I am writing from the van while another student is on her walk. While we rode over, we were talking about her experiences working as a medical transcriptionist over 35 years. She said that many hospitals are requiring doctors to use voice recognition software because they don't want to pay transcriptionists. I knew that the use of voice recognition software was common, but I didn't realize that it had come to this. As we talked, I thought back to discussions in my church history course about the impact of the factory on the development of the middle class. Everything must be done quickly and efficiently; and if it can be done by a machine, it should. Sadly, more and more things can now be done by machines. Yesterday, there was even a recorded message playing on my flight explaining the safety procedures. Why pay someone to do this when it can be recorded once and played over and over? It's certainly a money-saving mechanism--and as the cost of gas rises, saving money matters. The problem is that as all this money is saved, no money is flowing into the hands of the people. We are losing our lives for the sake of saving money! Where is all that saved money going? I'm not so sure it is creating jobs for people. It is creating conveniences for people who have money with the illusion that jobs will be created. But if those jobs can be mechanized or outsourced in order to "save money," then they will be. This truly frightens me.
This afternoon we will be doing demo dogs. Home and away students get their dogs tomorrow, just like other students. I was looking forward to meeting my dog today, but I think that this is best. It will give Pete time to get to know my needs as well as he can, and it also is best for the other students. I really did not like the idea of other students feeling unhappy because i was walking around with my dog while they had to wait another day.
"Demo dogs" refers to an opportunity to work with dogs at various stages of training. The idea is to practice some obedience, experience different dog personalities, etc. This is all part of the process of giving people exposure to dog work who have never worked a dog, and I suspect that it is also helpful for the instructors to see us work with different types of dogs.
Now I'm back from my route... I walked about seven blocks. This morning we did simulated traffic checks. There was no real traffic, but the instructor simulated the dog's movements in response to traffic situations: quick stops, backing up suddenly, etc. These are things that were not done in 1991 when I trained with Elli. We learned how to read traffic, and the dogs would stop if a car turned in front of us; but the sudden back-up was not taught and this was part of what contributed to my accident a couple of years later. Elli backed up appropriately; but I did not know how to read her behavior, and I tried to correct her for it. I won't make that mistake again. Once I've had an experience like that, I don't forget.