Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My Dee Girl

This is International Assistance Dog week, so I thought I'd write about my current guide Dee. As I've written before, I was in a better headspace and had been anticipating my new guide since I had been dogless for 9 months. Here I am posting the journals from our first few days together.
Even though it says it is 10:14 pm, it feels like 1:14 am because of the three-hour time difference between east and west coast. I left my house at 11:10 am east coast time. My cab driver got lost for at least a half hour before she found the airport. No problems going through security. I hate hate hate small planes!!! My first flight was through Johnstown Pa. I had a six-hour flight from D.C. to Portland. I spent the time alternating between reading Princess in Training and listening to happy, upbeat music on my Ipod. Then, I had a 40-minute ride to Borring, with Doug and Marsha, two GDB volunteers. Kelly, the RA, with her 10-year-old guide July, oriented me to the dorm. Breakfast is at 7:30 tomorrow. I’m sleeping till 6:45 or so and getting a shower. I want one now, but that would require energy and movement, which I definitely don’t have right now. I haven’t even set up my computer or the wireless network, which tells you how tired I really am since that is usually one of the first thins I do in a new place. More tomorrow.

November 16, 2009 9:22 AM
I woke up at five this morning. My body is still on Eastern time and thought it was time to get up for school. My phone, computer, and Braillenote all had different times. My roommate Holly texted me this morning, and I had to ask her what time it was in Bloomsburg so I could appropriately set my stuff three hours back. This morning we had the managing your dog, retrain, praise and correction, and obedience lectures. Oh, for breakfast we had scrambled eggs, hash browns, apple slices, and toast. We have juno walks soon. I’m having trouble keeping everyone straight. There are two men and four, counting me, females in the class. The instructors are Sue Strong, Michelle, and Becky. There is also Kelly, Erin, the training specialist; Su Jung, an intern from San Fransisco University, and Scott, the dorm manager. Now, I’m waiting to go on my juno walk and learning how to put the harness on weeler, a stuffed dog on a skateboard.

10:36 am
We’re having obedience practice. Juno sit,, check, good juno. Juno stay. The leash in the heal grip in the middle of the leash. When the leash is moved to the right hand, the palm of the left hand faces the dog’s nose and juno stay. Walk slowly towards the end of the leash, which is still in the right hand. After the sit stay and the hitchhiker grip, thumb pointed up and fingers wrapped around the leash, it’s juno heal, where the dog comes to the left side of the body with its head at your knee. Then, we did sit/down. Sit is three pats and a happy sit. Down is the hitchhiker grip then a slow motion with your hand sideways. We also got our treat pouches; they are square with a magnetic closure. We bring the treat smoothly and quickly over to the dog’s nose.
The left door entrance or exit is different here than at TSE. At TSE, we put our backs against the door, push it open that way, and bring the dog in front of us. GDB’s way is to switch the leash to the right hand, juno over here happy voice pats, the dog comes to the right side, juno wait, open the door. Let the dog go inside first at the end of the leash. Juno let’s go! My corrections are too hard, and I had to practice softer ones and of course my tone of voice.

1:13 pm
Lunch was garlic/potato soup with homemade bread.
2:04 pm
I know the names!!! There is a Flute, Artie, Rora, Ogden, and Lincoln. I’ll tell mine later when I get it. Oh my God, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god!!!!! I’m soooooo nervous and excited and happy all at the same time. I can’t wait to meet this dog!!!!

8:59 pm
I met her!!! Her name is Dee, and she’s a 55-pound black lab. Her birthday is Jan. 2, 2008, and she eats 1.5 cups of food in the morning and 1 cup at night. She is 23 inches at the shoulder, and she was issued with a martingale, Thank God!!! She reminds me of Valerie with her short body and very short neck. I love her already. She’s adorable. She has been sniffing my shirt and hands and headband. She’s done awesomely at staying still. I am teaching her to lie across my chair longways like her head on the right side and her butt to the left. She stayed like this for a half hour with only two or three reminders of Dee down.
I’m still trying to keep the schedule straight.
Tomorrow is:
7:00 feed water relieve
7:30 breakfast
8:15 instructor’s visitors center obedience
Guidework and juno
Greshim guidework practice
Relieve then water
12:30 lunch
1:30 discussion room street crossing
Destination route in greshim
4:30 FWR
5:30 dinner
7:00 water
Orientation and route learning lecture review
8:30 relieve

November 17, 2009 8:33 am
She peed and pooped at the afternoon feed time and this morning. Nothing at the 8:30 time. We just did dog distraction obedience with a sheltie. She sniffed a little but wasn’t uncontrollably distracted like Valerie orr Zorro. We go to Greshim to work the dogs for the first time today, and I’m soooo excited.
November 19, 2009 7:24 am
I'm writing this quickly before breakfast. I absolutely love working Dee. She moves quickly, with purpose. She's sometimes stopping with no reason but an encouraging hopp up seems to do the trick. Her curb approaches surprise me; you know how people run and slide into home base? That's what they feel like. She also steps out when I say forward; with Valerie and zorro it took a few steps to get that fast pace. Not Dee, once forward is said, it's let's go!!! She's soooo smart. I taught her under the desk, and after doing it only two times, she automatically goes under once i pull out the chair. We're still working on sit. She's having trouble sitting in the hallway or on the bus, but I think she'll get it.
Dinner yesterday was roasted chicken with dijon sauce, greenbeans, potatoes, and a roll. I'm so hungry!!!

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