It's been an overwhelming time since I've been home from the Seeing Eye anyway. It's hard just trying to get into some kind of routine that really doesn't exist in the first place. Hard to care about getting out and walking the neighborhood for no reason, although I'm kind of getting to like the idea a bit.
This weekend I went out in public for really the first time except for a couple of store visits. I went to church with the new dog for the first time. That's what I mean. I've of course been in public before! *GRIN* I also actually had (or tried to have)conversations with friends on the phone. The church thing went ok, except that I started thinking about trying to volunteer in the nurssery and it brought back all the memorie of being told that I couldn't because the kids would be afraid or the dog might bite them and the church or child care center would be liable. Then there were a couple of encounters with friends who didn't really seem too keen on being around the dog. One of these was with some friends of my parents, who I really like. They've known me since I was a baby. I've got it in my mind that I'm going to do what it takes to make sure this is the best stinking dog guide in the world, and that means I do the work to build the kind of bond where she will be as unnoticed as this one person's dog I've known. Jay can go across the room and roughhouse with a kid, and his dog sits and never moves a muscle. And that's how my dog is going to be. But it takes time. Right now we've just gotten to the point where she's not running after my little black kitty. But it's only been a week, and I know we've gotten a lot accomplished in that time.
But one of the reasons I hesitated about this in the first place was that people dislike dogs and it can isolate me more than I'm already isolated--and I've had enough of that! My parents went out to eat with these friends tonight. Being around the dog was a problem for one of them. So I didn't go. I haven't reached a point where I can leave her yet, and besides, what's the point of leaving her when her purpose is to guide? It hurt, but I didn't say anything. I'm not supposed to. It's not like I'm being denied access to the restaurant. Just I'm being denied access to friends because I have to make a choice between my friends and the thing that makes me independent. And I hate the adjustment period anyway. She's grown up in a family home, but because of training she spent the last six months in the kennel, so it's like she has to start all over. So I don't sleep much, can't go to the bathroom without clearing the room of any and all items within three or four feet of where I have her restricted, can't talk on the phone without my conversations being punctuated with dog commands... And most of all I hate all of what I've just written because I'm so incredibly thankful for both of my dogs and all they've done and will do for me, and I've done so many things with them and because of them that I wouldn't have done otherwise. I should be emotionally strong enough to handle all the junk that goes along with having one. I knew it was coming. I made the choice. So deal.