Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Day Two at Guide Dogs

Today is like Christmas Eve for the first timers like me. We get to meet our dogs tomorrow!!!

Everyone swears they won't be able to sleep tonight, what with all the anticipation. I'm in a group of eight diverse people...three ladies and five gentlemen, and we range in age from 23 to 53....a thirty-year span...yet we all are feeling the same thing. The day was full of a lot of serious work and non-serious laughter, starting at 6 am, no less. There's a kennel full of dogs on the premises, being trained just like we are....puppies too. Our morning was taken up with basic obiedience work with several dogs, so that we got a feel for the personalities and behaviours of different ones. It only made us more curious as to what our particular dogs will be like.

We had lunch with a charming woman who is the CEO of the entire works. She took great care in getting to know each one of us, as does the entire staff here. There's something about the colletion of people and dogs that makes the day just fly by. After lunch, we were driven into the town of San Rafael, to do mobilization work on the streets, with the instructors acting as dogs. San Rafael is a lot like Queen Anne Hill. Homes nestled into steep hills, busy thoroughfares, lots of little shops and folks walking about. Since I have some minimal sight, I decided to do part of my training blindfolded, so I could understand the challenges of those in our group who are completely blind. Like all blind folks, we all have different levels of, and reasons for, our disability. Maladies, diseases, and sudden accidents are the cause. Most peolpe don't realize that there are as many reasons and kinds of blindness as there are individuals who struggle with it. One fellow in our group has a little telescope 'round his neck that he uses to focus in on this or that. In my case, it's my purple aviator shades that has everyone's attention. Another individual's tattoos are a source of interest. It's as if we are each a conversation piece in our own way.

The REAL conversation of tonight however, is the anticipation of at last, being partnered with our dog....our dear loving companion...

and we're all like children about it.

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