The Babs Journal: Day 2 (May 10, 2005)

Well, apparently this afternoon I get my puppy. Still don’t know anything about it. We did a handle walk already. It was a little easier than the one I did at the interview, probably because I’d been warned about the details of it from the interview. It was cool. It’s really weird telling Tim to sit, forward, left, right, straight on, haven’t had to tell him to leave it yet. He’s such a nice dude. He was helping me because I wasn’t getting the whole wrist-flick thing for the handle check. Patience of Job I tell ya. that’s all we’ve done so far.

Anka, the housekeeper, is a doll. I thought I lost my necklace, turns out it got squished into my laundry. Woopsy doodles. But she’s a real sweetheart, made us breakfast and kept getting people stuff. Margery and I got a little lost, not really, and she was showing us stuf.

Showing us stuff? More like coming to our rescue and bringing us back to where we were supposed to be. I remember when we almost stumbled into the dining room again. She popped up and said “Are you hungry? Where are you going?”

Oh, Headrick is a toolchest. She was using the wrong person’s bathroom. We all have our own bedroom, but there are bathrooms for every two people, meaning Sharon and I share one, and I don’t know whose bathroom I was using. But oops, that won’t happen again. Headrick’s a tool. Oh well, nobody saw me do it, only reason I realized it was when I said to Sharon, “I lost my necklace coming back from the shower,” and she kind of didn’t go to the door I thought she would. Woops. Oh well, it’s all good now. Well that’s what happens when ya give johns to every two people. Too many johns! But I’m not complaining. That’s about all the adventures so far. I’m guaranteed to have more real soon.

I’m starting to like Tim the student a little more. He alternates between being cool and giving me the creeps. Very bitter man. He knows the other dick I was babbling about yesterday, and he thinks he’s as much of a dick as I do. Apparently he did similar things to him. Stupid dick.

Well Sharon just went out for her walk. Maybe I’ll scope out the place to see who’s hanging around. I’m really starting to like Margery, real cute lady.

Ooo boy. We got our goody bags! They have a harness and a leash and a play collar, and a dish, and…ooo what else? Ooo some reflective stuff for the harness…and a sterilized bone! a toy already, a bone! oo what else did I get…a whistle…..I think that was about it. A brush and comb too. The harness had like two pieces and then there was the leash and collar thingy…oh man…can’t believe I have it all.

We learned about how to come through doors with the dog, sounds like getting places will be real slow the next little while. Apparently the dogs decide to be real assholes and not sit and wait for you to tell them to go through doors so you have to take them back to the door and make them do it over and over and over and over again, until they sit and wait.

That was so unbelievably painful, making the dog sit at every door. How about the dog just stands there until you get the door open, and then you can tell the dog to go through! That looks more normal than the dog plopping down on its butt at every door. So dumb.

We get our dogs after lunch! We get them after lunch! Oh my oh dear oh boy! We get our dogs after lunch! People are out on handle walks now. I went on another handle walk.

That’s Ottawa speak for Juneau walk. Although I’d never seen a rolled up rug. It was just the instructor on the other end of the harness.

He taught me about what to do if the dog sniffs. lots of no leave it…and how to slow him down.

Note to past self: You should have paid better attention to that. That was a lesson you needed to use more often.

And he told us about busy busy. that’s doggy talk for go relieve yourself. that cracked me up.

What a dumb term. Busy? What, are we afraid of saying what’s really going on? At least some people refer to their dogs’ taking a crap as doing his business. But busy? How British. Oh, I think my doggy has to visit the loo!

For the first little bit, I guess you free busy your dog. So you let them out loose in the busy area. No leash. Weird! But oh well. Then I just stand there and wait.

No, past self, the word isn’t weird. It’s dumb! That would have been ok if we free busied for, hmmm, a day, if that has to be the way. But we free busied for way, way, waaaay too long! You will see.

That’s about it, but we eat in like 20 minutes. I’m hungry hungry hungry hungry! I feel like what the dog must feel like around feeding time. I keep hearing another handler’s voice in my head going, “foodies foodies foodies!”

Wow, my life is going to change. My cane stands idle. It’s weird.

Tim is so nice. He doesn’t make me feel on edge, but at the same time he’s testing me. Bastard. Well not really. There was this one practice exercise when they were describing how we would go through the grooming room door. I told him to sit and he said “why do you want me to sit?” I said, “Uh, cause the door opens away from me. Er, maybe I shouldn’t.” He’s like, “Confidence, confidence, you were right.” Bastard! He already knows me, hahha.

Well, next time I sit down to write, there will be a dog’s name in it. Ooo!
ooo! ooo!I’ve got 15 minutes still before lunch. Maybe I’ll go and find who I can find. Have I bored you guys yet? I realize that the way I’m writing this is more like a diary. So if you’d rather I stop, just tell me.

Ok, we had lunch, and scary Jane was there. Man she really sounds like scary Jane now. Oh she so does. She sat plop right beside me. She’s not scary…yet, although I definitely saw edges of it. She said she wasn’t going to be telling stories about me. Ok then. And then good old student Tim opens his big fat yap and mentions that I dozed off when Sue was reading the contract, not that that happened for long before it was made clear to the whole class that I was snoozing. He says it straight to scary Jane. I was so embarrassed I could have died. But Jane, after saying “oh no, oh no!” wasn’t too bad about it. I thought, “Oh great, there go my chances of graduating.”

I guess that wasn’t anything that needed to be worried about.

But now I wait for my dog. I wait. They took my leash. I sit, and wait. Anybody ever hear that before? I sit, and wait, until they come. Ok that was really dumb. I sit, and wait, until they come, and then I’ll be real, busy busy. Ok I’ll stop now.

There’s some water in my water dish, there’s all my stuff picked up, and soon I will have to stop abruptly and put this away because they’ll have a woofer puppy on the end of my leash. My leash. My puppy. Mine mine mine! Ok I’ll stop now. If I don’t write in this, I’ll pace. I’m listening for any sign of sound, for anyone getting their dogs. I think we’re all waiting. I don’t think anybody’s got theirs yet. Tim has to go get the puppies and I sorta remember where the kennels are. I listen listen for knock knocks. We’re all in our separate rooms, in our separate sets of emotions. Everyone else is getting dog no. 2 or 3, and they’re nervous.

Yeah, past self, that wasn’t very smart to go to a class for retrains. I know instructor Tim told you that the class was very small and you’d get lots of individualized attention, but a class for retrains is shorter, and everyone else is coming in to get a new dog, but they know most of the techniques. They just need a refresher. Sure, they’re going to cover everything, but at a much faster pace. This is all new for you! You should have waited for at least a new dog class at this school. But this opportunity came up, and you grabbed it, scared as you were, because you felt you had to get it done and get moving with your life. That was bad. Your life can continue until you get the right match. Patience! You needed patience!

I just find it hard to digest. My life is going to change, today. Today! My cane is in the closet, locked away. That has almost symbolic importance. Bye-bye cane.

It was really hard, they showed me how the dog would have to behave at the van. It’s hard getting out of a van caneless. You can’t check the distance to the ground! I’m not used to that! That was nerve-wracking. But yeah we’ve done steps, doors, the van, and did I already say that they said the first few days the dog will make journeys real slow because they’ll misbehave and have to be told no and made to do it over?

Margery makes me laugh. She always says “jeepers twist.” What’s with jeepers twist. It’s cute anyway.

Man they take care of us. They bring us our food already done up. Oh oh I heard a knock knock. It’s my knock knock. It’s my knock knock. It’s my dog. My babs. Yellow lab, dark yellow with black around her eyes as if she’s wearing mascara. She’ll be two by the end of class, unsure of the day. She’s a lab. and her name is babs! And she’s mine, and she’s giving me a run for my money.

Oh, past self, you don’t know the half of it.

To see a picture of her, go here.

But must go, She’s whining, and I should probably be there for the poor thing. and then we’ll go to dinner together. that should be a challenge.

Man it’s a lot of mental energy telling her all these things, heel, door, sit, every move I make has a command for her. And she can get me confused. She can spin me around so fast I don’t know where I’ve been. Gotta go, have a question for Tim.

Wow, my left hand has leash burn from puppy. She’s challenging me, but we’re getting there.

No, past self, you weren’t. She didn’t respect you, and you were too chicken to stand up and show her who was boss, so she thought she was.

She was the only dog to try and jump on the serving counter. Try? More like succeed. Anka was quick. Down she came and red went my face.

And it’s hard to eat with dog. She’d wait until I had a swig of juice and then she’d be bad. How can a master with a mouth full of juice tell her no? Smart puppy. Oh well, day is almost over. More tomorrow.

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