Day Two at the Seeing Eye – A Juno Walking we will go!

I am at the end of the day and staying up to do three days of laundry so I thought I would knock out the post for today’s activities.
I woke up at 4:00 in the morning and worked on writing Monday’s journal for the blog along with answering and handling several tasks for work at the University. Breakfast was at 7:00 and then we proceeded to get ready to go into town.
For those that will be coming to class, the address of the training center is 14 Maple Avenue. Using VoiceVista, I added a marker for the training center once I arrived. This will become more important when we start to do routes on Friday with our new guides.
I was the last member of our class to go out for my first Juno walk with Greg. My pace is very quick, and I love a strong pull. So, we walked about a half a mile one way and practiced corrections, hand signals and verbal commands that we will use with the dogs. Simple things like:
• Forward!
• Straight! This can be repeated as you are slowly crossing the straight with your right hand extended.
• Left and right turns. Foot placement and shoulder alignment are crucial for crossings as well as turns. Some of this becomes second nature with the team once they are well seasoned, but it is vital that we perform it the way the dog expects initially.
• Hup Up and Steady!
The first Juno walk went very well and the weather was amazingly nice for NJ. It was very humid, about 98% but the temperature was much cooler than Tucson, Arizona.
We then returned for a hands-on activity with our small class on harnesses, gentle leaders and collars. This was really meant more for the new people in our class, but it was a good refresher for those of us who have been around the block a few times at the Seeing Eye.
Lunch was delicious. I had tortellini soup for lunch. I then ran downstairs and got in a good work out on the treadmill. I saw two instructors in the gym, and it was wonderful to see them. Jim was crucial near the end of Rory’s life, and I so much appreciated his kindness during this difficult time.
We then returned to the training center in the afternoon, and I was the first one to go out for our second and final Juno walk before the dogs were matched. It was a shorter walk and we spent most of this walk working on harness feedback when crossing streets as well as verifying some things in my environment back home.
Once we returned, I spent some time catching up on email and work-related activities until we had our lecture with Dave Johnson at 4:00. This was mainly a history lesson of the Seeing Eye along with many of the more interesting things about activities that happened in the school in the past 20 years or so. I found some of this fascinating and some of this was new for me to hear. It goes to show you that even we retrains get much out of each lecture.
After dinner we had our class fire drill. I don’t think I have ever heard such a loud sound from a fire drill. It was almost to the point where it would have been difficult to navigate the building if we didn’t know it as well as we did. I certainly hope we don’t hear that sound again while in class.
Finally, we had a very small communication meeting about dog day tomorrow. The plans are this:
• We will be woken up at 6:00 with breakfast at 6:45. Breakfast is a bit earlier on Wednesday due to dog day.
• We will have a lecture around 7:30 or so.
• Dogs will then be given out to us after the 60-minute lecture.
• We will then spend time bonding with our dogs until park time. Park time is generally around 10:30 in the morning.
• The instructors will then take each student down to the dining room to work on patterning and getting them in place when we officially go down for lunch. We are all sitting in the main dining room and have an exact spot at the table. We will teach the dogs to find that specific spot and it will become second nature to them, until we change it of course. Later we will move into the second dining room. That dining area is a bit smaller and is a bit more challenging as far as placing your dog under your chair. This also gives us opportunities to work the dogs through a restaurant-type atmosphere as the staff will be eating in the main dining room after we move.
• Lunch will be served at noon, and we are having Mexican food for lunch.
• After eating lunch, our plan is to head into town to do a small and heavily modified Maple Avenue route. We will not be paired as students for this activity. I will write a lot more about this on day three’s post. Stay tuned to this!
• We will then return for park time followed by dinner.
• At the end of the day, we have a grooming lecture followed by park time.
I will fill in a lot of the details here on each of these activities Wednesday evening or Thursday morning.
Please do not expect the name, breed of the dog or any other characteristics at this early stage. All will be revealed in time but for privacy reasons as well as protecting the matching process we are asked not to share this information until later in class. I will share as much as they will allow of me meeting my new guide. I am hoping to video tape the experience or at least record it from my Apple Watch or iPhone using Just Press Record.
OK, see everyone on day 3! Be thinking of us in class starting at around 8:30 or so when we believe dogs will be handed out.