My Journey at the Seeing Eye

Completion of Day 26 and Day 27 – Going home

In the afternoon Kyle and I went to go see the Morris Frank statue. I have never seen such a realistic statue before. Even the textures will remarkable. The harness felt like a harness. The leash even felt somewhat like it also. The face and the rest of the statue was very cool to touch. We took some pictures of us there (I hope I can get them from Kyle).

We then went for some snacks with the rest of the soon to be graduates of our class. I got some fries and a drink. We spent quite a bit of time there and really enjoyed ourselves.

We got back to the school at around 3:00 and I began the last minute activities of packing. I showered, finished up the laundry, fed Rory her two thirds of a cup of food (slightly less then she normally eats), went down to have the Seeing Eye print out my boarding pass and paid for my bag for the flight and packed the USB keyboard into the suitcase. Everything fit. Shannon weighed the bag and it weighed 51.5 pounds. I was sweating it when we got to the airport. Thank goodness it weighed 47.5 there. The costs for taking luggage on the plane is getting crazy.

After 8:00 PARC time I went upstairs for a while and hung out with Shannon, Kyle and Kim. I finally left at about 9:30 and decided to check email for the final time and packed the laptop. I laid down listening to some OTR and fell asleep. I only got about 2 or 3 hours of sleep though. I kept waking up and checking the clock. I finally decided that enough was enough and started getting ready to leave at 2:30. Shannon wouldn’t call me until 3:30 but what the heck. I finished getting the last minute stuff into the laptop bag (Shannon took the big suitcase already to the front door prior in the evening). I then took the laptop bag to the front door but had to make three or four more trips putting stuff into it ;).

Shannon called as I was walking back to my room so I called her back. I took Rory out to PARC and she peed. I came back in and we did her ear (cleaning and medicine). I then went back to my room and waited for 4:15 to take her out again to she if she would finish her PARC schedule. With a bit of assistance from Shannon the mission was accomplished. I went in and sat on the couch in the front area of the Seeing Eye and waited for Jim to arrive.

Jim picked me up at 4:45 and off we went. We got there and I went to use the bathroom before we went through security and Jim went and parked the car.

Security went fine and so off to the gate we went. We sat for about 30 minutes and talked. Jim also wanted to play with the iPod Touch for a few minutes.

I got onto the plane and I think I have decided that I liked where I was seated. I had a who aisle to myself so Rory sat on the floor by the window seat and I sat in the middle and my technology sat on the left seat ;). I watched Star Trek episodes, listened to ABBA and the Beatles on the plane and the time went quickly.

I then took the Arizona Shuttle back to Tucson. The flight was very uneventful. Rory did awesome.

Keri met me after I got off of the shuttle and poor Rory started dancing as we got off of the bus due to the heat. Her boodies were packed in the suitcase and her harness also got messed up a bit so it was a bit of a challenge getting her to the car.

We got home and introduced her to the house, our cat and to her crate. The rest of the day went well. Later on in the evening Keri and me went to CVS to pick up some medications and Rory worked great in the store. We then went home and I fed and PARC’d Rory. It was then time for us humans to eat so we did that and I started to get sleepy.

I attempted to get my email read but we had major issues with Office so I sent Brian on a mission to get it fixed. Things are now working fine and I went to bed around 6:30 or so. Keri was up for a while longer (until 8:30). Rory slept through the night well and I got up at 5:00 this morning and got ready for the day. I fed her and took her out to PARC. She did awesome! I then came back in and did her ear and got ready to take the bus to work.

I am now sitting in the office as I write this and Rory is sleeping next to me on her dog bed. We will be leaving soon before it gets to hot.

More later and thanks everyone for reading the blog.

Day 25 and a partial day 26 at the Seeing Eye

I got up on Tuesday at about 5:15 or so and really didn’t want to get up. The forecast predicted rain all day so I was pleasantly surprised when I found that while it was cool outside it wasn’t raining, yet!

I met the guys down in the men’s lounge before breakfast and we chatted for about 30 minutes and then down to breakfast we went.

After breakfast I took Rory outside to PARC again before we left and guess what, the rain started. She wouldn’t go but I staid out there for about 20 minutes. I can’t blame her, who would want to do that in the freezing rain ;).

Barb and I would go work revolving doors in the morning. Oh the joy of that. The place we went to use a former mall which is now used for businesses. It was quite an interesting building and very quiet. We then worked back to the van and went back to the school.

In the afternoon we all went to the mall, the entire group. It was fun working through the mall. Barb picked up vacuum cleaner bags and other students picked up gag toys to play jokes on people and others picked up stuff to assist with their travel home.

One interesting thing is that we stopped at a glass elevator and you could watch it moving. When the floor was coming back up toward us Rory jumped back as though it were a traffic check. She is extremely alert and focused in her work (well, most of the time anyway).

In the evening we met with Lucas Franck (it was optional) and talked more targeting work, clicker and other situations we wanted to discuss with him. I started to do 2 loads of laundry and got them done around 9:30 or so.

I am writing this post on Wednesday morning at around 11:20 or so and did another very small load this morning. It is drying now. I will have to do one more load before I leave this evening but then the world will be good. I have all tech stuff packed accept the laptop which will take 5 minutes. I suspect I will wait to do that as late as I can honestly.

Barb, Kyle and me went out to do more country work in the morning today (Wednesday). We then stopped by the store and to that yummy bakery ;). We then stopped to get a large cup (so I can put ice in it for later) and the machines weren’t working so they let us take the cup for free. Very cool.

Rory went down to get her ear and paw checked and we will get the results soon on the slides they took from her ear.

I will write another update later today with this afternoon’s activities.

See you in a few hours.

Addendum to Day 23 and Day 24

After I got done posting the prior post I got an email from a distant cousin named Tommy who lives in Long Island, NY. He came to see me. I don’t recall meeting him before but my Dad says I had many many years ago.

Later that evening we again had pizza courtesy of the Seeing Eye. It was from the same place again. I again got some on my shirt so I spent the next 3 hours trying to get the stupid thing out of the shirt. I had to wash it three times but happiness prevails, it is gone.

I did watch Survivor while I was doing this and I was a bit disappointed in the result. I watched the first 5 minutes of the third hour and then went to bed.

I also tuned into ACB Radio to listen to some of Robert J Sawyer’s discussion. It was fascinating and I love his writing.

On Monday we did two routes. In the morning we went to a University to work on OCS (orientation, coaching and solo) or to those of us that are old school, patterning. That went quite well.

After this we went to the bakery we had gone to before. It was quite good.

I got back and continued to pack more tech things and started to get worried that everything isn’t going to fit. This is getting a bit scary because I probably need o decide today if I am shipping anything.

In the afternoon we went out again and worked a semi-solo small route (about 1 mile) where Barb used 2-way radios and signaled us where to turn. She remained a distance away so that the dogs wouldn’t see us. That went very very well and we sped around the mile quite quickly.

After dinner I went to the Going Home lecture again. I did start reading a new book earlier in the day and read about 45 minutes of it while waiting for the meeting to start.

After the meeting and PARC time I continued to read my book and fell asleep.

I am writing this now on Day 25 and we are expecting lots and lots of rain but none has fallen yet when we went out for PARC.

I will write more later.

Days 22 and 23 at the Seeing Eye

Saturday couldn’t come soon enough. I really needed a break. I did lots of personal stuff on Saturday:

* I did some obedience with Rory

* I groomed Rory.

* I did three loads of laundry and packed all three of them into my suit case.

* I packed many other items. I am almost packed accept for technical gear and some personal items I still have to use while I am here.

* I caught up on last weeks Survivor episode on This Sunday is the final episode of the season but I doubt I can convince people to watch 3 hours of it ;).

I spent other time talking with Keri on the phone. I really miss her and the kids. It will be good to get home soon.

I spent time talking with friends, tweeting on Twitter and checking into stuff at work and following up on a few items.

The rest of Saturday was pretty much just resting and taking it easy. One of the instructors came in and asked me some questions to write a letter to the puppy raising family that raised Rory. That didn’t take to long. She did help me get blood out of Rory’s mat from her foot and I ran that down to wash it (part of the three loads). I went ahead and packed it. I actually think I will wrap the USB keyboard I brought with me in it to better protect it.

On Sunday morning Barb took me to the grocery store and to a drug store. I bought some groceries and then went to the other store to buy a ball for Rory. We will try that a bit later.

Lunch is at 12:30 today and then this evening we will be having another pizza party. Let’s hope that the pizza is better this time from the last order we placed ;).

After today we have three days left and they couldn’t take place fast enough. Let’s get home!

See you all on day 24.

Day 21 at the Seeing Eye

Karen woke me up at 5:00 or so. I could hear her XM radio or laptop playing music and she was quite chipper for 2:00AM Tucson time. I bet Joyce is really thinking she and Darrell are crazy with that sleep schedule ;).

Today started with a yummy breakfast of scrambled eggs, toast, cinnamon bun and bacon. Yummy stuff!

Barb and I went out and worked on clearance work as well as the court house. We got back about 10:15 or so and I spent some time calling Apple to try and figure out why I can’t delete items off of the Touch from the device. You have to do it through iTunes with the iPod in manual mode.

For lunch we had chicken breast sandwiches.

In the afternoon we did a solo route to a bank and worked on some clicker targeting.

Later after I got back we did more games with Lucas and “Touch the Tony”. This is getting better and better as we work with him on her fears.

It is almost dinner time where we will have meat loaf and mashed potatoes and pees (yuck).

The rest of the evening will be spent doing laundry so that I can spend Saturday relaxing as much as I can. I do want to catch up on this weeks Survivor. Sunday is the final episode of the season.

Saturday I will be spending packing as much as I can for the trip home. I really don’t want to wait for the last minute on that.

See you all on a combined post for days 22 and 23. From that point it will be a down hill from there to home.

Day 20 at the Seeing Eye

Today was the day to do country work and escalators.

We got up about 5:15 and I gave Rory her pill for her foot and took her out after giving her food and water. Breakfast was at 7:00 and it felt odd having so many people already gone. Rick would be leaving at noon our time today so he was at our table but many of the retrains had left for the airport and many of them were already in the air.

After breakfast I went and checked email and groomed Rory and we played some.

Barb got back from taking someone to the airport at about 9:00 and out we went to do country work. It went fine.

We got back in time to soak Rory’s foot and then it would be lunch time soon after. Many of my classmates went to New York City (just two) but I staid here. I relaxed a bit before lunch and then took a nap after lunch. I needed it. Rory kept me up most of the prior night.

Barb woke me up at about 2:30 and we went to Century 21 and to the drug store that was right next door to it. She did great in both locations.

We did have a bit of a dog distraction issue at the corner after leaving the drug store but we got through that (be it a high collar correction needing to be used).

I got back and we again soaked Rory’s foot. We then went down to get our dog’s food and fed them and took them out to PARC.

We then had dinner. We have no lecture this evening so it is great that I have some time to myself. Lucas is here and we are going to again do “Touch the Tony” again in a few minutes. Lucas is now reading the blog, so “Hello Lucas” :).

See everyone on day 21.

Day 19 at the Seeing Eye

Today would be bus day and pet store day.

I got up about 5:10 and got ready for the day.

After PARC Shannon noticed some blood on the floor as I went upstairs from the PARC door. It was from RORy’s foot. It seems as we found out later to be a puncture from her stay with the other dogs. We are treating it now twice a day both with soaking her foot and pills. She just loves those, not!

Rory and I went down for breakfast at 7:00 and then waited to go on the bus at about 9:30 with Rick. The bus trip went well but she kept turning around when we entered the bus looking behind us for Rick and Barb. Some things I noticed about the bus ride:

* They don’t announce the stops or if they do (we hear something over the speaker once in a while) it is very distorted and not understandable.

* The seats are very nice unlike the seats on most of the buses at home.

* They drop you off and just sit there and you have to walk up a hill and wait for it to pull around. That seems silly to me and also to Barb.

We got back around 11:00 or so and took our dogs out to PARC. Barb brought me a crate to try with Rory.

At lunch we sat at our normal tables but it would be the last time for the majority of the retrains as they would be leaving in the morning. Lee and Harold left on Wednesday with Joel leaving on Tuesday.

After lunch we went to the pet store. That was very much uneventful.

We stopped and got a treat on the way home and then it was time for “Touch the Tony”.

Tony is the security guard that Rory is afraid of. She growls and barks at him when she sees him in the building. Lucas Franck suggested we play a game with her using clicker and make Tony a target. He called it “Touch the Tony”. It was pretty funny.

So, we started by any time Rory looked at Tony we would click and treat. Then she had to touch his hand and then we would click and treat. We did this for about 10 or so minutes and she was wagging her tail. After PARC we did it some more but this time had him stand and move around a bit but keeping the focus on fun. We will continue this process to see if we can manage to break her fear of him. She is getting there. She only quietly barked when we left dinner, which, dinner description is next.

After the first week we moved into the small dining room (it is the second one past the larger dining room). The purpose of this is to simulate a restaurant type atmosphere. The Seeing Eye staff eat in the larger dining room so we have to work through the area to our assigned seats.

Anyway, for dinner we came back out to the large dining room and ate with our original classes since the retrains would be leaving in the morning. That was fun indeed.

We had no lectures this evening so we played, soaked Rory’s foot, I did some emailing to work and called home to talk to Keri and the boys.

I went up before PARC to see the gang in the common lounge. Dawn was looking for me so I went to see her.

I called Karen after PARC and wished her a safe trip.

I went to bed and listened to the news and tried to sleep. Rory made this difficult as she kept moving around in the crate making life quite interesting. Suffice it to say, I am quite tired this morning.

More to come on day 20. Today is Country Work and escalators.

Days 17 and 18 at the Seeing Eye

Monday was solo day for the Elm Street route.

I got up pretty early and got ready for the day. In the morning Barb and I went out on the first trip and it rained for most of the route. It went very very well. I told her what actions I would take at each corner and ran through the route rather quickly.

We returned for lunch and I was going to do the solo later in the afternoon after she took care of the other students.

The afternoon came and off we went. On the first block she bumped me into a 4H family member (I think it was the father). I re-worked the incident and kept going. Things went well including a very aggressive traffic check from Tom Pender right after a natural traffic check. Rory ran all the way back to the curb. I think she has Tom figured out. Thank goodness there are no more routes.

We got to the final crossing and this is where things kind of went wrong. Rory has some issues with dog distractions and due to this fact we veered into the street to the left. Luckily, there was no danger and we reworked the issue. Then I ran into some sidewalk construction that was going on in the afternoon which made for some interesting navigating to our final destination.

Overall Barb said that the solo went well. It is best that we find these issues out now and not later when we get home.

After dinner and a lecture on going home Karen and I spent some time playing with the iPod Touch. Rory saw the security guard sitting behind the desk and started to bark at him. We went and got Jim (another instructor who actually trained Jacinda my last dog) and he worked with me to try and determine the issue. Rory was afraid of the security guard. We had him feed Rory some treats and this seemed to resolve the issue somewhat. We did more on this later on day 18.

I got to bed about 9:30 or so.

Today, Tuesday I got up at 5:15 and got ready for the day. I did obedience and groomed Rory in the morning. I left at 9:15 to begin freelance work with Lee. This was going to be a fun day. We were going to work on street crossings today (I wonder why ;)).

We first stopped at a bakery on the route and picked up a doughnut (courtesy of the Seeing Eye) and we then got started. We crossed many many streets each with different complexities (lots of traffic, very wide crossings, angled crossings, islands, etc.). It was a bit tricky but she did awesome!

In the afternoon we were going o go out to eat at Friendly’s. It is a ice cream and burger place. So, at lunch I didn’t eat on the campus. We left at 1:00 and did a partial South Street route and had to workaround a very large truck parked on the sidewalk coming back to Maple after turning left after the crossing at South Street. The trip went well. Lee and me soloed it with Barb watching.

We then went to go eat. I had a burger and fries and many others had ice cream type stuff. It was a lot of fun.

We got back in time to PARC our dogs and head in for dinner.

Before dinner I worked with Tom, Barb and the security guard to see what we could do to get her to not be afraid of him. You see he is dressed in all black and he is a very large man (quite tall as I understand it). She did quite well outside but did bark at him as we re-entered the building. We will continue this effort on Wednesday with the use of Clicker and we will see how it goes. This should be interesting. Now a security guard will become a target :).

I then went down for dinner and again didn’t eat. I wasn’t hungry.

We had a lecture on dog attacks and for many it was a tough discussion.

On Wednesday we will be doing bus work among other things. The retrains are about to go home (some left today with some leaving on Wednesday and the rest on Thursday). I have to stay the extra week.

More to come on day 19.

Day 16

Today turned out to be a pretty busy day at first.

I got up to take Rory out to PARC.

I took her down stairs to groom here.

I did obedience.

I then played with her for about 10 or so minutes.

I then threw in a small load of laundry (actually two loads but both were quite small).

I then showered and got dressed for the day and went for breakfast.

I got back to my room and then hung out in the lounge while the cleaning staff worked. Before I went back to my room I went down and collected my laundry.

The rest of the day was spent pretty much relaxing. I listened to some radio dramas and some music on Mushroom FM.

This week will be filled with completing the Elm Street route and then freelance activities. I am looking forward to that.

See you all on day 17.

Day 15

Today is Saturday and I had to work it like a normal day due to being slightly behind in class.

We got up at 5:30 (actually I was up at 5:05 and was dressed and ready to go by 5:20) to take our dogs out. Breakfast was at 7:00 and I was told that Barb would pick me up at 9:30 to do the Elm Street route. We would end up doing it twice that day.

The route had more dog distractions the both times that we did the route then normal throughout the week. She has some significant dog distraction issues but I can handle that, no worries.

The afternoon was spent relaxing. We got read our puppy profiles and she actually emailed them to us and I already posted it to the blog.

I took about a 2 hour nap and got ready for PARC and then a short visit to the dining room. We all ordered pizza for dinner instead of eating the normal meal. They say it was the best pizza in NJ but I am sorry, it really wasn’t that special :).

I answered some phone calls I had received and now I am writing the blog post.

We get to sleep in until 6:30 on Sunday which is awesome. I am quite happy about that.

See everyone on day 16 which will probably be very boring. It is relax time!