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Day 1

The journey started early this morning, or should we take you back even further.

On Friday night Keri and I finished up packing and she got to bed around 10:30 or so. I chatted with Darrell and Karen on the phone for a while and then I proceeded to finish up last email work and copying files to thumb drives and getting the wireless information ready for GDB. I finally went to bed at 12:30 in the morning but I didn’t sleep a wink. I gave up on the idea of sleep and got up around 3:00 or so (keeping in mind that it is really 2:00AM in Oregon).

I read email in the early morning hours and listened to some music. I then packed some remaining things into my laptop bag and loaded the car. It was now about 4:30 in the morning and I awoke Keri. She got ready to go and we loaded the one remaining suitcase into the car.

We reached the airport at 5:15 and proceeded to work our way through security. This time Keri came with me which was very nice. It certainly made going through security a heck of a lot easier.

We waited at the gate and I finally boarded the plane. We boarded about 20 or 30 minutes late due to some maintenance issues. This made me nervous as I thought I would miss my connecting flight. The flight to Phoenix was uneventful once we got on the road. Assistance was ready for me as soon as I got off of the plane and we literally ran to the next gate and made it with about 30 minutes to spare thank goodness.

The flight to Oregon was very bumpy. It was probably one of the worst flights I was on as far as how rough the flight was. Not only was it rough but it was hugely boring. It felt like I was on that plane forever.

Once I got off of the plane assistance was there waiting for me. I must say that that was a pleasant surprise.

We walked down to the information desk and Molly from GDB (she is one of the instructors) met me with my already found luggage. I was so worried that it had been lost as I tend to have that track record when flying.

We met one other student and we went out to the GDB van and loaded our luggage into it. I then started up Mobile Geo and tracked our progress as we traveled. We first went to the train station to pick up one other student and then it was off to the GDB campus. They served us sack lunches on the van (a turkey sandwich, crackers and apple juice, yum!).

We were guided to our rooms and our bags were brought to us. Unlike what I had told others I went ahead and unpacked non-techie stuff (well, I did put the laptop on the desk but I didn’t do anything with it). It did not take long to have all bags unpacked and put away. After this I got the laptop configured to talk on their wireless network and was very happy to get online and check with the rest of the world.

I met with Jim Dugan (the class supervisor) and Molly to talk with them further on matching me to a dog. I will discuss this more on the day 2 update.

We then got a tour of the dorm area. Unlike the Seeing Eye, my former school, this dorm is laid out like a big letter P. We have one long hall with rooms on each side and then one room that is the loop of the letter P where public meetings are held. The nurses office is in the inside of the loop. During the tour we ran into the cooking staff and placed our orders for meals for this evening and all three meals on Sunday. I must say that they are hugely accommodating to even my very odd tastes or lack their of in this case ;). Just ask my wife about that, no, never mind, please don’t do that.

For dinner this evening we had this very interesting pasta dish with a Greek sauce and hamburger in it. It looked like a meatloaf and was very yummy. Think of meat loaf with sauce and noodles in it. I don’t think I have ever had that combination before. I had milk to drink as well as ice water and sugar free chocolate pudding for desert. It hit the spot.

For breakfast we are having scrambled eggs with bacon in them as well as parmesan cheese, toast (if I recall correctly) and fruit. More on the meals for day 2 on Sundays report.

I asked the nurse for two more pillows for my left arm which has major problems if I do not keep it propped up at night.

After dinner we had a 6:30 meeting where the retrains were given leashes, food pouches, and a grooming pouch. We talked all about the schedule, dorm rules, all that normal junk. We finished up about 7:30 or so and she asked if others were willing to get a jump on work for Sunday. Even though I was tired I raised my hand. Amy and I worked for what seemed like about an hour or more on very cool stuff:

1. GDB techniques for obedience drills.

2. Differences between Seeing Eye methods of obedience and dog guide work.

3. Characteristics of a dogs personality and a way to gage that with your dog.

The time was just so rewarding. It was one on one time with Amy who made me feel proud that I stayed up to work with her. She listened to my frustrations and patiently worked through all of my questions and she felt very good about all of the questions I was asking. I will have more to say about this after I meet my new guide dog on Sunday morning (that is the plan anyway). We talked about all kinds of things and I will share them in the context of my new dog when we all know that detail which is coming soon.

They had this very cool make believe dog called wheeler. Think of a dog on wheels. It looked very real and even had the dog’s harness, collar and leash on him. I will try and get pictures. All work this evening was done using wheeler. The only draw back was getting wheeler to properly sit or lay down. Sorry, this dog isn’t that sophisticated .

I am very very excited about the progress made today. I feel the time spent was just amazing and look forward to continuing that with Amy if she has the time.

Well, as I am writing this it is going on 20 hours that I have been awake so I am going to call it a night. See everyone on day 2!

Comments

  1. Glad you made it there safe and sound and that you had such a great first day!

  2. Hi Jeff,

    Glad you got to Oregon and all settled in. Looks like you are off to a great start.

    Look forward to Dog Day. Smile!

    Try and rest if at all possible.

    Take care,

    Mary Beth, Tennyson, Sunset, and the zoo crew

  3. Hi there, Jeff!

    I’m very glad to hear of the fairly smoothe travel day you had and that you got to GdB safely. They really will spend as much time with you as you need working on things, and answering questions.
    I can’t wait to hear about your new companion, and I’m glad you got to learn things with wheeler. haha, the night before dog day, one of my classmates and I ran with wheeler up and down the hall, as a form of fun. Erin L (who I’m sure you have as your RA), wasn’t too thrilled about that, but for what he’s worth, Wheeler is pretty life-sized.

    As you’ve probably already figured out, you’ll love the food there, as they are very accomoodating in what they serve you if you ask.
    Hope things go well tomorrow, and keep us updated!
    Rachel and Mattie

  4. Hey Jeff,

    I enjoyed reading this very much. i also read farther back in your blog and was so sorry to read about your girl. It sounds like this was completely unexpected. hugs to you.

    So, your GDB adventure has begun! I’ve enjoyed working with you in the process of your application and the details of your trip to Oregon. Now, I’m looking forward to reading about your adventures. I hope you slept better last night, though if you’re anything like I am the neight before meeting NewDog, you probably didn’t sleep great! I’ve heard the food at the Oregon campus is great. The work you did with amy last evening sounds cool, and i’ll be interested to read about all that as you begin to work with the dog.

    Good luck today!

    Sherry

  5. Sounds like a great start at GDB! We’re all waiting for the news about your new dog with anticipation.