Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Heading home...........

Hi There............ I just wanted to give you an up date on us................. Just to let you all know that we made it home safe and sound! After we were dropped off at the airport, Phoebe and I were guided to a bulkhead seat on the Plane. I got Phoebe all settled down in front of my feet, under the seat in front of me. I kept reassuring her it was okay to be there. Soon we were on the runway, taking off. we were heading for the sky. The next thing I knew, Phoebe was clawing at the floor...since she was so light, she was sliding on the floor!! I helped her to get back to where she was, and settle down, soon the plane leveled out.. It was smoothe sailing after that. Poor thing! we made it to Minneapolis a little behind schedule. So Phoebe and I were hurried off to the next plane heading to Portland Oregon.The first thing we did, was shown to our seat.This time, It wound up being in the center of the plane right next to the window. Immediately I was having trouble trying to get Phoebe under that seat. It wasn't long before my seatmate showed up to be seated. Right about then, the stewardess noticed we were having some issues. It was not long before Phoebe and I were moved to a bulkhead seat. We were located right behind the first class section. On this particular plane, the door was found behind me. The plane was still being loaded. It was not long when there were this group of about 50 grade school children about 9 0r 10 years old, loaded on the plane.They were accompanied by several adults. Apparently they were from Paris France and did not speak English very well. I did not think anything of it. They were cute, well behaved kids.It was not long after we took off that they fell asleep..We did not hardly hear a peep out of them.On this particular flight Phoebe and I were ready. I had my foot placed at her bottom to help with the sliding. just in case..only, this plane did not have such a sharp heading. Phoebe was a bit more nervous as she was shaking quit a bit throughout the trip. I think she remembered sliding on that previous flight, she was waiting for it to start again. I kept talking to her, trying to help her feel more secure with my voice and petting her. Eventually she quit shaking and went to sleep. After almost 4 hours we finally landed in Portland Oregon. It was about 7 p.m.We began to unload. First, the first class, then, bit later, it was our turn to get off. I got my pack on and Phoebe all ready to go up the ramp. Phoebe was not all that excited about walking up that ramp with loud luggages, baby strollers and wheel chairs being wheeled up those metal tunnels. Lots of vibrations and strange noises.We were doing fine. It was not long before we were at the top, ready to head towards the security area.All of a sudden we came around a corner....there they were..............there were a million kids and parents teachers screaming holding up welcome posters and signs to welcome those 50 kids that were on the plane, now standing,.................... right behind me! You would have been so proud of Phoebe. I know I was. Here we were walking in to a wall of people, soon, some started to part away to allow us through, Phoebe held her head up high..I was encouraging her to go on, along the way.. she was listening to me....not those screaming voices, but heard mine.She would have done great on a dragon boat listening for the caller, but any way, I am getting off track here.The point of it is...she was so good!!I felt good! Normally I hate these moments..Hate it ....... hate it........ hate it!! But this time I was not alone..It was like I had someone holding my hand.. I did... it was Phoebe's. What a feeling! It was another glimps of what my life could be like,, if I allowed it.It was pretty cool!!
Now that we are home... I have found it to be rewarding to write on my Blog.
I am going to make an honest effort to keep it up.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Here we were training at the Oakland University.

I thought this tree was pretty.

You will notice I am actually wearing shorts!!

The temperature got up in the 80 's.

This morning we were here.


When we were training in the afternoon, the biggest black cloud

came, and ended our work for the day!

The rain came down in buckets!!

Made me home sick for Portland!

Soon, lightning came , by then we were back at the campus.

Since we got in early, (and stopped raining for now..) I am finally going over to the mall across the street!

I am getting excited about heading home.

I have been wearing these clothes over and over...

It is time for a change!!

So off to the mall I go!

Check in tomorrow and see what I came up with!


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Friday, April 24, 2009

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A day in Rochester Park..................

here we are in Rochester Park.
We were mostly here to experience distractions.

Beleive you me....

there were Plenty!!

We had squirrels, ducks, strange dogs of all kinds, kids on noisy riding toys, mothers with strollers,
and more.

At first, I just knew I was in for a battle..

Did you know that Poodles were originally used for retreiving fowl?

Waaaaayy back then............................
That was why they used to trim the hair off the top of the poodle so that the dog would not be cold when in the water. The hair was left on the belly side, to keep warm!

I did not know that , but,
some where along the line .
somebody told ...........Phoebe!

She was just shaking like a leaf, she was so excited!!

I just thought, oh no!!

Thank good ness my trainer came over to me and put one of those "gentle"trainers on her.
It was a cord of some type that went around her nose and hooked to the leash.
It was kind of the same principle as a horse bit in it's mouth.
Only this just kept her head under control to help keep her in focus!

I was surprised...

It worked!

So we had a pretty good day working out some of the kinks , learning more about each other.

This next picture was kind of an accident!
Somehow I managed to screw up the settings on my camera!!
I have a whole day of lots of pictures, that match!!

Matrix style!

I thought it looked kind of cool!!
Fortuantely One of my new freinds knows computers and helped me out, or I would have been stuck with this style the rest of my stay!~
Just wanted to keep you posted.

Today was a quiet day,
as we lost our graduate students.Their time was up.

It was kind of hard to see them go.. we had gotten pretty close these last few weeks.

We all exchanged addresses to keep in touch.
Making plans to get together, soon.

These are memories for a lifetime.

Phoebe and I are ready to try it in the real world.
I hope you all will bare with us as we figure this relationship out.
I am told it could take months.


tune in tomorrow and see what happens.......


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Tuesday, April 21, 2009



Just wanted to let you all know, there is not a picture today.........
we went to Detroit to train in the city.

What a huge disapointment!!

It made me appreciate the city of Portland all the more!
Detroit was almost a ghost
town. This is the downtown area that we went to. All the buildings were a blah color.
Nothing fancy or out of the ordinary. Okay, a couple were, but in general... It sucked!

There was not a Starbucks to be found!
I am told that have them here, just not there, Downtown Detroit!
It was raining and in gereral pretty crappy.
Phoebe and I did encounter a few nice puddles.
The way she handled one was...
she walked around it and guided me right thru it!!




The next puddle we BOTH went around it!!

She is getting it figured out. The main difference is that I am on to her!

We will work it out, together.

We had another class working with our Breeze, the G P S thing we got.
Tonight after dinner, we will learn how to brush their teeth!!

The dog's teeth that is!

I am hoping it gets over in time so some of us can go over to the Mall across the street...

we will see.


good bye for now


Monday, April 20, 2009

Hi, wanted to keep you updated............

Yesterday, Sunday was ouer dfirst time vto leave the dog behind in our room.

We were not allowed to to be separated from our dog for the first ten days.
Since we were in training, we were not allowed to take our dog off campus either.
So, Sunday was the first time to go anywhere!
There were 4 of us that decided to get together with our canes to head down to the nearest Walgrens, about a mile up the road.

We walked alongside on a wide sidewalk to the store.
I guess we must have made an impression on some of the drivers.
Maybe they don't see a group of blind people walking together very often.

I don't know,
Because about half way down the road, all of a sudden we heard this loud, long screeeeeechhhh!!
Then a loud BANG! then another bang!!

There was a three car accident right along side of us in the next lane over!
It was a little more then a fender bender, as the front bumper fell of and the hood on top of the pick-up folded in half, radiator fluid all over. bits and peices scattered on the road, while the three vehicles rolled towards the maridian lane in the middle.
Fortuanately, nobody was hurt.

But, believe me when I say all four of us jumped when we heard that first bang!

We got out of there in a hurry!!

That woke us up!

We got what we went for anfd got right back to the m center!

Today, we woke up to nasty rainy weather.
Our training today consisted of working in a grocery store and this aftwernoon we wen t to a huge mall. We tried out escelators. I have decided in the future, to avoid it if possible.
I would be so easy to get Phoebe's toes caught in the grating.
I don't want to take that chance.

We also had another class with the

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Hi there!

I hope you have not given up on me!

This picture was taken today....
we were working on training to walk a gravel road..
(not that there is one nearby my place!)

You know, against traffic, around mailboxes, travel by barking dogs, people out working their yards, you know just a few distractions!!

I guess , I should explain why I have not written,,,
I guess you could say that I have been busy!!

As far as training goes, we have been working in different types of weather.
Guess what my dog did!

In the rain.......
She jumped over the puddles!

Thats okay, only I was not ready!
I felt like I was flying!


We are working on that part.

I did not take in consideration of getting a "train"dog that I would have to do training!!

Of course, now that makes sense. How can any one know what situation I will be in, except me!
So, Miss Phoebe and I have a lot of work to do.
She is "trained" to be trained by me.

I am learning so much!!

This next picture was found on one of my routes
doing residential training.
If you don't know me by now. You will learn that I love finding textures.

Isn't this gorgeous!

Last couple of days turned out to be sunny,
All the trees suddenly popped
If you look will see how exhausting this work really is!!

This lady is 70 years old.
When she returnsw home, Wisconsin, she will be returning to culinary school, where she is getting a degree!!

Her name is Marie,,, She is funny as all get out!

Absolultely hillarious!
Between her and this other lady, Peg, we have the best of times.
Oh, did I tell you that Peg is 84 years old!

Peg is getting her 6th dog!!
I will post a picture soon.

This next picture is us getting lined up to get into our bus.

I am hoping I will do a better job of keeping in touch.

Since I have better vision than most, (at times!)
I have taken it upon myself to do pictures for them.
I was afraid I would lose all the pics when I put the card into the laptop!!

But, I just checked...

they are still there!

At 6:30 tonight, we will get to meet the puppy raisers thart raised our dog.
I will get some pictures.

Tonight we are having Pizza!

Of course we will play cards afterwards.

Okay, it Is time to care for the pooch...
I will be back tomorrow!!
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Monday, April 13, 2009

This is one of my classmates named Laurie.
She is from St. Paul Minnesota.
another good girl!

Today, Monday we were bussed back to the center at Rochester.

This time there were barricaids to work around. I was awed to watch Phoebe when ever we reached one.

She would look bothways to see what was the easiest. Then she would guide me around it back to the sidewalk on the other side.

This afternoon all of us were given a talking" Breeze "G P S finder. I get to keep it if it works for me.
I can hear it, but there was too much information to take in while walking and watching where Phoebe was going.
I have the rest of the week to try it out and do some adjusting.

We will see.
Tonight we have lectures.
We are constantly learning more and more about dogs.
There is so much to know...

I am glad it all is on C D's that we get to take home with us.

There is so much information, I don't think I can retain it all!!

It is heading towards the five oclock feeding time..

I had better get my stuff together and check in
Check in tomorrow see what happens next!!

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Here is Phoebe after a long day.............

We are resting in my room.

The bonding continues.
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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!!

Greetings from the Easterdog,
Michigan style!!

Here is a picture of us out on the grounds of the school.
Look at her sitting so proud!!

Here, I am practicing our teamwork.

Phoebe is in her harness. guiding me down the sidewalk.

Our schedules are pretty tight.
For the first 10 days, Phoebe and I are together constantly.
Except for when I shower...
she is right there by my side.

We are on a schedule.

6 am Park (potty break)

1 cup water

7 30 breakfast for me

8 to 11;00 training

11;30 Park

12 lunch for me

1 cup water for Phoebe

1 to 4;30 training

4;30 park and water Phoebe

5;00 3 1/2 cups dog food


dinner for me

1 cup water for Phoebe

8;00 park time

no water after 8.

this is it.

no more, no less

this is what happens.

Since today was Sunday, we were off today.

Phoebe and I walked the grounds and spent some time outside.

I will let you know what tomorrow brings
until then.....

good night!


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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Looking good..............

Today is Friday...........we had another trip downtown Rochester.
Our big challenge for the day was to walk solo,
only with our guide dog.
Our instructors would be placed in various places in case we had trouble.
It is kind of a weird feeling to put trust into something so small and furry.
But, it needs to happen if we want to work together as a team.
I trust her, she trust me.
We were instructed to make street crossings at a 4 way stop.
Phoebe was so cute, checking it all out to make sure I was safe.
I got to thinking, you know I could get use to this..

Here I am walking along in an unfamilar place with a dog.
As I was thinking of this..
I was kind of looking at the blue sky.
I was trying to think why something felt so different?

After a minute, I was able to put my finger on it..

I was looking Up!
In the past, I am always looking at the ground watching where I was going to step.
This time.
I didn't have to,
Phoebe was doing the looking
for me

What a relief!

I noticed that the pressure I usually carried was not there.
I did not know I was under pressure,
I noticed that I was walking a little lighter...........
can you imagine what all that dog is doing for me?
Not just doing all the visual needs,
but,releiving some of the
mental pressure too.

I did not think about that, It is like another gift was added to the package.
I cannot believe how exhausted we are at the end of the day...
It is a lot of hard work, both mentally and emotionally.


Since it is Saturday night,

we are having pizza and

B I N G O tonight!

Should be fun..

there are good people here.

Thats all for today...



Friday, April 10, 2009

Here we are at Stoney Park, trying out our stuff.

notice the michigan trees.

We had nine people and nine guide dogs all on the bus!!

Doesn't this lady look like Patricia Keptler?


Isn't she cute?

A great dog she is...

Today the sun came out.

Altho it was cool...

we enjoyed the 3 mile walk.

Hope all is well on the western front.


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Thursday, April 9, 2009

This is us on my real first day...

Boy, was it ever special...

My heart still quivers when I think about.

but, heres what we did.

We were on an outing downtown Rochester
working on training.
You know, walking and crossing streets getting a feel for it's general layout.
As usual. we work one on one with our instructor,

We were heading back to the building...when all of a sudden we were about to cross over a driveway..
Phoebe stopped.
Quick, just like that, stopped.
I looked at her, just then I looked up, there was a car right in front of us passing by...
Phoebe saved me from walking into that car!
My instructor was following from behind ready to react if nesscessary. But, since she personally trained my dog, she knew.
She knew that Phoebe was going to stop, because she taught her!

But, I didn't really "know" Phoebe.

When I realized just what had happened, I knelt down on the sidewalk and held Phoebe close.
Tears streaming down my face.
It was then I discovered that this is really what a guide dog was all about.
One of the many things I am going to learn about having a dog like Phoebe.
I am so blessed to be able to be here and get this special gift...
a guide dog
named Phoebe.

Wow.... what a gift!

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

It's a Girl!!!!!

Her name is Phoebe!!!

She weighs 35 lbs!

She is a Purebred Standard Poodle,

only Pheobe is petiete!

We are going to have a great time together!!

This is it!!!!!

Here is HOW it happened....

The entire group was asked to go to our rooms just after breakfast this morning.
NONE of us knew what kind of dog we were getting, not the color or gender or anything.
So, we were all on pins and needles waiting and anxious to find out.
Some didn't sleep that well,
some were up at 4 am, to excited to sleep.

This is HUGE deal!!!
These dogs are changing lives!!

Not only ours, but those around us and theirs, too


Here we are sitting in our rooms.

One byone our trainer/instructor comes to each room.
They came and knocked on our door,
asked for our leash,
told us only the dogs name...
and left us sitting in our room.

we were told to be sitting down,

the instructor/trainer knocked on the door,

opened it,

told us to call out the dogs name,

they both came in and this is when we met!

Phoebe is a sweet dog.
Just perfect!
A lot like me.......
mellow sometimes
excited sometimes!
a good match!

I can hardly stand it!

I have somebody to love!!
My heart is full!
this is all for now...

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009


waiting for instructors in main leaderdog building
This is outside of the main building.Here is where most of our actual training with our dog will take place. Notice it is a lion, not a dog statue that I am standing by.

How appropiate, since the Leaderdog program is put on thru the Lions club.
Here are more students waitng for the instructors.

Lovely weather, don't you think?

Tomorrow, Wednesday, I am told we will finally get our dog.
so far I have weasseled out of them that it's name is in two sylables and is a sensitive dog.
I am working on my instructor, but I don't she is going to let me have any more clues to what I am getting!!!

I will catch up with you tomorrow!!

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