Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Day Seventeen at Guide Dogs

Another one of us got sent home without their dog.

This was especially wrenching, because it is only 48 hours from graduation. The Brooklynite cum San Franciscan I spoke of earlier and his dog, Tiki...Burgess' kennel romance. By the gentleman's own admission, he was poor in guidework technique...If one does'nt have that it's a a danger to the dog and to you. He'd have benefitted from the four-week course, which is no longer offered, in favor of this three-week intensified program. This wonderful man...a Vietnam vet, and husband...needed more time. Unfortunately as he is starting a new job in three weeks, time just isn't there. In this case, instructors and students were shedding tears over this sad occurrence. The scene of his classmates and teachers crowding his dorm doorway to hug him was truly moving.

Tomorrow is exit interviews, where we as students will clinically asses our time here, and this new program they've instituted. In my opinion the staff here are outstanding. The program is rigorous but thorough, but two things trouble me. One is the fact that the instructors have a tendency to be snippy and condescending at certain junctures, a fact that I was warned about, by a former graduate whom I met by chance on a bus in Seattle. The second thing is far more disturbing. There are NO African-American persons on staff at this facility. I'm told, that this school has been in operation since 1942. Every day, since I've been training here, I've lunched with a different person from a different department of this school...sometimes two....and not one of them is black. The only people of color employed here are latino, and they are relegated to kitchen and household staff.

A fact that I will mention.

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