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
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.