Category Archives: Orientation and Mobility

Doggy Diaries – Mother of all updates

As I was writing the title, I got a nudge from Jayden saying hey, what about me? Haha! He’s so good about letting me know when he wants some love. After some silly affection giving, he’s now curled up next to me. We’re gonna go for a walk in a bit.

Anyway, I haven’t updated in a bit, so I’m just gonna write whatever comes to mind.

Jayden had a big work day yesterday. We were going to the memorial service for the man in the fellowship in the afternoon, so I groomed Jayden in the morning and got some things done around the house. The only appropriate clothing I had was a long dark brown skirt with a brown colored print top. Well, nothing fits anymore, so the skirt was threatening to fall off. About a half hour before we were leaving, I took Jayden out to relieve, and Timmy ended up getting out. The big dog doesn’t scare him away from the door anymore. Luckily a neighbor was outside, and she helped me wrangle Timmy, all the while Jayden thought he was getting a visit, and I was worried about my skirt falling off haha! So I called Lish to see if she had any safety pins but she didn’t, so we left early to stop at Walgreens. I was able to work Jayden the whole time. He was such a champ! I was able to follow Lish because I could hear her shoes. Jayden didn’t get distracted or anything, and the regular clerks got a kick out of watching him.

We got to the church and had to park a ways and Jayden worked like a champ all the way to the door. There was a speed bump though, which he walked right over. We never talked about speed bumps at school. Is he supposed to stop for those?

Once it got crowded, I heeled Jayden and did sighted guide with Lish. An usher found chairs for us in the disability aisle, where Jayden wouldn’t get stepped on or be in the way. I had just told him to lay down when the priest said, please rise. Haha! That was the only time though. We stayed seated for the rest of it. Jayden was really good about laying there quietly, though he kept trying to put his head under the pew in front of us lol.

The service was really beautiful and very comforting. All the scriptures read where ones of peace and letting us know we are not alone. Though I am not religious, I do enjoy sermons like that. It wasn’t at all preachy, just very comforting and very spiritual. The eulogy was lovely, filled with tears and humor, and as a special request from the family, the priest said the Serenity Prayer. You could feel all the members of the fellowship let go at this.

After the service, we waited for everyone to clear out. It was huge, with a lot of people. Jayden stood there wagging at everyone and through sniffles, I heard little exclamations of cuteness. I think he was a comfort to people as they left. The usher came after everyone was gone and said he hadn’t been an usher with a service dog before, so it was a good experience for him.

We went to the reception room which was packed and there was food. Jayden did great. He was calm the whole time, though I just had him on leash. Most of my friends asked if they could pet him and they were all good about doing it calmly. Jayden just ate it up. I had one woman start petting him, and she is a woman I don’t get along with very well. “Please ask me before you pet him.” “Oh, why?” “Well, if he had ben working, that would have been like me grabbing your steering wheel.” “Oh! Clever, you should write an article.” “There’s lots of articles already written.” Lish said, “Yeah, most people just don’t read them.” That was the only ify experience.

We milled around awhile and I saw some of the other oldtimers I love and we talked about why I haven’t been to meetings, to which they were totally understanding, which warmed my heart. Those guys know me well enough to know that I’m filling my life with the program whether I’m in the rooms for an hour or not. It meant a lot to me that they didn’t lecture me about it, and they are men I really admire.

After we got home, Jayden did his usual after work routine of dropping to the floor on his back for a belly rub and romp session. Then he passed out haha. I talked to Carol for a bit before the game.

9-3 Rays over Yankees wooooo hooooooo! David Price was incredible and he got run support. Couldn’t have asked for more. We won the first game against the Yankees last year too, and they came back to win the next two, so we’ll see how today and tomorrow go.

I don’t have a whole lot new to report about Jayden. His work continues to be wonderful. We are having one issue, which will be a gigantic issue if we can’t get it fixed though. I tried calling GDB on Thursday but the phone was busy busy busy. On Tuesday, Dave and I were working on the route out of the complex, which had been a little difficult, because it’s not straight forward. There are two curbs I want him to target, but he was having other ideas. So Tuesday I got out the clicker. Fun! Dave hadn’t really seen clicker training before, and he enjoyed it a lot. After the final back chaining, starting from the beginning, Jayden targeted both curbs without issue. Yay! Then the trouble really started.

After the second curb ends, it’s a country road. That means a long straight road with no sidewalk. Asphalt right next to dirt. Jayden does not want to go down the road. We work it on the left, facing oncoming traffic. He doesn’t want to budge. Dave suggested trying the dirt, that maybe he would see that as safer, but no go. He does not want to go down the road. I wanted to end the day on a good note, so we crossed to the other side. He has no issue on that side. He goes no problem and again, we’re facing oncoming traffic. It’s exactly the same. There isn’t a lot of traffic and it’s not a dangerous road. So I don’t know what the issue is. The country road lesson at school was absolutely horrible, horrible. So bad that when I got back to the dorm I was in tears and had to call Kevin to get me out of a rage. I really tried not to let it transfer to Jayden, but what if it did? I’m afraid that’s why he’s hesitant. But then he’s fine on the other side. I’ve tried the GL and it’s the same. It’s not like he’s sniffing or distracted. Until he masters that, we can’t leave the complex on foot. I’m sure I’ll get through to Grad Services soon, but does anyone have any suggestions?

After we got home after that, I took Jayden’s harness off and let Dave finally say hi. He is definitely a dog person haha! I have never seen Jayden go so crazy hahaha!! Bouncing around and running as far as his long leash would let him. It was really fun.

I did the same after my workout on Wednesday, let Lisa and Glenn say hi to him and he was so happy.

Oh, yesterday Lish said Jayden just looks so happy when he’s working. That made me very happy to know. She said his tail was going the whole time and he was smiling. Yay!

He’s still doing great at home. He’s free except at night, where he’s still in his kennel. He lost his tug rope privilege for awhile though. I had it on a tall dresser, and he actually went and got it down and was chewing on it. Noooo. Haha! So it’s put away for now, and he’s rediscovering his tug ring, goughnut and kong.

He loves to chase after Spinelli. I let him briefly until she starts hissing. After I stop him his heart is racing and he’s panting hehe!

We’ve definitely gotten to the place I’ve heard some handlers say as, he’d crawl into my skin if he could. We are peas in a pod, love to be together. He’s rarely away from me unless he hears something outside and goes to check it out. After I shower he comes into the bathroom like, I knew you were there but I couldn’t see you. Haha!

I just love him and everything about having a guide dog. I can’t wait to go for a walk. We’re just gonna go walk the complex, since he hates the road leading out, so I won’t try that alone yet.

I think that’s about all. Oh wait! I lied!

Thursday was laundry day and I had two loads since I hadn’t done it the previous Thursday. So first thing in the morning I got everything sorted and Jayden and I took the first load down. He did great! I’ve taught him to always target the mailboxes when we go that way, not just so he knows where the mail is, but because it’s a landmark for my orientation. I paid extra attention to my inner distance meter so I’d know when we were close to the laundry. There isn’t always noise of machines and smells of detergent, so I’ve realized I have to know how far we’ve walked in case he misses the door like he did the time we got lost and had to call for help. I put the first load in the wash and we came ack home, no problems. We left again a little later for the second load and the laundry swap, and he did great again. We came back home, I took his harness off and then realized I hadn’t put a washer sheet in the second load. Arg. Harness back on, back to the laundry room, except I use the front load washer and you can’t open it once it’s started. Arg. So my clothes got a good soaking haha! We came back, then went down again, to restart the washer and bring the dry clothes back. No problems, except some neighbors distracted him, but since I’m now getting better about being aware of how far we’ve walked, I cought it quickly and got him back on track. Then we had to go back to swap the load to the dryer, walk back home, then back down to get the last load. It was exhausting hahaha! But I think we’ve got the laundry down hahahaha!!!!

Oh and also on Tuesday after the country road thing, we did the route down to the office which I hadn’t done yet. I wanted Dave there, even though its a pretty straight forward route. Well, we didn’t need him once. As we approached the office, I heard people and a very aggressive sounding dog. So did Jayden. He stopped dead and didn’t move. When he does this, I now know he is checking out a situation. When he’s distracted, his body moves and his head is going back and forth. When he’s concentrating, he doesn’t move a muscle. Once he could tell the dog was contained, he continued. I absolutely love how cautious he is. He does that with cars too, even if they aren’t too close. He won’t move until he knows what they’re doing. I love it. I feel so safe with him.

I told Dave I wasn’t surprised the office route went fine, because it’s straight forward, a sidewalk to follow the whole way. Dave laughed and said, no it’s not. Don’t you remember accidentally following a branching sidewalk into the parking lot with your cane? Oh yeah. I forgot there are a lot of possible paths that Jayden could have taken. But he kept on the straight route, and really that’s how he was trained anyway, not to turn unless I tell him. I still feel good about that walk though. There are lots of flowers and bushes along the way and he didn’t sniff once.

Ok, I think that’s really it. Yeah. Unless I remember something else haha!!!

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Filed under baseball, Doggy Diaries, dogs, fellowship, GDB, guide dogs, Jayden, jayden quirks, laundry, misty eyes, no no sightie, Orientation and Mobility, sobriety, Spinelli, Timmy, transitioning, working dog

Doggy Diaries – Passed out pooch

Today was just plain awesome. Today was what gave me strength to make it through school. Today was what made all those horrible days worthwhile. Today I went back to Saavi with Dave.

He arrived at 8:30 this morning, and Jayden and I were all ready to go. I had the storm door closed, so I heard him approaching, and Jayden got excited. It doesn’t matter who it is, he gets excited lol. I had him sit and then took him outside, where I had to make him sit. Dave was saying he wasn’t looking at Jayden, only peripherally haha! I gave Dave a hug and told him we should go to Saavi since it was so windy. So I worked Jayden to the van and got inside, Jayden following. I wasn’t sure about the room at first, but he had more room than in the other vehicles we’ve been in so far.

I filled Dave in on some of the stuff at school, about why I was so glad to be back with him, about how I was the only student there who got to come home to an O & M who had teken the training at GDB. Then he told me that two of his other guide dog students heard about the car accident on my blog!! Hahahahaha!!! Apparantly two of his students are readers, or one of them is and she’s married to the other student. I asked who it was, but he couldn’t tell me. So I said I got a comment from someone local and gave her name, so then he was allowed to tell me yes. Small world eh?

We got to Saavi and Jayden ran the curb going up so I reworked it and he was great after that. I walked in and heard my name and went up to the reception desk. There were quite a few people there, but I was busy getting Jayden to calm down lol. No one talked to him or asked to pet, since they all know. They told me how great I looked and that I’d gotten some sun. Then we started our work.

We were just gonna walk the halls. I didn’t think I’d need to do patterning and I was right. I know the building so well, I was able to work Jayden everywhere I wanted to go without problems. I kept getting stopped and he would start to get excited lol. We definitely need to work on the sits.

Then the assistent director walked by and she’s a guide dog handler, so we both had to manage our dogs, but hers behaved much more quickly haha. She reminded me that they’ve been together six months and then I felt better.

I saw Lisa and gave her a hug and then I saw another friend and gave him a hug and it was just all so fun. I felt bad though since I can’t let anyone pet him. The sighties could look at him, but the blinks were left in the dark haha. They were all understanding though.

After we walked the building we went and found the relieving area they have and I showed Jayden. Then it was time to leave and I visited the human relieving area. The handicapped stall was taken, so we had to squeeze into the small one. It had been awhile since we were in a small stall, but he did fine.

When we got home, I worked Jayden to the mailbox to show Dave. The wind made it all miserable.

We went back to my door and Dave gave us both tons of compliments. He said I’m handling him well, that I have confidence, that I know what I’m doing, I corrected him when necessary, knew when to rework, etc. All those things were things I was longing to hear, that I do know what I’m doing, that we are already a good team. Yay!

He was very impressed with both of us and said Jayden is a wonderful dog. He said when we were walking, Jayden ignored everything. But he also already remembered doorways and looked in those directions in case that was where I wanted to go.

So it was excellent and so fun and Jayden has been passed out pretty much ever since we got home hahaha!!!! I’m pretty tired too, come to think of it. Dave was impressed with my stamina. We worked nearly two hours. I reminded him that I just did three weeks of pretty much six days a week except for the few lessons I skipped. It absolutely was boot camp. So a nice relaxing fun day of work was a welcome thing.

Woo hoo!! We’re meeting again Friday to hopefully walk in the historic neighborhood if the weather is nice. Can’t wait!!

Oh yeah. I took him to this area with tables and chairs off the lobby and told him to find a chair. He walked me around the table, and targeted a chair that was pulled out a little. Dave said all the other chairs were pushed in flush with the table, and Jayden targeted the one that was pulled out a little, that he could see. How cute!

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Filed under accomplishment, Doggy Diaries, GDB, gratitude, guide dogs, Jayden, Orientation and Mobility, transitioning, weather, working dog

Doggy Countdown – Bittersweet

I can’t seem to stop crying, so we’ll see if I get through this post. Nothing bad has happened, don’t worry.

I got all ready for my last lesson with Dave this morning. Timmy was meowing a lot, so I got audio of it. I think the cats know. They saw that suitcase yesterday and the know something is up. timmy and Spinelli didn’t leave my side for most of the day yesterday. I had one or the other of them on my lap.

Anyway, Dave knocked and I opened the door and he said, “no lesson today”. Huh? I was looking forward to the last lesson, not really knowing what we woud do, but looking forward to it. I was hoping to get some audio of him too.

He said he was driving over here and could not think of anything for us to do. He said I’m done. I’m ready.

Wow.

We stood there talking for awhile and I’m not going to go into details because when I mentioned getting audio, he said it’s personal. And it is.

He was just very encouraging and reminded me of how far I’ve come.

I’m all emotional now because he’s right. I never in a million years expected to be where I am today. When I went blind I thought it was the end of the world and I was telling a good friend yesterday that I wouldn’t trade any of these experiences, any of the people, non of it, for my sight. Too many incredible things have happened.

So I think that’s why I’m so emotional today. I’m so filled with gratitude that it’s coming out in tears.

I’m getting melancholy too though, I can’t lie. I love my home, and it’s hard to leave it. My cats…oh here comes the sobbing. I’m so glad I’m typing this and not talking because my voice gets all high pitched when I try and talk through crying. I’m just gonna miss the cats sooooo much. I’ve never been away from home this long, ever. The longest was for ten days back in my choir days in high school. So it’s just really hard to leave home. I’m just going to miss the cats so much.

I can’t even get in to what I was going to write about today; a documentary on Captain Sully I watched last night. I was getting misty then, so there’s no way I can write about it while I’m already crying.

Ok, I think I’ve gotten enough down. Lish is coming over later so I can show her where the catfood and stuff is. Oh no, bring on more sobs. Ok I need to stop.

3 days! *sniff sniff *

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Filed under cats, Doggy Countdown, Doggy Diaries, gratitude, misty eyes, Orientation and Mobility, Spinelli, Timmy

Doggy Countdown – Ah, the weekend

How I love the weekend. For someone without a paying job, this is kinda funny. I think most working folk look at people who don’t work as constantly having a weekend. Not so lol. I was really thinking about this a bit ago, as I was getting caught up on 2 days worth of blogs, and really wanting some good time to write. Since as of now, I don’t work, I’ve needed to find other things that make me feel worthwhile, and this blog has become a huge part of that. Not only is it cathartic for me, I have a wonderful record of my life. And, I get to share thoughts, ideas, fears and hopes with my blogger family, and it is just oh so fulfilling. So when I have weeks like this last one, where I’m fatigued and trying to keep up with the daily grind, yes, I in fact have a daily grind lol, I feel like I’m neglecting my blog.

Though I’ve met tons of people, and while I know my readers like to read my posts, this blog is first and foremost, for me. It’s become something I can put my energy to, a goal of sorts. I’ve shared before that weekends are really my time to catch up. I pretty much have a few uninterrupted hours of computer time on weekend mornings whille B is sleeping. During the week I have a pretty set routine of chores, workouts, phone calls, etc. Friday nights, I can’t wait to sleep because it means when I wake up, I get to have quality time with my computer haha! So I just had to explain why I’m so happy it’s Saturday.

We’re going to Gamma’s this afternoon for my Uncle’s birthday. Sunday is usually family day, but luckily it’s today. Tomorrow is Super Bowl, so it would have been ww3 if I had told B we had to go to Gamma’s ahhahaha!

So I want to detail a little more about my lesson with Dave yesterday. For the last 2 Fridays, the weather here has been pretty similar to how it will be in San Rafael. Minus the actual water, it’s been cold and humid. So I’ve been testing my school attire, which is working quite well. When I’m doing anything physical in the cold, it’s hard to dress. If I dress too warmly, I get too hot even when it’s cold. Yesterday I did have to shed the raincoat while coming back home. I suddenly start feeling myself overheat, and that is bad, very bad. Dave carried the coat until we got home where I had left my water outside my door. I collapsed and chugged and we started talking about my fatigue.

I told him I was a little worried about how fatigued I’ve been, and how much the Juno walk tired me. He said he’s not worried. He said the school will be more than accomodating. He said if the trainers have any questions, they can feel free to call him. He told me just make sure, make absolutely sure, to stop when I feel fatigued, to strip off layers when I feel hot. He gave me some good things to say to the trainers. He said he’s not worried too, because once I’ve done something once, I’ve got it. And he would tell the trainers that if they asked. So even with all the fatigue, he still gave me another A++.

Which leads me to the trainer call I couldn’t really elaborate on last night. It was wonderful to talk to them. They informed me that I’ll be chillin at the airport awhile on the 15th haha! They are collecting 8 of us that day, so I’ll have to hang out until everyone gets there, since I’m one of the first to arrive. They said they’d have lunch for me. When I told Lish that yesterday, she said it’s like The Real World lol! Which prompted an idea for the blog header while I’m at school.

Then they were explaining how they’ll find me, and they told me to have my cane out. I said, what if I walk along barking? They said, then the wrong people would pick you up. Hahaha! I started telling them about the fatigue and they said don’t worry, if you have a day where you can’t work, we’re not gonna send you home without your dog. They also said the nurses will probably hover over me haha! I told them what Dave said about me learning stuff once and they sounded impressed and I said, his words, not mine. Didn’t want to sound like I have a big head. So they definitely alleviated any worry about the fatigue issue. They said, we see that your O& M went through our training? I said yes and they were very happy. I still think that Dave is one of the major reasons I was accepted so quickly. They know I have built in support when I get home.

They asked what I like in my dogs. I said I have cats. Oh! Have you ever had dogs? My mom liked pomeranians, but I like bigger dogs. They laughed. I guess I had said something to Don about how I might see the shadow of a black dog, though I don’t remember saying that. I told them yeah, but really I just want the best dog. Obviously a somewhat chill dog that will be cool if I can’t go out for a day, and obviously good house manners, but who doesn’t want that?

They said that first Tuesday it will be Juno work, and I’ll also work with some of the dogs not quite through training yet. Sweet! They want to see how I am with different kinds of dogs, so I’ll be doing some obedience and stuff with some of the dogs still in training. Then, they confirmed that Wednesday will be Dog Day!!!! Yay!!!

There was a lot of laughing on the phone, and I felt so excited through my exaustion. We were all cracking jokes on the speaker phone, so they sound like my kind of people.

So, now I feel like all the major steps have been taken. There are still some things I want to get accomplished this week, which will take some good uninterrupted time on the computer. I want to put my lecture cds on the iPod. I need to do some more practice with the videos, and I really want to get that blog post written about how to do it, in case any other blinks run across this blog and need help.

Obviously I need to pack the smaller stuff that are already ready to go in bags. I’ll try to keep up the tidying around the house. Lish will need to come back so I can show her what we need done with the cats. I’m gonna have B make sure my name is spelled just right on the tickets because it has to match my ID perfectly. Really should have done that right when I first got it. I know it’s the same because that’s how the airline found my reservation, but for peace of mind, I want to double check.

But, I’m pretty much completely ready. I’m just going to take it easy this coming week and make sure I do the things I need to do for myself, like being able to write my posts in a non-rushed manner haha!

I’m thinking tomorrow will be an excellent blog day because it’s Super Bowl, which I’ll only half pay attention to. I used to sit and eat junk food. The game was a great excuse. But I’m not doing that this year.

The countdown is really on!!! Single digits baby!!! 9 days!!!!

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Filed under Dog Day, Doggy Countdown, Doggy Diaries, family, Gamma, Juno walk, Orientation and Mobility, pooch preparation, proud geek, silly girl, spoons, sports, weather

Doggy Countdown – Trainers and beauty and fellowship

Oh man. Too much happened today. LIke, quite literally too much after a week of fatigue lol! Oh man. There is no way I will get it all down today. Maybe I’ll go into more detail tomorrow. But for propserity’s sake, for in 5 years when I want to look back, I’ll do a brief outline.

Dave came at 9:30 for our lesson. I had showered before hand since I was getting my hair trimmed. Showers either invigorate or exaust. It pretty much exausted me and I got too warm. I told Dave I was really fatigued all week. So he said we’d take it light. More fun stuff just to get me outside, much less mental work. So he had a training handle from GDB and we did Juno down to the store and back. It was like I haven’t been working out. Coming back nearly killed me. But I made it. We talked some and I came inside for about 45 minutes before my friend came over for our day of beauty.

Who knew sitting and being pampered could wear you out. I sat with my feet in the spa tub in the pedicure chair for about 20 minutes before they got to me. Got my pedicure, then moved to the table for my maincure, then off to the bed for the brow wax. I don’t usually get manicures but thought it would be nice not to have to worry about my nails at schoo.

We got done there and wen’t to Supercuts for my hair trim. She only had to cut an inch off, so that made me happy and that was quick.

Then we went to Walgreens for toothpaste. Oh yeah, before we started we went to Sauce for lunch for my favorite salad.

So she dropped me off just after 3. Keep in mind I’ve been going since 9:30 with about a thirty minute rest before the beauty stuff.

So I get home and Lish calls because we were gonna try and have face time today. I tell her definitely lets do it but she has to come here because there’s no way I’m taking her stairs. She was gonna be here in about 45 minutes. So I called Carol back.

We talked for about 5 minutes when my home phone rang and I knew it was the trainers.

So I answer just before it stops, just in time, breathlessly saying hello. It’s all my trainers on speaker phone haha! There has been a change in the line up, so bad news guy isn’t my trainer now. Bummer. But everyone was really nice, and one of the women there is one who just joined the email list, so that was cool. So we talked awhile and I’ll post about it tomorrow.

About 5 minutes after I got off the phone with them, Lish came over and we sat and talked until B got home with dinner. She left, we ate, and now I’m typing this and it’s just after 7pm.

So, um, well, not the best way to recover from fatigue, but on the whole, the only thing that seemed tiring was the lesson with Dave, which it was. But the rest was just as exausting, but I’m glad I got it all done and I was really missing Lish.

It’s like as soon as B is home, my body knows its time to wind down, relax, chat with him, and go lay down. So that’s what I’m gonna do. I may or may not edit the post after I listen.

Oh I got screwed up in the countdown and said 12 days yesterday but it was 11 so today is 10 days! The countdown is really on!

Oh yeah, I dreamt last night that I got a black female.

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Filed under Doggy Countdown, Doggy Diaries, dream, fellowship, GDB, Juno walk, Orientation and Mobility, pooch preparation, silly girl, spoons

Doggy Countdown – A++

Dave picked me up this morning for our lesson and asked if I had any ideas. I told him no and he said he had one. He wanted to take me to an intersection and not tell me which one it was. He said there is an anomoly there and he wanted to see if I could figure it out. He said it was kind of a test haha! No pressure.

So we started driving and I tried to pay attention to turns but I’m a chatty Kathy in the car with him. I kinda thought I knew where we might be, but as soon as we stepped out I knew it wasn’t where I thought. I thought he might be taking me to a T intersection, but I could tell this wasn’t one.

So he did Juno Dave again and took me to the corner. He did tell me we were on the southeast corner. I listened for about twenty seconds and said, oh there’s a leading left turn arrow for southbound traffic. He just laughed. He was sooo hoping to fool me haha!!

So I was indeed correct. He went on to tell me more details. He said this is the only intersection here like that. For traffic going south and turning left, they have a leading left turn arrow. For traffic going north and turning left, there is no arrow at all. For traffic going west and turning south, there is a leading left turn arrow. For traffic heading east and turning north, there is no arrow. Huh? I asked him why that was and he had no idea. Just stupid planning lol! Then he told me which intersection we were at and I was able to name the store on the northeast corner, so he was happy. He also showed me the pedestrian buttons and how they are on the same pole for both directions.

We worked the intersection, me listening and telling him forward. There was one time that there was this huge idling truck and there was no way I was going to walk with that surge, because I couldn’t tell if he was going straight or not. Dave was pleased. Then, at the next crossing, I listened and said forward and he didn’t budge. I said, did you just disobey me? Haha! He wanted to show me what the intelligent disobedience would be like. He said I was correct in my command, but he saw something he was unsure of and disobeyed, like a dog would. At the next crossing, again there was a loud truck masking my blocker car noise so I didn’t go. Again Dave was pleased.

He said where blind people get hit is when they rush. He said never, ever rush. If you need to listen for a few cycles to really get what’s going on, do it. Leave plenty of time before an appointment. Don’t rush. And that’s why he knows I’ll be a good handler. Because I won’t rush. As we were heading back to the car he gave me an A++ for the lesson today. He said he’s had people who have been cane travelers a lot longer than me, get completely confused at that intersection. So, yay!

I had to laugh because he said he’s looking forward to finding out how he did preparing me. I told him I feel totally prepared. The only thing I think about is having to take Insert to relieve first thing in the morning, and getting out of bed at 9 for the last relieving hehe!

I’ve got a few posts for today, one about a creepy guy at the meeting, and then hopefully some more iPod experimentation. I’ve already decided that for the rest of the day I’ll be chillin on the computer, rather than getting some stuff done that needs to get done 😉

17 days!

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Filed under accomplishment, Adjustment to blindness, blind tips, Doggy Countdown, Doggy Diaries, guide dogs, Insert, Juno walk, Orientation and Mobility, pooch preparation

doggy Countdown – Emotional

Oh, I’m just a bundle of emotions today. I’m sure there are a lot of factors here, like bad weather all week which leads to bad spoon days, to Aunt Flo not being able to make up her mind when to visit, to the crazy insane warnings we had here last night which led to anxiety and feeling horribly tense which made me wish I could have a drink or twelve to calm my nerves. So it would be expected that I should be feeling pretty raw today haha!

I have to say though, it was really cool last night. I was talking to my friend Erik online, the one I’ve been online frinds with for like 12 years. He’s been trying to help a friend get sober and often asks me questions or just needs to talk to clear his mind. He’s a total normie, watching his friend free fall into his addiction. Well, his friend is finally starting to grasp some hope. So last night I confessed to Erik that I had the urge to drink a few and he said, “My friend had the urge a few days ago and he said the serenity prayer really helped.” Ah! I had forgotten to utilize the serenity prayer. So I told him to tell his friend he just helped me. Sweet.

So on to today. Dave cancelled our lesson due to weather for the first time. I answered the phone and he said, “unless you have flippers, we’re not going out today.” I was kinda disappointed, but relieved at the same time since I’ve felt so lousy this week. I asked if he thought we could do anything inside and he said I had nothing left to learn, that all we need to do is continue to review intersections. So he’ll try and fit me in early in the week if he has a cancellation. And here I was all ready to fill my pockets with Reece’s Peanut Buter cups to reward Juno Dave hahaha!

So I was getting caught up on email and stuff and someone had posted a link to a bunch of audio and video on the GDB website so I checked it out. Enter the water works. I think it’s a raiser who loses it at a graduation and I lost it too. Then they talked with a puppy raiser and I lost it. Then just all the cool interviews and stuff and my heart got so full it burst. I remembered my Mom saying that when she had me, she cried and just kept saying “I don’t have to give her back…”. She had held so many babies and had to give them back, but I was hers. I’ve only met 2 guide dogs, and it was so brief, and they weren’t mine, and I fell in love with them. So I just started thinking about when I get mine, I won’t have to give her back. I keep thinking about dog day and I hope I don’t crush her with my embrace hehe!

Oh, if you’re interested, here is the link to the videos and audio. If the sounds of dogs and such is an emotional sound for you, be prepared.

Wow, typing this is making my arms ache, so I think I’ll wrap up and get back to the couch.

24 days! That’s only 3 weeks! What!? How did that happen???

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Filed under Dog Day, Doggy Countdown, Doggy Diaries, GDB, guide dogs, Juno walk, misty eyes, mom, Orientation and Mobility, puppy raisers, sobriety, spoons, weather

Doggy Countdown – Dog the O & M Instructor

So my O & M lessons now are going to focus on how things will be with the dog. I’ve mentioned before how awesome Dave is. Well, from now on, he’s the dog lol! We’re not doing Juno, rather I’m holding onto him from my left side. When I do human guide, I’ve nearly always grabbed on to left arms, but now we’re practicing on holding on with my left arm. So, today we went and worked an intersection, doing human guide, with me giving cues. It went really well! I did fine every time, listening to the surge and telling him when to go. There were quite a few times when I stood for several cycles, because I didn’t get what I considered a good surge. Everytime I heard parallel traffic though, I’d say crap or something lol. He said that was good, because I could tell I’d missed my opportunity. He said a lot of his students just stand there, not knowing what is going on. He talked about how the dog would handle certain things like down curbs and up curbs and ramps. It was great! I’m not freaked out at all and knowing I don’t have to worry about my cane and stuff, left me more free to really concentrate on traffic.

He also talked about how it will be when I get home. We’ll continue with our weekly lessons, but he won’t look my dog in the eye for at least 6 weeks, to make sure me and the dog are good and bonded. Also, he’ll never correct the dog. He said when mapping out new routes, we’d walk it while I heel the dog, so that if we stop and talk, or change things, the dog doesn’t implement that as a route. So he really gave me confidence about how it’ll be when I get back. I’m so blessed to have him. He did the week training at GDB for O & M instructors, and he’s worked with several guide dog teams, so he really knows his stuff.

Again he talked about how I’m the perfect person to use a guide dog, so I’m still feeling really good about it all.

I realized that my countdown has been off. According to my countdown, today should be 32 days, but it’s the 15th, I leave on the 15th, and there’s 31 days in the month, so today makes 31 days left!!!

Oh, and Dave was disappointed when I said I had no cookies. Gamma had asked if I’d give Dave treats. So next week I’m gonna bring those bite sized Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups that are individually wrapped hehehehe!

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Filed under accomplishment, Adjustment to blindness, Doggy Countdown, Doggy Diaries, Gamma, GDB, gratitude, guide dogs, Juno walk, Orientation and Mobility, pooch preparation, silly girl, white cane

Doggy Countdown – Thoughts

I don’t know. Hmmm. What to write. Haha!! Well, I guess I’m just waiting now. The fears and all that have passed and now I’m just waiting. I thought about writing a post from the future pup’s perspective. Might still do that at some point. I still have some stuff to get, like the actual dog bowls, which I’ll go to Petsmart for. And my Hanes t-shirts. And travel shampoo and zip lock bags. And Starbucks instant coffee. Oh and I need to clear off some space on my iPod to put some books on. I’m hoping to get this new series for kids, the first book is called The Uglies. I think I want to take that kind of stuff. I have an iTunes gift card so I can get some audible books, if they’re not freakin abridged. I thought about getting a crime novel, but since I’ve been on the Harry Potter kick and it’s keeping me happy, I figured I should stay in that arena. So I’ve gotta do that.

Carol loaned me her suitcase, so I’ve got that. Really I’m just waiting on the next packet from GDB with my airline info, so I can call the airline to ask my questions. I told B he can accompany me to the gate, so he’s glad about that. Still gotta figure out who’s gonna watch the cats while he’s gone. We had a nice talk on Friday night. He just started asking me questions about the dog. It was nice to be able to answer the things he was curious about, instead of trying to tell him what I think he’d want to know. He sounded a little disconcerted at the mention of tie downs and a possible crate. It’s like he thought that was mean until I explained it. He said anything I might want when I get home, he’ll go get. So that’ll be nice. I also mentioned bringing a towel home that smells like the dog, and he was ok with that. I was afraid he’d think I was nuts lol! I’m gonna get the cats’ smell on it for the dog, and then when it comes home, it’ll smell like the cats and me and the dog. so I think that’ll be good. Dave thought it was a great idea.

Having had a lesson with Dave on Friday really sealed the deal on the fears going away. I’m going to have him here to help me with routes and the dog and what not. We’ll also be focusing on doing stuff like I would with the dog, and less with the cane. He’s good at all that, because he did a month training at GDB for O & M instructors. So he knows all the intricasies of it all. Yay! He’s such a good guy. He refuses to take credit when I do a good job, like doing up and down escalators on the same day. But if I didn’t trust him, if he didn’t speak in ways that make sense to me, I wouldn’t do as well. We’ve only been working together a little over a year. It floors me, how far I’ve come since last November, when I really started the whole blind training thing. Wow.

The sheets felt really nice last night. A little rough, but more washings will take care of that. I didn’t want to get up lol. HOw’s that for a crazy segway?

Going to Gamma’s in a bit. Her niece is really sick in Chicago. She has pancreatic cancer and had surgery on Dec. 23. She came home only 2 days after getting out of ICU, and had to go back because she was vomiting blood. Not good. Gamma is really upset. So I have a feeling it’ll be an emotional day with her today. I’m just glad I get to be there. I was absent in my drinking, and now I get to be there.

I think that’s really about it for now. I’m kinda just coasting until I go, which is much better than freaking out haha!! At night I think about my dog being there next to my bed. In the mornings I think about my dog and feeding and relieving haha! I’m definitely excited and sooo looking forward to school, and getting away.

37 days!!

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Filed under accomplishment, Adjustment to blindness, cats, coffeeholic, Doggy Countdown, Doggy Diaries, Gamma, GDB, iTunes, Orientation and Mobility, pooch preparation, sobriety, white cane

Doggy Countdown – Whatever comes to me

I am exhausted haha. I can’t believe how busy this week has been. It’s not like I did a ton, but definitely more than usual. Just getting back into the swing of things after the holidays I think is making me tired. Having chosen to write a post every day until I go to school, I’m always thinking about when I’ll have time to blog, which has actually been harder than you’d think, to find time. Right now I’m waiting for L to come pick up the old tv, which will be nice to have that out of my way. But she said she’d be here around 3 and it’s now after 3 and I haven’t heard from her. Thought I might as well start writing now in case I get a last minute ride to a meeting like yesterday.

Anyway, wanted to mention the fake service dog. I don’t remember what day it was now. Lish texted me asking if all service dogs have some kind of identification. I told her yes, and she said there was a liar liar at Taco Bell. Apparently someone had a dog in there, telling Taco Bell it was a service dog. I told Lish she ought to say something to the employees, because they just said ok and let the dog in. I guess it was whining and begging for food. Then, I went to the meeting, and someone had a dog in there. We used to have a sign that said only service dogs allowed, but it got lost. So Kevin, knowing my issue, told the leader. She didn’t know what to do and I said I’d announce it, but others heard and told the girl she had to leave. I guess she had a little dog in her freakin purse. She said she had been there before, and that’s what happens when rules aren’t enforced. Some people sounded like they didn’t like it, so when I got called on to share, I worked it in, why we can only have service dogs. Explaining that service dogs are trained, and the handler has legal rights, and non trained dogs can distract the service dog, etc. After the meeting, some guy actually admitted to me that he pets guide dogs, knowing he shouldn’t. I told him don’t. He said he only does it when they’re sitting. I told him don’t. I don’t even have my dog yet and I’m running into silly sighties already.

During the middle of my writing that, L came with some really nice people who took the old tv. The guy was really nice, asking if he could move the chair, then once they had taken the tv out, I heard him ask L to put the chair back so I’d know where it was. Ah, good sightie, good sightie haha! My sensory issues kicked in a little and as soon as they left I jumped in the shower and got dressed before finishing this up. Kevin called and I’m going to the meeting in a bit.

I guess my postal service and FedEx rant will have to wait.

I did escalators with Dave today. I was his first student ever to do up and down in the same day. I wanted to make sure to get those in before I go to school. When he showed me tricks, they were a cinch!

Got my dog bowls and they were the wrong ones. I’ll write about those tomorrow too. Oh, but got my L^2 prints and Carol was here and she said they’re lovely. That will get it’s own post tomorrow.

Tomorrow won’t be a crazy day, at least I hope not. I’m freakin exhausted haha!

39 days? 38? Herm.

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Filed under accomplishment, Doggy Countdown, Doggy Diaries, dogs, fellowship, gratitude, guide dogs, no no sightie, Orientation and Mobility, pooch preparation, rant, spoons