Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Day 2- Tues. Oct. 29th

Today was very much a hurry up and wait type of day.   The RA came and knocked on the door at 6am so I got up and took a shower, making sure to close the bathroom door since I guess it is well known that if you do not, the fire alarms WILL go off and the Smithtown Fire Dept has not been happy with GDF when this happens. ;)   After getting myself all ready, I headed to the dining room for breakfast.

Breakfast was a bowl of mixed fresh fruits and my half sized portions of scrambled eggs and a slice of bacon with a biscuit.   Once we were finished with breakfast, the entire group met up in the lobby lounge and Barb and Jody went over the plans for the day.   First things on the agenda was that we would all be sent to our rooms and they'd set off the fire alarm for a fire drill, in which all the fire doors would close.   They wanted to do this where the doors closed since this tends to disorient people with the doors being closed.  We were then going to do our short handle walks with both trainers while several of the other apprentices was going to go through and finish up with orientations for the rest of the students.

I went back to the room and grabbed my laptop and took up the opportunity to go to the snack lounge and work on some paperwork stuff I'd brought with me.   I hung out here until Barb came and got me to do the short handle walk with her.   This went like this:
I went out to do my Juno walk/short handle walk, and as we were walking outside to do so, Barb asked a good handful of questions- Was this a good pace, Yes, do you think you can handle a strong dog? Yes, Are you willing to work through some silliness, knowing that with time it'll subside, Yes.
We go through several laps around the campus and then she tells me to follow her over to an ...open area. Says to me to give her a few corrections- when it wiggles and she says DOG! To give her a good hard correction. So we do a few times and she says OK, come with me.
Then she asks, are you OK with whatever we have for you? Yes. Is there anything you specifically want in a dog- I say I want a dog with a lot of intuition, to make a decision and go with it with little instruction from me and as long as the dog is good with kids.
Then she asks if I have any questions or thoughts and upon saying No, she says that she thinks she has the perfect dog for me, but just needed to make sure I could handle him.
This honestly just absolutely makes my heart soar.  :)

After this walk, I went back inside to the computer and continued working there until Barb came in a little while later to do the interview with me.   We discussed the breeds they had and she asked if there was any i wouldn't work with, which I said I'll take whatever you give me, though some are lower on the list than others- such as a poodle.   While poodles are good dogs, just not a dog that I care for that much personally.   I'll leave them to the people that need them for allergies! :)   

We also talked about the activities of our lifestyle and things we do.   Things at our mega church, at our school, what types of transportation I use, do I use a subway, the trains, country walks (roads without sidewalks), and so forth.   After going through all of this, Barb said she could tell that I was very apprehensive, that she could tell from the moment of picking me up at the airport.   I told her I am very excited, but yes, very apprehensive too.   She went on to say that she can't make promises, but that she really believes that with some work, that this dog will be a really, really good dog for me.  :)

After the interview, it was very close to time for lunch, so made my way there and we had a really good bowl of barley soup and a turkey sandwich.   As always, Chef Kevin's food is just sooooo good.   I was good and passed on desserts, going back to the snack room to continue working on my paperwork.   Before too long, Barb and Jody gathered us all up again in the lobby lounge to let us know that they were doing second short handle walks in the afternoon and that two long time volunteers would be taking the others of us on tours of the grounds and of the training kennels.

Jody came and found me pretty quickly and we went out together and worked on the forward, halt, about, right turn, and left turn commands and footwork.   I was very rusty on these as I'm finding that while I'd been shown them on my first class with Honey, no one had reviewed these since, thus I'd quite forgotten the proper techniques of them.   Barb also had explained the reasoning behind these techniques too, thus changing a  lot of my perspective of some of the routes I've engaged for a long time.   I'll be re-thinking some of these for sure.  

We met up with Barb and the other student she was working with and then  swapped "dogs" aka trainers for a few minutes and I worked with Barb in that she wanted to see me do the harness correction now that I was more familiar with the grounds and such.   We swapped back and then Jody took me on inside back to the snack room where I had left my stuff.  

One of the two volunt

eers came soon to take me on the tour of the Kennels and as we talked, he remembered me from when I was here in April, upon telling him about Favor.   He gave me the tour about the grounds and we went on over to the Kennels where I got to see a buddy of mine. :)    Erin, Rei's puppy raiser had raised a smooth coated collie named David.   She had David in the last year that I had Rei and we had met up with her and met him when we made the trip to TN for a family reunion, then again when I retired Rei this past March, in which she and David stayed at our house overnight before going back to TN.  

Here is the big man in the kennels!   He's looking very good and at first he looked at me and once I approached him he started wiggling and was happy to see me, mouthing my fingers a bit and then turning to have his rump scratched. 

I finished up with my kennels tour and then went back to the Residence building.   I grabbed my laptop and stuff and headed back to the room, since my stuff had been camped out there nearly all day.   Just as I set the computer down, Jody came over the intercom, calling all of us down to the lobby lounge.    Jody and Barb explained that tomorrow we will have our 6am wake up call, 7:30 breakfast, and then from there do van and bus trainings.   Then from there, there will be one or two more interviews to finish up and then Barb and Jody will make their "Final, Final decisions" of which will be the best dog to give to each student and by that point they are thinking it'll be lunch time.  

So we will go to lunch and after lunch they will send us all to our rooms at 1pm and will bring our dogs to each of us individually and have an apprentice with them to take pictures of giving each of us our dogs.   After we receive our dogs, we will be given a couple of hours of quiet time to interact and bond with the dog as much as possible and then will be assisted in going with our dogs to the gathering room and then outside to the break area.   After this we'll bring the dogs back inside and put them on tie down in our rooms for during dinner and then after dinner we will bring our dogs with us to the lobby lounge for the evening lecture and then one last time out to the break area for the night.

Barb and Jody then signed off for the day, turning things over to several other trainers for the evening and a couple of other students who are amazingly good at music, one got out his guitar and the other his harmonica set and sang/played together w/o ever having practices together before.   Both are totally blind with no light perception and they were just amazing to watch in their abilities to create such a joyful noise!    The rest of us and several GDF staff members were drawn to the music and came and watched as they played several songs together until it was dinner time at 5:30pm.

Dinner was no different in that it was deliciously good.   Kevin's famous 2 1/2 inch thick porchops and sauce just melted in  your mouth with asparagus and a super small helping of stuffing for me. :)    I did splurge and have a small slice of chocolate cake as well.  

The evening lecture was the traditional split lecture, where the first time handlers stay up in the lobby area and learn how to make a long and short leash, how to properly put a training collar on the dog, and are given a bowl, nylabone, dog brush, and a recall whistle for their dogs.   The re-trains are sent to the lower level TV room in which the transition lecture takes place.    This lecture is good for reminding those of us that are receiving successor dogs, that we need to be patient, that it's OK and normal to feel guilt, shame, failure, and the grieving process that comes with the loss of a dog, either through retirement, death, or returning the dog back to the school.  

While this lecture has always been one of the more beneficial ones for me, it is entirely the one that I dread the most, as I knew I'd be a blubbering mess when it came to this with Favor.   Tonight it took everyone else talking as I sniffled, cried, and tried to hold myself together as the others talked about their situations and different things about their dogs.   I finally let it out and shared my feelings of guilt, apprehension, and somewhat fear of what is to come with the new dog.    I am very excited and ready to start a new chapter with this new dog, but I am very apprehensive of how can I protect my new dog and the new relationship I have with the dog, given the conditions and factors of the environments I have around me and that we will encounter, yet I cannot control.  I continue to pray for my new "forever" dog and at this point I have to entirely turn it over to God that he knows what he's doing and do my best  to put the work in to start this bond off in the right direction and with the help of all the staff here at GDF, who has been there for me, hugged me when I needed it, and been the listening ear through all this. :)

Thus I came back upstairs with a massive headache and some seriously puffy, red, and swollen eyes.   Kait, the apprentice instructor that gave the equipment lecture was waiting for me to go over how to properly put on the collar and make sure I knew how to make a short and long leash.   She was quite impressed as I whipped right through those and put the collar on the big stuffed snoopy dog they have for this purpose. :)    We wrapped it up there and she handed me my bowl of stuff for the dog and I came back here to the room to skype with Mike and the kids before the kids went to bed.   I now wrap up this post since then and we will continue with Day 3- Dog Day tomorrow! :)  

Stay tuned for lots of info tomorrow!
Kacie & ***Male dog- What's my name?***