Fredrick Hauser, blind since an early age, was ecstatic to finally get a guide animal. All the more so, since he was able to get a monkey to do the job. Mainly because of his life-long love of the animals. That was until he got heckled in public.
"I was walking down the street and started wondering what all the laughter was about. Then some kid came up and asked me for a balloon animal." Confused, he contacted a sight enabled friend who clued him in. His prized pet had dressed him up as a clown.
Harold Ford's guide elephant was a disaster as well. Unable to fit in the house, it's use was limited to walks in the park. "The crazy thing would rear up on it's hind legs with me on it's back and trumpet. People would run in all directions thinking it was going to attack when all the while it was just trying to guide me around the trees and such."
Perhaps the worst example was the snake charmer's cobra, kept in the pants of David Oxbach, who suffers from extreme erectile dysfunction. The snake would spring out at the most inappropriate times and scare the ladies.
Across the nation, guide animal trainers are discovering that retired circus animals don't make the best companions for the disabled. The program grew out of a initiative by PETA, people for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which sought to remove real animals from circus and carnivals and replace them with stuffed animals or people dressed like animals.
"Suddenly there where all these "unemployed" real animals milling around with nothing to do." lamented Doris Briggs of the Circus Animal Retraining Institute. "Well we thought it would be a good idea to put them to work helping people."
"All in all, you could say this program was less than successful. I guess it's true what they say: "The road to hell is paved with good intentions".