Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Night Walk- I DID it!!!!! :D

Tonight, we are supposed to get some serious snow and ice, and I really hadn't been able to go out and really walk with Honey since being home. Mike make the crack that after we got the kids down to bed, why don't I go out and take a walk with Honey. I don't know for sure if he was serious or joking, but I took up on the suggestion. :)

I took her out to break and then harnessed her up and off we went around the large block of our neighborhood. We call it the short block and the large block. Because we live on the the corner of a big horse shoe shaped block and there's another street that cuts up from the bottom of the shoe up and curves up and over the right hand corner up to about the middle of the right side. So the outer loop, or large block as we call it, is about a 1/4 mile walk.

So she breaked and we made our way around and gosh what a liberating feel that was! I can't tell you the last time I've ventured outside on my own at night, even in my own neighborhood. My schedules and going over to visit Dad and Sue has been contingent on the setting of the sun, if you will. So we set out, heads high and it was quite a nice leisurely stroll on around the neighborhood.

We got around to Dad and Sue's house and Dad was in the garage, pulling out the snowblower to be ready for this massive storm we are supposed to have tonight. So talked to him for a few and Sue came out and said hello. Honey got antsy an was wanting to go in the house, so had to get after her a bit there and she finally gave up and plopped down on the floor of the garage, thoroughly put out with me for ignoring her on going inside like any sane person would, where it was warm. LOL!

We chatted for a few and could feel the temps were dropping, so we took off and made our way on around the block and as always, she was great and wow, wow, wow! I wish it wasn't going to be so bitter cold, I'd love to go out trekking around!

We got home and she took me straight to the door perfectly. We came in and took of her harness and gave her lots of loving and praise for doing such a great job. :)

Then she discovered the bean bag chair.... I think it may be her new bed now. LOL!

Oh! I forgot to mention, I've been working on Honey alerting me when I use the buzzer on the oven (need to get started on the alarm clock too). But while just doing it a few times now, if the buzzer is going off and I say "Find it! What is it?", she's took me straight to the stove, from the living room tonight! :) It's really cool to see how she's responding to things and so forth. :)

Ok, it's late and time for bed! Night all!

Wow, it's Thursday already.

Things have gone well this week, Honey's been good. :) We've only had a couple of things we've had to work with, but they've been simple. :) I'm having to watch her close and keep her on the tie down for meals, as she did swipe Alex's lunch on Monday, but caught her red handed and while she's sniffing/looking and wanting to go for the kids table, she's hesitant, knowing she shouldn't. LOL! So that is definately improving. :)

Monday I'd tried to take a walk with Alex and Honey, but it just really didnt' go well. Not on Honey's part, but moreso with Alex. He either lagged way behind me or when in front, Honey was getting upset feeling she was supposed to guide him too. So I've talked with the trainer and have a few ideas we are going to try out for that. The first one I really want to try is putting Alex in the wagon, though I need to work with Honey and make sure she'll be ok with the wagon "following" us. Another option is getting one of the harness/leashes for Alex, which on my guide dog chat lists, I'm hearing a lot of good things for that. :) So will have to keep that in mind. Another option I've heard is as stroller with a reversible handle, where he can be facing forward, though I'm pulling the stroller behind me. Only thing is, took a look online last night at these and YIKES, they are like top end strollers, upwards of $300. So that's going to have to be a last resort, unless we can find something MUCH cheaper...

So Tuesday we got up and putzed around the house and we had our Great Banquet meetings that evening. The kids were going to the sitter and we had a late evening ahead of us. When Alex went down for his nap, I took a quick walk around the small block, for some work with Honey, since I really hadn't been able to with her. Then I took her out to the back yard to let her run and stretch her legs. She loves that! :) So the rest of the afternoon was getting stuff and dinner ready to be out for the evening. We ate dinner, and then take off and drop the kids at the sitter and head on to the church. Mind you it was 50 degrees when we got there at 7pm.

We arrive and the tornado sirens are going off. So I hurry up and put Honey's harness on and we hustle it inside. We get into the chapel and make our way up to the front, and land for a seat. Then the director comes up front and says that because of the warnings going off, that everyone needs to move over into the B building- where the nursery is and no windows. So we all move over and everyone kind of circles up and the music guy pulls out his guitar and gets ready to start playing. Several people asked about petting Honey, and I told them to let me take her harness off and so I did and she got some loving, and was all over it. :) By then everyone started singing a song, and since I had her in a sit, she just went ahead and laid down, not moving and quiet. I sat down on the floor next to her, as most people went ahead and sat down on the floor as we all sang a couple of songs.

Then someone checked the radar and the storm had pretty much passed, so we all moved back to the Chapel, and I put Honey down and under my seat. She was perfect, laying down and snoozing. Then the speaker came up and gave her speech. Then we had communion, which she took me up and on down around tothe end of the my row and back to my seat. Instead of talking a lot to have her go back under my seat, I just had her do a down and stay beside my chair, since everyone was praying and she was awesome, laying still even though there was all these people walking right next to and past her in line to go up and get thier communion.

After communion, the director made announcements, and then she had the sack of invitations that were going out to invite all the people to attend the March 2008 Great Banquets. Everyone moved up to the table and placed thier hands on each other and we prayed over the invitations. Honey again, amazed all by taking me up and then just dropping down to the floor and laid quietly as everyone was standing around her and praying. Several people came up after the prayer and was just like WOW, she's soooooo calm and were amazed at how well behaved she was.

We headed upstairs quickly, which was it was sooooooo nice having Honey, because usually this is not an easy task for me. The stairs are carpeted and dark in color, so it's really hard for me to make out the edges of the steps and finding the steps/landings. Honey works like a dream, taking me to the steps and stopping, to let me know right where they are! It was really cool to be able to get up there on my own and so forth. So we get upstairs and listen to the first speaker and do a critique on her speech.

Then there was a second speaker, but the kitchen team ducked out and went to work on planning kitchen stuff. We went over to the storage room to find it was locked and we didnt have the right key, so we headed back to work on meal planning. But while I had everyone there and away from everyone else, I asked the team if anyone had any problems with Honey being there, that I just wanted to know up front. Everyone said they were fine with her and didn't have any issues. We then headed back to an empty room an sat down and started planning. Honey just plopped down under the table and didnt hear another peep out of her until they came in and said that the meeting was being cut short because in the next town over that there were houses being severely damaged and that it was now super icy and the roads were pretty dangerous outside, so they were dismissing to get people home asap. So all in all, things went well, I'm feeling good about things and Honey was on her best behaviour. So I was a happy camper. :D

Wednesday, was a long day for me. the kids were in rare form, I was getting really frustrated at the trashed house staring me in the face, and I think I'm still feeling it from being gone for 2 wks. I wound up taking a three hour nap with Alex in my bed and Grandma brought Meaghan home, we got Honey's baseline appointment set up with the vet for next week. :) I did take Honey outside and played with the Kong with her that Mike had went and got for her a couple of days. Boy she really, really liked that! :) I love seeing her tearing across the yard, tongue lolling out, and bouncing around in pure joy. :) Then as we were playing with the kong, I'd call her to come and she'd come right to my hands and hand it to me to roll across the yard again for her. :) Did I say I LOVE my dog! :D

Mike was working last night, so it was just the kids and I. Sigh, my kids sure know how to keep me hopping. Not any one of them has been the same. Granted I realize they aren't the same and you wouldn't want them to be the same. But Golly, after you've had three kids, you think you've seen most of it and would be able to handle just about anything. Well, that's where the Man upstairs tells you otherwise. LOL!

The kids were actually pretty good last night though Mike wasnt home. I did get the dishes caught up and was working on putting away all the laundry last night. the kids were up later than usual as I had the girls helping me put stuff away. Things then got hairy, it was almost 9pm and we were just about done with the clothes. I'd asked Meaghan to go get Alex's toothbrush ready so I could go ahead and get him down to bed as the girls and I were finishing things up. She did, and instead of staying in her room and putting the clothes away like she was asked to, Katie decided she had to go get her medicine out and got the 2 pills out and laid it on the counter. You all see where this is heading....Yep, I'm in Alex's room across from the bathroom putting his clothes away, he's in the bathroom with Meaghan and I as I finish up and head to the girls room and they are both there, messing around. I start to get after them, especially Katie and she's like Mommy I have to tell you something, it's really important!!! She tells me that Alex took her medicine. So I immediately tell the girls I'll take care of the laundry, for them to go brush thier teeth and get ready for bed, so I could minimize and only have 1 kid to contend with.

I call the ped and he calls back and was like oooooooooh. Hmmm. He was pretty certain that he would be fine, but told me to call poison control just to make sure. So I called poison control (thank you for the easy look at magnet on the fridge!) and they said they thought he'd be ok, but took keep him up and watch him for the next couple of hours. Give him something to drink and to keep a close eye on him for anything out of the ordinary, fever, vomiting, anything, and they took my phone number and would call back in about an hour to see how he was doing. I called Mike and gave him the heads up of what was going on, and he was about done so he took off to come on home in case anything did come up. The girls were good and got them to bed, took Honey out for her break since I hadn't done that yet either, and switched the laundry around too, since Alex was content and not acting any out of the ordinary.

We sat down and put the On the Farm einstien movie in and after a few minutes he went and got a book for me to read to him. So we sat and read for a while and after about an hour had passed, the guy from poison control called back and Alex was still running around like the 2 yr old boy he is. The guy was like good, he should be fine then. Said I could go ahead and put him to bed and just check on him every couple of hours to make sure there wasn't a change in anything. Just a few minutes after I hung up with him, Mike walked in the door, so we put Alex to bed and then Mike worked on a set of bags as I took care of folding diapers and a few more things. Alex is fine this morning, though a little grumpy from being up so late. Man my kids... !

Gosh, I can't believe tomorrow is February 1st!

Shout out to Amy- Happy Birthday!!!!!

Ok I need to get my butt in gear and continue to work on stuff here around the house. :)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Monday pictures....

I have stuff to write about, but just feeling blah and not ready to put it all down in words. I've been a total bum today, not doing much of anything but skimming posts, watching a little tv, and now need to go get dinner started. Gosh I can't believe how tired I feel still, even after a couple of good nights sleep.

I tried going for a walk with Honey today, with Alex walking along. It went, but there's room for lots of improvements. I need to make a call to the school about a couple of things to see how I should handle some situations that I've encountered here at home. Nothing big, but wondering if there's some better ways to do it.

I do want to share a few pictures of Honey and the kids though. :)

Practicing the stool sit with Meaghan up above her. :)

Lot's of Hugs!

OHHHHH she's rubbing my ears!!!!!

Those kids are finally asleep, I can snoooooooozzzzeeeee now!

Until later! Gotta fix dinner! :)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Asking for some support for GDF. :)

Please Support GDF-Food for Thought
If you feed your pet Iams or Eukanuba, please save the UPC laels and send them to GDF. In exchange for the labels, Iams sends GDF coupons to buy food. The label contributions will help GDF immensely in defraying the cost of feeding these special dogs.

Please mail all UPC labels to:

Grete Eide, Director of Canine Care
Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind
371 E. Jericho Turnpike
Smithtown, NY 44787

Please make sure that the words "proof of purchase" are visible on the label, and please spread the word!

We're Home!!!! :D

I've been MIA for a couple days, as still trying to get back into the swing of things and being at home again, as well as everyone adjusting to the new routine/livelihood with a dog in the house. :)

We had a super busy morning on Friday morning, going over contracts, getting food, equipment, heartworm meds, frontline and all ready to go and packed. With the contracts they told me her birthday is March 22nd, 2006! So she'll be 2 in March. :) Then we went over everything else and found out I need to do my in home training the week of Feb. 11th, not the 4th as I'd gotten set up. ugh. So need to call everyone back I had set up for the week of the 11th and see if they can still do those dates. :P Several of the trainers made a point to come say bye and give both Destiny's handler and me a hug. :) I was sad to leave! I really enjoyed everyone there! Then Jodie, the apprentice and I took off for the airport.

We arrived and breaked Honey in the parking lot, and headed on in to the U.S. Airways counter. They were awesome and a ticket agent came and took us over at the side, straight up to the counter and went ahead and checked me in and all. They also gave Jodie a "boarding pass" to get through security so that she could go back with me to the gate. Darn good thing, I would have been screwed with all the stuff I had and the strip search they basically do! We stopped at a bench and I ate my lunch that David had packed for me to take with, since I wouldnt be getting lunch on the plane but was going to be missing lunch there at GDF. So a sandwich and some Chocolate chip cookies it was, with a juice box. :)

We got to security and had to take the laptop out of the laptop bag and take our jackets and shoes off to be scanned. Then I had my backpack full of all of Honey's stuff since I didnt have room in the suitcase for it. Then to go through security, I had to have Honey sit and stay, I walked through then brought her through. Then they patted her down, and then I had the fun of putting everything back on. LOL! We go on back to the gate and Jodie went up and talked with the gate agent, and they came and got me to board on the plane first, so I could get settled in. Honey did great and followed like she was supposed to. It was a little tight getting on the plane with my two bags and the dog, but we made it. LOL!

We had a good flight home. I slept most of the flight home and Honey did too. She curled up under my feet and didn't hear another peep from her until we were landed and I had her get up. The flight attendant asked if I could wait until most everyone was off the plane, and so he could help me get my stuff and get off the plane, it was more so he could get to me since people were up and trying to get out the door almost as soon as the plane stopped. It was pretty funny hearing people gasp as most didn't realize she was even there! I got off and got situated and headed on down to baggage claim, doing down the escalator. Yet again, almost giggling at the people commenting they were amazed at her being on the escalator and doing it like a pro. :)

Sue picked me up at baggage claims, which my suitcase came super fast! We went out to the garage and found a place to break her and we then came on home. Honey checked everythng out in the house, though for the first half hour she probably brought me 8-9 stuffed animals that the kids had laying about in the house. LOL! I had quite a pile going on the island. LOL!

We got settled a bit before Mike and the kids came home. Once they did, Alex and Katie LOVED Honey, but Meaghan was scared of her. Honey was good and laid down as the kids were bouncing around, excited and all. Alex was bouncing off the walls yelling MOMMY!!!! HONEY!!!!! After everyone got in and settled down a bit, I took Honey out for her break and at the snow she was all excited and wanting to run around, so after she did her business I took her out the the back yard and let her loose. Oh man, the dog ran like a maniac for a good 5 minutes. ! Then she found one of the toys we'd had for Lisa and Yogi, two smaller tennis balls attached together with webbing loops between them. She grabbed it and was running back and forth tossing it up in the air, throwing it around and such. She was having a blast playing. I let her play for a good 15 minutes or so and then came back in.

We did pizza for dinner and Honey did great, had her lay down and stay to keep her from trying to get the food. After dinner, the kids played and eventually settled down and pet her and stuff. Meaghan pretty much stayed on the couch with me wanting to be close. She seems to have warmed up to Honey quite a bit, but is still was still pretty reserved about her. We got the kids ready for bed and then went in the living room and Mike and I talked and caught up on things. Honey was good and just sprawled out on the floor and snoozed. I took her out for her last break at 8:30 which she's done awesome and there's not been any change in her breaking habits, and she came back in and we were good for the night. We headed to bed about 10, as both of us were wiped and tired. We folded up the old quilt we had used on our bed, which she immediately curled up on it. She did jump up on the bed once during the night, but I told her OFF, and made her get down, so she went and laid back down on the blanket peacefully. Mike set the alarm for 6am, which is what our (Honey and I) routine had been, and when it and the tv came on, Honey hopped up and came up to me and was nudging me needing to go out and knowing it was time to get up as per routine.

So I got up and got dressed and took her out, which she quickly did her business, even in the snow we got last night and we came back in. The girls were then up and I made some breakfast. After breakfast, we got the kids changed and dressed to get ready for me to go to the Disabilities Support group meeting yesterday morning.

We took off for there and quickly realized we really need to clean the van out! LOL! Honey was doing a pretty good job of it for us, getting little peices of old french fries, peices of food and so forth. Oops, didnt even think about it. LOL! But she laid down in front of the second row seat and had her head between Mike and my seats.

We got to the church and she was under my feet for the whole meeting. Took her harness off to meet friends and she liked that. Then we rode the disabilities van home about 12:30.

Got home and took her out for break since it was late for her. Gave her some water and she conked out and snoozed as I ate lunch and watched some TV with Mike while the kids were napping. Honey found one of the kids microfiber blankets and curled up on that. :) The kids one by one got up and with the first one, she came to me, so I knew one was up. :) Praised her big for that. :)

Then we got the kids some snacks and got ready to go to church. Again, loaded up in the van and kept a hold of Honey's leash this time to keep her from roving the van liek she did before. LOL! We got there and I took Katie's hand and we walked in. Got a lot of wide eyes from the kids in the nursery area but parents kept a hold of them. Got the kids checked in and I headed up towards the I center to get my large print bulletin, but only got about half way before running into someone I knew well. I had her sit and took her harness off so they could pet her and another one of the ministers came up and gave her lots of loving too. :) Then another lady and her daughter came up as well as another older kid came up and asked if she could pet her as well. Since she asked I let her and then after a couple of minutes, I told her ok, I need to get on into the service, so I need to put her harness back on and she needs to work. And thanked her for asking first. :)

So we went on our way and headed on in, and WOW, I could go on in and get a seat, as I normally have to have Mike help me get to a seat, since I can't see the greatest with the change of lighting that there is. It's much more dimly lit in the sanctuary area as to the lobby area that has LOTS of windows and naturally lit. So I landed on an aisle seat and had her lay down and stay. I just simply dropped the leash and put my foot on it when we stood up to during singing. She was a perfect angel, actually laid down and snoozed. :)

Then after the sermon, Mike was a server for communion and the offering, so he ducked out of the row and she didnt move. Then after it's all been passed out, one of the elders of the church will come up front and everyone partakes of the communion in unison. It happened to be Wilbur, whom I'd gone to KY with this last year on a mission trip. He's been following everything about getting Honey and asking a lot, and had commented that I'd probably have more of a problem keeping HIM off the dog when it got here. LOL! But he scanned the seats and as soon as he saw her laying there, he got the biggest grin on his face from ear to ear. :) Then after service let out, he was at my side before I even had the chance to stand up. LOL! He said he was so happy for me and congrats. :)

Honey was good as people walked past and we talked with several others who have been following and praying for us too, so took her harness off again for her to meet them. Which she LOVED of course. :) Then we headed out and to the fellowship hall to see another friend who was working the small group booth for our group. Said HI there and then took off for home. Honey did well, as I had Meaghan's hand as we walked out and it was indeed fully dark by this point. We followed Mike for the most part and then when we went to cross the island/sidewalk to get to the parking lot, Honey was pretty adament about following the sidewalk down instead of going into the street. So I let her take the lead there, as it was in the right direction, and then when we stepped off the curb, I told her to "Find the van!" and she took off in a B-line straight for the van and Mike, who had just got there. Which surprised me because other than the two rides in it, I'd not really taught her the van yet. :)

So we head on home and grabbed taco bell on the way home since we didn't have any thing planned or out and ready. Ate dinner and got the kids to bed. Honey just lounged around enjoying herself being a snooze hound. :)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Thursday- A day of OVERLOAD for me. :( continued

So everyone in the class loads up on the bus and I'll be honest. I'm super nervous and really was becoming uptight about it. I said a small Prayer, We get there and unload, then we all had to harness up our dogs and some want one way and others went the opposite direction. I was super tight, s my arm was loos but my back felt super tight from being tense. I took a deep breath and continued on.

We for the most part had a super smooth walk, where I had a couple of trips from not picking up my feet, but she did awesome bringing me back to the middle of the sidewalk, and completely around things. She continues to amaze me over and over with her eagerness to learn and to get from point A to B. But I was in tears from fear most of the the walk, and then by the time I completed my walk. I think by this point, I'd hit my breaking point of a sleeping schedule gone awry, deeply missing my kids and Mike, the stresses of the traffic checks and bouncing back and forth trying to be in the right place, talking on the phone with my puppy walker, as well as knowing I was flying out tomorrow.

So we make our round and Mike S had encouraged me when he passed me on the walk, he came on the bus to see if I was OK after, and I said well I'm here. I just couldn't stop the tears as my face was buried in Honey's fur and stroking her soft chest telling her good dog for such and awesome, awesome job. I finally was able to stifle most of the tears, but by golly the head ache and sore eyes were still raging. Everyone finished up their walks and we headed back to the foundation and still, I was having a hard time keeping from gushing. We got back and went out and breaked the dogs and then came back to the room. I had such a headache and was so worked up that I was feeling sick at my stomach. I talked with mike for a few on IM and then I laid down for a bit, falling asleep for about an hour. I then woke up and got up and packed up most of my suitcase and stuff to be ready to go. and then have tried to type up this post, but as I"m sitting here typing, I keep falling asleep and dozing off . Then I'll wake up, and I think I'm finally going to make it to finishing it at 2am! LOL!

So I'm putting down the laptop and going to crawl under the covers and put on my alarm clock and then wait for it to go off at 6am.

Night all!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Thursday- A day of OVERLOAD for me. :(

Today we got up and I was definitely moving slow this morning. I feel about as sleep deprived as when having a baby getting up in the night, though Honey hasn't been getting me up. My sleeping habits are all screwy, I'm not in my own bed, and since things are super accelerated, things are getting hairy.

We started off the morning running late, as I was in the shower still when they called for break, but thankfully I take a pretty quick shower anymore. So they were knocking on the door about 7:10, making sure I was up, which I was just sitting down to put on my shoes, then jacket to head out with Honey for break.

At breakfast, Mike Sargent informed us that the Destiny team and Honey and I would be doing of curb work, have our id photos taken, I would talk with Honey's Puppy Walker, the Night walk, our vet checks, group and class photos and that he needed to go over the alarm clock with me. So I head back to our room and leisurely go my stuff together and brush my teeth, thinking we were working separately from the group. Next thing I know, someone is knocking on my door, and it's Destiny's handler saying that Mike decided that we are to ride with the class on the bus, so ACK! That meant I had to get my butt in gear and get out to the gathering lounge to get ready and board. So we did and we head out and get on the bus.

Destiny's handler and I both hang out on the bus until we are called for our turn to work the dogs. We unload and break the dogs and harness up. We head off down the street and at the first down curb, Mike has me make a street crossing and about half way across, all of a sudden, here comes this car buzzing up and screeching it's breaks in front of us. Honey stopped and blocked like a charm, I then realized it was a GDF employee and bent down to praise Honey, but Mike tells me to go forward and not pet her in the street. So we get up to the curb and he then explains that you don't ever pet the dog in the street for two reasons. 1. if you bend over, and the vehicle is still right there close to you, you can bonk your head on it. 2. you are still in the street and if petting the dog as praise, you are distracting the dog from watching traffic. So get to the curb, then hugely praise up he dog. He also explained that this is the only time the dog is allowed to blow the curb, since they are most likely pretty rattled.

So then Destiny and her handler came through. We continued on, going about 4-5 blocks, in which at each intersection they did a different type of traffic check of the car coming at you. Man you talk about pretty unnerving to hear those breaks screeching and seeing that car coming at you. But Honey was perfect, stopped me in great time at times body blocking a bit. So we worked our way back and our poor dogs crashed hard on the van, as they were definitely working hard this morning! Our hearts were pumping pretty good from the adrenaline as well!

So then we came back for lunch, ate and then the Destiny team and Honey & I went downstairs to the grooming room to have our id pictures taken. After this, we went with Lisa to do off curb work, there on Fifty Acres Drive, right outside the dormitory. We worked doing left side off curb work going down the street, down the hill and to the dead end. We then worked our way back up and coming back the way we'd come, doing right side off curb work, back to the foundation. Honey continued to show here excellence, hugging the curb tightly both ways and finding the straight right around the parked vehicle as well.

We came in from the off curb work to find Donny and Mike Sargent looking for us, as the vet and the rest of the class was waiting on us. So we rush to our rooms to drop our coats and harnesses and then rush to the Leather Lounge. The vet examines our dogs and Honey is on the thinner side of a lean, healthy working dog. She'd be OK to gain a couple of pounds more, but not much more than that. Her ears were immaculate and her coat clean and soft and shiny. All was good and she got a good bill of health for her health certificate to fly home tomorrow. :) Then Dr. Cavello (sp?) talked with us about weight, the dogs vaccinations, heart worm and flea preventatives, and so forth. She then took off and we were told that next up was the class individual and group photos.

So I ran back to the room and changed into my rugby shirt and headed back to the leather lounge. They swapped out our training harnesses, giving us our new and fancy matching harness handles. :) Then then took each of us outside to get our "formal" portrait of us and our dog. Then they took all 12 of us outside and lined us up for the class photo. sheesh you talk about chilly out there and a sight of everyone trying have their dogs sit still and look towards the camera! LOL! These pictures are supposed to go up on the GDF website sometime soon.

After photos, we fed, watered, and breaked our dogs at 4:30. Then we came in and went to dinner. After dinner, we took the dogs immediately to the break area and hen proceeded the camera.

Wednesday Evening- recap

I didn't get back here last night so will update now. We had dinner and then went to lecture about playing with our dogs and practiced the different dining room seatings in the snack room.

Lecture on playing with our dogs: Sebastian went over what toys you don't play with your dogs with- balls, especially tennis balls, cheap squeaky toys, stuffed toys that are very similar to kids toys, floss ropes (unless you supervise), and others. Never use a tennis ball with your large dog, as there has been many, many dogs that have suffocated from the ball bouncing up and the dog jumping up to get it, and the ball going down the throat of the dog and becoming stuck. It goes down so far that the handler cannot get their fingers behind it to get it out and the dog suffocates. :( No cheap squeaky toys, stuff toys or floss ropes, unless supervised because while the dogs like them, if not picked up and supervised, the dogs will shred and destroy them, swallowing bits and pieces of them, causing intestinal upsets for the dog. No balls for the dog because you don't want the dog to want to play with the ball when it goes out and is supposed to be working, and sees a child playing with a ball.

Toys you DO play with your dog with and ways to play with the dog: The KONG. The all time favorite of the dogs, in which it bounces in different directions when played with. You can also stuff a nylabone in the end of it to create a different dimension of playing with it. If you have a dog that doesn't want to settle down, stuff the Kong with Peanut Butter, put it in a bag, and freeze it over night. Give it to the dog and and voila, he'll be entertained for several hours. When playing with the dog, several games would be rolling the Kong across the floor, no over arm throwing, again so the dog doesn't think it's play time when you are out and working. Another is Hide N Seek, telling the dog to sit and stay, then go in the other room and hide the kong somewhere and tell the dog to go find it. Apparently this is a favorite for many of the dogs. Another toy would be the Nylabone and any other good indestructible toy for large dogs. :)

Then we went in small groups to the snack room and Jodie, the apprentice, had us each work at the different table arrangements to learn how to sit at these different types of seating areas we'll encounter with our dogs. The first was a bar stool seat, of which we put our dogs down on the floor laying across in front of us. Then was the booth, which we have the dogs go in, turning them around to face outward and then our legs go in with the dog facing out and underneath our legs. Then was the U shaped booth, which you do the same as a regular booth. Lastly was the table with 4 swiveling chairs, in which the dogs lay down sideways and facing out, underneath our feet.

Honey and I then headed back to our room for the night and conked out cold. :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Wednesday afternoon- 2 more days!

Today's been really cool. The Destiny team and I have split off and we are working solely with Mike Sargent and this morning we went to Walgreens. Man that was cool! :D I'm actually starting to kinda like shopping... which for anyone that knows me well, knows that I HATE shopping. Very much an in and out/do the business and be done with it type of person. ;)

So we went the the Walgreens parking lot and started off working the street crossings. I mean BUSY street crossings, 4 lanes wide, super heavy traffic. It's the same road that runs in front of GDF for those who know what I'm talking about. So we did several intersections and both teams breezed through them without a hitch. :)

We also had Bill, the manager of Public Relations with us and he was taking pictures of us as well. He was giving us a hard time that he couldn't keep up with us and only had mostly back shots. LOL! So we worked up and down several blocks, then through a very serene and calm memorial garden, dedicated to the victims of 9/11. Bill was taking some shots of us there, and then we worked back to the Walgreens. We went in and worked in the store, up an down the aisles and Mike worked on both dogs by stepping directly in front of the handlers, but right beside the dogs. Honey did AWESOME. she immediately cut to the right, stopped, and body blocked for me, to keep me from hitting him. Then the second time, she did pretty much the same, but then moved on forward taking me in a sharp turn around him. :D :D :D

So then we were told to walk through the store with the dogs and such, to get a feel for navigating the store. It was so cool! Then we headed up to the photo processing counter and Mike showed us how to make a purchase, by putting the dog in either the sit or down position, between us and the counter. Then we walked over and purchased an alarm clock for us to start working on alerting me to the alarm clock. I went up with him to the cash register as he paid and practiced putting her in the down position while we paid for he clock. Then he told me to go on and work my way outside and wait out there for him to come out with the Destiny team. I put her in the sit and stay, and in the short amount of time, I had three people come up and ask me about her. LOL! Thankfully no one tried to pet her, as I was trying to decide how to deal with that.

We headed back to the Van and I'd emailed Bill about possibly him sending me some of the pictures that he'd taken of us, as I plan to do a scrapbook of my stay here at GDF. I'd said that while I brought a camera, it's hard to take pictures of yourself when you are working. LOL! So he said he'd be happy to send them on to me and will be doing that soon. :) So hopefully I'll get some shots of us working soon to share! :)

We came back to GDF and Honey and I hung out in the room, doing some knitting (Honey snoozing) until lunch. We went down to lunch and had some good soup and sandwiches, to warm up. Then we came back to the room and hung out until it was time to head out again.

We then go ready and the Destiny team and Honey & I loaded up in the van with Mike Sargent and Lisa, and we headed to Smithhaven Mall. A good sized mall, very similar to Castleton Mall. We breaked the dogs in the parking lot and then worked our way inside. We started at the food courts end and then worked our way to the other end of the mall, to the JC Penneys. I was AMAZED at how relaxed I was and having navigated from one end of the all to the other and not dodging people the whole way! Such an awesome feeling!

Then we trained on how to use the escalators up and down, which is pretty cool too! we did pretty well with that and then Mike gave Honey and I free reign to take off through the mall and meet up at the food courts in half an hour. We started off and went through the bookstore and then worked our way on back. Then we worked down to the food courts and by this time I was just HOT with my layers of coats and such. I grabbed a frosty and ate that, then went through the movie store. Then came back out to meet up with everyone and we sat down and had a coke and chatted. :)

So we are back at GDF and just fed and watered Honey. I'll sign off here as we go out to break and head to dinner.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

It's Tuesday, 3 more days and World, Here we come! :D

Evening all. Gosh, the last few days have been pretty busy, without much down time between outings to come post as well as feeling a bit under the weather.

First off I want to post some pictures Jovi took on Sunday of us together when she came to visit. :D

Gosh I wish I had more time to visit with her and any of the other LC's, though we are all spread out across the lands.

I have to start today with last night, er I should say 3 am this morning.... I found out what my dog REALLY likes. ;) As I posted yesterday, I woke up to find Honey in bed with me, enjoying the warmth of the covers and all. I don't mind this too much, but I'm fairly certain the idea of the dog on the bed at night when home with Mike, uh lets just say it isn't gonna fly. So I mentioned something to Donny, a trainer, and he said to put her on the tie down for the night.

So I got ready for bed, I'm thinking I'm all set, put her on the tie down and snuggle in for what I thought was going to be a good night's sleep. About 3am, I awaken to the feeling of the covers coming off the bed. From the DOG side of the bed at my feet. I can't see Honey very well, but I sternly tell her no, to leave it and to lay down. Which she did and settled down. I snuggle back in and I'm just about out cold again and darn it, if the covers are disappearing again off my bed! My dog is STEALING my covers! LOL! She's one smart cookie man! If I wasnt going to let her up here, by golly she was going to bring the blanket to her! LOL! So since she obviously is able to reach my bed, mind you she must have been stretching her collar as tight as it'd go and the tie down, so I just unclipped her and up she hopped to the end of the bed and snuggled down at my feet, and we both most likely snored the rest of the morning away until the alarm went off. LOL!

I was really not feeling the greatest, as I'm feeling all packed around my eyes and the thought of going back out in the cold was nonetheless NOT appealing this morning. I've also woken up with some crusty gunk in the corners of my eyes and they were just yucky this morning. So I came to the conclusion, I was yet again coming down with another sinus infection. *sigh* Especially since I'd just finished a round of antibiotics that I'd gotten on New Year's Eve. So now I have the delimma of being in NY and my dr is in I asked the staff for the phone number of the local Walgreens, in case I can convince the nurse to call a script in for me here.

I call and my Dr. and her nurse were busy, so I talked to another Dr's nurse. Of course she was like well, we haven't seen you and so forth. I explained that I was in NY and wouldn't be home soon. She asked me to hold on and that she'd go talk to my Dr., who knows if I'm coming in or calling in, there's something amiss, and I'm not fooling around on it. Of course, she then came back and said they'd call it in for me. So the school sent someone to pick it up and I took my first dose late this afternoon. I am coughing my head off though, and feeling just crummy. Hopefully it kicks in soon so I can feel better.

So after breakfast, the trainers announced they were going to work on dog distractions here on the grounds. Sluggo (sp?) the pug was our distraction, and Honey did really well. She was very interested but with quick correction, she was back to her work quickly. We did an about several times and walked back and forth by the pug, and also stopping to pet the dog as well. She took it all like a pro.

After doing my walk, I came back inside and practiced the stairs and the elevator, up an down, as well as walking around downstairs and doing abouts, since Honey seems to be dragging me to the grooming room. So we did that for a bit and as I just really wasnt feeling good, I took some motrin, since I felt like I was running a fever. I Laid down and took a short nap until lunch, and while it was short, felt a lot better.

Lunch was hot soup and sandwiches with chips. Good and warming to the body and the soul. :) We were told to be ready to gather for loading on the bus at 1pm, and we would be doing the Horseshoe walk this afternoon.

So we all gather, and because of an emergency, the walmart trip for the Destiny team and I was postponed again, to be done tomorrow morning.

So we boarded the bus, and took off for the Horseshoe walk, an 8/10ths of a mile walk. This time Mike Sargent worked three of us together. One took the lead, another in the middle not too far behind and then the last one took off about 10 paces behind them. We worked through the route, taking turns with the lead, giving all the handlers and dogs the experience of slowing thier dogs down and not being out front.

We did the route with all left turns, and first came to a big break in the sidewalk/uprising where a tree root had forced up the sidewalk. Honey did excellent, slowing way down for me to investigate and navigate my way over it. We curved on around to come to a big box truck parked in a driveway and blocking the sidewalk. So out to the street and back around that, no sweat there for my Honey. :) Then we came to the super steep section, where the one side of the sidewalk has sunken, making it about a 30-45 degree angle downward. The dogs did really well taking us up high on this and VERY slowly walking past this.

We continued on to come to the low hanging pine tree branches. Unfortunately one team, the dog stopped, but she urged him on insistantly, so the dog went and she got a full face of pine needles. Oops. So they came back and reworked it and he took her around this time. Honey made wide bearth of it and no sweat there! Yay! :)

We continued on and there was then some rough spots on the sidewalk, where it was really uneven/rough and so forth. Honey did an awesome job of slowing down to alert me to these things. We continued on and came to a spot where there was ice on almost the entire sidewalk, where she brought me to almost a complete stop and very slowly we crossed it. From there were were a few uproots from trees, pushing the sidewalk up, and then we came to the first curb.

We made our left and worked our way to the next curb, of which we did the second left and very soon was back to the bus. We were told that we could go around now on our own, so the Destiny team and Honey and I went around again, because we both wanted to practice it, as we'll be doing this walk again for the night walk on Thursday night. I'll be honest, I'm a little nervous about it and Mike S knows it, as he keeps bringing up that it'll be *MY* favorite walk. Since I can't see SQUAT at night...

I know for that walk, I'll truly be putting it in Honey's paws entirely. So I've been trying to let go and let her take the lead and direct, though she's been pretty good, we've had a few mistakes.

So we go around again and while trying to do it some with my eyes closed, yikes that's hard, I decided to work on focusing on what the obstacles were and trying to memorize the route. So we head off and Honey took it this time better than the first, except when we got to the first downcurb. She REFUSED to go to the curb, which was a first for her. She knew the route was to the left and was ready to be done working, so I corrected her with a snap on the harness, asked her again to hup to the curb, again she refused. So then did a leash correction and she reluctantly did it, after then having been left behind by the other two teams walking.

So I then commanded her left and she worked like a charm up to the next downcurb. Again, she refused to move up to the curb and this time wouldnt budge. Ugh, that Golden stubborness came out that I see every so often in the break area. This one I gave in on, because I knew she knew the route, but I asked later what I should do to keep this from happening at home, and they said to keep changing up the routes, so that they are willing to go the different routes as you tell them.

So we boarded back on the bus and within 10 minutes we were headed back to GDF for dinner. We have dinner of spagetti with chili sauce on top and another ice cream bar for dessert. :)

I came back and took it easy for a few minutes before lecture, calling home and talking to the girls and Mike. :) I miss them and really getting excited to go home and work with Honey at home. :) It is sooooo awesome at all the things I'm able to see now and look around, as well as how relaxed I am travelling now. :)

After dinner, we had lecture on leash corrections, on how to properly correct the dog. It also gave some pointers and tips on how and when would be appropriate times for what levels of corrections. I watched as all the handlers went through and had thier turns, and listened to the discussions from Timm, about various things with the dogs. Then I asked him a little more on the refusal of the curbs and so forth. He too said that the golden stubborness can get in the way sometimes.

After class, we worked the stairs again and then the elevator, as well as walking back and forth in the hallway down stairs, finally working our way into the grooming room. There I brushed her all over really good, and got out the tangles and such from her getting the hair wet at times.

Speaking of that stubborness, we went out for our last break and while Honey went #2, she didnt pee. Usually when she's done, she'll hop back up on the curb with me and come to the heel position. I asked her to hup forward, meaning to go back out and do business, well she planted those feet and gave me this rolled eye look and stuck her nose out in disgust. Timm goes YEP, that's that golden stubborness. LOL! I said yeah, she tells ya when she's done for sure. So we headed back in I hope she doesnt have to pee tonight, as she did drink a lot of water this afternoon, which is why it surprised me she didn't go pee.

So we headed on in and made for our room which I ditched my coat and we made a trip the the dining room for some ice, and we are back here and chillin'. :)

Til mornin'!

Monday, January 21, 2008

5 days until going home!

Hello All!

Well we had a busy, busy day today, and a COLD one at that! Got up this morning and the desktop temp said it was 15 degrees outside. Nice balmy weather to go out and walk in 'eh! :)

Went down for breakfast and got the run down for the day. We were going to Patchogue for the day. For those in Indiana, it makes me think of Old downtown Anderson or downtown Elkhart. with lots of old store fronts, long sidewalks and few stoplights. There were lots of things going on and lots of sea gulls around too.

Today, we paired up to do our walks, Destiny and her handler and Honey and I paired up, as we seem to be the fast walkers of the group. I thought I walked fast until the Destiny team took off. Sheesh, that lady walked off and left me in the dust! LOL! But we took off, taking turns on taking the lead. I'd start off from the curb and take the lead, and we'd go to the next down ramp and both find the curbs and stop, then the other would take the lead and start off. It was a really enjoyable walk and while there were a few corrections for distractions and for crowding just a bit, Honey did really well. We walked down a couple of blocks, over a block and then back up the main street in front of all the stores and with all the distractions of people, small bands playing on the sidewalk, birds flying around and so forth. Both the Destiny team and Honey & I really took it all in and did well. :)

We then came back and hurried to water and break our dogs, as we were running late. We then went to lunch and had some really good chicken soup with noodles to warm up. Then following lunch we all got bundled up yet again, myself being bundled with my long underwear, a t shirt, sweatshirt, both fleece jackets, the rain/windproof jacket, the fleece hood thing, and the fleece gloves. Thankfully I was quite cozy and aside from my hands being just a tad cold, I was in good shape. :)

They gave us the body of our actual harneses today! :) We tried them on the dogs for size and all, just before we took off for the afternoon walk. These are the ones we'll take home and with the GDF imprint on them. :) They'll give us a new handle though when we head for home. :) Check it out:

And a couple of pictures a few minutes ago of Honey. :)

We went back to Patchogue, where this time the Destiny team and Honey and I were pretty muh the last ones out, but again we made pretty quick work of it. We went the other way around the route this time. Also, this time they had people stationed out to pop out at us/be obstacles for us too. My first indication came as we were walking along and Mike S yelled out HALT! intending for the Destiny team to stop, forgetting he'd told us prior to starting that if we heard anything that sounded like Halt or Stop, to just both of us to FREEZE. So I immediately halted and just as I did, a girl came bopping out from a store front, anticipating my passing. She immediately hopped back in with this big sheepish grin on her face. So that clued me in pretty quick. LOL!

We continued on to the corner and again, Mike had me take off in the lead. We were now going down the main street, passing all the store fronts and people were moving out of the way and such. We came up to these three guys standing and talking, pretty much blocking the sidewalk. So Honey and I tried to navigate through them and the one guy with his back to me immediately cut over in front of me, in the direction Honey chose. He was smooth, had the other girl not popped out, I would have thought he'd done it on accident. But Honey was a champ, and we both halted quickly, and went right on around them and on our way.

I think the Destiny team got hung up, as I'd kept on going and very quickly had left them behind. :) I trekked it on to the next corner, as Honey did great, working really well, watching intently at the cars and such, and taking me around a grate and then slowing way down to go down a pretty good decline in the sidewalk. Then took me straight to the curb as she was supposed to. :) We got there and hung out until the Destiny team caught up. :) Mike was saying awesome! Very, very good. :) That she really levelled out and was like ok, I'm way from that big bad trainer and was really working good. :)

Then he got in front of us to tell us about our next direction to go and I asked him, "So how many of these people do you have working for you?" He was like "Ahhhh, I'm listening. LOL! Quite a few. :)" So we continued on our way and with the exception of a slight brush with Mike, Honey did great, and we continued on to pass a couple of others that were coming our direction and then heading on to the bus. We got to the bus and talked with Mike a bit, as I'm having a little bit of obedience problem with Honey not wanting to sit the first time I ask her, and Destiny is having a bit of a problem too, so Mike said sounds like both our dogs are having a bit of a 'tude with us, so he'd work with us tomorrow on that, but was really glad to see that we both were really interested in perfecting techniques we knew, showing that we were really wanting to make our teams click. He also said that we are really going to be accelerating our training, as both teams are leaving for home on Friday too. We are supposed to go to Walmart in the morning and do store work, as well as pick up the alarm clock to start that training too. So we'll see what fun we have tomorrow! :)

We loaded up on the bus, and got back to GDF late, so we hurried to get our dogs all fed and watered an then took them out for break. We came on back in and had dinner, porkchops, rice, and broccoli. Then after dinner, we had a pretty short lecture on how to take apart and put togther our harnesses :) Then it was off for downstairs to brush Honey, and chatted for a bit with Destiny and her handler, before heading back up stairs to grab coats and take the dogs out for thier Saturday evening break. So did that and came back here and vegging.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sunday Evening...

Ok this is going to be a one post day. ;) Been out and about most of the day today. Was moving pretty slow this morning as well, so had to get my butt in gear and no time to post.

Got up and took a look at the little temp thingy for home on my desktop and it said 2, oh man that's COLD! So switched it to Smithtown and it's 24. ugh, STILL cold! So we go down to breakfast and they fill us on for the morning, that we are headed back to St. James town to walk some more and do street crossings again. So we loaded up on the bus about 8:15, the wind was just cutting right through you. We get to St. James town and I was first one up with Mike Sargent. I get out and break Honey, and harness her up.

Instead of heading right, as we'd done yesterday, and staying on the same side of the street, we headed left for a block, crossed over and then went right, going down the other side of the street. We walked on down, going at least 3-4 blocks further than we had yesterday, and there were a couple of distractions, but she did pretty good. Things were going on and she was really watching them. We got a good ways down and I missed the crack in the sidewalk and stumbled a bit, Mike grabbing me to keep me from falling. The sun was REALLY shining, thus I was going from bright lights to shade under the trees and back and forth a lot, so it was playing havoc on my eyes adjusting, thus I was pretty much doing it blindfolded if you will, and Honey was really doing the work. She picked up on that and seemed to be more cautious then. I was really, really glad to have the fleece hood, my thermal underwear, wool socks and layers of clothes with the fleece jacket and windproof raincoat, as the wind was cold and damp. just cut through you cold. Thanks Dad!

So we headed on down to the stopsign and cross back over to the side of the street we walked yesterday, just a few blocks on down. We started back and this side of the street is considerably more level, and Mike warned me of one break in the sidewalk, though Honey slowed way down for it. We continued on and for some reason again, the one curb where she angled off to the left, she did it yet again, really distracted by something. I didn't get the chance to see what, as I was too busy concentrating on her, doing the correction and praise, as she came back to where she was supposed to be. We continued on, both of us picking up the pace knowing we were getting close to back to the bus where it was warm! We were just about to pass the last store before we made our left into the parking lot where the bus was and I saw them too, and was like ok, we gotta do this. There was a truck parked on the side of the street, a big black crewcab truck with two HUGE, I mean HUGE pitbulls in it. They were all over the inside of the truck barking and as we were going pass, were snarling and growling at us. Honey did really well, while very interested and looking back at them and ears perked, she moved on as I commanded her forward reassuringly. Then as soon as we passed, she continued on her way as she was supposed to. We got back to the bus and Mike was not happy about the dogs at all, warning the other trainers to change thier routes until that vehicle was gone. Honey and I boarded the bus, took off her harness, and I did some knitting as she snoozed at my feet.

It took a good while to warm up, as while I was bundled, I was still chilled. After getting back to GDF, I went to the Leather Lounge and hung out, waiting for Jovi to arrive at 12:30. :) Jovi got here and was kinda frustrated bc the restuarant she'd planned to got to, to pick up our chinese food wasn't there at all. So she came here and we went back and grabbed my wallet, put Honey on the tie down, and took off for town. We went to the Thai house and I had Pad Thai noodles for the first time with chicken. It was good! I've never had Thai before! We chatted there for a bit about things and knitting and so forth, then went back to GDF.

Then we hung out in the leather lounge and knitted. People came in and out as we were there and chatted with us and such. Jovi worked on her gloves she was making and I worked on my knitting. Honey was good the whole time, just laying there most of the time. One of the other classmates had some friends from church come to visit and they had 3-4 kids with them, the youngest proably 8-9ish. They didn't phase Honey at all. :) Jovi stayed as long as she could, leaving about 4:15, and then I headed back to the room to water, feed, and break Honey. Thankfully she was pretty quick again as gosh that wind is something else!

We came back in to a surprise dinner of spare ribs, mashed potatoes, and steamed broccoli, and a Das Haugan almond/chocolate ice cream bar! YUMMY! :) After dinner I came back to the room and talked with Mike for a bit and knitted a little bit too, trying to get up the gumption to go practice the stairs and elevator as I was supposed to do. I really wanted to just crawl in bed as I was finally starting to warm up clear through, from being outside today, and the bed is nice and comfy as well as warm. I also needed to groom Honey too. So finally headed downstairs to the grooming room and spent a good while down there with Honey. I now see for some reason, the feathers on her legs were clipped, as someone missed and shaved a spot on one of the hind legs. So they'll grow back I guess. But Honey was in doggy heaven as she stretched out big for me and even rolled over on her back for me to do her belly. :)

Then it was about time for the last break, so we headed back up the elevator and they called us to break the dogs. Went out and she quickly did her business again, and came on back in. So updating here and I'm going to call it a night pretty soon.

Will talk later....

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Saturday- late evening

I've been here catching up on emails and such, got my laundry all done so I have clothes to layer and wear this coming week and washed my fleece hoodie and gloves to get all the golden hair off them so I'm not getting hair up my nose for a bit yet. LOL!

BUT, I think I've started a bad habit.... We'll have to enforce it when I get home.... or deal with it. Here's where she's been all night.....

She is out cold and SNORING. LOL!

SHHHHHHH..... don't tell the trainers! LOL!


Hello All!

Today's been a chilly day, but a good one. :) We were up at 6am and whoo hoo, we've got the busy, busy thing down now! :D We've gone out and she's done her business within 5-10 minutes of going out. So instead of being the first one out and almost the last one in as it's been REALLY nice, we are the first one out and in before most of the others make it out! WHOOO HOO! :D She's done #2 for me twice again today, so yay, we are settling in well. :)

We went to breakfast and the dogs were all good, and then loaded up on the bus at 8:15 and headed off to St. James town. We parked off to the left side of a strip mall with a grocery store on our end, and we all did street crossings today. Man, you talk about such an awesome feeling to be able to walk down the street again with confidence. Honey did really well, only having a couple of issues, but minor ones at that and very correctable. She is tending to crowd me to the right, keeping me as far from the street/traffic as possible, which is good, but brushing a few things, so we are working on that and she picked it up quickly. Mike Sargent and I walked the whole length of downtown from the strip mall, passing people, driveways, crossing streets and navigating around obstacles in the sidewalk such as menu signs and plantars. Honey saved my hide once already, as we were at a corner and I had told her forward. She was kinda hesitant and in not paying attention to traffic, trying to tell her forward, a car had come up and was turning in front of us. But she refused it and wouldnt budge. GOOD GIRL HONEY!!!!! :D I felt a little stupid but hey, she did perfect! :D

So we went the whole way and Mike S. Said I did great and that the whole way back that he'd be about 10 feet behind me. We walked back doing pretty well, the only other real issue we had was we were at a curb and she was a little distracted and veered to the left instead of straight. We stopped and came back and tried it again, which she again went to the left, but this time as I made the correction, she came back into place immediately and we went on our way. As we were almost back, Mike Devlin walked by as a passing pedestrian and she of course recognized him and veered way left to get to him, but corrected her hard and she immediately came back quickly and back to what she was supposed to be doing. We headed on to the bus, boarded and took her harness off and gave her LOTS of praise. I sooooooo can't wait to get home and go places again!!!! :D

So we come back to the foundation and watered and breaked the dogs, and went to lunch for some soup and sandwiches to warm up. After lunch I was debating whether to take the nap I was needing or go do my laundry. The nap won out and I laid down thinking I'd wake up in just a little bit. Well, a little bit turned into 3 hours! LOL! I woke up at 4:10- with a bed mate mind you. LOL! And I'm still in a bit of a daze. I woke up in time to feed, water, and break Honey, and go on down to dinner. Dinner was yummy, being spagetti with smoked sausage and herbs on top, and some garlic bread. Chocolate cake again for dessert of course. :D

So I've come back to the room to update and will take Honey and go practice the stairs and elevator as I need to do, and going to meet Destiny and her handler downstairs and we'll groom the dogs.

So off til later!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Day 3 with Honey- Friday Evening

The afternoon was a good one. :) We went to King's Park again and did the same walk as before. This time because I had been doing so well with her, Mike Sargent walked about 15 feet behind me and off we went. She did PERFECT! :D It was a super windy day and she slowed down a bit because the wind was blowing directly into our faces. But she did it like a pro. :) Found the curb both times and was great!

The PR guy from GDF was there and was snapping pictures as we took off and when we came back up. Mike said we were ready to "Play in the streets!" now, and would begin training on street crossings. :) Honey and I boarded back on the bus and hung out and I knitted. :)

We got back to GDF and fed, watered, and breaked them. OMGosh, she did another #2!!!! Two in one day! LOL! Came in and ditched my coat and then went to dinner for some herbed chicken and potatoes, and some really yummy chocolate cake for dessert! All the dogs did great, doing the down and under, laying quietly under our chairs as we ate. Then we had a bit until lecture, which I called home and talked to all three kids. :) AC kept screaming into the phone, HI MOMMY!!!!!!!!! LOL! Hubby's gonna have his hands full this weekend. LOL!

Then we went downstairs to the grooming room for our grooming lecture and all the dogs oooooohhhh and ahhhhhhhh'd at being brushed. After lecture we came back up the stairs, and she hit all the doors right on cue. :D We played for a bit and did some real rubbing and such, and we are just hanging out now, waiting for the call to break the dogs for the last time tonight. Not sure what I'll do the rest of the night, may try going down to the tv room. We'll see.

I need to ask what time we are to be up in the morning, as we do work for half a day tomorrow, until lunch.


Day 3 with Honey- After lunch

This morning was a laid back one, but busy at the same time. We took the dogs outside to break and YAY!!!!!!! Honey finally did #2! whooo hooo! LOL! Then we came in and went to breakfast. I let her stay off the tie down, praying the whole time I wasn't being too brave. I came back from a pretty long breakfast to find her curled up in the middle of my bed. LOL! She likes her soft stuff. ;)

Then with being tired of being cooped up in my room with her, we went on down to the leather lounge and she immediately plopped down on the floor beside me as I chatted with classmates and knitted. :) Then about 10am, Mike Seargent came and got me and we did the stairs down to the grooming room, and then he went over grooming her. We then also talked a little about training her to respond to some things for me- in terms of hearing things. So we are going to start that training with her beginning next week.

We then went back up the stairs and then worked the elevator, and lastly went to the dining room and they were working the dogs by the tables, so that we all three at our assigned table was there at the same time, to work the dogs on going down and under the chair. As usual, Honey was perfect, going down and snoozing away, nothing phasing her. :) So the three of us sat there and then after a drink, chatting, and about 20 minutes later, we headed back to our rooms to water the dogs and break them again. Then we came down for lunch with the dogs.

It was amazingly quiet and the CEO of GDF came and ate lunch with us. The dogs were great, all laying as they should and it was quite a peaceful lunch :)

We were supposed to do indoor work today, but all the rain that was predicted for today apparently missed, as it's bright and sunny out, though it is a bit chilly and windy. So they changed plans and at 1:15 we'll be heading out back to the park for some more walks there for the afternoon, so looks like it's going to be another tired night for everyone, after we have grooming lecture tonight.

Ok, off to get ready to head out. Later

Day 3 with Honey- up and at 'em!

This is going to have to be quick one, as I'm sure as soon as I get this started, they'll make the call to break the dogs. We are up and Honey did well through the night. I left her off the tie down and she slept by the bed all night. :) She came up and woke me up ONE minute before my alarm went off. LOL!

So I've watered her and coat is on. Waiting for the ok to take her out. Which should be coming real soon since I hear trainers going in and out in preparation of the dogs coming out.


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Day 2 with Honey- Back from the Park

Ok I know we aren't supposed to compare ourselves with the other teams, as there are different skill levels and so forth, but I really have to brag about my Honey! :D I'm so proud of us! :D

We got to Kings Park and Mike Sargent called for me to come out and we did. We breaked her on the street and still no #2, but she really had to go #1. Yay! :) Then we put the harness on her and took off on the bike path. We very quickly caught up to the other two dogs that had taken off before us and went completely up the bike path, back up the sidewalk to the main street the park was on and then back down the street w/o a sidewalk to the bus. Then we did another meet and greet with another dog. Mike Sargent kept saying she was doing AWESOME and was actually doing better at the end of the walk than when we first started out, which he said was really good. She stopped on her own for the curbs and guided me around the obstacles that were there. The only thing we had was she kept pushing me towards the right side of the sidewalk, but that was moving me away from the busy street that was on our left. Plus, we were the only team that didn't have the safety leashes on for our walk, as well as walking the furthest. :)

So we got back and she was a perfect angel as she has been! :) Then I sat in a lawn chair outside, since we are like the first ones done and didnt want to get back in the bus just yet, so we did the down and under. :) Again, she was perfect even though we were sitting between the 2 doors of the bus and dogs and people were getting on and off the bus.

While walking, I told Mike Sargent I was amazed at how easy she's been, and he said well, you are paying attention to her and you are very good TO her. :) So that made me feel really good. :) The walk was such a liberating experience and of confidence too! :) Thank you puppy raisers, if you happen to be reading this! :)

So we got back on the bus and she conked out at my feet with Destiny, who was sitting besided us, and while I couldnt move, because my feet was under both thier heads, Honey put her head over on top of Destiny's head, which was on top of my foot! LOL! It was really a sweet sight! :D

Day 2 with Honey- late morning

All I can say is WOW, WOW, WOW!!! Honey is just so awesome. :D

I did wind up coming back to the room after breakfast and taking a nap! LOL! Then about 10, Mike Seargent came and got me and we went for our walk outside doing leashed guiding. We did meet and greets with another dog and Honey was perfect! Sat still and did exactly what she was supposed to. :)

Then we came in, as the puppies were to be here and we waited patiently until two beautiful yellow lab pups came in with the breeder. I think they were going to thier raisers. Mike Devlin took us up to meet the pups and again, Honey was awesome with only one quick no and stay, watching super intently, but staying put as she was supposed to while I loved on the puppy and it gave me lots of sloppy wet kisses. :) Of course I gave Honey HUGE praise for being sooooooo good! :D

So then we headed back to our room to wait for break time. New sheets were laying on the bed so figured while we wait, I'd change the sheets and pulled the covers back and onto the floor, not even thinking about it. Honey immediately grabbed her nylabone and nested up those covers and had made herself quite comfy! LOL!

So after I'd reclaimed my bed covers, and finished making the bed, it wasn't long that we got the call to water the dogs and take them out. Now with this time, I now know I have the most stubborn dog in the group.... When she gets fed up with me telling her busy busy, she's done and she's not gonna do any more. She comes up and looks up at me with those brown eyes and you can just read the expression on her face- I'm done, get ON with it. LOL! *sigh* So she's not done #2 yet and hasn't gone #1 since we went out the first time this morning...

Well, I need to tie her down and head for lunch, then we have our afternoon tour/walk at the park. :)

Day 2 with Honey- Back from breakfast

Back from breakfast and as usual, it was GOOD :D

This morning we are going to do some outside leash guiding individually and we are to hang out until they come get us for that. Then at 11 is the puppies, then 11:30 is break for the dogs, then lunch for us following that. This afternoon, about 1pm, we are all going to load up on the bus and head to Kings? park, not sure if I caught the name right on that. We'll be doing our first harness walks there this afternoon. So looks like I'm going to be getting some knitting in today.

We are supposed to have bad weather tomorrow, so they are doing the harness walks outside today. Will probably be mostly indoors tomorow.

Day 2 with Honey- breakfast time

We are up this morning and Honey was great through the night. :) She actually spent a good part of the night off the tie down, as I mentioned I conked out on the bed not feeling well. But she was great, just lying down on the floor by the door or by the bed, no whining, crying or barking. Then this morning I got up and got my shower and all, leaving her on the tie down and never heard a peep out of her even when several other dogs were barking.

Then we went outside for break and she quickly did #1 for me, and at one point she circled around and hunched over to do #2, but at a distraction, jumped up quickly and then decided she was done. *sigh* This is as bad a being a new mom and anxiously waiting for the new baby to poop! LOL!

She did awesome coming in and we are waiting for someone to come get us to go to breakfast. :) I'm getting hungry, thats for sure!

I think we are supposed to go out somewhere today, getting on the bus and actually doing some street work. We'll see. :)

Until the next post....

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Dog Day!!!!!!!!! Bedtime

The evening has passed and I'm loving her more and more! :) We had our evening lecture down in the exercise room, all of us with dogs that were part goldens. We practiced the heel command, to get the dog in position and yet again, she amazed me by coming in and while another dog was sniffing and wanting to visit, at a quick "leave it" she immediately plopped down on the floor and waited for he praise of petting that was due. :D This dog LOVES to have her chin scratched and LOVES for you to love on her. :) Which I'm quite happy to do as well. :)

She's already quickly picking up the voice commands, as I'm forgetting to do quite a few of the hand signs, though I try to remember. LOL! She's doing awesome at getting me to the doors and all too. :) She has just about got it on getting to our bedrom too. It is just awesome to be able to look out again, instead of at the ground all the time!

We went out for evening break and she did number one and while I tried to get her to busy, busy some more, she just looked at me with those big brown eyes and flat out said, I'm done, let me out of here. LOL! So we headed on inside. :) Then as I am not feeling too hot, with a serious sinus headache and upset tummy, I laid down on the bed for a bit. She so sweetly came over and laid her head against my hand, as I gently rubbed her soft ears. Then she laid herself down beside the bed next to me.

I napped for a bit, and now up for a few, my stomach feeling a lot better, though still a little rumbly. She's quietly outstretched and nestled over in he corner. I almost hate it I'll need to put her on the tie down, but I know I have to, since she does still have some playfulness in her, as when I took her off the tie down after dinner, she immediately grabbed the ball of yarn (it looked like a ball to play with) and when I took that away, she grabbed one of my gloves laying on the bed. She was just carrying it around, but I quickly told her No and gave her the nylabone and boy we were a happy camper then! :) She proudly carried her bone back and forth around the bed asking too for butt scratches and ear rubs. :)

I can't wait to go out with her and see how she does out and about instead of the small confinements of here in the building. Also really excited for the kids to meet her. :) They are absolutely going to dote on her, as gentle and loving as she is. :)

Well, I'd better get myself to bed, 6am is going to come early!
Night All!

Dog Day!!!!!!!!! Almost 4pm

It's been a really awesome day! I got to meet Honey, my new companion and she's such a sweetie! I don't know yet how old she is, and while she's the smallest in the class, she seems to be very young yet. She's a Golden Retriever, but doesn't have the feathers on her legs yet and just seems still young. But that being said, she's been one of the better behaved dogs in class so far, really just being awesome in what she's doing and making it soooo easy for me. If I can just quit making all the mistakes! LOL!

Here she is:



We met and stayed in our room for about an hour until they came and got everyone to take the dogs to break. She did do #1 for me and did great coming back inside. We then all went to the lounge and she settled right down and was great as the other dogs came in and got settled. After our discussions and talk about how much to feed the dogs and how to feed them, she did awesome in guiding me back to my room.

I'll be feeding her 3 cups of Iams food, once a day. We just put her food down and she's eating great! :) Did a VERY good sit and stay too! :) They'll come back in a bit to take her out to break and then we'll do the tie down for dinner and after dinner we'll work with our trainers on guiding. :)

Yay!!!!! I love her already! She's came and laid down beside me too. :) YAY!!!!!

I have a Name and Breed!!!!!!!

Ok first lecture was about meeting the dogs, we'll be working inside today with the dogs, will be meeting them in about an hour. They did tell us what dog we are getting, the breed, and sex and I have...................

A Female Golden Retriever named Honey! :D

Oh I can't wait to meet her!!!!!!

Dog Day!!!!!!!!! Morning

Breakfast was good, Im starting to drag already though, as I was up 3-4 times last night unable to sleep from the excitement! Guess I'm going to have to hit the caffiene today! ;) I did have Dan buy me a couple of 12 packs of coke zero with the store trip he made yesterday. :) Have to run though, have our lecture in about 10 minutes and need to get to that. :) Hopefully only one lecture and then we get to meet our dogs!!!! :D

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

oops forgot to add after dinner stuff. ;)

After dinner we had lecture and Barb went over the volunteer program and took the names of those who were interested in going out and about this weekend to do something fun, whether it be go shopping, to the movies, the mall, or to the beach. I declined as I'm sooo excited to meet Jovi! :D

Then all those who are getting a subsequent dog, they headed downstairs to the tv room and had a bereavement lecture with Barb. All us newbies, we hung out and Jodie and Dan handed out the leashes and the check chains (choker collar) and we learned the proper way to put them on our dogs, by practicing on a life sized stuffed doggy. :)

Then they handed out our bowls, brushes, scoops for food, and nylabones. So we wrapped up about 8:30ish and were free to go do whatever. It got pretty quiet around here, as I think most turned in early for bed. Everyone's pretty tired and anxious for tomorrow. :)

Trainer Day....Last post for the evening

This evening, just before dinner, Mike started leash training with me. Pretty cool stuff! I REALLY see that coming in handy around the house and other places too! :D

Dinner was really good too, Man I swear, they open the kitchen door and the aroma is just something else! I'm not going to want to go home! LOL! During dinner, one of the GDF trainers ... no names will be named here! ;) slipped and let it out that dog time is to be 10:30am. EEEEKKKK! Gosh, I can't wait!!!! :D

So after dinner I came back to the room and called home to talk with the girls. Both Katie and Meaghan were excited to talk and while Mike sent Meaghan to school today, he got the call to come get her after naptime, so looks like he'll be working from home tomorrow and home with her. Katie says she's having a blast at Leah's house and is just about done with her homework for the week, which is good. :) Meaghan said she missed me and loved me. About made me cry!

Mike told me the stinking eye specialist office called, and yet again they failed to cancel my appt for the 18th, while I'd called 3 wks ago, and then again last Thursday, telling them I wasn't going to be here. Last year my eye dr almost ripped me a new one because I "missed" my appt, when I'd called and cancelled and supposedly rescheduled it. Well, his "trusty" office person, that I had the same problem with last year, did it yet again this year.

When I called 3 wks ago, I gve her the dates that I would be gone for training and so forth. She said she couldn't reschedule me on the books yet, because she had to coordinate my appt with the person's books for the 120 pt visual field test. So she said she'd call me back. Didn't hear from her, so I called last Thursday. The "appt" person said she had a note on my account to call me back that same day, (being last thursday) and I didnt hear from her. I didn't worry about it, as I'd told her to cancel my original appt for 1/18 and she'd said she did.

Well, yesterday, Mike gets a notice card for my appt for 1/18! When I called home last night, he sees the message on the phone that our same "trusty" office person had called yesterday, 1/14 at 12:04pm, after I'd told her I flew out at noon yesterday. Then she called and left another message today. Mike called the office and she's out of the office for 2 days, and found out my 1/18 appt had indeed NOT been cancelled! grrrrrrrrrrr.

I think at this point we are going to change dr's, as it's a royal hassle and I'm not going to take the verbal reprimanding that I got last year over this same screw up from the dr's staff.

Anywho, I'm making some good headways on the knitting, and super stoked about tomorrow! :D

Will write more in the morning. :)