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.



Tamara said...

It sounds like you are learning so much, Kacie! This is an amazing journey for you and I cannot wait to hear how things develop when you return home. I am floored you are starting the new year out this way :) As for people trying to pet Honey - do your instructors recommend having a quick one-sentence request/explanation for them to back off?

Stacie said...

sounds awesome girl!

Deirdre said...

Amazing, simply amazing! Kacie, this is so wonderful for you. Honey sounds like such a wonderful creature :) Your blogs are absolutely inspiring! Thank you for sharing your journey!

Wendy said...

Kacie--I cant wait until you come home to see how things go. I could be about as excited as you I agree with TL on the petting thing. Do the instructors have any suggestions for this? I have seen guide dogs be petted by strangers before, but I wouldnt do it if you dont know how Honey would do thats for sure. I would definitely ask about this before you leave.

Anonymous said...

Hey ladies, They have told us that it is up to us to decide on when the dog can be petted, but that we are to be in control of when and where if possible, and that the dog's harness is to be off when the dog is being petted.

They have asked us to politely ask people not to pet the dogs when not in harness, so I was just standing there thinking, how would I go about doing this, what would I say. Since I've not done that before. Was just trying to think of how I'd respond to that situation and try to be as professional as possible about it, since as a team, we aren't just representing ourselves, we are representing the school and guide dog users as a whole. :)


Shari said...

Tomorrow's the day you were waiting for. Big welcome reunion. I'm looking forward to more stories about how you and Honey work together at home and with the kids, too. A little bit of adjustment.

That's cool that you could go through the mall without having to dodge people all the time. I know that too well. I've started to hate shopping. :)