It is very late and I don’t know how I am going to do all of the things that need to be done. Every time I sit down to do something important, I become easily distracted.
Today was relatively easy. Obedience went extremely well with all the toys squeaked, balls thrown, treats tossed, and dogs running about while I gave Treble commands. There was a noticeable difference in her attitude and willingness to follow commands. I felt very good about today’s session.
After breakfast, our final report was read and Treble and I received positive remarks and some things to continue to work on. My instructor was excellent and I learned so much from her. Treble and I were well matched!
We practiced going through airport security. The way that I like to do it, which consequently lines up with the way the school teaches it, is to put the dog on a long leash and go through the metal detector. The dog should be sitting at the entrance of the detector. Then once you are through, call the dog to your side. When they go through, the harness will make the metal detector go off and then said puppy gets the pat down. It works like clockwork, but sometimes TSA employees don’t know the process or may ask to hold your dog. At no time will my dog be outside of my control, which means that no, they don’t get to hold her leash.
Then we practiced getting the dog in the perfect position for being on the airplane. I have always struggled with this, but ideally, if not in the bulkhead section, their butts should be beneath the seat in front of me and their head facing me. I have long legs so it can feel chaotic. I plan on having dog treats for my one-time bribery of Little Miss Trebsie.
We worked on getting in and out of cars. Treble sometimes needs a little boost, but I think the best bet will be for me to remove her harness before getting in to a vehicle, which seems like a pain in the butt, but I’ll do it. The handle is a long one and it’s difficult for long legs and long handle to reside in the same place.
I spent some time doing laundry and packing up half of what I need, but I somehow need to figure out how an eight pound bag of dog food is going to get packed in to my suitcase. I’m trying not to stress out. I’ll try to do a little more packing before I head to bed.
After dinner, we had dog massage training. I already know how to do this, and this is my least favorite part of class. I think it’s a lot to ask to have 12 students and 12 dogs sitting on a floor. Some dogs handle it better than others, but it feels very chaotic. Massage itself is extremely beneficial to dogs, but I really dislike the logistics. This also may have a lot to do with the fact that my 2nd guide dog ran out of the session, leading eleven other dogs to short lived freedom, but who’s asking anyway? It was about eight years ago but it definitely colored my experience.
Tomorrow is graduation and that is exciting. The culmination of hard work will pay off. We got our going home packets that included a whole lot of information, including Treble’s puppy raiser. I really hope she is able to come to the graduation. I want to meet her and have a great conversation with her. I want to profusely thank her for raising and then returning such a beautiful, vibrant, amazing, incredible, sassy, stubborn, cuddly, focused, sweet guide dog. I hope that she is extremely proud of herself.
before I close, I want to reiterate that this experience has been amazing. Being able to share the good and bad moments has helped me put so much in to perspective.
I want to make it very clear that this experience is solely my own. I cannot speak for anyone else. There are so many experiences that can happen when one goes to guide dog school. Sometimes, people go home without a dog because it just didn’t work out. Sometimes, the first match doesn’t work during week one and there needs to be a dog switch. I have never had that happen, but it can take place. I have never participated in the Action program, which is a program that has someone in class for two weeks and then receive home training. I have never home trained with a dog before, and so that experience would be very different. I have only ever attended guide dog schools, rather than owner train a dog. I have attended two guide dog schools in my life, but there are others whose philosophies and training methods would mean that the outcome would reshape the experience in a new way. People often think that one size fits all, when it comes to getting a guide dog but that is not the case.
I can only speak for me, my experiences, and what I have learned. I am not perfect, but this partnership is going to be sound. I can feel it.
Breakfast: bacon and cheese sandwich
Lunch: Grilled Cheese sandwich
Dinner: fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, and delicious red velvet cookies that one of my classmates made. I ate some of the batter and I’m still here! You can’t take this raw cookie dough away from me!