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I, (and Dalton - of course!), am, as of time of writing, safely back in my house at school. The trip yesterday turned out well. I had actually packed most of my things on Friday night, after doing laundry, and so the last-minute Saturday morning packing job took no time at all. Breakfast was a rather sad affair as it was my last with the class. I was very touched in that the class sang Happy Birthday to Dalton as his Birthday is today and I wouldn't be in class to celebrate it. I said the necessary goodbyes to instructors and classmates and then was off to LeGuardia.

Miranda from the Special Needs department drove me, and I enjoyed getting to know her as I don't think I had before. We arrived at the airport and started to check in, only to realize that there are two Delta terminals and we were at the wrong one. We then had to take a shuttle from that terminal to the correct one. Even before getting to the shuttle, Dalton encountered an escolator and a revolving door. How's that for your first day on the job, and not even being on the plane yet? He handled everything like a champ, though. When we arrived at the shuttle, the driver first asked if my dog could fit in the trunk. Uh...how about no, not at all? Who puts a living thing in a trunk! Seriously! Once we arrived at the correct terminal, I completed check-in and went through security. The only thing I was asked is whether I could take my dog's leash off. Again...how about no? People sometimes!

Dalton and I waited at the gate to board, and he did very well. Once on the plane, he was excellent and didn't have any problem at all with it. I was expecting slight hesitation, but none of that at all. The plane ride was fine, and then a friend met me at O'Hare. Major props and much roommate love to [livejournal.com profile] c_for_chaos in finding me a ride straight back from the airport! It's totally appreciated! I think it helped that Dalton and my roommate's guide dog met at the airport, in that it was neutral territory. Dalton let out one single bark, but after that was fine. I wasn't worried about it. After all, it was a new place, and I'm sure he was somewhat stressed.

I came back to the house yesterday and just relaxed. I looked through the mail that had accumulated while I was gone, and there were a surprising number of communications from Social Security. There is a slight issue as far as that is concerned, but at least I don't owe them money, which is the most positive thing ever. It would be ten trillion times more stressful if that were the case. I will call the local office tomorrow and hopefully get things straightened out.

My roommate came back in the evening from a day in Chicago. She and I sat and talked for awhile and introduced our dogs. The dogs did fine, and the catch-up time was very crucial. We decided to order food from a local restaurant for dinner. I'm not sure how her meal turned out, but I ordered a grilled cheese, and what I got was the saddest "grilled cheese" in the universe, if it can even be called that. I don't even think it was grilled! The bread was still soft! It was more like warmed bread with cheese in the middle of it. It wasn't even melted all the say. Sad sad times for sure! I miss the grilled cheese at Guiding Eyes. They know how to make it right!It's funny, the kitchen staff had wanted to know if I wanted them to make me anything to take with me yesterday, but as I was getting on an airplane, I didn't get anything. If not, though, I definitely would have! On top of the sad grilled cheese, we had made French fries in the oven, and the smoke alarm started going off! No clue... It wasn't like anything was really smoking. I'm going to take the racks out of the oven and clean them. Welcome home, I guess.

Dalton seems to be adjusting well to the new environment. One of the first things he found when he came in the house yesterday was the toy box. I was amused. I will use this day to relax, and then will start working him tomorrow. The field rep who will work with me this week is coming tomorrow morning, so that helps, too. I may make a Walmart run later as I could use some groceries and things. Reading for class should happen today, too. I also have a conference call to attend, but that isn't until 6:00. Speaking of time: I am still on Eastern time, and it's driving me slightly crazy. Going out East isn't a problem, but coming back is, for whatever reason, and it never fails. I was up around 5:00 this morning, I assume thinking it was 6:00. Oh well. I hope I can adjust soon. It usually takes a week or so. Classes this week should be interesting. They end around twenty to nine, and if I think that it's twenty to ten... One last thing: today is Dalton's second Birthday. I parked/fed/watered him when I got up this morning, and then came back upstairs, and he proceeded to go back into his crate. He's allowed to be lazy on his Birthday if he wants. Speaking of crates: I think I am going to have to get a new one as the one I have here seems a little small for him. He goes in regardless, though.

That's all I can think of for this entry. More later, tomorrow for sure.
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Today was full of activity from the moment of 6:00 AM park/feed/water/park until current time of writing. It snowed some here, and so we class stayed at the Yorktown campus for daily activities. Obedience and distraction practice this morning went well. Said distraction was actually two dogs which the instructors enticed into playing in Alumni Hall. After breakfast, (more on food later), we had a free-for-all in terms of all of the dogs getting to free play in Alumni Hall together. We practiced off-leash recalls, and Dalton did really well with that. He also did very well in having fun playing with the other dogs, which included lots of running around. At one point, I think he was even leading the pack. After doggie playtime, we practiced targeting with the Clicker, which was also a fun exercise for him. Shortly after that, we three ACTION students headed to the Jefferson Valley mall with Graham to do some indoor work. When we got back to the school, lunch was had, and then photos. As ACTION students, we normally wouldn't be in the class picture, but since our departures were put off for another day, (I have a flight out of Le Guardia tomorrow that lands into O'Hare around 12:30 or so Central time), we were able to make that happen. I actually do remember getting a class picture from last time and not seeing me in it, which would explain why. I'm not sure if I knew at the time that I wouldn't be in it, although I must have, because you think I would remember it if I was. Fried brain, anyone?

After the class photos, we took individual photos of ourselves and our dogs and then any other special photos we might want. The environment was, I think, somewhat stressful for the dogs for whatever reason, but Dalton did great. Getting him to sit still for the pictures was somewhat of a challenge, (he kept moving back when we wanted him more in the front of things), but he did finally cooperate, photos were taken and all ended well. I got two special photos, one of myself, Dalton and the ACTION instructor, and another of all three ACTION students, dogs and instructor. I hope they turn out well.

After photos, we had the vet lecture. The rest of the class also had vet physicals for their dogs during the time people were getting photos. That lecture went well, with the customary information being provided and some questions being asked. Dinner was then had, and then lecture, except that ACTION students weren't required to go, as the lecture was on country travel and we had done that already, (last night, in fact). I must tell you that it did seem weird not having to go to lecture.

Food for today was a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich for breakfast, (with coffee), lunch was supposed to be some kind of sandwich, (ask anyone and they will tell you that lunch was the most confusing meal as far as finding out what it was), except it didn't turn out to be a sandwich; something about the bread order not coming in? No clue... I was served some kind of pasta dish thing, which I didn't eat, because...well, I just didn't eat it. Dinner was gumbo with velvet cake and tiramisu. I chose the tiramisu.

I am now doing laundry, (it's in the dryer), and am about to go take my dog to play for awhile. Tomorrow will be a day of travel. I wasn't able to land a ride straight from the airport, and I'm not exactly sure when I'll get home, but the fact that I will is all that matters. It was funny: I wanted to practice revolving doors with my dog, just because of his length; I knew how to do it. One of the instructors, Karen, helped me with it, and it was fine. He had no problems. When we were leaving the Campbell Lounge--I mean Alumni Hall--I told him "to the door", and he took me to both corners of the room with toy baskets before we got to the door. Silly boy! I guess that is his way of saying, "I want to play, Mom!" I shall go oblige him. Oh yes, I got my take-home packet today, and I assume information for the puppy raisers is in there, so I will figure out what that is and be in touch soon. As tomorrow is a travel day, I might not post an entry, or I may post just to say that I made it home, if anything at all. Entries will resume on perhaps Sunday, but definitely Monday, as I will meet with the field rep then for the next week. Take care all, more soon.

Again, I am so glad that people have gotten what they have from this blog. I can assure you that I have enjoyed writing it as much as you have enjoyed reading. I also enjoy the fact that you read, too.

Oh yes, one last thing: answers to questions. I think the only one I had was about chips and snacks being in the coffee room. They are still there, only they're on a table and not the refrigerator. The candy machine is still there, (much to my delight), but I haven't tried to use it. I think that covers everything.
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Today was a very good day of training. Obedience and distraction practice this morning went fine, (the distraction in question was a dog, which was very tempting, but Dalton did a good job with it). Morning and afternoon routes went well. We went to White Plains again. The route in the morning was outdoors, and that in the afternoon was a combination of outdoor and indoor. I had the same doubles partner for both. As I said, things went well. I remember in the morning slipping a bit on some ice, and when I came across another patch of ice, Dalton did a fantastic job in slowing down and making me aware of the ice patch before proceeding forward. I do believe that I also slipped on that same first patch of ice in the afternoon, too. Crossings were good, as was his indoor work. I wish I could expound more on the routes, but I'm currently blanking on anything to really expound on. My dog and I continue to learn and bond as a team, which is important.

Food for the day was eggs and toast for breakfast, a Cuban sandwich and lentel soup for lunch, (I wasn't crazy about the santwich), and it was roasted chicken with rice and beans, I think, for dinner, but I opted for a grilled cheese instead. To drink I had coffee with breakfast and dinner and an iced tea with lunch.

After dinner, the three ACTION students went on a country travel (sidewalkless) route. All three dogs did very well and were excited to be out and doing something different. We took turns taking lead as you would in doubles, except we were obviously in a tripple. It's interesting, because the lighting conditions are different, as are the scents in the air. There was one dog distraction, but things were fine with that. The dogs worked hard, and mine is currently asleep. I need to wake him up to water/park him, though. Speaking of sleep, that sounds like an awesome plan. I'm exhausted... I really need to do laundry, but need to figure out the machines. If I don't get it done tonight, that will be on tomorrow's list of things to do. I'm not really even sure what we will be doing tomorrow due to the impending snow. That about wraps up this entry. It's shorter than some, perhaps, but you have that sometimes. Take care, and more tomorrow.
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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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Due to the weather, we spent most of today inside at Yorktown. Before I forget: breakfast was scrambled eggs, toast and Cheereios with coffee, lunch was a turky rubin sandwich and garlic soup with iced tea, and dinner was actually the turkey rubin which I was too full from the soup to eat at lunch and so saved it for dinner. I forget if I had a drink or not. I actually have half of the sandwich in my fridge. I don't know why, but I wasn't very hungry at dinner.

We did group obedience this morning, and that went well. I forgot to mention yesterday about distraction practice, but if not, there was a toy that was used, and Dalton did fine. Today's distraction was a squirrel on a fishing pole, and he was curious and got up a few times to look at it, but all in all, he did well. He was responsive to my asking him to sit and then treating him for doing so and paying attention to me/being good instead of being distracted by the squirrel. Tomorrow starts full class obedience; I'm looking forward to it.

This morning, instead of doing a route, we were inside and went over how to use the booties we are issued, the Clicker/targeting and the Haltie. Dalton did well with everything. He was a little unsure of the booties at first, but with practice, it should be okay. We practiced heeling them up and down the halls this morning. He isn't totally resistant to them, which is a good thing. I had them on him a little while ago again, and heeled him and also worked him some in them, and he did fine. The booties will definitely help with ice/snow/salt/hot temperatures. They are also very well made, too. The clicker/targeting was awesome! He picks up on that fast, and I'm looking forward to using it when I get to school. To explain: when you want the dog to show you something, the clicker is a good way to help the dog learn that. You first practice with the 'touch' command, having the dog touch your hand and clicking and treating each time this is done. The most important rule of all: if you click, you treat, even if the click is on accident. 'Touch' is then replaced by whatever word you want - chair, elevator, door, curb, etc. If that explanation is still a little confusing, let me know, and I can try to clarify.

The haltie, while I'm not sure I will use it much, is a good tool to have. It replaces the Gentle Leader, which used to be issued. The haltie is similar, except that it has a few more straps and connecters. I'm not even sure I know how to do a good job explaining its physical make-up. The idea of the haltie is that you have more control over the dog's head. You have more command of the dog as opposed to doing the snap-correction. The slip collar is a training tool, whereas the haltie is not. Again, if that explanation didn't make sense, let me know, and I'll see about fixing it. Other people can feel free to chime in and correct anything that may be...well...incorrect.

After lunch, the three ACTION students went and worked our dogs in a KMart that was close by. We worked them outside through an icey, slushy parking lot that wasn't all that fun to navigate, but we did make it, which is all that matters. It was fun working in the store, going around the perimeter and through aisles. All ended well, and there were no injuries or broken merchandise.

There was no lecture tonight, and so I haven't been up to too too much. I am really tired, and so may go to bed early. With the possible snowstorm that may hit New York on Friday, I may end up leaving on Saturday instead of Friday as was the plan originally. I'm not totally sure. I need to figure out when I will be arriving in Chicago and then a plan back to DeKalb. I'm not so sure that I want to brave public transit by myself so soon with a new dog. If I have to, fine, but I want to see if I have any other options first.

I'm blanking on anything else that I may have wanted to add, and so this is where I will end it. Oh, wait..no, I almost forgot: Dalton had his vet physical today. He weighs 81 pounds, and his second Birthday is on Sunday, January 23. How cool is that! He did fantastic at the vet, being a very good boy and not putting up a fuss whatsoever, even when blood had to be drawn. The draw was just as a precaussion, just to make sure that nothing was wrong. His target weight was listed at 86, and so he's a little under. I'm sure things are fine, though. I think that's all of the pertenant information regarding that.

I really think that that is everything. If not, whatever it is can wait until tomorrow's entry. Take care, and thanks for reading.
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Today was another good day all around. I did figure out that during obedience, if I don't at least finish my first cup of coffee, (there's the C word again!), my dog is with it and performs better than I do! Sad, but true. Routes both in the morning and afternoon were fantastic. I went doubles with the other ACTION student, the one who had gone in a single up to this point. Our dogs enjoyed working with each other, passing one another and even steadying down and walking one behind the other. I really love how Dalton will go full-out pace-wise when it is a wide, open area and then slow down considerably when in a narrow place or when encountering obstacles so as to avoid them. There was one crossing that I had to rework, but I think I identified what the issue was, and there was no reoccurance of said issue, so I think all is good. Our pace when first crossing was a little fast, causing veerage, and slowing down seemed to solve that. It was funny, at the end of one of the trips - I can't remember which one - the handler of the other team asked if I was preparing for a 10-K race. Something like that, anyway. I said that no, I was not. I walk fast; what can I say? At least I won't be late for class!

Speaking of class, I was talking to a friend from school, and it came up that one of our class sessions possibly meets on Tuesdays *and* Saturdays. Not 24 hours after I get home, I get to be in class. How's that for a test! Oh grad school...how I miss you! :-) I have already made the executive decision not to cross CrazyIntersection that soon, though. I want to do it with the field rep a few times first, until I feel comfortable. It may even be that Dalton and I would be fine, I'd just rather not test that theory right off the bat, either way.

One of the students here made dinner for our class tonight - Tuscan shrimp - and it was fabulous! So was the wine that was bought to go with it. After the usual evening lecture and before 7:30 park, I played with Dalton in Alumni Hall, (I think I still like 'Campbell Lounge' better - just sayin'!), and he enjoyed it a lot. He ran around with toys and would retrieve them when I threw them, sometimes with me not having to even call him back. I'm going to have to figure out a place at school where I can take him to play.

I'm trying to think of other things of note to write about, and am drawing a blank. The weather forecast is uncertain for tonight and tomorrow, and so the morning may consist of staying inside and working with booties, halties and Clicker. I'm hoping the weather isn't too too bad, though, because I would like to get out also, even if it's inside work. I think that's really all I have for an entry tonight. Pictures have been taken of my dog and I, and I will figure out how to post them when I get them.

Oh yes, I completely forgot: last night I spent a few hours up in the old living room, just relaxing. That has to be my most favorite place in this whole building. The energy in there is so much different from any other place; it's hard to explain, but anyone who has been inside of that room should have an idea of what I'm talking about. It can really relax and mellow a person out, or at least that's been my experience. It's also very quiet up there, which also helps. I may go up there again after I've posted this as I could use some more chil time. Things are fine, it's just these long days can sometimes be hard on one. More tomorrow.

PS: I completely forgot to mention what the food options were; well no, I did mention dinner. Breakfast was eggs, toast, yogurt with granola and coffee. Lunch was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, carrot ginger soup and coffee. (The main dish was a chicken and vegetable rice dish). Dinner was, as mentioned above, Tuscan shrimp. I had more coffee with dinner, but also a glass of wine. I think it was a Yellow Tail marlot (SP?). It was very tasty. There was another type of wine, (I forget which), that I did try, and that, too, was good.

Now that I have made a point to include the food for today, (it wouldn't be an entry if I left that out!), I do believe that I have covered everything. I was actually putting my netbook away, on which I wrote this entry originally, when I remembered that I failed to mention food, and so took a trip upstairs to the computer lab to add this postscript. I do apologize for any typos that may be apparent. More tomorrow, for real this time!
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Today, being Sunday, has been very, very chill here at Guiding Eyes. *insert news bulletin* I have just been informed that two pounds of Duncan Donuts Duncan Dark coffee have been purchased and will be put into the coffee machine in the coffee room on the first floor. The only real word I have for that at the moment is fantastic! Life is good! Speaking of coffee and donuts, I currently have a Boston cream donut and a cup of coffee next to me as I write this. Well okay, so it's atop the fridge, and I am here at the desk, but enough with technicalities!

Moving forward (no pun intended): as I said, today has been very low-key. Part of me is glad about that, and another part isn't really okay with the time off. Yeah...don't ask! We had individual long-line play with our dogs today, where we went into Alumni Hall A.K.A the Campbell Lounge and had our dog on a 40-foot line to play. I kidded some classmates earlier in that I hoped I wouldn't be my dog's playtoy, because he is a rather big dog and I am a rather small person. He had a super fun time with long-line play, and chose to play with other toys and not with me (ha ha!). I had a Wubba that was Olivia's toy, but she has six or seven toys as it is, and so I don't think she misses one. Even if so, Liv, it's called sharing, which I know you know how to do. You'll get to see Dalton sometime and I hope you'll like him. Dalton loved the Wubba. I had it in my hand on the way down to the lounge, (they don't call us retrains for nothing, I guess), and he was fascinated with it all the while, bopping it with his nose. I had to put it away, because when we came back into the room after play, I put it on the bed and he proceeded to take it off of the bed, (yes, he is that tall that he can manage that!), and bring it into his crate with him. His recall is awesome! It took a few times for him to realize that he should come back to me with the toy when called, but it could also be that it was his first time playing in awhile, and he needed to get his squirrley-whirley's out, which he definitely did by running around and playing with toys. He had a fun time nosing around in the milk crate of toys and taking out different toys and having me throw them. There was one toy that wasn't in the crate, (it was somewhere in the room - I have no idea where), that he took the liberty to find on his own and bring back to me. It was a long, flecey toy of some sort with squeakers in it. He didn't try to squeak the Wubba, but mabe he will at another time. He just liked to run with it in his mouth, carrying it by the string-line things on the ends of it. It got to the point during play where I would throw a toy, or he would find one, and come back to me, dropping it at my feet to throw again. I treated him each time he came back when called. I'm not even sure that he was that motivated by the treats; I think he just loved to run around and play. Either way, it works.

While looking through the comments to my blog entries, I noticed that I received one from Dalton's puppy raisers, Jim and Linda. I'm not too sure how you found my blog, (enquiring minds and all that), but I'm super excited you did! (I have no way of contacting you directly, which is why I'm writing this here. I hope you read my blog again and find this). Anyway, I do think that GEB will give me your contact information if nothing else. I'm not positive if they will arrange a phone call between us, but I will definitely ask. I would love that! Regardless, I am all for exchanging information and keeping in touch. I'm sorry a visit can't happen while I'm here, but I would love it if something could be arranged later on. Okay, so this is a little longer than intended, especially on a blog. The long and short of it is thank you so so so so much for contacting me, Dalton is a fantastic dog, and I would love to stay in touch!

Obedience happened prior to breakfast, and we went in groups of three. Dalton did fine with it. Speaking of food: breakfast was a sesame seed bagel with cream cheese and coffee, (I was contemplating wearing my pajamas to breakfast - it's just been that kind of day - and I actually did do it!), lunch was a salami, ham and cheese sandwich with baked Doritos and iced tea, and dinner will be lasagna. After breakfast, I took an hour or so and managed to read a chapter of school reading, so I feel a little better and not like I'm slacking. True, school hasn't even started yet, but I do want to stay on top of things. I'm not done the first week's reading assignment, but I started it, and considering life's circumstances at the moment, I think the three chapters that I have read should definitely count for something. Lecture I believe will take place tonight after dinner, although on what I have no idea. I hope I'm awake enough for that. The chill atmosphere around here is very conducive to my brain being sluggish. If not, there's always coffee! Wow, I have mentioned coffee way too many times in my last few entries. I really am not an addict, and it's not as much of a problem as it may seem from the outside, I swear! Actually, depending on which of my classmates you ask, they may beg to differ, but if you consider the source...

In sports news: last I knew, the Bears were beating the pants off of the Seahawks 28-0 or something like that. The Jets/Patriets game should be interesting, too.

I'm not really sure what else I can update on. I think I have covered everything. Thank you again to all who have been reading and/or commenting. It means a lot that you do so, and I am glad that my blog is enjoyed. More soon.
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Today was just one of those days when I knew it was going to take copious amounts of coffee to keep me going from the moment I woke up, (at 5:55 or so - I guess that's what I get for going to bed so late). It was to the point where my first cup of coffee happened even before breakfast, (where I again had some coffee - two cups, I think). In the midst of park/feed/water/park, while Dalton was eating and on tie-down, I took that opportunity to quickly run to the coffee room and give a good morning greeting to the wonderful coffee machine in exchange for a fantastic, nice hot cup of caffeinated beverage. Priorities... I took care of my dog first, so there shouldn't be any issue here, I wouldn't think.

The routes in the morning and afternoon went without incident. There were people opstacles in the form of joggers, and DMan did just fine guiding me around them. One of the intersections we crossed had an island in the middle of it, and in the morning when we crossed it, he took me around it, but in the afternoon, he took me right through it, after seeing the dog of the team with whom I was doing doubles at the time go through it, and so I guess he figured if they could go through it, he and I could, too. We flew through it, (this guy means business as far as pace goes, let me tell you!), and it really did feel like I was skiing. We both managed to get across without falling, which does count.

I briefly mention this next point because it does sometimes happen in class: one of the students had a dog switch. Said student happened to be an AQCTION one, and the first dog that he had did not work out. All that matters is that he has a dog now that is doing fantastically for him It really could have happened to any one of us, truth be told.

Food for today: breakfast was eggs, toast and coffee. Lunch was grilled cheese, tomato soup and...more coffee. (I actually wanted iced tea, but they didn't have any, so coffee was the substitute). Dinner was pizza and...you guessed it...more coffee. Perhaps surprisingly, I'm feeling pretty exhausted for all the cups of java I have had today. I think the count is at least five or six. It was funny: one of the ACTION students wished me good luck on my route in the morning, and I said "thanks, same to you", and he had already gone out on his route. In my defense, it was early, and I wasn't all that awake yet. I really do think Starbucks needs to happen sometime this next week...

Lecture was after dinner, where we went over our schedule tomorrow and grooming. The dogs will do individual long-line play. I can't wait to see how it goes. I groomed my dog, (we were issued a comb and brush), and he seemed to like it. He moved around some, but it wasn't anything too major. When I brought out the comb, he first sniffed it before I used it. He did the same thing with the brush.

I honestly don't know what else to write about, and I think I've covered everything as it is. I did talk to a friend who was in class with me last time earlier this evening, and it was really nice to catch up with him. I can't believe a week of training is over! This time next week, I will be back in DeKalb. I really don't want to think about that, because I'm not at all prepared to leave. It has taken a huge amount of energy as it is to mentally prepare me for retiring LivDog, coming back into class and then working with a new guide. The concept of having to leave so soon just isn't on my radar yet. I do still have a week, so I shouldn't be stressing about it. Said conversation helped me put all of that into perspective, of which I am eternally thankful. It will be okay, though, I'm sure. It feels way later than it is. I think an early bedtime may be in order tonight. Dalton is already there. I tried to coax him out of his crate, but upon coming out, he went in again shortly after, both times that I tried this. Take care, thanks for reading, and more tomorrow.
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Is it really day five? Wow, time does fly. I'm working with something like half a brain at present, (I am very soon to take a page out of Dalton's book and go to bed, after I take him out one last time, of course), so please bear with me as I recap the day's events.

First off, answers to questions I have received. If I miss anything, please feel free to comment again with whatever question you have so that I can answer it. Juno work is when the instructor simulates what the dog would do. Yes, crates are provided in the rooms, as well as tie-downs. The dogs are crate trained as pups, and most love them. Dalton is one such pup. The rooms also have televisions and fridges in them. There is no wireless Internet at the Yorktown HQ, but they have Ethernet connections in each room. Wireless does exist at White Plains, though. It used to exist here, but it was having issues. One of the tech people said he hoped to have it up and running again sometime later this year. I think he said possibly by next month or so. A traffic check is when a car comes in front of your path in the street and the dog is responsible to keep you out of harms way.

Now, onto my day. Parking, feeding and watering this morning went without incident, as did obedience. I need to be sure to remember not to switch the leash into the right hand when I want to reposition him, because then he thinks that he needs to be on my right if the leash is in the right hand. We're both learning, and I'm sure it will be okay in time.

Breakfast, too, went fine. I ad a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich. While we're on food: for lunch, the main dish was a sausage and pepper sandwich. I'm onestly not completely positive what I ate for lunch, (we [the people at the table where I was sitting at dinner] were talking about it, and I honestly couldn't come up with it - I guess my brain is just *that* fried), although I seem to think that maybe it was peanut butter and jelly, although I know I ate that another day previously. Not that it's hugely important... Dinner was fish, but I had a ham and cheese sandwich instead. For breakfast, the drink was coffee, lunch was more coffee, and dinner was water.

Speaking of coffee: I headed into the coffee room this morning to get another cup of said beverage prior to loading up in the van with the other two ACTION students, (we rode separately into White Plains this morning), only to discover that there were no cups left by the coffee machine. Horror of horrors! This is a true crime, I tell you! I don't know who did it, but it wasn't cool at all. Haha! Coffee is extremely necessary in the morning! Graham saved the day by bringing me a cup when he came out to start the van. Crisis averted with much gratitude!

The morning route I worked a double with one of the other ACTION students. It went really well. I was about to say I can't remember anything that really happened en route, but that wouldn't be true at all. See, my brain really is fried! Oh man... The morning route was complete with an unexpected traffic check which had me slightly shaken up and I didn't even realize was a traffic check until after the fact when Graham mentioned it. When I first stepped off the down curb, I slightly tripped over a snow mound, and recovered from that, only to be met with the traffic check. I didn't even know that the car was there! Dalton was a fantastic boy, though, and handled it nicely. Other than that, I can't remember anything of any significance on our route. His pace and pull are so wonderful, and it's so fun working him.

The afternoon route was where things began to shine. I did a single, and Dalton and I really seemed to start to mesh as a team. I was able to really read him and know how he moves and approaches obstacles and handles certain situations. In narrow places or places where there are obstacles, he will tend to slow down and be extra caucious of his surroundings to make sure that I am okay. I think the traffic check earlier in the day may have had something to do with it, too. When the area opens up or is less full of potential obstacles, he will take the initiative and pull out/speed up the pace again. I honestly really like how he handles that. His turns were textbook, and his clearances were spot on. I can tell he has fun doing his job. Perhaps I can get some pictures of the two of us working en route sometime. As I was able to read him, I think he, to, is starting to be able to read me and know how I work. This afternoon's route was for sure the start of something truly amazing that will only get better in time. He is still definitely attached to his trainer, but my thought is that in time, that attachment will shift over to me. I look forward to the day when that happens. I am starting to work him in the Yorktown building, and again, it's really fun. They now train the dogs to place their two front paws on the first step of stairs going up, and it's really funny, because he's so tall that when he does this, I think he's actually up more of the staircase than he actually is! I need to make a conscious effort to reach down and feel his position until I get used to what it feels like naturally. That way, I can praise him accordingly instead of correcting for something that doesn't need correction. I'm just not used to such a large beast is all. I also worked on targeting with him as far as my room door goes, and he seems to be getting it. We shall put him to the test tomorrow when I work him too and from breakfast.

Lecture tonight was on working the dogs inside versus outside, targeting and leaving the dogs alone for short periods of time. I may or may not have forgotten something, I'm not entirely positive. Oh yes, we were also issued half-check collars. I left Dalton in the room alone for fifteen or so minutes in his crate, and he did fine. I actually put my Victor Stream on record to see what he do, and the only thing he did was let out a slight groan shortly after the door closed when I left, but that was it; no other peep out of him at all. While in lecture, he did decide to be a little escape artist and somehow wriggle out of his collar. I have no idea how he did it, but the next thing I know, empty harness. I was of course still holding onto his leash, and so I was able to put it back on him. Crazy dog!

7:30 park time happened shortly after lecture, and then I have been hanging out ever since. I chilled in the coffee room for a time as people were in there. I made a point to look and see the status of the cups for the coffee machine, and everyone, (especially those on Facebook, where I put out a status about the potential crisis), will be glad to know that they have been re-stocked. Hahaha! This is a good thing for all involved, really it is!

Olivia's puppy raisers called me awhile ago to let me know that LivDog is safely with them. It seems that she is settling down nicely, after apparently having some words with Bryn, another dog who they have also. If I remember correctly, Bryn is a release dog from GEB, from one of the litters of a puppy the family raised who is, or was, a brood (SP?). It's a relief to know that she's finally home. I hope it doesn't take her too long to actually feel at home. She is pretty adaptable, though, so I'm not really all that worried.

I honestly can't think of anything else that I wanted to write about, so this is where I end this, post, go take out Dalton, brush my teeth and then go to bed. Again, many thanks go out to those who read and comment about my training, whether it be via Facebook, Twitter, e-mail or on the actual journal. Thanks, also, for the questions that some of you have had. Feel free to send more. More tomorrow.
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Another day, the end of which is leaving me feeling very exhausted and drained, yet satisfied at the same time. Wake-up, park/feed/water and park, obedience and human breakfast this morning all went without any real incident to speak of. I was prepared for some resistance in obedience, Dalton not knowing me from anyone at this point and the two of us being together for such short a time, but he did amazingly well. There were a few times I had to correct, I think, but nothing major at all. The ride in the van to White Plains was also very smooth, Dalton first sitting and then lying down quietly on the floor at my feet. I'm finding myself having to get used to his extra length as far as certain things are concerned, (placement, room for him, etc), but it will all come easier with time.

I had to wait a bit for my first walk with Dalton as I was the last of the three ACTION students to go out. That reminds me: I had wanted to mention previously that there are three ACTION students. When I went through the program the first time, there were only two, and apparently three only happens occasionally. Onto my first walk: it was really awesome! I had forgotten how fast I usually walk with LivDog slowing down. (I still love you, LivDog, don't worry!). I will say that wearing very high snow boots is not conducive to fast walking, even though my feet are warm. I am going to try wearing my sneakers tomorrow and putting yak tracks on the bottom of them if it turns out I need that. Very few corrections were needed on the walk, and he responded well to me, (I thought, anyway), even with the trainer's support leash still on him. Oh, another tidbit about this morning: I was sitting in the lobby with Dalton under my chair, waiting to load up into the vans, when I noticed he made a mad dash out from under where he was nicely positioned and into the aisleway. Only then did I realize Graham had come into the picture. After I got him repositioned, which took some effort, he then proceeded to start whining pretty emphatically. It turns out Dalton is hugely attached to his trainer, apparently.

Back to my first walk: Dalton's gait is more similar to a prance. He apparently does lift his feet up high and also holds his head up, like a pony. (My instructor mentioned that at first, not me!). That description isn't really all that far off, though, the more I think about it. Pony..dog...same difference! He is very tall and does have length on him. Said height is very conducive to finding doorknobs, as I found out on my second walk later in the afternoon. That walk, too, went well. The support leash came off during that one, and Dalton's response was still very similar. There were again a few errors, although sometimes I think it was more to do with me than with him. (I'm used to saying "straight" when in the street, but that has now been eliminated, and "to the curb" is used instead. There are other little things that have changed both in harness work and out that I am having to get used to). We're both learning each other, though, so it's naturally to be expected. It was on that walk that, as I said, Dalton's height played into finding doorknobs. We were back at the lounge, and I praised and treated Dalton for taking me up to the door. He had put his head near the doorknob at first, and, seeing that he got a treat when it was done the first time, continued to bop the doorknob with his nose at least one or two more times on his own, with no initiative from me. Silly dog! Smart, though, definitely! All in all, I really love to work him and have fun doing it, which is why all dog users are in this, is it not?

Upon coming back to Yorktown, we fed/watered/parked the dogs again, which went without incident. Dinner was next, which didn't go as smoothly. Dalton was very restless and would continualy get up as soon as I had him down many times. I was persistent about the behavior that I wanted, (or at least tried to be), and again, I know things will smooth out in time. Given that this was the first full day together, we're doing fine. He seems a little stressed, though, and so I'm trying to be as positive as I can be for him to make it easier and to associate me with good things. Perhaps playtime on Sunday will help in this regard. He likes his crate, so that's at least something that will help in the meantime. We were also given Nylabones after lecture, which took place after dinner, and he did chew on his for awhile in his crate. While I was in the shower and he in his crate, I was originally going to put Animal Planet on for him, but when I switched it on, I couldn't really tell what it was, (rats were mentioned, but I don't know if they were talking about domesticated or non; I don't want him to watch something that might not be nice!), and so I chose to leave him with classical music instead, which he seemed to like. We also had cuddle time on the floor earlier. I really hope that I can have contact with his puppy raisers and get tips from them. Not only that, I just like having contact with the raisers in general. They are an instrumental part of the whole process.

Both evening park times were fine. That brings me to now, sitting here writing this. I am pretty exhausted, and so want to get to bed sooner rather than later. A continued thank-you to everyone who has read and commented, either on the actual journal or on Facebook. I know I haven't commented back, but do know that it's more than appreciated. I definitely read everything, regardless! If anyone has any questions or would like more details about one thing or another that I either write about or don't, please do not hesitate to ask/tell me that. I'm happy to answer any questions to the best of my ability. I posted a picture of Dalton on Facebook; I should figure out how to upload it to LJ. I'm not sure if I'm forgetting anything that I wanted to put in, but if I think of something I forgot, I'll add it in tomorrow. Apologies for any typos or anything. Until then...

PS: I forgot to mention the food menu and so had to come back and post. Breakfast was eggs and toast and cereal, the last of which I ended up taking back to my room as I was too full. To drink I had coffee. I believe that the main choice was French toast. Lunch was BLT's and mushroom barley soup. I opted for a ham and cheese sandwich, chips and iced tea, but ended up with grape juice instead as there was no iced tea. Dinner was roast beef, mashed potatoes and broccoli. I had everything, save the broccoli, which I swapped for string beans. (I would have eaten the broccoli if it didn't have flower parts on it; I actually said I would eat it if it weren't for that - I don't really like those!). I had iced tea to drink again. For breakfast tomorrow is a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich, which I did choose to eat. Alright, I think that covers everything... So much to remember! I'm off to bed now. So tired...
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Today has been long and exhausting, both mentaly and physically. It was everyone's favorite part of class: Dog Day! I don't remember when I ended up falling asleep last night, but I was awake around 5:00 this morning, way before the official wake-up time. Juno obedience went well for a second time. I was surprised I ate everything at breakfast as I don't usually tend to eat a lot on Dog Day, or at least haven't in the past. I don't know if I mentioned: the main breakfast choice was an omlet, but I opted for eggs and toast instead. While we're on food: lunch was chicken, tuna or some other kind of salad, and I chose peanut butter and jelly. I ate all of that, too, again surprising. Dinner was burgers and potato wedges, which I did choose and again eat all of. Lunch was actually very busy in terms of a lot of people talking and such. In past classes, I don't remember it being as such. Dinner, too, was mostly low-key.

Now for the part you all have been waiting for: my dog. All throughout the morning and into the afternoon, when we were receiving our dogs' names, I was very nervous and emotions were running high. When I was told that my dog was a yellow Lab male named Dalton, I didn't know what to think at first. When all of the dogs had been paired to people, everyone left and I just sat in Alumni Hall, not really knowing what to do or how to feel. A male? I had never worked a male before. I wasn't so much concerned for the sake of my dog as I was for myself. Could I do this? I actually broke out in tears. I think all of the emotions of LivDog's retirement and my receiving my new guide hit me all at once right then. Another thank-you goes out to the instructors and Becky, (and Flyer!), for helping me through my mini melt-down. I truly appreciate it. When the knock came on my door and Graham brought Dalton into me, one second and I realized I was worried for nothing. He is a very sweet dog and I have all the confidence in the world that we will do fine. He has been obedient to me, even for only having him such a short time. He's actually getting anxious, so I'm going to end this, post it, and give him some attention. I did want to write an update all the same. I do apologize for its abruptness. A huge thank-you goes out to everyone who has taken the time to read and comment on my last few entries, especially to Olivia's puppy raisers, Jane and family. You guys are really fantastic! Tomorrow I hit the ground running, literally. We were given our harnesses tonight, and I had Dalton in a standing position to fit him with it. I brought it down close to his head and he walked right into it. I can't wait to work him for the first time tomorrow!
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Today has been exhausting, at least mentally. I ended up getting to sleep somewhat late last night and then was up by 4-something this morning. Juno obedience went well, (Alumni Hall is huuuuuuuuuuuuge, not to mention FREEEEEEEEEEEEZING!!!!), as did breakfast, which consisted of eggs, toast and bacon. We then loaded up into the vans to head to White Plains to do Juno walks. I was scheduled the last group in the afternoon and so had the whole first part of the day to relax. The Juno walk went well, I think. I was actually glad to get outside. For the record, it is amaaaaaazingly cold in the White Plains lounge! Being outside for that short a time made coming back inside seem warm. It felt way too weird not having a dog at the other end of the harness, though, even though I was full aware it was a Juno walk.

Lecture was held after everyone was done route, at the lounge instead of back at the school. We went over the four basic obedience commands--sit, down, stay and heel, (this last actually being a new one for me, I'm used to 'come)--and then got a preview of how the rest of the day/night/start of tomorrow would go. We then loaded back into the vans for the journey back to Yorktown. We had some time until it was shortly before five, when we headed up to the dining room for a quick schpeel from the volunteer coordinator and I think another person. Becky also told us how to work voicemail - Thanks, Becky! Oh yeah, I forgot: lunch was burritos and black bean soup, but I opted for a ham and cheese sandwich. My drink of choice was coffee. Dinner was sesame chicken, but I wanted mine grilled. I also had string beans and iced tea to drink. Dessert was ice cream sandwiches, but I declined.

After dinner there was the usual pre-dog-day retrain session, which I did attend. I do think it has helped me put some things into perspective. It was also nice to be around people who have been through it before, to share good times and not-so-good times. Yay for moral support! I know we'll all be fine. We just have to be patient with our dogs and, perhaps most of all, ourselves. It will all be okay. Really, it will!

After the retrain meeting, I went and hung out in the coffee room for awhile, before coming back here. I went and figured out voicemail, and I want to thank both Britt and Leslie for the calls. Yes, Leslie, I was in the retrain session when you called. I appreciate the message all the same. I also appreciate everyone who is reading and commenting. I was unsure as to whether or not I would get an entry done tonight, but persistance prevails, I guess. I have not looked at e-mail at all today, and really don't know that I want to at present, (I'm too mentaly drained at this point; yeah yeah, "...but it's only day two!"), so if someone could take the liberty of posting a link to this entry to the Juno list, it would be greatly appreciated. If not, I will see about getting around to it perhaps tomorrow, but definitely as soon as possible. This entry is also scattered, but it still works, so we'll go with it.

In other news, New York is expecting a crapton of snow to be dumped on us later tonight and into tomorrow. As far as timing goes, it's pretty fantastic, seeing as we're on grounds all day tomorrow what with it being dog day. (Thank gosh for my new warm, insolated winter boots is all I'm sayin'!). Speaking of dog day, I am finding that very hard to believe. I think I'm more nervous than anything else. It's really surreal. I know I'll get through it, but it's actually figuring out how that I'm struggling with. I think of tonight in a similar way that I think of Christmas Eve, except instead of Santa Clause, the trainers are spreading the cheer, if you will. Regardless, due to nervous and emotions being on high alert, I am finding it hard to settle. I really cant decide if it's easier to be a first-time handler or a retrain. The jury keeps wavering back and forth on this verdict.

Wake-up tomorrow is at 6:00, followed by Juno obedience, breakfast, lecture/practice, lunch, the Sorting Ceremony, (when we find out which dog we will be getting), and then the Christening of the Leashes, (when the instructors come to our rooms with our dogs and attach them to our leashes). After that, the fun begins! The afternoon will be spent bonding, and then...drum roll...DINNER! I.E. the first meal with our dogs. I'm not sure what will happen after that, and that may not even be exactly as it will go, but I think it's a pretty safe guess.

With that, I will end this and attempt to try and wind down. Oh yeah, this morning I had a rather interesting incident with my shower in that I couldn't figure out how the heck to turn the shower part of it on. With the help of another classmate, though, I got it. Liz 1, Shower 0! Take care all, more soon.
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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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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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