trip to Toronto

Finally, I got to see more of Toronto than just the airport or the Greyhound bus station, lol.

Wednesday morning James Luna and I headed out to spend a few days in Toronto for the CNIB Braille conference hosted by CNIB

The trip started off with us finally packing for the trip like at 6 that morning. Talk about last minute packing, eh? It all worked out just fine. We had plenty of time to possibly forget something, play, feed, water and park luna a couple of times, fight with traffic and still got to the bus station with time to spare. Man, we’re good!

Wow, I absolutely have to say I *love* having a small dog now. It’s nothing like being stuck in seats with no leg room for ourself and having to throw in a dog. Luna is just the right size. Just throw her on, hahah just kidding didn’t really throw her, but she hopped right on, settled on the floor and slept the whole trip there. Only bothered to wake up when I coaxed her off the bus at the rest stop to see if she needed to stretch her paws. She was even a good girl for James when I left her with him to run inside the store so that I could go park myself. She didn’t whine or try and get away.

At the hotel for the first little while she was dog distracted with all the different guide dogs around so I kept the gentle leader on her whenever we weren’t in the room just in case I had to do some serious controlling.

OMG, who the heck let out all the dogs from GDB Poor Luna was like the only black lab and the only one from Leader.

Lets play the game, which of these things is not the same? lol.

Once again she showed me how extremely smart and observant she is. The relieving area at the hotel was a little of a walk from our room and after being shown where it was once, she had it the second time I took her out. I wasn’t exactly sure on where to make at least one of the turns, but she just pulled me along, lol. Follow your dog, right, isn’t that what they beat into your heads?

We sadly did have a too close for comfort traffic check that could have had a different ended than it did.

We decided to try and go find food that wouldn’t break the bank like most hotels do with a group of friends, one being another guide dog team. we got to this one street crossing and was in the middle of the crossing when car went right between Luna and I and the other guide dog team. They didn’t slow down, they didn’t stop, just drove right on through. Luna did exactly what she was suppose to do and stopped and stepped back, but even with her stepping back, the car was still too close. I could have reached out and touched it without putting my hand out too far. If not for that step back or if I wasn’t paying attention to Luna, that could have ended way worse.

luna however was affected by the incident. She was extremely hesitant in traveling and when we came to a curb or driveway she would either run across it or not want to go at all. This of course seriously concerned me and I got in touch with Leader Dog on Friday to see what to do and explain what happened. I also decided not to work Luna that day to lessen the stress she may have been feeling since I learned her stress signs while in class. I just saved working her when I had to take her to park.

So, I heard from Jessica and got some things to try to see if that will bring her back up to speed and I’ll be trying those now that we’re back home.

She seems fine and happy now that we’re back home, but I haven’t worked her yet either haha, just lots of playtime, but that is soon coming to an end.

Oh yes, another great thing happened while I was off playing in Toronto. I finally heard from Luna’s puppy raiser and got loads of pictures! *cheers*

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.

GDB application update

Hello there and welcome to a brief update on where my guide dog journey stands.

Apparently my silly doctor missed a whole back side of the form he was suppose to fill out, *grumbles* So this means that I will either have to go back there or maybe I’ll get lucky and Patty the person who I guess oversees my application at the moment will try and reach him by phone and get it filled out that way.

*sighs* darn delays.

So, sadly I’m “still” waiting on that home visit call and now waiting to find out what happens with my doctors form.

I’ll check in with them again in a week or so and if still no luck with the doc I’ll run back over to see him since i still have a copy of the form as well.

Ha, the funny thing is that apparently my doctor has horrible writing. Don’t all doctors? *snickers* The nurses at GDB couldn’t read it at all.

That’s all for now. Update you when I know more.

GDB phone interview

Well, this afternoon I completed the next step on my new guide dog journey.

This afternoon i had my phone interview with Guide Dogs for the Blind and it was pretty painless.

Patty kuehn is the person I spoke with and seemed very nice. The questions were pretty standard about where I go, my health, if I can afford to take care of a dog, things like that. I did discover though that it’s very hard trying to pick a route and describe it over the phone. Usually I just get up and go and don’t think about it. But in the end all went well and I’m on to the next step along my journey. Making sure medical reports and mobility reports get over to the school and waiting for that awesome home visit.

The paperwork is easy and I can get that done next week and faxed back over to them.

The hardest part now will be waiting for the home interview which could be up to 8 weeks away, *sighs*

Now that I got the process started and mentally keep telling myself it’s time to prepare for that new dog I don’t want to wait, lol.

So, GDB grads, stop being strangers, what the heck is the home visit like. Those that live in Canada, spill your guts about Chuck!

Am I getting another dog?

As I mentioned in a previous post it’s not easy retiring a dog at the best of times. A little over a week ago I had no choice put to retire Noah because I found out he had cancer. It was quite a blow and a shock. I took it extremely hard and blamed myself and wondered if I could have done anything different to prevent this. No, I’m still not over the shock, but I’m also not beating myself up. That’s a little progress.

Well, the purpose of this post is to address the question I keep getting asked, “am I getting another dog?”

I didn’t realize how much this question bugged me until Noah. I think it bugs me more this time because Noah had to retire due to illness. But I’ve seen that since Noah that although people mean well, some people just don’t think before asking this question.

I had one person ask me 1 minute, yes I said 1 minute after I handed Noah over to the vet tech from Canadian Guide Dogs I had to fight really hard not to snap at or hit the person that asked. I just handed off my dog and you saw me hand him over and how upset I am, why ask, “so are you getting another dog?”

Now over the last week I’ve been asked this question over and over, but the timing of the question wasn’t as thoughtless, but still hard to take. Also, the ones that have asked over the past week remember to ask about how “I’m” doing before falling right in with that dreaded question.

So, to answer the question, “am I getting another dog” the answer is yes. Sadly though I’m having to also pick a backup school just in case Canadian Guide Dogs doesn’t have a match for me before I throw my cane under a train or the next winter.

In doing research I didn’t realize how many schools use “guidedogs” as their domaine name. Talk about confusing.

I have started the guide dog journey already and one huge reason is Canadian Guide Dogs where I’d love to get my next pup is a small school and they are seasonal. Come December or the first huge snow they close up shop until Spring. So I needed to start things rolling just in case I get lucky and another match comes up before then. The other is even with bigger schools there’s the application process which can take a while. By the time there’s a match for me I’ll emotionally be ready to give the new dog my attention. I can only do this part in stops and starts since I start crying all over again, *sighs*

There are several schools I’m looking at, the top one being Guide Dogs for the Blind and much to my surprise I actually already have my phone interview on Wednesday afternoon. I’m also thinking of Guide Dog Foundation The biggest reason I’m looking at these 2 schools is that they have a short class time and I won’t have to miss too much school. I know more from GDB than I do GDF and so far I’m able to learn more about GDB, so yeah, looking like it may end up the backup school.

so, I’ve answered your question of “am I getting a new dog?” I’ll keep you up to date on how things are going. Unlike with Noah I can blog about this process and what I think and feel and shhhhh, don’t tell the new dog, but compare him or her to Noah.

I know, I know, not suppose to do that, but well, you know.

Thanks again to everyone that have been supportive during this time. I greatly appreciate it and Noah if someone reads this to you, I love and miss you!