Guide Dog School 2: And His Name Is...
By Brian Fischler
Today I became best friends with a yellow lab whose name is Nash. We were introduced early in the afternoon. He’s good and strong about not crying or whimpering after the trainers leave the room. The room here at Guiding Eyes for the Blind is bigger than a typical dorm room, but smaller than a New York City studio apartment. There are two doors, one that leads out to the lobby of GEB, and one that leads out to an alley where the dogs can do their business.
We were told to hold onto the leashes for the entire first hour together, as it helps create a bond between our guide dogs and us. I hold on, and let’s just say that it’s the best workout I have had in a long time, as Nash runs me from one door to the other and back again for about an hour. I guess he’s looking for a way to get out.
Nash is a really cute dog, and he seems to be very social. After running me around for an hour, I was like, “Are you kidding me, what’s wrong with this guy,” sure that this guide dog thing is never going to work. But then we have our first moment, where I think we bond, as Nash finally sits down, lies on his back, puts his paws up in the air, and wants me to give him a belly rub. It’s very cute.
I try to give him a few of the commands that we had been taught so far, but he doesn’t seem to listen to me. I get the feeling that he’s trying to feel me out to see what he can get away with; we are both feeling each other out. I think right now that he is probably the boss in the relationship, but I guess that’s why I am here for a month. Besides Nash being my first guide dog, he is also the first dog that I have ever had, so it is a little intimidating for me.
We took our dogs with us to dinner tonight, and Nash was really well-behaved. I’m a little hesitant to pull on his leash, as I don’t want to hurt him. The trainers chuckle at this, and explain that a simple leash pull just gets the dog’s attention and helps him to focus. Nash must be thinking he got a big softy in me, as I am still hesitant to pull on his leash.
Our dogs will be with us twenty-four hours a day, and after dinner we went to our room to watch the Yankees game. I guess Nash isn’t a Yankees fan, as it is only the fifth inning and he’s snoring away. I guess it has been a pretty emotionally exhausting day for both of us. I just hope that Nash sleeps through the night, as giving him an Ambien would probably be frowned upon!Part One | Part Three