Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Final Interview Call from Guide Dogs for the Blind

The final call of the interview process before going to Guide Dogs for the Blind for training came late yesterday afternoon.

It was a very pleasant conversation with two of the staff who will be my trainers for the next couple of weeks.

The main part of the conversation revolved around my expectations for the training, what I feel I need and particular concerns as to the kind of work that my new dog and I will be doing when we return home.

Being able to see a little caused me some problems during my home visit. I tried to follow my own lines instead of being guided by the instructor and "Juno" ( the harness with no dog". The answer then was to close my eyes, but it was great to find out that guide dogs for the blind have a training program geared to my particular needs as a partially sighted user. That will certainly help in my training.

During the interview I was also given details of the daily routine for both weeks. Week one is geared to more general training with week two aimed at providing training in areas where students feel a need. So for instance if you regularly travel by subway train, instruction is geared towards using a subway system with a guide dog.

Class begins after breakfast on Monday, my instructors provided me with a list of study questions, all of the answers are in the MP3 files which are accessed from the GDB website homepage. So having listened to those MP3's several times now I am fairly confident that I know the first days class work.

We will meet our dogs shortly after lunch, about 1pm and have some time to become a littl acqainted, before doing some more classwork in the afternoon. There are also some evenings when we have classwork too but as of the writing of this blog I don't know the exact details.

So now it is just a little more waiting. That is the hard part right now. I know the really hard work begins Monday, building a new guide dog team will not be an overnight process, nor will it be easy.

It is a little like an arranged wedding where neither bride nor groom have ever met, spoken or even know if they are even the same gender. Fun eh?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Columbus Day and Just Seven Days till Dog Day

Ah. A nice relaxing Monday.

Today so far I have revised the MP3 files for guide dog training. This is probably my final run through all the MP3 files because I have to work the rest of the week and the files take several hours to listen too in their entirety.

I have also cleaned some books in breaks from the class lectures. I have a good assortment of books to send off to Amazon for my online bookstore. Hopefully these will arrive in the middle of next week and go onto my storefront and be available in the Amazon marketplace a day or two later.

I also managed to give myself an irritating paper cut on my finger as I assembled some mailing boxes for my book consignment.

All the time though I have had one ear out for the telephone. I am expecting a call for someone in the guide dog instructors program to call me for a final interview/assessment prior to next week. Today would be a great day to get that call. But all I know is that it should be sometime this week.

So for all of you out there. Have a good Columbus Day, and to Canadian readers, Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Nine Days till Dog Day

Here it is, The last weekend before I leave for guide dog training at San Rafael.

My wife and I spent Saturday shopping for last minute items to pack. A couple of shirts that I want to take need new buttins which we needed to buy. I needed some bathroom supplies, like cleaning solution for my electric razor and socks. I found one of my new shoes might leak a little from the tongue of the sohoe when I walked through a stream from a garden sprinkler the other evening. A sprinkler is not nearly as severe as a rain shower, but as the top of my foot got quite uncomfortably wet, my wife insisted new socks were an urgent requirement. Now I have at least two pairs of socks per day. Hope we don't get that much rain.

We also went for lunch at a favorite tempanyaki restaurant. I was not certain if there may be restrictions on a guide dog being able to go to tempanyaki, as they are after all food preparation places as well as restaurants. My wife asked about the allowing of guide dogs into the tempanyaki restaurant as opposed to the normal restaurant. The manager told her, guide dogs go there all of the time with no problem. So sounds good for tempanyaki after I get my dog too.

We also went to see the movie "Rush". I used to love watching motor racing in England, especially formula one. The movie tells of the battle between James Hunt and Nikki Lauda in the 1976 Formula One season championship. Being a Ron Howard directed movie it also sparked my interest, I loved Apollo 13. According to my wife there were rather a lot of grpaphic sex scemes, Hunt was a playboy type after all. Funny enough I hardly saw a thing, but loved the roar of those thundering formula one engines. 

A long day shopping and dinner with a movie, set the tone nicely for the weekend. Now only eight days to dog day and we just have to finish packing.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

18 Days till Dog Day

The days are now quickly counting down.

On Monday afternoon I received a call from the admissions office at Guide Dogs. The call was to arrange travel to the Guide Dogs for the Blind campus on October 20.

I live only three or four hours drive from the campus and have long planned to have my wife drive me to San Rafael.

Monday's call could have arranged flights to San Francisco or travel by train or other ground transport, too. Bear in mind all travel, except getting there in ones own car is paid for by Guide Dogs. You do not need to worry about costs of getting there.

Late yesterday afternoon I received a confirmation e-mail, regarding my travel plans.

They also informed me to arrive between 2 and 4pm on the Sunday. My room will be assigned to me on Friday October 18 so I can pass on any details to relatives who may want my room number or phone number.

I have also started to prepare my packing list. As laundry facilities are provided, I don't need to take two weeks supply of clothing, but I need to plan for a variety of weather conditions including rain, which I am not really used to anymore after living seven years in near desert conditions here in the San Joaqin Valley.