>The Next Phase in the Guide Dog Saga

>I hope this post doesn’t bore too many people, but I thought someone might be interested in this, so off we go.

I got my acceptance package from Guide Dogs on Wednesday, and it’s pretty cool. Man, these people think of everything. They even sent luggage labels with pictures of dogs on them that you’re supposed to stick on your bags so the people picking you up at the airport know they’re your bags! How absolutely super awesome cool is that? When I saw the sheer pile of paper in the package, I sort of cringed. But then I saw the computer disk, and it seems that everything they sent in print, they put on the disk. I should have known, their application package was just that cool.

Then I saw my tickets! Now that is a cool feeling, looking at the tickets for the flight that’s going to take me to doggy school! March 18 is going to be an early, early morning. But that’s ok, I probably won’t be able to sleep, I’ll be so excited.

I started reading over the files on the disk, and couldn’t help but be amazed at how thorough they were. They said when a good time to visit would be, they detailed all the stuff they had in their dorms, they even gave the wifi key out for anyone who was interested in using their wireless network. Again, how cool is that? They mentioned things to bring, things that were provided, and things that I wished the school in Ottawa had mentioned, like the fact that you’re going to be bringing home more gear than you came with, sparky, so don’t pack your bags to capacity or you’ll be sorry. I remember that moment when I realized how stupidly I’d packed when I went to guide dog school last time, and was very happy mom and dad were driving me back to Guelph, because otherwise I would have been screwed.

I kept reading over files. There was a file to help you explain things to friends and family, a file with their smoking policy, the contract that you have to sign, their code of conduct, a file explaining what would happen if the unthinkable happened and they decided they had to take the dog back and you disputed it, a welcome letter, an overview of some stuff, even a file explaining what a typical day of training would be like! The school in Ottawa never did that. I didn’t know what the hell I was in for at all. Then I saw a file called communication protocol and I was too curious. I opened it, started to read, and all I could think was my oh my oh my.

Ok, this file was created to help resolve conflicts between students. It explicitly told you not to talk behind the person’s back to other students or staff, and to go to them directly to solve the problem. I totally agree, but we’re all adults here, has it really been proven to them that they have to explicitly spell this out for people? Based on what I’ve seen with their other info, I’m saddened to think that it has. Ug what kind of petty bullshit happens during classes? I know they’re stressful, and by the end of Ottawa’s class, I was getting a bit cranky, but I knew why I was cranky, so I tried my best not to take it out on anyone. That’s what journals are for. Write it out and do the best you can to understand it so you can put it away. I think my favourite line is ” If your intention is to prove the other person wrong and yourself right…there is no possibility of resolution.” Can’t you just hear the strains of “now children, play nice” right about now?

It goes on to explain how you should come to the person and talk about it with them, and if that time is not a good one for them, schedule one. They felt it necessary to *tell* you to thank them for talking to you. In great detail, they tell you how you should say what the problem is and let them paraphrase it back so you know they heard it. Then they should say their side of it and you should summarize it back, and then come up with a plan to fix it, which you must follow through on, of course.

Oh, my, god. I feel likeI’m back in grade 6. Maybe we should get out the penny jar and everyone has to put in a penny when they put another person down. I’m not mad at the school, they obviously feel like this is necessary based on years of experience. I’m more disappointed that that’s the experience they had.

Then I got a call from the nurse at the school. They even have nurses on staff. It’s a good thing she called, because my doctor is full of crap. You have to send in a medical form, which he filled out, and the asshole told them I had chronic fatigue with an unknown cause! Me? Chronic fatigue? I don’t think so. Sure, there was a time when my health took a plunge, but that was situational, which means, um, it’s not chronic!

Just process that for a while. If I was on a guide dog selection committee and I read that someone had chronic fatigue, I’d think that because of all the walking and training, maybe this isn’t for them. I could have been nixed because of that damn false statement! The doc and I are going to have a talk, trust me.

Then he didn’t even bother to put down what medicines I take. Ok, if you’re going to say the wrong things sometimes, the least you can do is not omit the right things the rest of the time. He has my damn file. And if he needed clarification, couldn’t he have talked to me? Oh well, lesson learned, and luckily for me, no harm done. He won’t be filling out any more forms, and if I have to have him doing it, I’m going over it before it goes out!

Soon, I will be there, and I know I’ll be in good hands if all this stuff is any indication.

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