Makiko and I have had to learn how to deal with all different types of chairs recently. Usually I let Makiko sit beside my chair if we’re going to be in class for 3 or more hours or if there is a lot of space. However, this semester things have changed. For one, in the classroom that we were in all the time last semester, my row is now full. I love that it is full because I have three amazing people on my row with me; however, I had to rearrange where Makiko was used to. Okay, so let me describe this first type of chair/setting to you. There are rows of tables and there are monitors that come out of the tables. You can put them into the tables to stow them away when you’re not using them and then bring them up when you want to use them. On the floor next to each person’s chair under the table is the big CPU. There are four seats to each long table and there are two rows of tables that face the front of the classroom. So there is not that much space to tuck the dog under the table between the CPU and the next person. There’s not much space behind me because then I couldn’t move my chair. And, to top it all off, the chairs aren’t the kind that you can just slide your dog under. They are chairs that spin so really we just have to figure out how to put our dog under there. I am very lucky to have a close friend in the class who sits right next to me who also has a guide dog and she’s had her dog for 5 years and still finds it a difficult situation. But we’ll figure it out. Makiko likes to spread out a little bit under there and I’m trying to not let her as much because I don’t want her to bother the lovely gal right next to me. So that’s one kind of chair we are learning how to work with.
Another type of seating setting that we’re learning about is what I would call the traditional classroom desks. They are a chair with a desk attached to either the left or right side which flips up. Since getting Makiko I haven’t had to learn where to put her in this type of setting. We’ve always had long tables in our classrooms. So originally I had her just lying perpendicular on the floor in front of me, and that worked out fairly well; however, I didn’t feel like it was perfect. Then, when much to my surprise, a good friend with her guide dog showed up she showed me how she does it and Makiko and I are going to do it that way from now on. We tried it the second part of class. It involves positioning Makiko facing the same direction I am in front of the chair and scootching her bum under the chair so that basically she’s under the chair and has the legs around her. I liked this because she is “more out of the way,” and there is less room for her to move around and disrupt anything during class. Again, Makiko and I haven’t had much practice with this but she is such an obedient gal I’m sure we can make it work.
I’m REALLY glad we had this experience in class because the other night I went to Pocket Sandwich Theatre with my boyfriend and his friends. The place had never had a guide dog before and they took my boyfriend and I to the table where everybody else was sitting down and was asking all of them if the dog would be okay, not even asking me. They all just looked at me because they didn’t know. 🙂 We went to where our seats were and it was a very crowded bar area where there wasn’t any room for Makiko to be EXCEPT under my seat. There was barely enough room for me to back up my chair to position her in front to scoot her back. However, we did it and she did wonderful. I was very proud of her.
Chairs – a new challenge that I gladly have obviously accepted! 🙂