May 5th, 2008

Fiona and me in the snow

More doggie fun

I don't think I've been this tired or achy since I last came to The Seeing Eye. My feet hurt, my legs hurt, and my joints are stiff. I'm not complaining, because this pain, this discomfort, is important. It's something that I can refer to as progress. I know for one thing, Velvet's currently laying on her mat fast asleep, and I'm not too far behind her. This entry won't be long, because it's late, and because I keep getting phone calls from people I want to talk to. It seems every time I lay down to try to sleep, my phone rings, and I'm up another half an hour. So I'll write a more complete entry tomorrow.

Today went well. We started the Elm Street Route which, as I said previously, wasn't too hard for me. It's got some difficult intersections with somewhat unpredictable traffic patterns, but otherwise, it's easily memorizable. We did it twice today, and we'll do it two more times before soloing on Wednesday morning. On my first trip, I got about three traffic checks which were all unscripted, and which Velvet handled really well. One idiot pulled in front of me, blinkers off, and Velvet stopped before Jim even saw her pull across. Fun stuff. After those Elm Street trips, we retrains start the real fun of training ... freelance. Freelance is where we get to do things like working in stores, finding doors and exits, going into New York City, riding busses and trains, and that kind of thing. These are things that you generally plan to do in your daily routine, and they really test how your dog will do in those situations and teach you how to work your dog in them as well.

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We've got orientation and mobility instructors coming here tomorrow to experience The Seeing Eye and it's training process. They're all basically learning how to be O&M instructors--to teach blind people how to get around using various aids like canes--and The Seeing Eye pays for their trips and for them to be able to work with a dog. They asked me bo be one of the three retrains that will be aon a panel to answer questions from these soon-to-be teachers. I'm kind of excited actually, and will be looking forward to hearing what they all have to say. We also get to have lunch and dinner with them as well, so perhaps we'll get to know them a bit before they leave on Wednesday afternoon.

Well, I've written much more than I had planned, so I'm headed to bed. Tomorrow, I'll write about other random facts and observations I've had with my training. I'll also try to explain just how I can pick up after my dog. It's fascinating, and I promise, won't be that gross. I also want to rant about people who use their cel phones and cut you off while you're trying to do a route. So all of those things and more tomorrow, if I can survive waking up for park time tomorrow morning.

And, to annoy those who like being annoyed, and to anhunger those who wish they were eating what I ate today ...
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