Day 10 at GDB

Okay.. I’ve been here for 10 days.. what?! They say that the second week is calmer. Look at what we have to accomplish: light rail, bus, airport security, night routes, traffic encounters, dog encounters, other distractions, water fountains, ducks/geese/birds/seal gulls, custom routes, meeting with the vet to get the whole history of our dog, lecture on veterinary care, sidewalk-less routes, interviews, lectures about transitioning home, working on airline seating, malls, parks, Petsmart/Petco, and then preparing for graduation/graduation photos, packing and leaving (and more!). Now, when you see that list and know that you have Monday-Thursday and a little bit of Friday to accomplish everything but graduation and preparing for graduation, would you believe me that it’s going to be a calm week? Nah, didn’t think so. But it is. Instead of going, going, and going, we “hurry up… and stop…. hurry up…. and stop!” I honestly can handle things this way.

Breakfast: juevos rancheros. Dinner: linguine w/ artichoke hearts and other yummy stuff, a salad and a roll. My mind is blanking on what we had for lunch. Today was a classmate’s birthday and she didn’t tell anyone but I saw it on her Facebook. So I made an announcement at breakfast and we sang Happy Birthday and then at lunch we sang Happy Birthday again but there was a lot of the staff there too and the head chef made this delicious cake for her. It was a lot of fun and she loved it. Yay!

Morning activities: We drove to Gresham and did traffic encounters. This freaked me out but luckily Makiko did wonderfully. Basically this Prius, which is a super quiet car, approached us from so many different angles at different speeds and in different ways and it scared me bad. I kind of freaked out in the “as soon as we’re across I am gonna tear up” kind of way. I had to take a breath and keep going though. Makiko did a good job I just am scared of traffic and I almost always have somebody with me when I cross with traffic so doing it by myself and with Makiko for the first time was scary. I wasn’t alone though in many senses. I did have my instructor following to give me directions although she mostly only corrected me if I did something wrong. Other classmates were also experiencing this level of stress and anxiety too. So after we deal with all these traffic encounters we have a “break-off party” which basically means we put the harness handle down and we play with our dog and let her get off the stress. Did you know that if a dog shakes off that means he/she is letting go of the stress and if she/he sniffs when they normally don’t sniff they are stressed? I thought this was pretty good information.

After traffic encounters we headed back to the school, individually met with the vet to get a thorough exam, had a lecture where we learned about more veterinary stuff and we were read our dog’s entire history, and then went to lunch. Makiko got a perfect bill of health. She had a few medical issues growing up but nothing super serious or that would interfere with her guide work. And now, she’s doing perfect. Her weight is the same as when I got her so that’s really good meaning I’m not feeding her too much or too little. Since we use kibble as treats and within the first week we use a little more than their daily ration, this is a concern. Makiko is doing great on it though. She has had thorough dental exams, ophthalmology exams, etc. I’m glad to have such a healthy girl.

After lunch we met up and all got in caravans to head to a neighborhood with sidewalk-less areas so that we could learn how to work our dog when there isn’t a sidewalk. One of the places I frequent has a lot of sidewalk-less areas so this was good to learn. Then we went to Petsmart to learn how to work our dog in a store where there are a lot of distractions, then we went down the toy aisle and I was quizzed about whether a toy was good or not. GDB is pretty strict on what toys we can give our dogs and what we can’t just to be on the safe side. If you think about it, if something happens and part of a toy gets lodged or something and the dog has something seriously wrong or has to stay in the vet or take time off, you’ve lost your primary mobility tool, your buddy, and so much more for that length of time. I’d much rather be safe than have to deal without Makiko accompanying me everywhere.

After PetSmart we went back to the dorm and we had time to relax, then dinner, and then more time to relax. And of course during the day we fed, watered, relieved the dogs. That’s all going really well for me. Makiko does her business (both #1 and #2) almost every time, but she always does one at least, and she hasn’t had any accidents while working or inside. I’m so so glad. Several of my other classmates, unfortunately, haven’t been so lucky. I am normally a very proper person and I don’t like to talk about those kinds of things while I’m eating but it’s really amusing how at GDB when we’re talking about our dog’s bathroom habits it doesn’t phase me or any of us. Haha.

Tonight I went to help a friend out with her computer and she told me I could leave Makiko in my room if I wanted but I didn’t want to. Makiko goes everywhere with me.. yay! (Feelin’ pretty blessed to have the ADA as good as it is about this).

Talked to family for awhile tonight, talked to my boyfriend for a bit, groomed Makiko, brushed her teeth, played with her for awhile. OH, speaking of news– Makiko now plays tug of war. She wouldn’t play the past week. She would pick up the toy and pretty much just put it down. Well tonight we were goofing around in the room and she was getting all excited and went for the toy. While still all excited, I grabbed the other end of her toy and started tugging on it and we managed to get a good tug of war game going. Yay. I’ll post a video but again, it may not be the best video quality. We also got the year’s supply of Frontline and Heartgard, as well as Rabies tags and her Microchip ID tag. In a few days we should get a GDB tag and then at some point I want to make her a tag with her name and my name on it. Maybe I can convince my instructor to stop by Petsmart again. Haha, I love that store.. I would spend more money in that store, even before Makiko on my boyfriend’s dog, than I would in most places.

Speaking of ADA, still haven’t heard from American Airlines and doubt I will so I’ll just deal with them at the gate and then decide if I’m going to file a complaint later. Again, I’ll tell you after my flight what happened. So the ADA allows service dogs to go everywhere we go as long as the general public is allowed. Now if the dog starts interfering with other customers or is smelly/ungroomed, they do have the right to turn us away. But otherwise, no. And since we groom our dogs every night and they are so well trained, they really don’t have many opportunities to legally turn us away. Each state has their own legislation as well. Here is Texas’: “Texas Statutes, Title 8, Chapter 121, Sections 121.002 through 121.009, amended 1997 Texas statutes guarantee a blind person the legal right to be accompanied by a specially trained dog guide in harness in all public facilities. A dog guide user has a legal right to equal housing accommodation in all housing offered for rent, lease, or compensation. The landlord need not modify the premises, nor is a higher standard of care required than that provided other tenants. No extra fee can be levied because of the dog guide’s presence, but the dog guide user is liable for any damage the dog might do to the premises. Equal employment opportunity is also guaranteed, except where the visual impairment prevents performance of work involved. Under Texas statutory law, the definition of public facilities includes hotels, stores, restaurants, college dormitories, places of resort, recreation and amusement, public buildings, railroads, buses, boats, airplanes, taxis, and all other common carriers or places to which the public is invited. (Sect. 121.002, Sect. 121.003) Housing accommodations include any real property, in whole or part, designed or used as a home, residence, or sleeping place, except for a single family dwelling, the occupants of which offer for rent no more than one room. (Sect. 121.003) Violation: Any person, firm, association, or agent thereof who interferes with the above enumerated rights is guilty of a misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine of not less than $300 or more than $1000. In addition, the dog guide user whose civil rights have been violated may proceed in any court of competent jurisdiction to recover personal damages with the presumption that at least $100 worth of damage has been sustained. (Sect. 121.004)”

Wow, I thought this might be a short post but it’s turning out not to be that way, huh? 🙂 A few pictures, as always, and then good night!

After breakfast we had a few minutes and so we went back to the room but it wasn’t enough time that I thought I wanted to take the harness off so she nicely crossed her paws on my legs and cuddled with me for a bit that way, in harness.
Another cute pic 🙂
SEE how boring the lectures are? Haha. Kidding… mostly! My dog isn’t in this picture but this is what ALL the dogs do during lecture. 🙂
Makiko getting her last vet visit at GDB
This is NOT Makiko. This is another black labrador that has hives or some sort of reaction. This is apparently going around among many dogs here and they have yet to figure out what it is. But I just wanted to show some of you because you’ve been asking.
They have this really interesting flower. This whole thing fits in the palm of my hand so it’s not big but I wanted to zoom in. I love the way they look and smell and apparently there are different varieties.
Different variety, this time PINK
This was at 6:15am. I wore a vest and shirt Nana and Grandad gave me a few years ago and it was really cute (and warm!), but I still look like I’m waking up. Makiko is also saying good morning!
Makiko and I crossing a street.. man that freedom tastes and feels so good. 🙂
I didn’t know she was taking a picture at this point. Us working!
Makiko and I walking and the picture is from behind this time, where the instructor normally stands/waits.

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Jessica N and Makiko

Jessica is a proud Texan. She graduated in 2014 with her Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling and is now employed. She is visually impaired and has a retinal disease, Retinitis Pigmentosa. Originally Jessica started blogging about everything from being diagnosed with the disease to where she is now, almost 9 years later. Then, Jessica went to Guide Dogs for the Blind and was blessed with Makiko, her new guide dog. Now, her blog "The Way Eye See The World" is about everything related to visual impairments, including guide dogs.

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