Just wanted to talk a little aobut our workouts yesterday. It was a destination route, so something we can do and give the dogs a place to go. I don’t remember the route yet because I’ve been concentrating so hard on learning Petunia’s moves and guiding style. Every guide dog is different, different gait, different pace, pull, different way they learn or react to input from the handler. It’s a learning experience every time, just as with any new relationship.
So yesterday, most of the mistakes were mine, just learning to follow her as she tries to move me right or left to get around obstacles and handle tight places as we go.
We were also teaching her how to handle crossings with actual curbs. Normally, you tell a guide dog forward and as they ste into the street so do you, once you feel that forward motion. This works well for me on flat or wheel chair ramp approaches, but for actual curbs, we’re teaching her to step off the curb and then hold till I get down. so it’s forward, wait, okay forward. She’s a dream dog, she’s picking it up so fast. I’m incredibly proud of her.
The schedule is really killing me. I fell asleep on my bed after dinner and after the final relieving ai crashed hard. I worry that I won’t be able to handle it. I’m stubborn and I keep pushing myself, though sometimes I want to say, let me just rest. lol. But the cool thing is that once I’m out there working with my girl, I feel much better. Walking with your guide dog is fun. It’s freeing and beautiful. It makes me feel proud and confident and alive as nothing else does. But at the same time, walking on the hard dorm floors and walking on the hard sidewalks and streets is killing my joints and my arthritis. My stomach hurts like crazy so it’s nearly impossible to eat or drink anything. I had hoped that issue would not come back while I was here.
The instructors are concerned about what will happen when I get home. They really want someone to work with me for a couple days or something to help Petunia and I get oriented and acclimated to home, but apparently there isn’t any available instructor. I’d like the assistance too, so we can get right out there and establish good work and routes at home. Oh well. we’ll manage somehow.
So, today, we’re off to Portland again. I’m tired and not feeling the best, so keep me in your thoughts and prayers.