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Where to start writing about yesterday...? The beginning is probably a good place.

Some dogs get quite upset by the packing routine and do not want to work in the morning on the last day. Loretta was upset, but working is clearly a security thing for her. It gives her something to do that provides her some boundaries and expectations that she knows she can meet. She jumped right in and worked with no qualms. I didn't make her rework things but politely showed her things she ran me into. We saw some interesting things on our route yesterday: a revolving door and a fountain falling down the glass walls in front of the cafeteria of the Marriott Hotel in Morristown. We stood in front of it for a moment, and I savored the sound of water falling in stereo. Then we walked in between the two fountain areas and stood behind the glass and listened to the water falling. It sounded like a tramendous rainstorm with no thunder, and I was fascinated!

Back at the school, I spent some time with two classmates, lounged on my bed for a few minutes, and then decided at the last minute to partake of snacks at coffee break. Loretta seemed to sense the urgency. She raced down the hall, scooted nicely under the table, and did not fraternize with other dogs while I ate cinnamon buns and drank milk. We then went to park for one last time, and I collected my two carry-ons from my room. Loretta did a fabulous job of getting me and the bags downstairs gracefully and ignoring some incoming dogs. I saw Judy Deuschle, and she gave me a bit of encouragement regarding some things we had talked about during the week. I always appreciate my talks with Judy for this reason: she takes personal interest in me, even when I'm struggling, and she remembers things I say and watches for them to come to pass.

At the airport, all seemed to go reasonably well. We had to take an escallator. I had not done escallator training with Loretta; but I had done it with one of my previous dogs, and getting Loretta through it was just a matter of refresher for me. If any of you reading are dog guide users and have not had the experience, or if you are prospective users, I would say that it's probably a good idea to have one exposure just so that you do know how to do it, but in reality you can opt out whenever possible.

Everything was fine until we got on the plane. Then we taxied out, and we sat. The computers at Air Traffic Control on the east coast were down, and they were entering flight plans manually. It should just be about 15 or 20 minutes.

Twenty minutes later, the computers were back up, but some plans were being entered manually and some automatically. At some point, they lost our plan. At some point, we had sat for so long that we ran out of fuel--we were only fueled for the two-hour express flight. We went back to the gate and re-fueled. By this time, our old plan was invalid. There were too many flights in the air, or the weather was bad, or something. We would have to get a new plan.

We got a new plan, taxied out again, sat for another hour... They told us the new route was bad and nothing was going west from Newark, JFK, or Laguardia. We would have to look into discussing accommodations. I told the attendant that I wanted to get off the plane, collect all of my bags including checked bags, and book a different flight because my dog is far too young for this kind of trauma. She has been waiting six hours now since the last relief time. We should have landed an hour before, and I should be back in Anderson by now. He said we would see about going back to the gate.

A few minutes later, he came back and said that we could be airborne in eight minutes. Could Loretta make it? I knew that if I said no, the whole plane would be angry with me. I would also have to deal with the time delay of getting to the gate and locating help. I could well be looking at an hour before she got to go anyway. I said she could make it--and hoped she did. By the time we got home, she had wriggled well into my seatmate's space and was shaking and whining. I made her wait while I went to the ladies' room--I had discovered hours earlier that it frightened her when I went to the lav on the plane, and the aisle was too small for me to take her with me. Amazingly, she made it outside and waited until we found a spot and I gave her the parktime command! I have a fabulous dog, and I felt like I had tortured her!

Her introduction to Meg went with no problems. Meg is used to meeting all kinds of other dogs, and she seems to have turned over to my parents well and really become the family dog. Cat introductions have gone extremely well. No one is hiding. Sable smacked Loretta right away for nosing her; but she did rub against me and let me pet her while Loretta laid beside me and got pets as well. Inca tried to make friends, but she really just wants my pets and isn't ready to have much to do with Loretta yet. Sierra and Loretta are buds already--Sierra won't leave Loretta alone! In fact, Sierra slept in my bed just like old times, and Loretta slept in her place beside my bed. So everything is fine and dandy at home. Park schedule is proceeding well. I'm glad the flying ordeal is over.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 9th, 2007 02:33 pm (UTC)
oh huggles, I hate flights like that. Loretta is a Trouper for sure!
Glad she is getting along with the cats, smile.
Jun. 9th, 2007 04:02 pm (UTC)
Congrats, and glad you guys made it OK. Glad she was able to put up with all of the flight issues.

Re: Escalators: I would be a bit hesitant to say you can opt out whenever possible. I have not done a ton of escalator work with Glaze. I have an irrational fear about getting her paw caught in one. OK, it's not entirely irrational, but I think that maybe my fear is proportionally greater than it should be. But in some train stations, there really is no convenient way to do things other than to use an escalator. I didn't really understand this until I asked to not use one at one metro station. The resulting journey to stairs and through other complications added a great deal of time onto our trip. They make me nervous, but I'm thinking I might want to do more of them with new dog than I did with Glaze.

Hope the next week of training goes well for you.
Jun. 9th, 2007 05:47 pm (UTC)
What I meant about opting out when possible was that you can opt out of using then when it's feasible but it's good to know how in the case of situations like you describe. In the Newark airport, there were no stairs or elevator visible, and we were short on time so needed to take the escallator. I was glad that I had some previous exposure, but in general I consider them unsafe.
Jun. 10th, 2007 02:28 am (UTC)
Re: escallators
I'm in complete agreement with you on that one!
Jun. 9th, 2007 04:53 pm (UTC)
Hey glad that you guys made it home all right. Hope you have a good week at home training.
Jun. 9th, 2007 05:42 pm (UTC)
Glad you made it home alright! What an ordeal that flight sounds! I hope your seatmate was nicer than your one on the flight out, and am just glad you ended up getting home alright in the end!
Glad the pet introductions went well, and good luck with the home training later this week!
I will look forward to hearing all about it!
Jun. 9th, 2007 05:56 pm (UTC)
My seatmate was wonderful about the whole thing and even held back the rest of the passengers so that I could get Loretta off the plane and head for the restrooms. I wish I had a way to thank her profusely.
Jun. 9th, 2007 06:30 pm (UTC)
So glad the two of you are home safe and sound. You do have a fabulous dog, she seems to be adjusting to life with you very well. Although the plane ordeal was probably a little stressful for her, it was probably a good experience.
Jun. 10th, 2007 10:23 am (UTC)
I just wanted to apologize for the harshness of my previous reply. Your mention of Judy Deuschle inadvertantly prompted a terrible memory at a bad moment; however, since the feelings you expressed about her were positive, it was inconsiderate of me not to take some time to temper my response. Sorry about that.
Jun. 10th, 2007 10:52 am (UTC)
tempering responses and negative memories
I can understand why you didn't have a positive response to my feelings about Judy. She is very direct with her opinions, and sometimes this is extremely painful for applicants. I am also aware that Seeing Eye has been late in working well with people with low vision and tends to err on the side of caution. There are quite a few areas where I have some philosophical disagreements with some of their practice; but I would have philosophical disagreements anywhere I went. I was first rejected from GDB because I supposedly did not have the motivation to travel independently. I'm not sure what they were looking for--I was traveling 1100 miles away from home to go to college that following fall! The TSE staff was shocked. Then again, the TSE staff did not meet my parents and see my mother flinch when the words Chinatown or New York subway system were mentioned. She still does it, and I am 35 years old. Some people just always will flinch at the prospect; and it won't matter whether the child traveling there is blind or sighted. It's hard for me not to harbor negative feelings about GDB; but I do know that they train excellent dogs and I have suggested them to a lot of people as a top school--and also suggested that Mom not sit in on the interview.

I seem to remember that you have a dog... What has gone into making it work? I don't have a whole lot of vision; but it is significant enough that I can observe traffic movement (including the hybrid car at TSE), and I have done portions of training with my eyes closed in order to keep myself from doing my dog's job.

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )


Sarah Blake LaRose
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