Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tuesday- day of Decisions...

We got up bright and early this morning, actually being ready to go outside when the call came to feed, water, and break our dogs. I fed Rei and watched her closely and again, she jumped into the tub and I immediately corrected her and got her out of the tub. No soap this time though, it's now kept up as high/far back as I an on the sink. ;)

We went out for break and as she's shown so far, Rei did an awesome job, getting right down to business and getting it done quickly. We came back in and boy was she ever playful and definately feeling a LOT better and bounding around the room. LOL! :) I took my laundry down and tossed it in before we went down to breakfast. The trainers had thier thier weekly staff meeting from 8-9am, so we had free time to kill. I got my clothes moved to the dryer and dried, so I have clean stuff to wear again! LOL!

While I was in the laundry room, Mike Sargent pecked on the door and said Hi! and asked how I was doing with the new dog. I said pretty good, but that she's really dropping off on her pace about half way through the route. Told him what Lisa and I had discussed and that I knew she'd been out before. He asked me who she'd been out with and I told him and he was like Oh! that's a REALLY nice dog! I told him I agreed, but this pace thing was a problem, her turning it off halfway through the route. He stood there thinking about it and asked again, "You said it's halfway through? when you head back to the van?" and I confirmed. He said he thought it sounded like she didn't want to quit working. He told me to tell Lisa to work Rei a half block past the van, and do the things Lisa had in mind, which was keeping the harness handle taught with tension, where I would feel the pull, so that she would push into the harness more and would then speed up. Mike also said too that he couldn't help today, but that tomorrow he should be able to help with things.

After the meeting, we met up in the gathering area and Bill Krohl came to speak to us about some of the GDF programs and so forth. We were really late getting out of here and the trainers decided to just go back to St. James again. We got there and I was the last one to walk. We also were getting the same rain that Indiana got 2 days ago and it was wet and raining. Thankfully when my turn came up, it'd stopped for the time being, just the temps were dropping.

I took Rei out and breaked her outside the van. We harnessed up and took off to the sidewalk through the parking lot that we were in. instead of the right, we made a left down the sidewalk and towards the railroad tracks. We crossed over the busy intersection and headed back down the sidewalk and at the first side street, we deviated from the normal route and made a left onto the side street. very quickly we came to two utility poles very close together and in the sidewalk. Rei did an awesome job working me through them and was responding VERY well to my requests to hup up too. She kept a nice pace and was very attentitive since things had been changed up a bit. I kept the pressure on the harness through the handle and she moved very nicely and responded to all my requests. I was very happy and pleased at how the route went. We walked on down a half block past the store, crossed the street and then walked our way back to the van, keeping the same pace throughout the whole route. Lisa said she was really happy with the way she worked and that we had a really good route too. We then loaded up and headed back to the foundation to water and break the dogs and then headed to the dining room for lunch.

We settled down for lunch and Wells Jones, CEO of GDF came down and introduced himself to the group and brought several people from Eukanuba with him that were taking a look at various guide dog schools across the country, planning to set up a beneficiary program to the schools, that with foods purchased, a % of the proceeds were to go to these schools. So we all chatted and so forth until 1pm and we were then headed for the Backwards P walk, which is down the main street of Smithtown, along the main street and through some of the residential area. This is actually a walk that I didn't completely do with Honey. I did the main street part but not the "p" part.

It had been raining ALL afternoon in a pretty steady rain. I got out and it had broke or a bit, but as I got out of the van, Lisa told me it'd started back up again, so we take off and start this mile and a 1/4 walk. We start down to main street and make our way very quickly down the sidewalk, around poles and so forth. She did an awesome job of keeping me clear of things and continued working even though it was raining quite hard by this point. We continued on down to the main intersection and by this point, it was a flat out downpour. This little dog amazed me as she kept right on going and we even had a traffic check as I missed a car that came up from behind on my right when we started to cross a street. But seriously, while she shook herself a couple of times, she sped up readily and willingly, she followed all my commands, and so forth. I had to take my glasses off since they were so wet and covered in rain. I was soooooo glad to have Dad's waterproof jacket and my waterproof rockports to walk in. My feet and body pretty much stayed dry, my jeans and long johns were just soaked though.

We worked our way back to the van through the heavy rains and when I got back and almost to the van, Lisa turned to me and said ok, she did awesome, just to let you know, we do have a back up dog for you. I want you to think about it and let me know what you want to do. I was kind of taken aback and was in deep thought shortly after I climbed into the van with Suzi and now with Pam, who also was out and got soaked too. Valerie took the three of us back to the foundation to get out of our wet clothes and take it easy for the next hour.

I came back, got myself out of the wet clothes I had and was deep in thought about things. What other than the pace did I not like about Rei? Was there any reason to change dogs since she showed me she would speed up when asked and slow down as needed. I really like that she is mature and that she's very independent in personality. She doesn't need my coaxing and excessive loving to gain her trust, keep her working, and so forth, if that makes any sense. She's happy to work and she's content with it since she loves it. She's content to lay by my side and stay with me, yet loves to play when she's done working. I really think she'll fit well in our family. So other than knowing she's going to be a little more work in the beginning, working through the "pack leader" establishment, I really feel that she's a good dog for me.

I buzzed my hubby, Mike, on IM and talked with him at great lengths and he agreed too, that he didn't see the need to change dogs either. After the rest of the students came back, Lisa stopped by and wanted to talk again, apoligizing for the way she said that they had a back up dog. She was really just wanting to re-assure me that if things for some reason didn't work out with Rei, that they did have another dog they thought would work for me and that everything would be ok. I told her my thoughts of Rei and that Mike and I had talked and that I was really happy with the way the day went and with what Rei showed me today and that I really didn't see any need to change dogs. Lisa was happy and said she was more than happy to continue to work forward with Rei and would help me through keeping her up to pace and so forth. :)

We went out for break and Rei did her business quickly and then we went to the front desk to talk with a friend that's on the GDF talk list. :) We chatted for a while until time to go to dinner. a group of us kind of formed and talking until we were called to dinner, thus we all made our way to our tables in the dining room.

After dinner, we had a "secret lecture" about how to do corrections- secret being that we left the dogs in our room, taught by Mike Devlin. It was quite comical seeing Mike being he dog and holding on to the harness for the students to make the leash and harness corrections on him. Suzi caught him off guard and actually pulled the harness handle out of his hands! Oops! LOL!

After lecture, we took the dogs out for evening break and she did business as usual. We all came back inside and I've been updating here and playing for a bit with her. :) I'm super tired and worn out, so going to call it a night. :)

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