Roland Croteau, a blind senior in Vernon was looking for a way home but ended up abandoned, with only his service dog to lead the way.
On Jan. 26, Croteau had someone call him a cab from Vernon Taxi for a ride home. When the driver arrived, they told Croteau his dog would not be able to enter the vehicle.
“The taxi came, and he refused to take me and Dodger in the cab, he said he was allergic to dogs,” said Croteau.
After being denied entry, Vernon Taxi sent a second driver to pick up Croteau, but the situation worsened on the drive home.
“The driver couldn’t find my house, he drove around back and forth finally he drove down one street and he dropped me off at a house and it was the wrong house,” said Croteau. “I was walking back to the road and he took off, left me on the side of the road.”
Vernon Taxi issued a statement to Global News, “We are aware of the unfortunate and regretful situation that took place with Rolly and his service dog.”
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“We are using this incident as an opportunity to learn from and retrain both our drivers and dispatchers so that situations like this do not happen in the future. Our deepest apologies go out to Rolly and his service dog Dodger.”
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Once Croteau was dropped off, he initially didn’t know he wasn’t home. It wasn’t until he walked into his carport where he felt unfamiliar things around him, that he realized he was lost and he turned to Dodger.
“I put Dodgers harness back on him and I told Dodger to find a way home and he brought me home,” said Croteau. “I was a little scared, because it was 11 at night, even if I went to somebody’s house, are they going to answer the door in the dark in the rain? But my dog brought me home.”
Croteau estimates he and Dodger walked three blocks to get home, and he’s thankful that Dodger was familiar with the area where they were dropped off.
“I have no idea what would have happened then because especially in an area that I’m not familiar with, it could have been bad,” said Croteau.
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