Carin’s Guide Dog Diary: Day 4

Well, it’s 6:30 in the morning and I’m awake and thinking. Thinking about a lot of things. Today’s the day everything’s going to change. There’ll be no more getting up at 6, it’ll be earlier because the dogs have to be fed, watered and relieved by 6:30 which means I have to look half presentable when I go out to the relieving circle. This leash beside me will no longer be empty. A wild, somewhat devilish beast will be at the end of it. I’ve wanted this so bad, but I dread the beginning. I dread the leash burn. I dread the feeling of being exhausted from getting this dog to respect me. I’m afraid I’ll make the same mistakes all over again. I hope this new start will be more successful. Don’t get me wrong, I’m
excited, but my belly is a little flippy.

Damn it I think I’m getting a cold. My throat is slightly sore. Noooo! Well, if I do, I know where the nurse’s office is for some cold medication. Suck it, cold, you’re not going to keep me down.

Let’s check the class schedule. Did I tell you there’s a button on the phone you can press for the class schedule for the day? That is the coolest thing, cause I didn’t bring the big one they sent in the package. I was going to get Steve to email it down, but I don’t need to! I say again, um, wow. So, this morning is some more juneauing. In case I didn’t explain what Juneau is, it’s either an instructor at the end of a harness, or the instructor holding a roled up rug and you hook your leash onto it. Either way, it’s to simulate what a real dog will feel like, and you get to practice corrections on Juneau to your heart’s content and not feel guilty about hurting your puppy’s neck. Praising a rug is really odd. But now that we’re used to it, we’ll probably see a lot less of Juneau. So Juneau obedience and how to keep a well-behaved guide dog. Then it’s lunch which is shrimp creole or some kind of delly salad. No thanks! And dinner is this flank steak with noodles and peas or some kind of soup. They didn’t mention dessert. Hoo hoo hoo. I didn’t get my chocolate mousse damn it, I’ll have to make sure I get it next Tuesday. Then in the afternoon, we get told a few things and then…we get our puppy puppy puppy puppy! Eeee! Today is the day I get my new start, scary as it is. The first dinner is going to be real fun. Imagine 4 dogs at the table together. Shenanigans ahoy. And so it begins.

I was having a peek at the lectures last night, now that I figured out their weird little Victor Vybe players they lent us, at least they look like Victor Vybes. I think they’ve been through the war. The braille is all raggedy jaggedy and hard to read. But I got it going, so I guess that’s all that matters. They had these computer voices read the lectures. They sort of sound like the RealSpeak Solo voices for JAWS 8. I love how the first voice says dog. It sounds more like daawg. Y’all come back now, ya hear?

I saw David last night in the computer room. I’m so confused. He was being nice to me, which I don’t get. I’m just as much involved in this chat we had with the staff as Autumn is. He claims he skipped dinner because he didn’t like the dinner, and some stuff came up which he says he wants to tell me about tomorrow. Ok chief? I think I know what the stuff is. He still weirds me out. He’s like jeckle and hide.

There’s one thing I hate hate hate here, and it’s the showers! You turn on the hot water, and you get hit! Pinned! Against the wall by a jet of cold water. Coldcoldcold! Then once it’s warm, you barely get any cold water added to it and it’s coldcoldcold again! And they have liquid soap in the bathroom. A bar soap at our little sink, but liquid in the bathroom. No biggy, just weird. It’s almost breakfast time. I should comb my rat’s nest. I hope Autumn feels better, she wasn’t feeling well this morning, but she doesn’t want to see the nurse.

Carmen’s nickname might get changed to human pretzle because of all her yoga experience, but her back hurts today.

Interesting. In Ottawa, it was relieve, feed, relieve, but here, in the morning it’s feed, relieve, and in the afternoon it’s relieve, feed. Makes more logical sense. Now we’re in the music room, Juneau time.

I’m trying to help Carmen with her Victor Vybe. It’s hard to explain to someone who doesn’t read braille how to find the play button. I hope I can explain it.

We learned about the high collar correction. In extreme cases, you lift the collar up under the dog’s chin and then you go sideways with the leash as if you’re holding a baseball bat. Ah the baseball bat. It looks evil. They showed us on this stuffed dog that got corrected once so hard that it took off one of his ears! Wow! That’s one hell of a correction! Yikes. Then I did obedience and did really well. Yea! off to the lounge again.

I have a new nickname, twinkle tows or twinks.

Ug they’re teaching us about moving turns. Those are tricky. You have to slow down, make the turn, and if it’s a right then you have to make a step back, and if it’s a left, you make a step forward, and in either case, you say the word a couple times and signal accordingly. Eekers. This could be tricky.

It makes me laugh when Mike says something about earning dough ray me for money. So he’ll talk about earning your dough ray me. He’s a funny guy. I think I’ve explained who Mike is, right? He’s the class supervisor. The head honcho, even though Jen is the lead instructor.

Carmen knows someone who used to be on MacGyver. Wow, she used to be in show business too.

Poor Amy’s got her ankle iced again. At least my throat isn’t so sore. This is good.

That was a nasty Juneau walk. She veered into traffic to see what I’d do. You have to stop in the middle of the street and tell him to hop up. Stop in the middle of the street? God! Say goodbye to Juneau…well they’ll probably Juneau walk us through the obstacle course. Yep, every day when we go to the buses, we walk through an obstacle course. Ug I can’t remember where to turn. You have to do it all so fast!

The IT dude is fixing the computer in the downtown lounge! They’re fast! I love them….again! Everywhere else computers are the last thing on their minds. Much love to the IT dude.

Carmen keeps calling Mike Mikey.

That lunch was good. I ate it all, and a slice of pineapple upside down cake. Mm. Sweet. I got to talk to Barby. That was cool.

So now I’m sitting here waiting for lecture to begin. I left my cane in the room. I played taps for the cane. Har har. Frank, get here, you’re holding up the little lecture before I become the proud handler of a guide woofer.

Looks like we’re starting without Frank. They’re going to tell us all the names of our dogs, and then they’ll take us back to our rooms and then take us to meet our dogs! Then they take us back and we play with our dogs and then do heeling practice! My belly is woozy. They’ve already set out our doggy beds and dishes etc. Oh come on start giving us our dog names!

Finally, the names begin. Here they are. I get a female black lab and her name is Trixie! Crash gets a female yellow lab named Estelle. Carmen gets a female black lab named Val. Bernard gets a male yellow lab named Trusty. Jill gets a male yellow lab named Storm. Autumn gets a female yellow lab and her name is Beauty. Frank gets a male yellow lab named Anton. David gets a female black lab named Maylee. Amy gets a male black lab named dynamo. Al gets a female black lab named Bahia. Meredeth gets a male yellow lab named Sedgewick. These are the coolest dogs ever. I’m shaking. I can’t breathe. I hear footsteps.

I got my dog! She’s 55.5 pounds and 22 inches tall. What a cutey. Her Birthday is April 9. She’s got a lot of spunk. I had to show her how to heel. Not too much I certainly don’t have leash burn, but she was a wild beast.

We relieved, and at first, they pick it up for us. Wow I feel rusty. forgetting how to leash relieve. She went like a trooper. Both times. I don’t have to worry. This is so much better than the Ottawa way. They’re out there with you and they tell you if she went and what she did.

Gotta go to the dining hall now.

Well, Trixie’s full of tricks, but she’s not nearly Babs level. She likes to whine, so we’re working on that. I’m tired, but I have 0 leash burn. This is a step up. She likes Dynamo. That’s for sure. She through herself at him, so Amy says she’s a seductress.

We got her water and she drank like mad. And then she relieved again. Peed and the other. Wow, this dog’s got a lot of pee.

I managed to send off the emails. A few rejected recipients, but most of them I can let know another way. Did I mention how much she likes to
whine?

Poor Autumn’s getting sick. I’m worried about her. In other news, I feel like the sore throat is worse. Oh well, it’s nothing major.

Alright, crash time, not as in fall down go boom, but more like fall down and sleep like a log. Oh one last thing. Frank hates it when I say holy crap. He says it’s unbecoming of a young lady. Crap? I could be saying far worse. But whatever floats his boat, I guess.

Alrighty, gotta set the alarm earlier, gotta start taking puppy out to relieve, and tomorrow I have to strip my damn bed too. Ug of all the days to need to do that. Alright, queue the z’s.

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