Monday, 30 April 2012

Blog 24 The Time Has Come!

Blog 24: April 30, 2012
The Time Has Come.
The time has come that I will be changing my Blog Picture. This time last year we were weeping and preparing for the loss of Jagger.
As hard as it is to believe I have been away for a month training with a new guide dog.
Jags, was my first real guide dog and companion for almost 5 years and for some who may think that this was easy it was not.

I made the decision to apply for a new dog last year after traveling around with a cane. For some people a cane is just fine, for me however I am a dog person.
He is not a German Sheppard; he is a big goofy loving Golden Retriever name Lucky.
Does he work like Jags no? He works like Lucky the reason why I did not ask for another Sheppard is because no other Sheppard could compare to Jags.
I have to tell you that even if this school gave me a Sheppard it would not have been compared to Jags because this schools training make it different and therefore making it a different dog.
Lucky   street work is incredible and he loves to work! No unexpected noise shakes him, and no skateboards or kids on bikes makes him nervous, nor does crowded streets.
He is perfect for Montreal and our rioting students.
I have been away for a month training and everyone thinks going to a school is easier than training at home, I have done both and I have to say I think being away is harder.
Each training evolution gets harder. The first part is getting to meet your dog and start bonding together.
The next part is you and the dog start working together and here is the secret your dog already knows what to do, you don’t.
It is not impressing the instructor that you have to worry about, it’s impressing your dog! It is learning how to control your dog and give somewhat intelligible instruction so they have confidence in you.  
I kind of think of it like stepping on a piece of Ice! You know you are going to fall but how cool can you look while you do it!  
The other great thing is that the instructor is there to catch you.
The school kept me very busy. We had lectures and presentations plus dog training morning and afternoon, because the best way to learn about your dog is work with him.
We worked mornings and afternoon, we groomed and bonded every day from the moment we woke up until the moment they went to bed we were with them.  
There was no asking your spouse to take them out or feed them because you’re tired. There is nobody to pick up after them except for you.  
The hardest part is still ahead. I have 2 days of after training that’s done at home and then the hard part, I am on my own. I start working with Lucky without the trainer.
This is when the work really starts, all the tools they gave us while in training and the instructions that they helped you with, you had better of been listing because you are on your own.
Of course you can always call and ask questions or describe what has been going on and they will help.
However I do not think you can walk around with your cell phone to your ear all day asking what you were suppose to do in this situation.
In reality it takes a year for a team to really develop a lot of people met Jags and I after our first year and half we had gone through those growing pains.
Think of this as a new born baby it takes the first year for both of you to learn each others movements and noises before you are comfortable with each other.
At the same time you both wonder what you got yourselves into and if you want to know the answer to this question, you can either ask a puppy raiser or become a puppy raiser, I know nobody is excited to become a guide dog user but if you had to you would understand.

Look forward to some new Adventures Around The Cornner!   

Monday, 9 April 2012


Blog 23 April 9, 2012
Crazy Three Weeks!

Wow it has been so crazy! I found out on March 15 that I was going into training for a new guide dog, when I hung the phone I did not realize how little time that was!
I woke the next morning (I really did not sleep much the night before), I looked at the calendar and realized that I did not have much time to get everything done.
I needed to speak with my Professors, about final papers! I needed to make arrangements for meds. I needed to see doctors before I left. In all that I also needed to remember that Easter was coming and to make time to partake in the services. I also had to pack clothes and make sure I have everything in regards to medication.
So here is how it broke down, first I could not think about a new dog because I would not focuses on my school work. In three weeks I did one final exam, three papers the last one finished on Saturday night. I went to three doctor’s appointments brought back library books.
Only after when my paper was submitted on Sunday night was I able to think about the new dog and I can tell you that I am really excited.
The last day before I leave I am washing clothes packing and going over my list again to ensure that I have everything I need.

In reality, I have been over this plan in my head probably about 1 billion times! No matter how hard I tried not to think about what kind of dog they will give me, or the name of the dog it was almost impossible!
I felt like a father waiting for their child to be born, loving that child before you have ever seen the child, but for me I won’t really see the dog but I love it anyways!  

The next month will be one of the biggest months. Although they have found a suitable match for me it will take a lot of love and work to bond and that forms the bases to making a good team.
On my partners side it will depend on how well the dog responds and bonds to me.   

If we make it through training! The second part is lots of love and more bonding and patients and hard work.

Then the rest comes with time and patients and more love.     

 As we use to say! IT’S GO TIME!
 The next blog will be from Training.