Jan. 19th, 2011

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Pathetic subject, I know, but it is what it is. Today went very well. It was hard getting up after having a much-needed and long-overdue conversation with a good friend that lasted until late, (my definition of 'late' has changed dramatically over the past six months or so; in truth, we probably got done around 11:30PM or so Eastern), but coffee soon fixed my 'not-awake' state. Full class obedience was fine and there were no incidents of not being obedient. It's funny: at dinner, one of the classmates at my table mentioned that his dog had finally started 'obediating'. It had apparently been a rough few days for him in that regard. I thought that word was fantastic and deserved mention in the blog. Consider it mentioned, then.

The morning route I went out on as a single. Said route consisted of a multitude of different kinds of intersections, some long stretches where we could just fly, and obstacles in the form of snow mounds and puddles. Dalton was a champ throughout all of it. There were a few minor things, said things being so minor that I can't really think of what they were now. He handled the one intersection, )two turning lanes to the left, a straight crossing and two turning lanes to the right, I think, all bundled into one intersection - three for the price of one, I guess?) like it wasn't anything at all. I'm serious. I told him 'forward', and the next thing I knew, I was across the street, no problem. This gives me hope that CrazyIntersection at school will, indeed, be surmountable. I do believe that there were also a few traffic checks, which also posed no problem for us. There were puddles on the ground due to the crazy weather we have been having, and he treated them like obstacles, slowing down considerably to go through or past them. Snow mounds were also seen as obstacles. There were even some either in the streets or on the curbs, and so he would at times have to pull me around a mound and then take initiative to get us back on course. It really was amazing to see.

The afternoon route was a double, and it, too, went well. More of the same things were experienced on this route as in the morning, and again, no major problems. His pace picked up somewhat in the afternoon from what I can remember in comparison to the morning. We, (the three ACTION students), returned to the school around 3:00, and so had some chill time before 4:00 feed/water/park. Dalton spent some of that time having fun running around with his bone. He would come to me and drop it at my feet, wanting me to throw it, which I would do. This occurred for several repetitions.

Food today was eggs and toast for breakfast with coffee, a ham, salami and cheese sandwich for lunch with coffee, and tortelini for dinner with no drink at all for whatever reason.

There was no lecture tonight, as puppy class is taking place in Alumni Hall. I actually went in and observed for a little while. It was interesting and very valuable to see what the puppies go through on their way to becoming guide dog canidates. There were stations set up with hula hoops and toys, and the puppies would have to practice different kinds of stays - sit stay, down stay, sdanding still - with the toys being thrown and hoops being put over them and around them and such. When I left, the puppies were doing an exercise with the booties. The raisers first touched the booties to different parts of the puppies bodies. After that, the booties were touched to the puppies toes and then put halfway on their paws. As I said, I really enjoyed it. The older puppy class was first, (there were Labs and Shepards both), and then a class of younger puppies will be happening later on. I will go back in a little while to see if I can't observe that one also.

My trip back to DeKalb has been delayed a day, and so I will leave here on Saturday instead. I am not sure of the exact time that my flight lands, but it is a direct flight into O'Hare. I will be sure and find out times and such tomorrow. One cool thing about staying the extra day is that we get more training, and also get to be in the class photo that will be taken which would not have happened otherwise. Once again, the universe provides.

Oh, one more thing, and I only mention it to mention it: a second dog switch took place in our class. The handler is seeming to do well with a new dog, though, which is all that counts. As I think I mentioned previously, this could have happened to any one of us. If I didn't mention it, I feel that I would be leaving out a detail that does sometimes happen, and I want people to get as full an experience from my blog as possible.

I also forgot to mention regarding yesterday's entry abut the vet visit: didn't get to see Dr. Sandler while there, but Dr. Brown did the examination, and I really like her. She was very nice, thorough and kind and willing to explain anything and answer any question I had. I believe she is a new vet, unless I am wrong, which I could be.

Answers to some questions that people asked me: GEB is currently feeding IAMS food, and my field rep will be John Dettloff. He called me today, and we are all set to begin training in DeKalb on Monday.

That brings me to the end of this entry. I'm off to relax and wind down. Exhaustion and sleep deprivation are making themselves very well known as of late. It will take some adjustment, (both mentally and physically), in returning to school and figuring out a routine with Dalton, but I'll get through it. I have learned that that's just one of the side effects of class. It's all good, though. These things take time, and patience and perseverance will pay off in the end. At least I would like to think so. An interesting side note: writing daily in my blog has gotten me in the frame of mind to do it more often. It is my hope that I will continue to write more frequently, even after training is over. Grad school will not get in the way of that. Thanks for reading, and more tomorrow.


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January 2012

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