Issue20 - FEB 2012       Back to newsletter | to TOS website

Eyes for the blind: letters from Roscoe


Ann Davis, a member of Pretoria Lodge, has shared with us three letters from Roscoe, a beautiful, intelligent dog that she and her family cared for while he was a ‘puppy in training’ to become a Guide Dog for the Blind. These letters were first published in the South African Theosophist in 2006, 2007 and 2009. We will be sharing them over the first three editions of the newsletter in 2012.



"Hi, I am Roscoe, a black Labrador dog, who has had the privilege to be born at the Guide Dog Kennels in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 27 May 2005.

My destiny was pre-determined. I was allocated to Ann Davis in Pretoria who was my puppy raiser. This is how I became a member of the Theosophical Society in Pretoria. I went to every lecture on a Sunday night and also to yoga and other meetings.

So I asked to be part of and join the Theosophical Order of Service to humanity. My destiny, if I work hard, is to become eyes for someone who is blind. "The highest ideal in life is to serve", I heard them say and that is what I want to do.

But I had to learn the baby steps first. The instructions given were that I needed a good walk every day and I had to learn good manners. How better to learn this than at school? Auntie Ann, as the children call her at school, took me to school every day, where I joined the Grade Four class.


What an opportunity to learn all sorts of funny things! During a lesson on farming, a sheep skin was passed around the class to feel. I had had my eye on it but pretended to sleep. Then when no one was looking I quietly chewed it up into a thousand pieces so the children knew this was happening but did not say a word. I did it to make sure no other human could use my friend the sheep’s skin again. This made Auntie Ann do a new African dance without drums so I thought she was pleased!!

  When I felt drowsy, I would just curl up on my cushion and sleep. I quickly learnt to sit, stay and lie down. The school has lots of stairs to climb. I soon learnt where the staff room was, as I usually had a little mid-morning snack. Once a week, when Auntie Ann had two free periods, we would walk around the whole school, in and out of the classrooms. Lots of people and children are very scared of dogs and I wanted to help them overcome this. I learnt to be focused, to allow children and people to touch me and not get excited or involved.


Being independent and detached is very hard but with my dedicated teacher we worked hard together. Going on long walks and having a trip to the sea was fun. We even broke down in the car. I called on the angels and help soon arrived. I made sure all was calm and safe.

Uncle Tom and Aunty Ann also took me for regular walks to the park to learn how to walk properly, to stop, to look both ways before crossing the road and to do all manner of tricks, like rolling over, circling and getting some yummy cheese as a reward. I also love fetching ball and catching it on the bounce. I made lots of friends in the park, too.


I passed all my tests easily and I am sure it was the Theosophical knowledge that helped me grow so quickly. I am wearing a harness now instead of a lead around my neck, and a learner dog coat.

I am now into full training; learning about traffic, traffic lights and escalators.

I would like to thank Loreto School, Queenswood, the TS, Pretoria Lodge, my TS family and Roel Goudriaan for all the sponsorships and collections which they have given to help me with my studies.

I will let you know when I graduate and get my posting. But I will never forget you all. The love, the experience, the bonding I have had with you all will be carried with me. On this solid foundation I have been able to grow and build so that I can ‘Live what life brings, and die what death comes’. WOOF!!"

Dictated to Auntie Ann Davis by Roscoe

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