Guide dog school 7: The good, the bad and....at least not ugly
By Brian Fischler
First, the good. We had good moments during both our morning and afternoon walks today. We began making right turns today, because I am an ambi-turner; I do make right turns in my everyday life. If you are not familiar with that term, see the movie "Zoolander."
Nash was really good at leading me around obstacles, both human and non-human. He didn’t walk me into anything. I was a little disappointed with Nash’s crossing of intersections, as he would slow down in the middle of the crosswalk.
I can’t stress enough how quickly you have got to get across a New York City street — if you don’t those damn cabbies will run you down. I have had my cane clipped several times by idiot cabbies, so probably not a good idea to have Nash get clipped by an idiot cabbie!
Miranda, one of the trainers at Guiding Eyes for the Blind, did say she felt that Nash did lose focus during some of his street crossings, which is pretty funny, because, while I was growing up, my parents and teachers would say that a lot about me. I guess Guiding Eyes made a perfect match as it probably is a good thing for the blind guy and his dog to have similar qualities.
Nash’s losing focus is something we are going to work on, so I am going to work the routes tomorrow blindfolded — as Miranda says, I have just enough vision to be dangerous. Ooh I like that, put it in the file for possible things to say on my tombstone!
Nash was a little unresponsive tonight, and I think he could be a little tuckered out. He was not listening to me during playtime, even when I had a treat out for him. There could have been something on the floor that had his interest or a scent from another dog that kept him captivated. Even though it seems like a lifetime together, it still has only been a week since we were introduced.
The trainers did tell me not to worry about it, as the dogs do go through a stress period, since the dogs are only two years old, and have gone through so much in their young lives. Think about it: Nash was born and given to people to raise and nurture him as a puppy, then went off to the trainers at Guiding Eyes for training, and then was presented to us all in a very short period. It has to be tough and emotionally trying on him.
I am learning this entire guide dog school process is something you need to take day by day, and just hope for more good than bad. Nash and I did have some real nice moments today, as he gave me a couple of “two-feeters.” That is when Nash sits his butt down on one of my feet and puts his head on my other foot. It is so cute, and when he does it, it really seems like we are bonding nicely. Then we had tonight, when he doesn’t respond to me calling his name. So I guess you have to learn to take the good with the bad, and see what tomorrow brings.