Cooper and Italy

Do Guide Dogs Know that Another Dog is a Guide Dog?

And, dogs with jobs hatch a plan to get free treats

Patricia Timmermans
4 min readFeb 4, 2022


Two Labrador Retriever guide dogs sitting side by side
Photo Credit: the author. Cooper and Italy, Cooper is letting her do the ‘talking’

Cooper and Italy are guide dogs who met at the CNIB, one of our favorite places to be. Italy’s human, Kay, and I are friends.

Here’s a conversation between Cooper and Italy in the coffee room.

The scene: Pat and Kay are about to enter the coffee room, Cooper and Italy are in their guiding harnesses. While making coffee, Pat and Kay start talking; they’ll keep talking, and talking...

So, Cooper and Italy hatch a plan…

Cooper: don’t move your lips Italy, just blink twice if we want treats while they’re talking.

Italy blinks twice

Italy: ok got it. Does Pat have those soft chicken flavored ones today? Blink once for yes …

Cooper blinks once and glances at Pat’s right pocket

Cooper: in her right pocket… she’s being stingy with them.

Italy: what does that mean — stingy?

Cooper: she’s only handing over one at a time, and only if I do something hard like NOT staring at the sheltie in front of the house on the corner.

Italy: how cheap! I know the dog you mean… he doesn’t even have a job… lazy mutt.

Cooper: I know, he doesn’t even have a job…what’s a job?

Italy: do I have to explain everything? You and I have jobs keeping Pat and Kay out of trouble. We wear harnesses, we have jobs.

Cooper: Oh right, Pat would get into so much trouble if I didn’t take her around. She told me so. She says I’m a very good boy.

Italy: ok right, a very good boy… so, back to treats. The plan is to sit and stare at Pat’s right pocket. Kay’s only handing out dry kibble that’s been in her pocket since yesterday, so boring.

Cooper: wait till they’re busy with talking AND making coffee, they don’t like being interrupted.. that means they’ll hand over the goods for no reason.

Italy: you’re getting it Cooper. I always knew you were more than just another handsome face — you’re actually clever sometimes.



Patricia Timmermans

My guide dog and I visit schools to raise awareness for sight loss; the kids’ questions make great stories! Plus, I love books and writing book reviews. 🇨🇦