Days 18, 19, 20

First off, graduation is tomorrow, and will be on live stream as well as uploaded to YouTube by Wednesday. You can view the ceremony (starting at 1:15 PM, maybe as late as 1:20) by going to the following links:

https://www.youtube.com/user/GuidingEyesGuideDogs

or

https://www.guidingeyes.org/prospective-students/guide-dog-services/student-experience/graduation/

Now, on to the rest of the week:

Weds. – Manhattan Day.
We left the school in two groups. One at 8:00Am, the other later. I was in the first group. We rode in the van to the area commuter rail station and took it down to Grand Central Terminal. Once we were at GCT, the work began. Jingles, myself, and an instructor walked through the terminal, weaving through hoards of people to the subway trains. Jingles did an awesome job. Once we were in close proximity, my instructor led me to the turnstiles (which I can apparently teach Jingles the name of later on) and showed me how to enter with her. First I swipe my card with Jingles behind me all the while telling her to stay. I then walk slowly through the turnstile holding her leash with my arm extended while I still tell her to stay. After I’m through I tell her to go, and she slides easily under the turnstile. It was really cool to see how easy it was for her. We practiced riding on the subway for a couple stops. It will take some practice, but I’m sure it will be easy in no time.

We got off at 59th and Lexington and then began walking. Jingles did great in the crowds. There were a few things I needed to work with her on, but for the most part, I did alright and so did she. Then, about halfway through our trip, Jingles was attacked by another dog! Oh my gosh, it was the worst. Apparently there was a lady walking with some kind of Labrador mix, who lunged at Jingles as we walked past. The woman managed to drag her dog away and my instructor got us out of danger. Unfortunately, the woman kept moving and didn’t even apologize or see if Jingles was okay. My instructor examined Jingles, who was okay, with only a little cut by her eye. She was shaken up though and nervous around dogs for the rest of that day. We made sure to give her positive reinforcement, and continued our walk.

We took the subway one more time, and then finished walking to the restaurant. Jingles was really great in the city. I just hate how she had that experience. I hope it’s the first and the last.

Yesterday, we went back to the small town that we had our night walk at and completed a route there. Jingles was fabulous, except for getting distracted by the smell of a coffee shop. Ironic that the smell that distracts her most seems to be coffee. Ha. Later that day, we went to the grocery store and walked the dogs through them. That was a fun experience. After the grocery store, we went to Petsmart and walked the dogs through. Pet stores can be tricky because there are so many dog friendly smells, but Jingles did really well, even getting a compliment by our class supervisor 

Today, we went to Mount Kisco (which I’m sure I’ve spelled wrong) and walked a loop around a shopping/business area. When we weren’t walking, we were chilling in Starbucks. Can’t complain about that  Again, my pup was great.

This afternoon, we practiced overhead obstacles again, which Jingles again avoided perfectly. We also practiced sidewalk closings, getting in and out of a car, and refreshed on the revolving door. After the work was done, we received our going home packets, class photos, and ID cards.

This evening we took a dog massage class. I know it sounds weird, but it really relaxed the dogs, and it was explained to us the importance of keeping our dogs from being stressed and also how reinforcing positive touch will help when the dog needs its nails clipped, for instance. We also learned how to tell if our dog is sick. Really cool stuff.

Anyway, it’s super late, and graduation is tomorrow, so good night 😀

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5 thoughts on “Days 18, 19, 20

  1. Wow!! Sorry that Jingles and you had to deal with the attack!! How scary!! I wonder if the woman was really embarrassed and that’s why she ran off. Still, I agree she should of apologized at least and checked on Jingles, embarrassed or not! Anyways, I love hearing about this adventure and just how much you are growing in your confidence through it all! And I’m so glad you got Jingles!! 🙂 🙂

  2. Hi!!!

    First, congratulations on graduating with your new partner!!!

    I am also blind and have worked a guide dog before, as well as am currently owner training my next guide dog myself from scratch! In case you’re wondering, this just means that rather than attending a school, I am doing all of the training myself.

    Anyway, I wanted to invite you to check out a national organization of blind people who all use guide dogs or are currently waiting to get accepted to guide dog schools or are currently owner training their dogs like myself!!!

    The National Association of Guide Dog Users (NAGDU) is a division of the National federation of the Blind and we all share information and tips on how to handle various situations with our guide dogs, as well as state laws that apply in various situations, or just chat about doggy topics!

    Our website is:

    http://www.nagdu.org

    And we also have a blog here on WordPress which you can easily follow. It is:

    http://www.harnessup.wordpress.com

    The information about our e-mail list can be found on the website and please know that you do not have to be a member of the organization in order to join the list to talk with other guide dog users!!

    Please let me know if you have any questions or just want to chat!!

    Best,

    Amber

  3. Rebekah…..I really enjoyed reading your blog. Full of great information for me. Taking care of Jngles for Denise was just a small part in the whole process. So nice to attend graduation and tour the grounds, but now reading your side really makes a full picture of the whole organization and process. Amazing! What wonderful people are involved …… great to be just a small part of it.

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