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.
We had a meeting tonight on dog food. As do most of the lectures, we tend to go where the questions lead us, so we talked about types of food, the good and bad dog toys, and various other things. I don't think I was a bad dog handler or owner with Fiona, but after tonight, I really felt guilty about doing some things that I did with Fiona. For one, I let her gain weight while I worked her. I didn't know that I could change food quantities that I could give her, and I didn't think to change her to a less active and therefore low calory version of the food she's on now. I can't do anything about it now, and I know they teach us these things every time for a reason--to remind us of how to properly feed and care for our dogs--but it's still somewhat discouraging to know that you screwed up for so long and didn't even know it. I'm definitely learning lots of things--in some cases more than I learned in my previous class--so I guess that's one good thing. I'll tell you, after telling us all of the ways that various toys were bad, or playing methods were bad, or other various ways we could possibly hurt our dogs, I was considering plunging off of the nearest cliff :). Seriously though and most importantly, I learned that all of these guidelines that we learned are important and crucial, but that every dog is different, and every handler handles his or her dog different, so I plan on filing these things away in my mind, and seeing how she does at home. There's one things I never will do after hearing the instructor tall, and that is give my dog pigs ears, rawhide, or raw bones. Lacerated innards and trips to the emergency vet are not something I want to ever have to deal with. I never gave Fiona raw bones or rawhide, but I gave her pigs ears, and I can see the poinst of why I probably won't give Velvet them, especially after her descriptions. Yuck.
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 ...
Silver dollar pancakes and sausage
An open face cheese sandwich with vegetables and pesto, and a salami sandwich which I had. The open face seemed a bit too high brow for me and I wanted something I could really and truly enjoy. We also had pasta salad which was tasty. Dessert was a hot fudge sundae.
Dinner was ... get ready for this ... Seared scallops on a bed of fetachini (spelling probably wrong) with some tasty sauce. The scallops were mmmmmmmm, that's all I can say but mmmmm.
Dessert was cherry crumble.
The food is great here, but I can't wait to have an old fashioned burger or fried chicken or something. Something so unhealthy, you know it's unhealthy. Not something gourmet that's disguised into thinking it's healthy for you just because it's got a fancy name. Oh well, I should look back on this whole experience and wish I was having seared scallops again, so I'll stop complaining.