV: SEEKING CONNECTION
Chapter 12: The Art of the Intimate Narrative
Chapter 13: Women and Disabilities
Chapter 14: A New Pair of Eyes
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 (Purdue University Press, 2010), Things No Longer There: A Memoir of Losing Sight and Finding Vision (University of Wisconsin Press, 2005), The Family Silver: Essays on Relationships among Women (University of California Press, 1996), Social Science and the Self: Personal Essays on an Art Form (Rutgers University Press, 1991), The Mirror Dance: Identity in a Women’s Community (Temple University Press, 1983), and Hip Capitalism (Sage Publications, 1979).
"Come, Let Me Guide You conveys in vivid detail what life is like with a guide dog. It is a luminous record of friendship, mutual caring, communication, and exquisite sensitivity between a human being and an animal. This is a beautiful book that deserves a broad readership." —Shelley Fisher Fishkin, editor of Mark Twain's Book of Animals
"Feminist ethnographer Susan Krieger continues to reveal the gifts of blindness in her story of interspecies communion with her guide dog, Teela. At her wedding, the dinner table, the classroom, Teela expands Krieger's family in fresh ways. Their profound rapport goes beyond pet or prosthesis to an interdependent working companion relation of mutual recognition and reliance." — Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, author of Extraordinary Bodies: Figuring Physical Disability in American Culture and Literature
"Susan Krieger continues to amaze me with her ability to take on the 'brave space' of facing life's challenges as a blind woman, scholar, teacher, daughter, partner, and—most importantly—co-traveler with her guide dog Teela." —Esther Rothblum, Professor of Women's Studies, San Diego State University
"Susan Krieger's account of her ten years with Teela, her guide dog, is a moving look at the blossoming of a human-canine relationship, and much more as well. Krieger is a sociologist and a feminist studies professor at Stanford who began gradually losing her vision two decades ago. Her intimate relationship with Teela and her descriptions of how the two of them began to radically change each others' lives will seem familiar to anyone who has a deep bond with an other-than-human companion. It is also an emotional look at life's changes. Krieger discusses her battle with vision loss and Teela's role in helping her cope. In addition, the book details how, after Teela began getting close to retirement, the pair's relationship would change again as a new guide dog moves in—a subject rarely discussed in more conventional narratives. Come, Let Me Guide You is a lovely and important book for anyone interested in the precarious nature of identity and in shifting relationships—human/human and human/non-human." —Margo DeMello, author of Animals and Society: An Introduction to Human-Animal Studies