Thursday, January 28, 2010

Day Four at Guide Dogs

Today, was a bit crazymaking if you ask me... and I learned a valuable lesson.

All dog trainers are NOT created equal.

For example...some treat dogs like people...and others treat people like dogs. Our day starts pretty early...(6 am to be exact)...and is scheduled to death. The dogs are "relieved" (taken to potty) approximately every three hours over a 13 hour period. In between, time is taken up with obedience, command drills, orientation and mobilization training, grooming...(well YOU get the idea)...and the instructors care more about the dog's poo than yours. While there lots of staff services, there ARE the personal responsibilities of dressing, bathing and keeping one's room clean, which ALL, apparently, are supposed to be crammed in between being drilled on doggie ethics, by canine trainers who think they are Socratic law professors.

Mind you, much of the information they impart is mighty pertinent to one's survival. We are bussed into central Marin twice daily to the Gude Dog Sattelite Training Center, to learn how to read traffic patterns, cross busy streets safely, maneuver about obstacles deftly with our dogs, and basically act as a partner with a highly trained animal.

The only difficulty is that so much empasis is focused on the animal...that we as people seem to fade into the background in the estimation of these dog-focused instructors.

The only saving grace is the dogs themselves...who offer us their wet, friendly noses...their furry, wiggly butts for scratching, their unwavering loyalty and dilligence, and their clear, earnest eyes, that look up at us as if we're the only ones in the world.

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