My, My! It has been a very busy and emotional day. We got up early for breakfast. They spoiled us again. We could ask for anything we wanted and Rudy the cook fixed it for us. It was served with a pleasant smile.
After breakfast, we did some harness testing. A trainer held the dog end of the harness and pulled us along asking questions about too little pull or too much. How much pull did we need for the dog to tell us which way to go, etc. All the while she is pulling hard or soft, stopping, starting. We are giving the commands for forward, left, right, sit, etc. She pretended the dog was siffing and we had to correct it by relazing on the leash and then pulling back sort of hard. Next we did another test with an actual dog in which we walked along an iron railing around a rectangular courtyard while they watched us walk and interact with the dog.
Then came the anxious waiting as trainers made final decisions on which dog we each would get. Lunch time came and went and we still didn’t know. We went to a lecture and they talked about what we could do with our dogs and what not. We were nervous wrecks. Finally, they called our names and told each of us our dog’s sex, breed, coloring, and name. My dog was a male Lab black and tan which they said iq rare and they don’t know why it happens. Somewhere some ancient DNA just turns up once in a blue moon. It turns out that Jerry has Nina, and Nancy has Cole, and Walter has Heidi. These were three dogs that were in the Atlanta and Chattanooga, TN area and have been in my back yard. I even held them. Cole is a very big dog now. He is at least as my first guide dog puppy, Darge.It is neat seeing them and watching them work with people that I am fast becoming good friends with.
Now, the big moment came. They had us take our imaginary dogs back to our rooms so we could get our real dogs. One by one they brought them to us. We were told to call our dog’s name in as happy excited voice s possible. Then say come with the same inflection. When my door opened, I said, “Little Joe, Come.”” I tried to say it as happy as I could, but I was soooo nervous. I was afraid that he might not like me. They said that our first job is to make our dogs like us. Praise them, rub them, etc. Well, I did. I rolled all over the floor with him. He licked my fast and then flopped on the floor on his back for me to rub his tummy. I kindly obliged as he wrapped his paws around by hand. We were left alone after a few minutes to see how it would go. Little Joe fell asleep as I rubbed his tummy. Later, our trainers came room to room to show us two commands: heel and sit. Heel is getting the dog to come along side of you with the head just a little in front of me. We worked as much as we could trying to get it done without too much correction at first. Remember we are still trying to get our dogs to like us. We did that at supper and after. We had lecture from 7:30 to 8:00 pm. We talked more about how to treat our dogs and how to get them to like us and get them to mind at the same time.
I played X-box for awhile . Then went to bed early. Little Joe went on tie down at the foot of my bed. I spent a couple of minutes loving on him and told him good night. He just curled up in a little ball. I haven’t heard a peep out of him, yet. Well, that was our 2nd day. Good night. Sleep tight.