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Caitlin's Guide Dog Journal

1st August, 2006. 11:33 am. Where I've Been(lilmizmombassa)

Conversation that took place on Sunday morning at the end of the Backwards P route:

Me: Laser, straight to the corner...good corner! Oh, good boy.
Jodi (from behind me): Nice job, Caitlin; only one block left to go.
Me: Yeah, thanks. He did well today, really, really, well.
Jodi: Yes. Didn't bump you in to one thing, did he?
Me: Grazed the bushes with my right arm, but it wasn't anything at all.
Jodi: Yeah, I was behind you for that. I saw it; he couldn't have gone any farther on the sidewalk without pulling you out in to the street. It was done very well on his part.
Me: Wow; I didn't know that.
Jodi: Yup. He was a guide dog today.
Me (softly): Yes, he was a guide dog today.
(We cross the street safely and board the bus.)

I have so many stories. I'm graduating today and I'm so sorry that I never kept up with this. My emotions have jumped to so high to so insanely low over these past three and a half weeks. I'm exhausted more often than not, and when I'm not exhausted I'm bonding with a dog or a classmate, so I suck at updating. When we get home it'll be easier, let's hope. I'm so sorry that I let all of you down.

Laser is a good dog. He's 83.5 pounds (heaviest dog in the class) and he was born on January 18, 2005. He's one of four labs on class, who are all related; Laser, Nat II, Andy, and Maija (pronounced Maya). He's a good dog and I love him immensely. It took a while; I was so afraid to love him quickly like I'd done for Kiki. I couldn't bare having another dog switch, so I was slow to love him. But, today, Laser and I are graduating and there will be no dog switch. So my love for him overflows.

We will be great. We will be a team. No, we're not perfect now; far from it. He doesn't always listen and more often than not I do something wrong to mess him up. But we're working on it. He likes me enough to guide me around things now and genuinely seems to care if I smack my arm/shoulder/face in to a pole/tree/sign. He cares, I care. That should be enough to pull us through.

I gave Laser a middle name. Tybalt, as in Romeo and Juliet. Laser Tybalt Lynch. Tybalt means "he who sees" in Latin. It's perfect. I don't regret any of this in the slightest.

Caitlin&Laser: The brightness is boundless.

Current mood: satisfied.

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17th July, 2006. 12:02 am. News, or the like(lilmizmombassa)

I have my laptop back, which you all never knew was broken in the first place since the computer downstairs decided it'd be a little fucking something and never posted it. And it explained everything. But, by that time, I was too tired to type it all out again and LJ, like a fucking something, didn't save my entry. I'm so done with that story. I'm also too tired, physically and emotionally, for this right now, either.

Kiki left today.

Introducing; Laser. (Or "Louie" on Day 1 when we did obedience with him in the Gathering room.) He's a huge yellow lab who loves to wag his tail and give me slobbery kisses all over. And, yes, I do mean *all* over.

I don't really want to talk about what happened today with Kiki and all. So, please, don't ask about it. Jodi told me I could go to the Bereavement lecture that Kim was giving for Harvey, Joe, and Sally (our weekend-arriving retrains) but I didn't want to. Because it was today and I didn't want to think about it. And I don't, now, so I'm leaving.

P.S.: Jodi Myers gives the best hugs in the universe.

Current mood: exhausted.

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15th July, 2006. 7:50 pm. Why I've so kindly disappeared(lilmizmombassa)

I know that I haven't been around all too much lately, for which I profusely apologize for. It doesn't strike me as I'll be around much, though, since I did a bad thing. I busted up Liana real bad the other day. I had <lj user='squonk">s flowers next to my laptop, Lina, because Barb said leaving them on the lfoor would potentially entertain Kiki and make her eat them. So she moved them next to the computer desk, and yesterday I bumped the desk with my hip, and the water in them spilled. I picked up little Liana quite quickly, but DSad thinks that some water may have gotten in to her. So today, when he and Meg came to visit Kiki and I, he took Liana back home. Hopefully, she is OK. Because, I love her and she is gorgeous and laptopish and I hate this GDF computer. It will not allow me to check my email, because "cookies" aren't enabled in the browser, and I do not want to enable them or mess anything up or whatnot.\ So, about my cenine...; She's good. I don't honestly know what to say, though. Jodi says she needs to pick up her pace and her initiave, or else I might not be so well off. I don't want to talk about it, though, because it just makes me sad. She's not one of those dogs that noticably loves to work, I don't think. I'm not sure. I'm in a mood, or something. I love her, and I just want us to be fantastic together. As I said, myabe my expectations are freaksihly high. I don't know. Once again, I don't want to discuss it really. \ She finds doors wonderfully, and refuses steps like no other. Her recall (when she comes to me form a distance) is fantastic, too. But I wish she'd pick up her pace in harness and not be so nosy or windowshoppy or whatever. Jodi said that when Kiki first came in for training, she'd done the same thing, and Jodi thinks she'll soon break the habit. I certainly hope so. I'm enough of a 2-year-old that I feel the need for someone to tell me that I'm doing this right. I think that Nancy, Cora, or Al certainly would. But my inadequacy of still not being comfortable enought with myself or in my own skin prevents me from inquiring. And, yes, this is supposed to be about my dog, not about why I am mentally screwed up. Just thought that I would share, or something.\ Basically, I love my dog. She walks slowly, gets overheated, sleeps a lot, likes to lick my ears, archs her tail like a black cat might, and think her hairbrush is a completely delictable food item. All of these things, I love. I love her smell, too. I love how her harness sounds and the freedom that I feel when she finds me a seat or refuses to walk down a flight of stairs until she knows that I know that I am there. The other day, there was a sign in the middle of the sidewalk. Jodi told me about it, and Kiki stopped, and smacked my hand with her nose. It was nice. There was a polin spring bottle in the middl,e of the sidewalk, which we could have walked over. But Keek stopped; so I would know it was there. And I didn't die. Nor did I die at any curb or get lost or anything. And those thoughts consume me when I worry. And those thoughts, thus far, are the ones that tell me this was a good idea and this was right and this what I should do. She's lying under my chair now. She was sleeping, but I think that's over with. David and Benny just walked up the stairs from the Groom Room that are adjacent to the computer room, so I surmise she heard their feet. She's very clever, when she's not window shopping or being nosey or flirting with Taxi, Benny, Andy, or Dot. Yes, my dog I just broke the computer, yes. This computer keyboard is no fun. I haven't started hating anyone yet, which is nice. People occasionally get on my nerves, but I manage, somehow.\ My brain is being sticky so I suppose I'll close this. I am very sorry that I missed so many days. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. And a bit of today. Tomorrow morning we're going in to Patchogue to do the same route that we did today. After lunch, we have the rest of the day off. Someone come and visit me?\ I think Phil and I are going to watch Scent of a Woman after break. Haven't seen that movie and I heard that it was good, so maybe I should go see if his visitor left and ask him if he wants to do that. Also, we should get upstairs so I can hear Donna call break. This would be one Caitlin, and one Kiki, signing out. Hope everyone is well and that you wear your seatbelts on the highway.flirts with other bitches. Food is good. Becds are comfortable

Current mood: complacent.

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11th July, 2006. 5:22 pm. Day 3- Dog Day(lilmizmombassa)

Here are all the dogs on my class:

Al received a male yellow lab named Andy.
Cora received a black lab/golden retriever cross named Sammy.
David received a golden retriever named Benny.
Nancy received a black lab/poodle cross (female) named Dot.
Phil received a male yellow lab/golden retriever cross named Taxi...no joke, Taxi.

And....


I


received a yellow lab/golden retriever cross, female, named Kiki. Kiki likes sleeping. She also likes to have her ears stroked. Her coat is very similar to that of a labs, except for her hind legs and tail where the coarse hair feathers like that of a golden retriever. Her ears are floppy and silky, they're a dark, coppery color. Her nose is jet black, like her eyes. Her snout is a darker yellow, almost golden. The rest of her is a yellowy cream color, fluctuating light and dark. She is beautiful.

I hope that it works out. She's very sweet.

When I first got her, she liked my forearm, and then crawled in between the space of my legs and my bed. *Insert awww here*

Kiki is now on tie-down and asleep, and I am now late for dinner. That is all.

Current mood: ecstatic.

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10th July, 2006. 10:44 pm. Day 2 - A plethora of personnel(lilmizmombassa)

I'm seated, once again, behind my lovely little laptop desk writing this to you all. Today was a long day. It wasn't that we did *all* that much, but it was 15 solid hours of things. And socializing. And eating. And talking. And walking. And, waiting; a common theme, I am soon realizing.

This morning began at 4:56 A.M., with me waking up from a horrid nightmare about a beast-like woman named Paula who kept reappearing to blow up my dog with an oozy. I tossed and turned, paranoid about the time, checked my watch, and, realizing how I had nearly three hours to go, went back to sleep. Some lady banged down my door at approximately 6:48 to tell me that the "coffees on, hun". The relevance of this fact befuddles me, since (a) I loathe that beverage and (b) they specifically told me that I could sleep till seven. And, dammit, seven is *not* ten to seven; it's seven. But, because I was paranoid that "coffees on" also meant breakfast was ready and they'd changed it on us, I got up. I showered, dressed, and did all those morning-type things. I had fifteen minutes to kill before breakfast; where I arrived, last, five minutes before the meal started. For breakfast, there was juice, omlet (gag), peach yogurt (not half bad) and pounds upon pounds of delicious, buttery, toast. It was great.

After breakfast, we met in the leather lounge, where we discussed short-handle walks and class interviews. Then, we were dismissed to our rooms so that Jody and Barb could pull the fire alarm. It sounded like the place was exploding. Afterword, I ventured out to meet Carol Hobbs, a lovely puppywalker/ex phys. ed teacher/all-in-one GDF volunteer, who took me on the first tour that morning of the kennels. I was extremely impressed with the cleanliness and the care and the personnel within the kennels. We saw dogs. Ohmygosh, dawgs, and more dawgs. Dawgs upon dawgs upon dawgs. They barked, sniffled, and thumped; sometimes all three at once. It was amazing. "I don't know where, but your dog is in here right now." Carol told me, as she squeezed my shoulder. I nearly peed myself with utter glee. My dog could, potentially, have been right in front of my beautiful, broken blue eyes. And neither one of us knew it.

After the kennel, I came back to my room. Shortly, I was joined by Kevin, a lovely maintaince worker, who informed me that a light in my mirror was broken. I told him it wasn't a big deal, that I hadn't even noticed. He told me sternly that his priority was to me and to Maria (the housekeeper) and that Maria had sent him to fix that "blinkin'" light, so that was what he was going to do. He did; but it took about 45 minutes, because something was broken. I was really confused, but he told me about his daughter and his effinity for cigarettes as I sat on my beautiful double bed and observed his actions. Then, Barb came to get me for my short-handle walk. She led me out to the area where we were short-handling it up, and she taught me a few things.

She taught me the starting position. Left foot is forward, with all of your weight upon it, right foot is slightly back and out, towards your shoulder. Telling the dog "forward", you sweep your right arm up from your side (vertically) until it reaches waist level. The dog pulls you forward, and you step with your right foot. When finding the curb, you find it with your left foot, bringing your right foot forward to keep your balance. Once you've found the curb down with your left foot, you give the forward command, and cross the street. At up curbs, your left foot needs to find the step up, you say forward, and then lift your right foot on to the curb. For right turns, you shuffle your left foot back and out, slightly, draw your right arm across your body at waist level and say "right". Then you turn, with the dog. *Not* before him/her; which is what I was basically doing the entire time.

The short-handle walk went fairly well. It was interesting to learn the commands and all of those important things I'll inevitably need. Afterwords, I went back to my room and chilled around for a while. Got a sweet, sweet, *beautifully redolent* surprise from the lovely Squonk; which I have to call and thank her for tomorrow (in case she's sleeping now, which I doubt but...) Thanks in advance, love; uber thoughtful.

Jody came to claim me for my intrance interview. She asked me many of the same questions that had been on my application, and I told her. She asked if I had a strong breed preference, and I said no. Though I did tell her that I wasn't such a huge fan of poodles; which she said worked out nicely, since there is only one labrapoodle on class and no standard poodles. I told her whatever they wanted to give me would be absolutely fine with me, though. The interview didn't last long. After it was over, I went to lunch where I had "Italian wedding soup" (it was broth with meatballs, spaghettis and lettuce), a chicken salad sandwich, pickle (gag), and Fridos; with lemonade, of course. After lunch, we had a lecture on some other things. Like our second short-handle walk. I think I was slightly dazed, though, because I feel like 90% of it went over my head. It's horrible, yes, thanks.

That ended at about 1:45, and I went back to my room. I read for about an hour and a half (finishing a book, I might add), and then waited for Jody to come to get me to do my second short-handle walk. She came at about 3ish, and we did a walk. We worked on corrections, which I can't seem to get correctly, about turns, which I'm not so bad at, and "hault"s, which I find quite easy. I'd explain about turns and haults and corrections, but my brain hurts too much. However, if you all want to know, I'll be glad to tell youl. Comment and ask, and I will, just not now because my head hurts like a mofo.

After my short-handle walk with Jody (in the morning I'd done it with Barb), I retired to my room, checked email, and then joined Cora, Nancy, and Elvera (heretoforth known as Al, because she likes being called that) in the hallway for a chat. It ate up an hour or so of my freetime, and then we all went off to dinner. We had pot roast, broccoli that was awfully soft, and rice with mixed vegetables; for dessert, either strawberry cheesecake like last night or cantaloupe. (Shanda, I hope you're appreciating this. :)) Phil didn't know what cantaloupe was, and I nearly died with hysterics. Which does, actually, make me a terrible human being. After dinner, Nancy and Cora went off to the Bereavement lecture given by Kim since they're the only retrains, and David, Phil, Al and I went to the Leather Lounge (by far my favorite room in the building, excluding my own) where Mike Devlin talked to us about collars and leashes. The lecture took a freakishly long time, because us newbies had, once again, 458295251 questions apiece, and couldn't figure out the "right" way to collar the "stunt dog" (a humungoid stuffed dog of some sort). After lecture, Mike played his guitar and sang for us. I actually enjoyed myself, immensely. He sings and plays and tells stories very well. I can't wait until next Monday when he entertains us again. Bonding with your classmates, epitomized.

I forgot to mention that at dinner Mike distributed our bowls, brushes, and Nylabones. Nylabones are more hard plasticy than I had thought. All of that jazz is stowed safely beneath my beautiful bed, waiting for Dog. Dog should be acquired tomorrow after lunch; Dog's name and breed (and sex, if not obviously apparent) will be revealed before lunch. I'm doing an anticipatory dance this moment just thinking about it all. *Squeeeeee*

Tomorrow can't come soon enough.

Current mood: enthralled.

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9th July, 2006. 10:48 pm. Day 1 - The Arrival(lilmizmombassa)

I'm here. I'm alive. I'm happy. And, I'm exhausted. I'm also, probably, making a significantly large amount of noise at this verry minute, but screw that.

I finally did fall asleep somewhere between 4:45 and 5 this morning. Woke up at ten; showered, shaved, dressed; a process which took me a remarkable two hours. I didn't eat much, because I was nervous.

Mom and Dad and I got here at about 1:15, and Phil was already here. Barb let us in. She showed me my room, and the rents and I got down to the business of unpacking all of my belongings. There are ample amounts of storage in this here room. I have a double bed, a nightstand, a computer desk, a closet, an armoire (or however you spell it), Venician blinds, a sink, a toilet, and a shower. I also have a door, some keys and cards, and a container of Pringles.

After we unpacked, we met Barb in the hallway. Mom and Dad left, and Barb took me on a tour of the campus. This consisted of us walking around and her pointing out every single fire door in existance. Also, several "psh-pull fire thingies" were pointed out. We saw the Gathering Room, which echoes maddeningly a lot. (It also happens to be in the same hallway as my room.) We saw the Dingng Hall and my chair, we saw a fire exit, we saw the snack bar, the brailled soda machines, a fire exit, a pattio, the basement. I really like the Rec. Room that's in the basement (or cellar, because that's what they're calling it here). There's this plush carpetting, this super comfortable leather couch, a TV, more books than I could ever *dream* of reading, Braille maps of some of our routes, and descriptive videos. All of these things excite me. The Grooming Room contains two stationary exercise bikes, a treadmill, and low and high grooming benches. You can either stand while grooming the dog (having her/him stand on the grooming bench) or sit on the grooming bench yourself while the dog stands in front of you. There's a computer room in the basement, too, but since I've got Liana safely in my room, I won't be frequenting there all that often.

After the tours, we had dinner. The chef on duty tonight was David. We had spaghetti, meatballs, and strawberry cheesecake. After dinner, we had a lecture in the gorgeous and ultra-chic, Leather Lounge. We formally met our classmates; Nancy (Kansas), Cora (Oklahoma), Elveera (Georgia), Phil (New York) and me, Caitlin. Jody and Barb also formally introduced themselves. The lecture was about two hours, mostly because Jody went through a *huge* book of rules and regulations, and because we all had about 4582953 questions each. I hope that they're not annoyed by the fact that we all can't seem to shut up. In this class, Cora is the only retrain; she just retired her first dog, Trek. Nancy has had six dogs before this, but none from GDF. Elveera, Phil, and I are all newbies. David, the student who was being picked up from the airport late this evening, I know nothing about. Also, Saturday, we're getting the last member of our class, Henry. A retrain, Shanda tells me, I don't doubt her. There are two students that may join our class later this week, because they have "extenuating circumstances". This all depends on dogs that we individually receive, though.

Tomorrow is seven o'clock. Breakfast at 8; lecture; short-handle walks. Also, entrance interviews, and meeting this elusive David person. I'd like to thank squonk for christening my room phone.

But, now, ladies and gents, it's time for me to retire to my bed. Good night and good dreams.

Current mood: calm.

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9th July, 2006. 4:03 am. Where are you, Sleep?(lilmizmombassa)

I went to bed after midnight. Not too far, about 12:15, after Meg and I got back from the movies. Attmped to sleep; no luck. Posted at my other journal, surfed around the 'net a bit, tried to sleep. No luck. Read, and finished, my book. Tried to sleep some more; absolutely, no, luck.

I'm so anxious right now. I can't focus on sleeping. There's so much nervous anticipation built up inside of me, that I need to be doing something. I need to be chasing my shadow across the wall; I need to be running the New York Marathon; I need to be at GDF. Nine hours never seemed so far away. I'm unsure if I'm more nervous or more excited.

Is it normal to be awake until all hours beforehand? Hate to say it, but I'm going to suffer for this lack in sleep tomorrow. Bed at 8:30, yeah, I think so. So, hopefully, the next time you all hear from me will be in my dorm room over there at GDF this afternoon/evening. That is, if I can fall asleep. Now that, folks, is the question of the day...

Current mood: awake.

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7th July, 2006. 2:59 pm. News(lilmizmombassa)

First of all, I feel that it is my formal duty to congratulate a friend and a wonderful first-time handler. My friend caitlin45 was presented with her dog, Lancaster (aka Lannie), on Wednesday. You can read about their adventures over at caitlin_gdb. I don't feel badly promoting that community, as I know that Caitlin would approve of said promotion.

Things are going quite well on the GDF preparing front. Yesterday, while I was getting my Meningitis shot for college, someone from GDF called my house. She told my dad that the trainers in my class were definitely Jodi and Barb. In the original paperwork they sent to me, they asked that I arrive between one and four. The woman who spoke with my father said that they'd prefer it if I was there as close to one as possible. That won't be hard to pull off, as I live so close to the school. Mom and I are shooting for a 1:15 arrival time; which is pretty damn close to 1:00, if I do say so myself. Also, the nice lady told my dad that I'll be living in Room 126. She gave me my room phone number. I'd put it here, but I'm paranoid about stalkers. So, what I'm going to do is if you'd like my room phone number, please leave me a comment with your email address/aim name/house (or cell) number, and I will contact you with my room number at GDF. I have no problems giving it out, because I know you guys. The creepy people reading this won't be receiving said info.

Less than 48 hours till my arrival. I can barely sit still. I went up to Manhattanville today, and I saw some of the people that I'd met in May. They all asked about the dog and when I was going and how excited I was. Me being me, I told them that I was only mildly excited for Sunday to come. On the contrary, I can barely focus on anything else for more than 3.5 seconds. This just feels so completely right to me. It feels like I actually may have made a momentous decision and I may, actually, have it turn out OK, for once. That just means so much. At the back of my mind is that little voice reminding me not to be so quixotic; that there is a possibility that this won't work out. I realize and validate that, but I sure hope it doesn't happen.

I think that's all I wanted to write here for right now. Aside from saying, of course, that I haven't packed anything yet. And that I never did get around to writing out the list of things that I needed to bring. So, um, oops. (I'm so insanely eloquent.)

By any chance, is it Sunday yet?

Stay safe out there, kids.

Current mood: anxious.

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4th July, 2006. 8:16 pm. Questions I should have answered in comment form...(lilmizmombassa)

Hi kids.

I was just reading over my journal, and I forgot to thank you all for congratulating me on my acceptance and my class date. I really appreciate all of the support and all of the love you guys are giving me; near and far.

I should say that I don't know anything about the dog. All I know is that it will be beautiful and mine and inteligent and sweet and, hopefully, it will love me as much as I already love it. GDF breeds and distributes (cuz ya know distribution of dogs is quite common) labradors (yellow and black), golden retrievers, standard poodles (though solid standard poodles are few and far between), lab/golden crosses (called goldadors), and lab/poodle crosses. The most common breed is the labrador, though. GDF does not disclose any details to the student until they arrive.

I arrive on campus (a mere 5 miles from my house) on Sunday afternoon. The first day of class is mostly spent learning the campus and meeting our classmates and instructors. Monday morning, we wake up at six, have breakfast at seven, and do more orientation within the campus. We also do what are called Juno walks on Monday; Juno walks are where the instructor acts as a dog, and the student holds a leash/harness as the instructor guides. These, if we all remember, were done at my home interview. However, the instructors want to know that they matched us with the correct dog based on our walking speed, strength of correction, etc. Juno walks are done on both Monday, and from what I can gather, Tuesday morning, too.

Tuesday is what ev eryone in the GDF family calls "Dog Day". The morning, as I have already explained, is more Juno walking. Around eleven, students gather in the Leather Lounge (a gorgeous windowed room with tons of leather couches and armchairs) where we learn the name and breed of our dogs. Also, we receive information on what to do when our dogs come to us later that day. Then, it's off to lunch, and then we go to our dorm rooms to wait for the presentation of the pups. I have heard that nobody wants to be the first to receive their dog, but nobody ever wants to be last, either. The time is spent in concintration of the dog or playing solitaire on your computer, if your nerves don't get you first.

And, if I have made any mistakes in describing *anything* here, please, one of you lovely lovely *lovely* GDF grads, please let me know how I have wronged you. For the rest of you all, this is all the information I could remember. More fun facts as well as common procedures on meeting guide dogs and such can be found over at the GDF web site at
http://www.guidedog.org
And for those of us with eyes, be sure to examine the dog pictures. Sister says they're all quite cute.

I think that's about it. Oh, I lied. My trainers when I go will be Barb and Jody. Jody, I met when I visited with the fine miss squonk in Fe bruary. She was sweet, helpful, and seemed very maternal. I have heard Barb can be very stern, which scares me just a little. Got to give her props, though; she's been doing this now for 37 years, which is longer than some of my friends parents have been alive. (Thankfully, mine are not that young.)

I got some new clothes for dog school today. Mostly jeans and tanktops, since I'm pretty much adverse to wearing shorts this summer. Shorts can rub; rubbing leads to blisters; blisters lead to a not happy Caitlin. :) So, yay, new clothes. Yay, five days!!!

Hope everyone is doing well. Be safe out there, kids, and happy Independence Day for all of you Americans out there.

Current mood: relaxed.

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4th July, 2006. 1:00 am. The time is nearly here.(lilmizmombassa)

Hi, everyone.

It has been a whirlwind two weeks. I was in California for four days and then Albany for a week at a college prep training program. Both experiences were equally valuable to my development as an individual (for different reasons), but we're not here to discuss that sort of matter. For things like that, you see my regular journal over there at lilmizmombassa. We're here to talk about the fact that I am leaving for guide dog school in about five days.

The day I left for my trip to Los Angeles, mere minutes before Mom and I speed off to the airport to catch our flight, my packet of info from GDF arrived. It contained several information brochures, release forms, a dietary plan, a liability slip, two luggage tags that said my name and "Guide Dog Foundation", and an audiotape describing the training process to a naive first-time student like myself. I was unable to listen to the tape while I was away, but it was the first thing I did when I arrived home from L.A. I found that it contained times for training, visiting hours, information on the dorms, and what I should and should not bring.

I should bring two pairs of comfortable walking shoes and apparel that I am comfortable wearing. For me, this will probably mean several pairs of jeans, T-shirts, and tanktops. I'm supposed to leave room in my suitcase for doggy equipment, as GDF sells it at a discounted rate than other pet supply stores. I have not yet formulated a list of things that I want to bring with me, but I'm planning to do it tomorrow.

Apparently, all of you can come to visit me and dog (but mostly me of course) on Saturdays and Sundays, between 1-4 P.M. and 6-8.30, P.M. So come along and do that; but check with me first, please. *Grin*

My dorm room in GDF is private. It includes a single bed, a bathroom with a sink, a chair, a desk, a dresser and closet. I have seen the dorm rooms at GDF personally, and they're comfortable and clean. Which are, of course, both very important to me. Training hours are from 8-12 and from 1-5. Most nights, we're given a lecture on how to care for our dogs, how to handle the non-dog public, or some such valuable insight. The people in charge recommend taking notes on these lectures, so this pretty much solidifies the bringing of Liana, my trusty laptop. Clearly, her purposes with me will merely be for note taking. *Gazes off devilishly in to the distance* On a similar note, my dorm room has a lovely Internet jack....

I am extremely excited. To think, that in one week, I will have a dog; a dog who could highten my independence, a dog who could make me safer, make me more confident in myself, make me strong when I need strength within myself. That's what I hope my dog will be. I am not going to lie; I have high expectations. I am also apprehensive, though. What if my mobility skills are not up to par? What if I am not ready to handle a dog? What if the training staff and the other students hate me and I am alienated from the group? What if, I can't do this?

I solace these fears that float freely inside my large cranium by reminding myself that if they didn't think I could do this, if they didn't think I was responsible enough, mobile enough, they wouldn't have accepted me. And, maybe that is merely me being idealistic, but that is how I sleep at night.

Now, here's something fun. The lovely Shanda, who got her wonderful guide from GDF last September, sent me a list of names from the GDF annual report. We do not know if these dogs are in training, ready to be placed, or career-change dogs. However, here are the list of the names of the dogs that I could potentially receive in just one week. Because it is quite a lengthy list, I'll place it beneath
this cut.Collapse )
Yes, so there that is. Obviously, if any of you guys have the inside track on dogs that are already placed or you *know* are in training, please let me know so that I can edit the list appropriately.



It seems incomprehensible to me that next week I won't be here. But, it's what is going to happen. Some other folks do this, so I figured I'd give it a try.....let's play a guessing game. In a comment, leave me the breed/sex/name (if you feel so inclined) of the dog you think I may receive. It's always enjoyable to see what you guys might come up with. And, just so we're all on the same page here, I do have a massive black lab male at home with me right this instant. He will be here when I reappear in August, too.

I think I may have just said all I wanted to say. Oh, if you all, by any chance, get the dog breed/sex/name correct I'll send you something wonderful. A picture of what will *clearly* be my gorgeous guide beast. "Beast" being used as a very loving term, mind.

I will update this baby more and more as my time for departure draws nearer. If you're in to this sort of guide dog blog, check out caitlin_gdb, who is in class right now, or heathersdog, who lives in Canada and is beginning at-home training in the end of July.

Enjoy yourselves, and be safe out there, kids.

Current mood: tired.

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