The dog handling session was pretty interesting. In our little group, we met three dogs: a yellow lab, a golden retriever, and a German shepherd. I was surprised at how well I was able to handle the dogs, even the more high strung ones. It was also helpful for me to meet these dogs because it got me more excited and warmed up to the idea that I would be getting a dog tomorrow. I still have moments where I think back on my time with Fiona and wish she would live forever and be able to work forever. Sometimes I worry about how the new dog will work, how I'll get along with him or her, how we'll interact. I worry that I'll compare him or her to Fiona, that I won't give her a fair chance to succeed as my guide. Meeting these three dogs helped me immensely. We didn't get to find out their names--mostly because my instructor had a possibility of placing these dogs into our class, and names here are top secret things only to be revealed the Monday after getting here.
Tonight was a "wine and cheese" social event. I spent part of my time playing on the extremely out of tune piano, but then couldn't stand it anymore and just sat down. Jose and Alfredo, two of the Spanish-speaking students sat by me, and once they found out that I could marginally speak Spanish, we had a great time chatting. It's really been neat to have these Spanish-speakers in class because not only do I get to remember Spanish, but they get to practice English as well. It's also neat to see how the training process works for these Spanish speakers, and it will be extra interesting to see how those students interact with their dogs.
The secret is out now. People know that I am pretty tech savvy, and that I have Windows Vista. So, since I like helping people, I was able to set up two laptops to work with the wireless internet here. I don't mind helping people at all with their computer problems ... I just hope they don't call me at 2 A.M. or something to ask for help. You never know, stranger things have happened :). I'm just glad I can help people out.
It's late now, mostly due to the fact that I stayed up and talked trash with one of the instructors and another guy in class (not my class), so I'm tired, and we're going to be required to get up (sleeping in mind you) until 6. I'd planned to go to bed earlyt, but since I'm actually doing something here unlike what I've been doing at home, I tend to stay up later.
Before I go though, I keep talking about classes and instructors. Basically, each class consists of between 17 and 24 students. Our class has 22 students. There are, I think, around five instructors, and each of those instructors have a number of students. My instructor Jim has four students, mostly so that he can train us all efficiently and make sure that he can spend enough quality time with all of us. Right now, we've been hanging out mostly with our groups at meals and obviously for trips, but we'll be shuffled around later on this week, so we'll get to know more people more quickly. I'm starting to get to know some voices, but since we're all blind dudes and dudettes, we tend to always identify ourselves so as to not cause confusion.
Tomorrow, we're going on the final Juneau walk to fine tune the selection of our dogs. I'm not putting any restriction on my instructor regarding breed, gender, or size of the dog. I want Jim to pick a dog for me that will help me stay safe and happy. If that dog is a German Shepherd, and it matches with my safety restrictions, maily being able to walk slower than warp speed so that I can react not break something, then I don't care.
After lunch, we'll hang out in our rooms for what will seem an eternity. Then we'll be introduced to our partners. Tonight's going to be like Christmas Eve, I probably won't sleep for wondering who this new dog will be. Soon enough, soon enough.
Breakfast: mushroom omelette, orange juice
Lunch: beef medallions with red wine sauce, zucchini with garlic, and oatmeal raisin bars for dessert
Dinner: Lentil soup, macaroni Chipoltle chili and cheese, glazed carrots, and pecan pie for dessert. For the first time, I didn't eat dessert for dinner. What's wrong with me.
I write these things first, to make you all hungry. Second, so I can figure out if things repeat the next time I come here. Third, because I'm weird and write about such boring and nundane things as gourmet food served at a dog guide school.