GSD Fire’s arrival

Yay, I finally got that call I’ve been waiting for this week! My lovely shepherd Fire will be here on October 18, 2018. As of today that is 35 days away! Party party party!

lol, I knew when I decided to use the name Fire that everyone would ask if that’s the puppy’s name. It is a cool one I must say, but it is not the name of my GSD. That name will not be released publicly until after we have finished home training. Ha, this keeps me from slipping and saying the actual name before the puppy raiser knows that we have been matched.

Man, I do have to say though knowing information about the puppy ahead of time and finding information about the new fury friend is exciting and damned hard! I’ve had to stop myself several times from asking the puppy raiser for pictures and stories and telling another person that I’ve become friends with that I will have Fire’s sibling.

See, I also know that Fire and I were meant for each other for one important thing. Fire knows Starbucks! Yayayayayaya! Any dog of mine will definitely need to be familiar with Starbucks. It’s a requirement!

For those GEB grads my home trainer is Jim Gardner. At least by phone he seems very nice.

So, countdown time for Thursday sometime in the afternoon/evening October 18, 2018!

GSD Fire, 35 days!

Whew, the wait is nearly over!

Welcome old and new friends to my guide dog journey! It has been a very long and hard one.

In June 2017 I retired my very awesome girl Luna moon who was from Leader Dogs for the Blind. Due to my allergies that got worse and unsafe for me to work her I made that hard decision and thought my heart would break.

During this time I started the process to get a new best pal but this time for a shepherd. I knew the wait would be a while and was some what ok with that. What became hard to deal with was the lack of support from some in the guide dog community when I would voice my thoughts and feelings about how long the wait was especially when it reached winter time. It was my first time dealing with loads of snow and cane travel. Definitely something that I am not a fan of. My hats off to all of those that are comfortable with cane travel and snow, but it’s waaaaay past my comfort level! So, during the wait I stopped talking about the guide dog wait I was going through except to a few people that I felt were supportive and real friends along with family members until the time came that the wait was over.

So, that brings us to the reason for this post, smiles.

On Thursday I finally got the call that my match has been found and in October I will be getting my new four-legged friend! My hopeful GSD will be known as Fire! I will not give more information about it until we have graduated since as all you guide dog users know anything can happen between now and then.

Fire of course is a shepherd and is from Guiding Eyes for the Blind! My trainer will be Jim.

This process will also be different because I will be going through home training and I will discuss the mixed feelings I had about this development along with comparing it to in class training.

Hopefully my puppy raiser friends from Leader Dogs will still stick around and read even though this adventure won’t be from Leader. To any new puppy raisers that join the adventure, especially those from GEB I hope you enjoy the experience of my adventures!

The next update will be some time during the week of September 10th when we narrow down my training date for October.

LD training concluded

Finally, here’s what happened on our trip home *smiles* Sorry it took a while but I gave us some time to do absolutely nothing! of course not to mention that bug that tried to catch me in Michigan, yeah it caught up with me at home *cough cough* bleh!

off to the airport:
So we left Leader around 10:30AM or so and got to the airport close to noon. I was still a bit nervous since she still did not give me a poop. Pee liked 50,000 times, but not what I wanted her to give me.

I chose to go sighted guide instead of working her the the airport since it was just me. Again keep down her stress level which in my mind would lessen the chances of *stress* poop.

We got to the security check point and everyone was like, do it this way, do it that way and and and . . . I was like no, Luna and I will do it like this

I told the volunteer David to go ahead of me through the check point. Once he was through I asked the security guy to let me know exactly where the machine was and to direct me to where the center of it was. Nothing like running smack into the thing when you thing you’re lined up right *ow* So he give me tiny directions to help me line up. Once I was ready I told them that I would come through first and then have Luna come through after me. I informed them that Luna would set off the machine. They were all cool with that and a little confused, hahahah. Apparently they’ve never seen it done the way I was about to do it.

I told Luna to sit and to stay and switched to the long leash again telling Luna to stay, and she did. Such a good girl! I repeated stay as I walked through the machine. Once I felt I was clear I called Luna to come. She happily flew right on through setting off the alarm of course. I then had her sit nice while the security guy checked her out. They told me she was such a cute, pretty good girl *smiles*

Off we went to our gate where Luna settled under my chair while we waited.

things that make you say hmm:
While we were waiting this old lady was sitting next to us and asking all about my puppy and training and where I’m from and so on. But she had to go and make a statement that made me have to bite my tongue and just shake my head.

Lady, how long have you and your puppy known each other?
Me, 26 days.
Lady, oh that’s nice and where are you from?
Me, I’m from Ottawa Ontario Canada.
Lady, oh, I couldn’t live there their medical insurance is too high.

Then she went on to discuss other things and somehow ended up back on health care and this is what she said:

Lady, I’m going to Ottawa to visit my sister. I didn’t want you thinking I was going there for Ottawa’s free health care.

Um, wonder where she’s finding this free health care. Not to mention didn’t she just say it was too expensive? *scratches head*

damn small planes:
*cheers*

Time to board the plane, time for home!

*bam*

Ow my head. Darn small planes not made for tall people! I want my money back for my head injury…again.

I was able to change my seat from bulkhead to a regular seat. I hate bulkhead, bleh! I remove Luna’s harness and she squeezed between the seats while I grumbled that this is even tight for a skinny person, sheesh!

I get settled and my girl plops on the floor and like completely curls up under the seat in front of us and goes to sleep. Wow, what a trooper. Guess I’ll have nothing to worry about. Good, brief catnap for me.

what Luna thinks of the customs guy:
Now do you remember that poop that Luna didn’t give yet, well um here it comes.

So we get to customs and just my luck I get the dumbest guy on the planet. He’s like never seen a guide dog, that’s fair not everyone has so I’m telling him about how training goes and what the purpose of the dogs are, then he turns around and ask I paid for the dog and if I declared it on the customs card? Um, WTF? Now there is a first. Really just my luck and I really need to park myself. So instead of going through everything again I hand him a Leader Dog card get Luna’s records out of my backpack and try to give them to him…nope, he was like I don’t know what to do with this you didn’t declare the dog and and *growls* please just get me someone else th….whoops, Luna picks this time to um display her displeasure about the customs guy!

You guessed it, she decided now was the best time to take that poop I wanted earlier. I was like oh gods please don’t let this be the *squueeshy* kind.

Luckily it wasn’t!

I grabbed a bag and as I picked it up I said to Luna, I understand that guy is a total shit, hahahahah. The person helping me out cracked up laughing and took me to another agent!

welcome home:
Luna and I made it home in one piece and she settled in just great. We made it home whn I thought we would around her dinner time. She’s so smart I didn’t even have to tell her to sit out of my way. I grabbed her food bowl and she sat in the middle of the kitchen and waited *cheers*

After she ate she sniffed every inch of the house and found it to her liking.

I have a crate for her downstairs and a tent for her upstairs and she will happily go in both of them.

luna and the squeaky bone:
oo, a new toy hiding under the couch…mommy give me that bone I can’t reach it. So I hand her the bone and well *chuckles* this is what happens.

squeak squeak goes the bone as Luna starts to chew on it.
Yipes, goes Luna as she drops it on the floor. Luna then proceeds to bat the bone with her paw.
Squeak goes the bone and Luna glares at it.
Then Luna decides to nudge it with her nose instead…whew, no squeaky so she places a paw on it.
Squeak goes the bone…moving backwards goes Luna glaring at the bone!

hahahah, this is too amusing. How I wish I had my camera going.

luna moves back up to the bone and gently picks it up…oh, good it didn’t squeak so I’ll just chew on it a little more.
Squeak goes the bone, Luna quickly drops it on the floor and paws the bone away then glares at it once again.

lol, this goes on for at least 10 minutes before I finally call it quits when she places her head on my lap wondering what the hell to do.

Apparently bones are just not suppose to squeak at her!

I’m hoping tomorrow I’m feeling well enough to get us out and I can start patterning her to certain areas I need her to find…like our house, lol. But all is well and Luna is busy snoring. Stay tuned for more adventures as they happen.

Oh yes, I can also gladly say that I have not had one *stress* squishy poop since we got home and Saturday is now over, but I have to find a way to get her to stop eating the darn grass when it’s time to go outside.

LD training1 Welcome to Leader!

Hey there everyone!

I have arrived and boy what a trip it was. Sorry post is later than I was going to originally put it up, but after reading this you’ll understand why I needed some time to myself first. So lets begin, shall we?

Leaving Ottawa:
I left my house around 7:15AM yesterday morning and *yay* no traffic, so we got there pretty quick. The person that helped me at the Delta counter was a very nice lady and around 8:30 we headed off to do that annoying security thing.

Do you have a service dog?
*urm what?* Yep I was asked that question when doing my check in. Although the lady was super nice I wonder what made her ask such a silly question. Sorry, but do you *see* a dog hanging nearby? Nope, just this horrible cane of mine!

Fail 1:
Did you know that on the international side for Delta they don’t have a Starbucks? *gasp* WTH! The domestics get a Starbucks, but not those leaving the country! How fair is that? I demand a refund, *sniffs* So I had to wait and *hope* that I’d get my Starbucks on the other end.

Fail 2:
Can someone please explain to me how a *dog bone* looks like a container with lucid inside?…Yes, you read that right I promise. They tagged my bag to scan because the *dog bone* I brought looked like a container with liquid inside. But wait, it gets better…the lady tried opening it! *rolls eyes* I think someone needs to put her in a new section quickly, she might miss the actual important stuff. If there’s some new bone out there though I’d love to know about it.

Fail 3:
*ow* Who the hell made the plane, a short person? That’s ok, I didn’t need that head of mine anyways! Sorry, I don’t know the type of plane I flew out of Ottawa on, just that it was not made for tall people and was only 13 rows long. However, the good thing is it wasn’t one of those noisy tiny flights.n *whew* but man my head hut after that…all this and I haven’t even left Ottawa yet, *groans*

Where’s your service dog?
*sighs* again with the dog…someone must have wrote that I had a dog on this trip, damn travel agent! Nope, no dog on this trip, but here’s the funny thing the flight attendant after I told her no dog says, “oh, good when I didn’t see the dog I was wondering if it was roaming around the plane.” lol, now remember I said this plane is only 13 rows long and not made for tall people…where in the blue hell would a dog have to hide on this more than tiny plane, in the bathroom?…*whoops* nope, I was just in there and no dog hiding there. *sighs* some people!

And we’re off!
*cheers* The trip has begun. We left on time and managed to arrive in Detroit even earlier than we were suppose to. That was some great wind helping me out I would say. *chuckles*

STARBUCKS!!!
Oh, dance for joy, I get my Starbucks..someone loves me after all! Everything is right with the world again.

My first experience:
So I for the first time got to go on the moving sidewalk thing or whatever the hell you call it…like the escalators, but flat, lol. That was a pretty neat experience.

Need some exercise?
Damn, do I have to walk to China to get my bags? Up escalators, down escalators, on 2 moving sidewalk things, more escalators…are we there yet? No, walk about another 15 minutes…*whew* finally we made it, but . . .

*whoops*

HUGE FAIL:
Hey Delta, where’s my bag?
A hour and a half after I landed I was still at the airport when I could have been happily at Leader roaming the halls, getting lost and all that fun stuff. But * nooooo* I’m getting rather worried…no make that frustrated….*whoops* now make that pissed off that they lost…yes lost my suitcase! So we had to make a claim and *hope* they found my bag you know…before I needed that annoying thing called *clothes*

Welcome to Detroit, but I hope you didn’t need your bags!!

WELCOME TO LEADER!!!!
*cheers and dances*
I’m here..well, sort of. I’m here but not my bags, *groans* but enough about that for now…lets talk about the good stuff.

Leader arrival went great. I met Jessica Bimmermann when I walked in who is my instructor. There are 19 of us in class. I am the *only* one from Canada…go me! I also believe I am the youngest out of all of us, but will try and confirm that later and let you know. I am Jessica’s *only* client. So for those of you that have already played the Leader Dog guessing game I will be changing the last question. If you haven’t played yet…then what the hell are you waiting for? Get over there and have fun guessing what I might get and when!

Now, you would think that I would be first to get my dog right come Tuesday afternoon? *nope* Jessica is the team leader, plus she’s working with an apprentice instructor who goes under blindfold this week, plus she makes sure that everything else goes as should. I mean *sighs* I could still end up last getting my dog. Now wouldn’t that just be a pisser!

Anyways, so the rooms here are like *huge*, but I’ll tell more about the rooms and the layout of the building and all that in another post.

The JMK group:
A few of us have already hit it off extremely well and have declared ourselves the group that must sit together. somehow at dinner, not on purpose mind you our table had 6 people that started with the letter J and for the longest time it was just me…which of these things does not belong, lol. Then another lady came to join us that started with a K. I’ll write more about each once I find out if they wouldn’t mind. This group plus all the staff have definitely made me feel ok about the fact that I have *no* clothes! *grumbles* They either make a joke about something else or let me know in whatever way they can they’d help me out.

So, I think I’ve rambled on enough, *chuckles* and will definitely right more later. Sadly nope, I still have no suitcase and it is now nearly 3AM. Maybe later I’ll get lucky? Maybe?

One month to go!

Time flies when you’re having fun, so it you don’t mind time…go just a bit faster!!!

Yesterday was suppose to be my last day for my summer class at Carleton University but noooo, I had to miss it thanks to some pissed off skunks, yes you heard me, skunks under our porch! I don’t think it would have been cool going to class smelling like a skunk or 3, do you? The smell in the house alone was horrible and has lasted for hours. Seriously, I know I always joked about wanting a pet skunk, but *whew* this is over kill…or more like over stinky!

So, except for the final I have to do on Monday I’m all done with school until September. I’ll have exactly 1 week of classes and then I’m off to the most exciting part of getting my new furry friend from Leader Dogs So if you haven’t subscribe to my blog yet via email, then get to it if you don’t want to miss any and all updates I make regarding my experience with a new school, getting my new puppy and so much more! September will be the month that gets the most post. Unlike when I got my awesome golden Noah, I have a blog this time to put down just about everything. So, subscribe now!

cane under train in one month!

Where did July go?

Wow, July is already nearing its end. Where the heck did it go?

Well, it’s definitely been a fun and exciting month for me to say the least. Lets give a quick update shall we.

My second class started at Carleton University on July 7th and this time the instructor is pretty good and actually makes sure that he’s meeting my accommodations and listening to me when I make suggestions. The class this time is Ottawa, Exploring national Institutions and my favourite part is the field trips. No sitting in class every class for 3 long hours, *whew* But as I said, July is nearly over which means so is this class. I’m all done with it on August 13th.

Now, the more exciting news of the month!!! I will finally be able to throw my cane under a train! Yes, on September 14, 2014 I will be going to Michigan to get my new Leader Dog I’m soooooo excited! *dances for joy*

I started the application process with them on June 23, 2014 and by July 15, 2014 I got the call I had been waiting for. We have a dog for you!!!

I will be gone from September 14th to October 9th. This means school wise I’ll pick my secondary courses that allows me to have the video on demand part so this time around my time will be sort of split. I have to keep up with school plus give all sorts of attention to my new furry friend. As long as I didn’t have to do cane and snow, I’m perfectly fine with this arrangement, *bounces up and down*

Needless to say I am already counting down the days. As of today I have 50 days to go. Someone make them go quicker please!! So, the guide dog journey has come to an end, but make sure to keep watch to the LD training journals. Those will have all sorts of things in them I’m sure.

cane under train in 50 days

and the winner is

*cheers loudly and bounces up and down*

I got the call I’ve been holding my breath for all day. With loads of jangled nerves I answered a call from Stephanie from Leader Dog at 2:45 this afternoon.

Congratulations to me, I will be heading to Leader for my next dog! I will be going either August 23rd which is in the middle of a class already started or the start of the following class, September 14th. *cheers*

Either way I’m super excited! It’s time to get the house ready for a dog once more.

If there are any guide dog handlers that have gone to get their dog in the middle of a class can you let me know what that is like. I’ve never done that before.

If I’m going in August I’ll be getting there on a Saturday. Do I get my dog like the next day I’m there and then more one on one or what?

So, the guide dog application process has come to a happy end. It’s now time for the guide dog training journey. Stay tuned for those updates in the future!

guide dog application update time

It’s update time once again. Sadly, it’s not jump up and down report time. I’m still in the hurry up and wait stage with a shot of pissed off thrown in.

1. Leader Dog, finished my last stage of the video so now I keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best. I hit it in time for the Tuesday admissions meeting. So maybe at the minimum i’ll know something by next week.

2. Guiding Eyes, my home visit is scheduled for August 19th. So at the most I won’t hear anything regarding them until September.

3. The Seeing Eye, I haven’t heard from them, but I know right now they are pretty busy with the conventions that are going on right now. I’m not sure what to expect in regards to this school. Only time will tell on which direction it will go.

4. Pilot, *chuckles* I haven’t a word at all so I can’t tell you where things stand. Contacting them keeps going unanswered.

Now for the school no longer in the running and the small shot of pissed offness. GDB denied my application and refused to tell me why to plead my case during the appeal process. I appealed and once again they denied it, but here’s where they pissed me off and made me see GDB as a lesser school completely.

In their letter to me they stated that there was insufficient information in my appeal to have them change their mind. Well, it’s kind of hard to plead your case when they refuse to tell you why they said no, but just appeal it and blah blah. A person can only go off information given to them. Kind of like working a guide dog. You must be clear on what you want from your dog if you want a good result, be sloppy and you get no where.

They also hoped that their feedback was helpful. Um, what “feedback?” There was no damn feedback. They outright refused to give me any information at all and claimed that it was privileged information. Now unless I’m mistaken I have ever right to know what goes on with my application, there is no “privileged” information on my own case.

Now what I don’t understand on top of why GDB refused to let me know their reasons and completely baffling me is that they are quite fine letting a client right back into their school that they know abused one of their dogs, but they refused me entry. Now, I’d be perfectly fine with them saying no if I was a shitty dog handler, had horrible mobility skills or hell they just have no dogs at the moment to match like what happened with Canadian Guide Dogs, but just stating it’s “privileged” information is wrong.

There’s another big issue I have with GDB in this whole mess, but it’s more a fight that I will hand over to another school that they purposefully made look bad. I will just say by them intentionally casting doubt on another well established school made them look less than the school they are in my eyes.

More to come when I know something. Hopefully the next one will be a cheering loudly post naming the school I will get my next best pal.

guide dog application update

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve given a guide dog application update. I’ve been trying to wait on making this post until I heard something from Guide Dogs for the Blind but they seem to be taking their time.

So, when I first started this process I was still trying to get over the illness and death of my super boy Noah so only applied to one school, GDB. However, months have gone by and I’ve opened up the playing field and I also have applications going with a few other schools and each is at various stages.

Sadly, it looks like I won’t get the best time I wanted of August for a dog, but of course that was wishful thinking on my part. I just hope I get one before it starts to snow again. *grumbles* cane travel and snow is a royal pain in the ass!
So, I’m still in the waiting stage and juggling what courses to pick for my fall term at Carleton University that I can also do online whenever that call comes to say, “we have a dog for you.”

Will update more when I know more.

GDB home visit with Chuck

Well, last night I had my home visit with Chuck from Guide Dogs for the Blind and I think it went pretty good.

Meeting Chuck in person definitely erased the first impression I got of him which wasn’t in the best of circumstances dealing with a GDB grad, *smiles* It’s nice to see that Chuck is a person that definitely pays attention to detail when it comes to the matching process and explains things so that i wasn’t left wondering, “what the hell is he talking about/”

We went over a brief description of the 2 campuses, Oregon and California. Sorry, I still want to go to Cali! But I’ll take whichever campus has a match for me first.

He mentioned that GDB can have up to 137 puppies born in one month. *gasps* how in the world do you find a name for that many puppies? Like especially when you get to the letter x or z, *boggles*

Then he described to me the layout of the rooms and what’s in them. *wows* a flat screen tv, really in the rooms and a fridge? All I’ll need is my keurig machine and I’ll be set, *chuckles*

Then we came to the fun part, the walk and the Juno walk.

Chuck decided he would have me do a route that I haven’t done in like over a year, *cries*

Somehow, I managed not to kill myself, but I did have one scary moment. I thought that I timed a crossing wrong, but *whew* I didn’t die and Chuck didn’t yell at me, so guess all is right with the world and that car was just eager to get moving.
I did ask Chuck if he’d fail me if I managed to somehow throw my cane under a train, ha! He just laughed at me.

*chuckles* he thinks I was kidding. I really would have, but then I wouldn’t have a way home, *sighs*

Anyways, on to the Juno part!

o Juno took me for a walk down the street and he was a good boy until he confused me.

*scratches head*

What the hell is up with the way GDB holds their leashes? I think that’s the strangest way I’ve ever seen. You just put the leash between your index finger and thumb and it just hangs there. I can so see myself getting beat up by instructors for not holding the leash that way or having my thumb in the right spot!

I’m so not use to holding the leash that way that somewhere along the way I stopped holding part of the darn thing and it was just flopping around, *grumbles and curses* Who came up with this method?

Anyways, on to walking again. so we’re cruising along and Juno decides to get distracted, *sighs* distractions while I’m trying to wrap my head around this leash thing. anyways, right distracted dog, new command for me to learn, *cheers*

Time out!

What, what’s that?

Oh, well, that’s a neat little command you don’t say anything just do a few leash hand switching and stand there. Eventually you’re dog will settle down. *whew* one would hope so. If not, well then guess you’ll be standing there a while. Wish I knew about this technique with Noah and squirrels, hahahahha!

Sorry Noah!

Oh yeah, must remember to food treat Juno he starts to get cranky, *whoops*

So after I put Juno in time out, he decides to be a good boy, off we go again, but damn he goes and gets distracted again. This time Juno needs a leash correction.

*whew* he didn’t yelp so I didn’t manage to correct him too hard, but I got his attention and off we go. U-turn back home.

All went well, Juno and I survived and once again Chuck didn’t yell at me, *smiles*

However, he did have to go and put a concern in my head, *sighs* figures. Nothing can ever go really smooth eh?

Well, GDB makes contacts with other schools that you went too and I DO NOT have a good relationship or respect for the Seeing Eye since my last dog from them. This concerns me cause I’d hate for this one bad incident with the Seeing Eye to damage my chances of getting a dog from GDB. The Seeing Eye screwed up and tried to place blame on me to keep the story very very short and I’d hate to pay for that years after the fact.

Other than that huge stressful issue I believe the visit went well and now I wait to see what happens. Will update again when I know something.