This week has gone by in a blur! I’ve been spending time with my fellow students every night, and when I get back to the room, I just fall into bed, so I apologize for not updating my blog as often as I’d like. I’m going to skim over days 15, 16, and 17 (sun-tues), and save yesterday, Manhattan day, for another post.
So, Sunday, Adam rented a car and came up to visit me. It was so fun being able to show him the grounds, where I spend my time, and of course, letting him meet Jingles. Adam is in love with my little Jingle Belle. However, for the first few weeks I’m back home, I can’t let him pet her too much, and oh my gosh is it hard to keep her all to myself! (if you’re wondering why that is, I’ve been building a bond with the dog since I’ve got her, and it’s very important that she bonds only to me, and doesn’t prefer a spouse or family member. After our relationship is secure, he can pet her and hang out with her, but never feed or give commands…there’s a little glimpse into guide dog world for ya). We had a blast. Adam and I left Jingles at the school (we were required to) and toured around Yorktown Heights. We got some food, sat at a park, found a Starbucks (yay for pumpkin spice lattes!) and went to the mall, where I showed him the escalators I rode with Jingles earlier that week. What a nice day
Monday, it was back to work…though I can’t really remember what we did. I know we did some routes through White Plains, and oh yeah! I wanted to try going to Starbucks because this is what I do at home a lot. We took a route that would lead us to a nearby Starbucks, but when we got there…there was tons of construction. Turns out, the Starbucks was being remodeled and it had been shut down at 3 PM the day before! Ha. So, we went to a 711 instead, but it wasn’t quite the same. Oh, well.
Tuesday was a much more interesting day. It began with platform work. We went to the White Plains train station and practiced walking down the platform. You are supposed to walk with the dog closest to the edge, no matter which direction you’re going. This sometimes forces them to walk in the opposite flow of traffic, but it is ultimately safer for you. If there is no other choice, for instance, if the platform has only one edge and a wall, you have the dog follow the wall. Cool stuff. We also learned how the dog would react if we told it to go forward off the platform. The dog should back up and turn right to keep you safe. It’s still scary to me, even though Jingles was a champ. Edges just make me nervous.
In White Plains proper, each of us got to tailor our routes to be more like what we’d experience at home, or for things we’d like to work on. I wanted to do some indoor work, so off we went. First stop was Barnes and Noble, where I did get the chance to practice going to a Starbucks 😀 How fun to walk through the store and get a drink. We sat for a bit sipping our coffee, and then we exited into the shopping center, where we took an elevator to Target. In Target, we practiced going through the aisles and how to keep Jingles from sniffing the dog or human food. After target, we walked along White Plains for a bit. During the afternoon, we made sure to pass several outdoor eateries, because Jingles likes to sniff there and visit with people, so I wanted to practice keeping her from visiting. She did great.
On our way back, the instructor asked if we’d like to be dropped at a country road close to the school and walk back. Of course, we did. There were four students and guide dogs. We lined up in a row and were off. What fun traveling together!
That evening was a dinner catered by the local Lions club. We were seated throughout the dining room and spoke with the Lions seated near us. I had dinner with a lovely couple and their best friend. Initially, I was nervous about the dinner, but once I got to talking, it was really fun. They all were super nice. The wife in the couple even promised to send me something she crocheted for my house. Isn’t that the sweetest?
That’s the basic recap of days 15, 16, and 17. On a side note, I will be speaking for graduation 😀 I’ll post details later.