Jan. 10th, 2011

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I just wanted to come in and report that I have made it safely to Guiding Eyes. The drive up yesterday went as expected, and I enjoyed last night spent with the family who drove me up here. We went to Applebee's for dinner as Liv's last work as a guide, and my mom remembers that we went to the same restaurant when she picked me up at the airport in Ithaca when I got Liv in the first place. I had forgotten that fact. Talk about full-circle!

I have been at the school since around 10:30 or so, after an entirely over-priced, not-so-good breakfast at the hotel. Ah well. The food here will make up for it 100-fold, so it works out. I 100% stand by my affirmation that this school and the people who work here are fantastic. The class instructors are Karen and Kat, with Melinda as the class supervisor. Graham is doing ACTION, as heard from Dale when we met up a short time ago. I guess it pays to be driven to the school by staff members, you get first-hand knowledge. No matter, though, I wouldn't have had it any other way. I am super appreciative of the fact that my family drove me up here, I really am.

I turned Olivia over to the instructors not so long ago, and it feels really strange at this time not having a dog. I honestly think that moment is one of the hardest moments a person can go through ever. I was able to keep her leash, and unlike last time, I'm not going to use it for any other dog. That leash is hers. I miss that dog already, even though I am positive I will be able to see her again once she is settled in her new home. LivDog, I love you. You be a good dog and remember all of the rules, okay? I know you're probably a little confused now, but you will be in your new home on Friday, with the amazing family who raised you to be the good dog that you are, and there won't be any more moving around here and there and everywhere. This isn't 'goodbye,' it's only 'see you later'.

I'm free until around four, when we will have the meet-and-greet in the Camble Lounge -- I mean Alumni Hall, (It's going to be a day or so until that one sinks in, I do believe), with everyone in the class. Students are trickleing in little by little. Those I have met thus far seem very nice. I'm looking forward to getting to know everyone in the class and seeing what the dynamic will be.

The renovations that were done to the school are amazing! I am in room 4, which is in the older wing of rooms. The number to my room, should anyone want to call, is (914) 930-3374. I don't remember how to check messages yet, but if I don't answer, feel free to leave one, and I will definitely appreciate it and call back when I can.

I think that's about all for now. I can't think of anything else, at any rate. I will write more soon. Take care, and thanks for reading.
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The rest of today has gone well enough. I'm currently somewhat tired, but not tired enough yet that I think I could sleep. It probably doesn't help that I drank a cup of coffee earlier, either. I had wanted tea, but apparently wasn't fast enough with the coffee machine, (that coffee machine, by the way, is amaaaaaaazing!), and the machine spit out a cup of coffee instead. Ah well...it happens. In the meantime, I can write another update!

The meet-and-greet went fine. Most of the class is comprised of retrains, I think only four of the twelve being rookies, or those receiving their first guides. The East Coast is the geographic region most represented. The West Coast has no representation, the Midwest has some, (there are four people who are in Illinois - I count myself among those as I reside there at present), and we even have a student from Vienna, Austria. Said student came with an interpreter to help if necessary, but his English is very good as far as I am concerned. The majority of the class are older people, but January isn't really a common month for younger students, I don't think. The ratio of retrains probably isn't all that uncommon, either, given the month.

Before I go any further, I'll just get it out of the way: food. Lunch was butternut squash soup and a coldcut sandwich. I opted for both. Dinner was chicken parm over spaghetti with garlic bread, in which I also partook. I opted for water as my drink for lunch and iced tea as the drink of choice for dinner. I think the main breakfast food for tomorrow will be eggs and bacon, at least according to the menu that I found laying on the table in the coffee room.

After dinner, we had our first lecture. We went over equipment and were issued our leashes. We will be given the rest of it at a later date. the announced firedrill happened after that, and then we had chill time. I explored the building to become more familiar with it, (upstairs and down - I like the new upstairs with the game room and exercise room, and the tech lab is awesome! I love what they did with it!), even making a stop in what is known as the old living room. That room really is fantastic as far as the energy and furniture go. There is a nice, very comfortable couch in there! It's perhaps a bit too comfortable... During last class, that was my hiding spot. There were quite a few nights when I could be found up there, relaxing after lecture. It's quiet, which works. Of course I just put all of that out in a public entry, so maybe I need to go find a new hiding spot now? Suggestions? Ah well... I'm feeling confident about how things are laid out, which can only be viewed as a good thing.

A few of us ended up in the coffee room and hung out for awhile, before we split up and now I'm back here, in my room, writing this. Wake-up comes at 6:00AM tomorrow. Obedience is between then and 7:15, at which point breakfast happens. We then load up in the vans and head to White Plains for Juno walks and such. I'm not too sure what all else happens, but dinner and lecture are in there somewhere I'm sure. I'll update as things happen. If anyone has questions or comments, feel free to leave them. I really appreciate those of you taking the time to read. I hope that this is informative and helpful in getting an inside look at what guide dog training is like. This is only one person's perspective, though, .

I'm going to go try and wind down and sleep. I'm not really sure what I'm feeling as far as emotions or mood are concerned now, although I'm thinking that my emotions have yet to catch up with what is happening. It will all be okay, though, of that I am positive. It's just hard not to think of LivDog sometimes, even though I know she's fine. I think it has to do with caring for her for the past seven years, and not having that responsibility anymore, but still thinking that you have it and wanting to be sure things are okay. It will be a major relief on Friday when I get the call/e-mail informing me that she is safely with her puppy raisers. Have I mentioned that this school and the people here are fantastic? More tomorrow.


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