Hello, my name is Milissa Garside and following is a journal of my experience while training with my current guide dog Jockey. I thought I would take a moment to introduce myself. I grew up in Boston Massachusetts and attended public school. I am currently a student at the University of Massachusetts Boston where I am majoring in human services and minoring in legal advocacy. Upon graduating in 2007, I would like to work with the disabled community in some capacity.


My reasoning for distributing my journal is to help perspective students gain an understanding of what happens during training and what to expect. When I was in training with my first dog, I had no idea what to expect and wish I could have read the experience of a graduate.


Also, in the past few years since Kathy Zubrycki has been the director of training, many positive changes with respect to the training program have taken place. I wanted to take the opportunity to let GEB graduates know all of the positive changes that have been implemented into the training program.   


I would also like to acknowledge the puppy raisers. I know many GEB puppy raisers and you all are always interested in what actually happens during training when a dog is matched with a blind person.


I would like to thank all of you puppy raisers for your hard work. Your time, commitment, and dedication raising puppies for Guiding Eyes is very much appreciated. The bond we as blind people share with our guide dogs is so powerful that it is difficult to put into words. Each day a blind person picks up the harness, that dog is putting their life on the line. These dogs are such great workers and companions and, truly exemplify what loyalty and love are. My dog is my best friend and I thank Guiding Eyes and all of the puppy raisers for the opportunity to have such an amazing gift. GEB is truly an amazing organization that performs miracles and makes dreams come true time and time again!


We as guide dog users thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all that you do. Your gift of freedom and independence is greatly appreciated. Thank you all for your hard work and dedication!


I hope you enjoy my journal, happy reading!


Milissa Garside and Jockey, the energizer doggy!

(If you are interested in contacting me, please e-mail me at: milissa.g@comcast.net.)



Sunday, December 26, 2004 11:00 AM

Counting down the days


Hello Everyone,


Now that Christmas is over, I am really getting antsy to get my new dog. As of today, I have 9 more days until I go to GEB. I will be leaving on January 4th. My flight is scheduled to leave Logan Airport at 9:00 AM.


Hey, I wonder since I don't have a dog if the security at the airport will take me into a separate room and inspect me and my cane? Grin... When ever I would travel with Farrell, security at the airport would take us into a separate room and inspect both Farrell and I.


Anyway, I am beyond excited. I can't wait to see what dog I'll end up with. For those of you who have not gone to GEB, we get there on Tuesday and we have to wait two entire torturous days before we finally get our dogs. Needless to say, I'll be bouncing off the walls. Grin... I just hope the trainers are prepared to put up with me. Grin...


Well, I'm signing off for now. I'll talk to you all later.





Monday, January 03, 2005 9:00 PM

The Night Before GEB


Hey Everyone,


Just thought I'd check in real quick before I pack my laptop up.


I am leaving to go to GEB tomorrow morning. My flight takes off at 9:00 AM and I will get into New York at 10:00 AM. I will then meet up with GEB trainers and go to GEB.


As you can imagine, I am running around like crazy trying to get everything packed up.


I hope to be on line tomorrow at GEB. However, we always have to leave room for technical glitches. Grin... Anyway, I plan to begin my journal on

Wednesday January 5th.


Well, gotta run for now. Talk to you all soon.





Tuesday, January 04, 2005 2:54 PM

I'm Finally AT GEB


Hey everyone,


Well, the subject line says it all. I'm finally hear. I've only been hear a couple hours and I'm already board. I told the class supervisor that he has a long class ahead of him. Grin...


My classmates are currently getting orientation around the building. I however bailed on the orientation because I remember where everything is.


Well, in my short time here, I have already noticed several changes. The first one is that along with your food and water bowls, GEB also gives each person a Nyla Bone for their dog to chew on while we're here. Last time I was here, we were not allowed to give our dogs bones during training unless both roommates had bones to give their dog.


Also, The tie downs next to our beds are different. GEB no longer has the metal chain coming out of the wall. Instead, it is a thin cable like material with clips on each end. (The clips on the cable are just like the clip that connects our leashes to our dogs collars.) One end clips to a hoop on the wall and the other end clips to your dog's collar. The tie downs are also a little longer than the old ones.


My class instructors are Woody, Andrea, and Greg is the class supervisor. There are 11 of us in this class. We have two action students and the rest are a mix of new bees and retrains. I'm not yet sure of everyone's name. But, I will keep you all posted.


As you can tell, I was able to get on line easily. Yay!


I think we are getting our leashes and harnesses tonight but, I can't remember. Dori, you were in class recently. When did you get your leash and harness?


I am lucky in that I have my own room. I jokingly told Jeff done that with an internet connection in my room, my classmates will never see me. Grin...


Well, that's all for now, Talk to you all later.


Milissa and the Mystery Dog



Wednesday, January 05, 2005 6:00 PM

Bored Out Of My Mind


Hey Everyone,


Just thought I'd write real quick. I am board out of my mind! I can't wait to get my dog. I have been harassing all the trainers about which dog I'm going to get. They refuse to reveal anything. Can you believe that? Grin...


I forgot to mention this yesterday but, Graham is also a trainer in this class. He is working with the action students.


Today, we worked on basic obedience. GEB still does two sits, two sit stays, two downs, two down stays, and two recalls. What they have changed however is the way we go through left hinge doors with our dogs. Basically, when you get to a left hinge door, you put the leash in your right hand and tell the dog "lets go". (When putting the leash in your right hand, you do it from behind.) The dog then goes through the door with you on your right side. When you get through the door, you tell your dog to come and the dog comes around in front of you and goes back to your left side. Sorry if this is not clear, I'm just learning it. Dori, I know you got a dog recently, do you mind clarifying?


WE also did our juno walks today. For those of you who do not know, a juno walk is when the trainer holds the leash and harness and poses as a dog. We basically have to use the dog commands and demonstrate how we would work a dog. They do this to see how fast we walk and to get an idea of what kind of dog we want.


My juno walk was uneventful and boring. Grin... Nothing out of the ordinary happened. Accept that the juno walks are a bit longer than they use to be.


Well, tomorrow is the day! Dog day! By Tomorrow morning, we will get practice dogs. Practice dogs are dogs that are ready to go out in the next class. We do basic obedience with them. I think GEB does this to see how well we can handle a real dog. I think its all a big teas though. Grin...


After our practice dogs and right before lunch, our trainers will tell us our dog's name sex and color. Its not until after lunch we get our dogs. So, at approximately 1:00 tomorrow afternoon, I will have my new furry friend. I can't wait!


Well, gotta run to lecture. Talk to you all tomorrow.





Wednesday, January 05, 2005 8:24 PM

GEB's Training Program


Hey Everyone,


Yes, GEB's training program has changed a great deal. I just found out tonight that they do practice dogs differently. Instead of everyone getting practice dogs all at once, they now do it one at a time. We all have to do an obedience routine with our practice dogs. We then go on one more juno walk with the instructor who is training our practice dog. The instructor then gives our trainers feed back. This is to insure that the matches our trainers have in mind are the correct ones. Andrea told us tonight that they have all the matches already made. And, she still wouldn't tell me who my dog is.


Another change to is that GEB waits until after lunch to tell us our dog's name, breed, and color. Also, we do platform work in White Plains. I have to say, I am quite impressed with the changes. Kathy Z has done a great job.




Thursday, January 06, 2005 6:31 AM

Dog Day


Hey Everyone,


Well, its finally here, dog day! I am so excited. Last night, I kept waking up. I kept having dreams as to who my dog was.


In one dream, I got a big goofy mail yellow lab. In another dream, I ended up with a very small black mail lab. And, I can't remember the other dreams I had. Grin...


I can't wait. I am bouncing off the walls. Grin...


This morning we have practice dogs. And finally this afternoon, we get our dogs. Yay!


I will write you guys as soon as I know which dog I am getting.




Thursday, January 06, 2005 10:07 AM

Practice Dogs


Hey Everyone,


I just finished working with my practice dog and my juno walk. I love the way GEB does it now.


My practice dog was Utica, a small yellow female lab. I worked her with Greg, the class supervisor.


I went through an obedience routine with Utica. I then healed her back to my room. We practiced left hinge doors and then I took her out to park.


I then did my juno walk with Greg. We went outside on the nature path. We worked on turning. He also showed me the pace my new dog walks. Its a medium to fast pace.


Greg told me that the dog they have in mind for me is about the same size as Utica. Utica is about 55 pounds.


Now, I am free until 12:00 when we have lunch. After lunch, we will be told our dog's names, breed, and color. We then have to go back to our rooms and the trainers will call us out one by one and introduce us to our dogs.


I can't wait! Talk to you all in a little while.




Thursday, January 06, 2005 2:17 PM

I got my dog!


Hey Everyone,


I have finally gotten my new dog. He is a mail black lab named Jockey. He is so cute. I'd say he ways about 60 to 65 pounds. He is very playful and is responding to me well so far. I am so happy. We seem to be bonding great even though we've only been together for about a half hour.


Jockey has kind of long fur for a lab and has big muscular paws. He loves to give kisses and loves to snort. After having him for a few minutes, he rolled right over and let me scratch his belly. He is a cutie.


Well, I have to stay in my room with Jockey until 4:00. This is so that we can begin to bond. At 4:00 we will feed them and park them.


Gotta go bond with my dog. I'll write more later.


Milissa and Jockey


Thursday, January 06, 2005 5:38 PM

Park Time


Hey Everyone,


GEB does their first park time differently now too. After we fed and watered our dogs, a trainer knocked on our park door. (We have doors in our rooms that open to the outside so we can take our dogs out.) At first, they took us out one by one and worked with us on left hinge doors, healing, and parking. What was cool was that instead of it just being Andrea, Woody, and Greg, several other trainers including Chrissie Anderson were around helping as well.


After we fed watered and parked, a trainer then came to our dorm door and watched us heal our dogs to the lobby. We worked on putting the dogs under seats and settling them. It went really well.


So far, I am noticing that GEB is putting more effort into working one on one. This is especially helpful for first time users.


I know I have said this already but, I am just so impressed with the changes in the training program.


Also, I found out that GEB is giving out booties in class now. So, Jockey will have his own set of boots before we leave.


Gotta go to lecture, talk more later.


Milissa and Jockey


Thursday, January 06, 2005 8:49 PM

New Stuff GEB Is Doing


Hey Everyone,


I just found out tonight that GEB is now training the dogs to locate door handles and railings on stairs. Not sure how this all works yet but, I'll let you all know when I learn myself.


We will go to White Plains tomorrow and work our dogs for the first time. I can't wait.


Milissa and Jockey


Friday, January 07, 2005 6:01 AM

More GEB Changes


Hello Everyone,


One more change I forgot to mention was that GEB now uses two different collars for the dogs. The slip collar is use for working and obedience. For non-working time, we use a half checked collar. This collar is a nylon collar and has a chain connecting the two ends of the collar. These collars are much safer for a dog to play in because a dog can not accidentally choke themselves with these collars.


I really enjoy working with Andrea, Woody, and Greg. They make a great team.


We have all labs in this class.


Christina, I can't remember if we use to park the practice dogs either. We do not work the practice dogs in harness. We do a basic obedient routine with the supervision of a trainer. Its much more individualized and I think that students benefit from it much more this way. Unlike when we first got our dogs, GEB no longer has you handle two practice dogs. Each student is given a practice dog and works one on one with an instructor.


Well, today I will work Jockey for the first time. I am so excited. I'll let you all know how it goes.


Milissa and Jockey


Friday, January 07, 2005 2:09 PM

My First Trip With Jockey


Hey Everyone,


Jockey and I took to the streets today. My oh my! He is such an excellent dog. First of all, he absolutely loves to work. In fact, when I need to switch his collar, he gets so excited that I need to make him sit and calm down. When I try to put the collar on him, he tries to thrust his head into the collar. He also likes to pick up his leash with his mouth and give it to me.


We walked around the block today and worked on all left turns. He did great. His pull is perfect. His pace is perfect. GEB really did a great job at matching us up. He cleared me of several obstacles and did a great job of maneuvering me around other pedestrians.


During the first trip, I worked with Andrea. While working Jockey for the first time, Andréa kept her leash on Jockey's collar as well. The new command I learned today was, "to the curb". This is a new command that GEB uses to get the dog up to the curb.


Like I keep saying, I am so happy with the training program.


Another thing GEB does is when feeding our dogs, when we place the food bowl down on the floor, the dog must sit and wait until you say "break." I think its a great command.


Well, Jockey and I have one more trip this afternoon before we go back to Yorktown Heights. I'm really looking forward to it. I will write you all later and let you know how it goes.


Also, tonight's lecture is on grooming. Thank God! There is nothing worse than a dog who is not groomed. (smile) Although GEB did give the dogs baths before we got them. But, Jockey has such bad breath.


Milissa and Jockey


Friday, January 07, 2005 2:15 PM

My second trip with Jockey


Hey Everyone,

I just finished my second trip with Jockey. It went great. We went around the block again accept this time, we did all right turns. For the last block and a half, Andrea took her leash off of Jockey's collar and let us complete the rout on our own. It Went great. He stopped at all the curbs for me when I told him "to the curb". Jockey loves working so much that that each time we get back to the White Plains Lounge, we have to tell him to wait. Most of the dogs will automatically turn into the walk way. But, not my Jockey. Like me, he just wants to keep going and going. Grin... I think we're going to do great in Boston.

Well, gotta get ready to head back to York Town Heights. Talk to you all later.


Milissa and Jockey


Friday, January 07, 2005 3:05 PM

Class List


Ok, Finally, here is the list of people in my class and their dog's names. I have put the person's name first followed by the dogs name. Also following the dog's name in parentheses, I have put where the person is from. The entire class got labs although, I can't remember the color of everyone's dog.


-David and Raferdy (New Jersey)

-Cindy and Caprice (Texas)

-George and Eddie (Virginia)

-Bruce and Grant (Nebraska)

-Ryan and Skip (Washington State)

-Tim and Amber (California)

-Vicky and Madeline (New York)

-Karen and Jessa (New York)

-Guadalupe and Tommy (New York)

-Peter and Karloff (Florida)

-Milissa and Jockey (Mass)


Milissa and Jockey


Saturday, January 08, 2005 6:47 PM

Day Three With Jockey


Hey Everyone,


Today we got up at 6:00 AM. I took Jockey out to park and then we came in and I fed him and watered him. For a lab, he eats pretty slowly. It takes him about a minute to eat his 2 cups of food. Farrell however, only took about 20 seconds to eat. After he ate and drank, I took him out again.


We then went through our obedience routine. Andrea watched us. As of now, we are doing obedience individually but, in a few days they will begin to put us in small groups. Eventually, the entire class will be doing obedience together and the trainers will bring in all types of distractions while we do our obedience.


Jockey responded to me very well during obedience. Andrea said that she is impressed at how well he is responding to me. Today was only the second time we've done obedience.


We came to White Plains despite the pouring rain. To day, street crossings were introduced. We had a small rout and had to cross three streets.


Jockey did extremely well. For the first half of our morning trip, Andrea used her leash as well but, for the second half, she let us do it ourselves. Jockey did an excellent job. He stopped at all the down and up curbs. Again, he walked me around people and obstacles. He was great.


On our afternoon trip Andrea let us do the whole trip by ourselves, no support leash. She followed behind and watched us.


Jockey stopped at all the up and down curbs and walked me around obstacles. At one point, I had to tell him to "hop up" because he was lollygagging. Hop up is a command we use to get the dog to refocus or to speed up. After that, he was fine.


We got our first distraction today. AS we were in the midst of a street crossing (approaching the up curb) A little kid spotted Jockey and started saying "hi doggy" very loudly. The mother told him that the dog was working. However, they were standing on the curb that Jockey and I had to step up on. I immediately got distracted because I thought Jockey wasn't going to get to the up curb. While the kid kept saying hi to him, the mother tried to get the kid to stop. Jockey stopped about a foot from the curb. When the kid and his mother finally moved, he then brought me to the curb. When we got to the curb, he stepped up and put his front paws up on the curb. I then put my right foot on the curb and told him "forward". The dogs are taught to do this so that we can tell when we are at the curb.


During the incident with the kid, Jockey paid him no mind at all. Andrea said that he looked so uninterested and that he was trying to figure out how he was going to get me to the curb. When they moved, that's when be stepped up on the curb.


I'm so happy! Here I was distracted and my dog was not even fazed by it. Jockey has such a great work ethic.


When he sees his harness come out in the morning, I have to calm him down so that I can get him into it. Well, I definitely got what I asked for. A dog that is confident and a dog that has a very serious work ethic. Yay!


On our way back to the house on our first trip, we stopped at the walk way and I told Jockey "forward, to the door". At first, he brought me to the side of the door where the hinges are. Andrea told me to take a couple steps back and to tell Jockey to "come." (Come is the command we use to get the dog to come over and stand on our left side.) I told him "to the door" and he walked me up to the door and put his head up to the door handle. I gave him lots of praise and when we got back from our second trip, he did it perfectly.


Tonight, we will have a lecture about grooming. Yay!


Also, after tonight, lecture will be in the morning. Yuck! GEB has changed it because they have found that if they lecture in the morning just before everyone does their routs, the information sinks in better. So, lecture will be at 8:00 in the morning.


During each lecture, the trainers go through a manual to make sure they are covering all the information. I am glad to say that the manual GEB is using is new. I'm so glad that they do not use the one they use to use. I tell you, GEB is a dam good school! Both Kathy and Graham have done wonders to the training program.


Well, tomorrow is a lazy day. We do not work on Sundays. Jockey and I will have our first play session tomorrow. We will go into the  Camble Lounge with a 30 foot leash and work on the "here" command. The here command is what we use when we want our dogs to make physical contact with us when they are off leash. I will also get to play with him during this time. I can't wait to play with him. While grooming him tonight, all he wanted to do is play.


By the way, he doesn't seem to keen on grooming. He would not stay still for me at all. But, I think that has to do with him having so much pent up energy and wanting to play. So, I am going to groom him again tomorrow after we play and see how he does.


Well, I'm signing off for now. Talk to you all later.


Milissa and Jockey


Sunday, January 09, 2005 6:39 PM

 Day Four With Jockey


Hey Everyone,


Today was a lazy day. Jockey has slept most of the day. Jose bought new doggy beds for all the dorm rooms. So, we don't have to use the towels anymore. The bed is a thick blanket with a wooly material on one side and a canvas like material on the other side. Well, ever sense Jockey got his blanket, he has been sleeping all day.


This morning, we played for the first time. Oh my, does he like to play! I use the 30 foot leash and he ran around the Camble Lounge like a bat out of hell. (smile)


Just before play time, we did our obedience routine. Jockey did well although, he was a bit distracted at one point. He wanted to play so badly. When I would do the down stays, he kept popping right back up. But in the end, it all worked out and he did great. Tomorrow, we will begin doing obedience in groups of two. And, we also begin having lecture in the morning. Yuck!


Before Jockey got to run, I had him sit in front of me. When I was ready for him to play I said "go play".


After letting him run for a few minutes, I told him "here". He came flying back to me at top speed and when he got closer, he slid right over to me. Andrea was impressed. She said that when I called him, he bounded right over to me without any hesitation. She said that we are bonding very well.


As of now when I say "here", Jockey comes to me but does not understand that he needs to make physical contact with me. We are going to work on having him put his nose on my hand whenever I say "here."


We also played fetch. I through a couple balls and the cong, and he got them and brought them back to me. After we did that for a few minutes, Andrea said that we could play by ourselves for a few minutes without her watching.


I decided to put the toys back in the basket which was sitting on the couch. I got on the floor and tried to wrestle with Jockey. Unfortunately, he wasn't to interested. Eventually, he took his nose and knocked over the basket of toys sitting on the couch so that he could play with them. We spent the rest of our play time playing fetch.


I tried grooming him again tonight. Boy was he a handful! He kept jumping, turning around, and trying to put the brush and comb in his mouth. I managed to groom him a little bit. But, its far from satisfactory. I asked Woody if they ever had trouble grooming him in the kennel and she said. no. So, at least there is still hope! Woody said that as he begins to trust me more, the easier grooming will get.


For grooming tools, GEB gives us a comb and a slicker brush. The bristles on the slicker brushes we get now are so much softer. The comb we get is still metal but, it is a lot lighter in weight .


Well, tomorrow we return to White Plains. We will be building on the rout we did on Saturday. For those of you who have been to GEB before, the routs are completely different now. Thank God! The trainers really tailor the routs to your needs. If a person is accelerating on the assigned rout, the trainers will allow that person to progress. Conversely, if a person needs more time on a rout, the trainers will work with that person.


Well, I can't wait to work Jockey tomorrow. He's such a great dog and I can't wait until we hit the streets of Boston.


Talk to you all later.


Milissa and Jockey


Monday, January 10, 2005 5:01 PM

 Day 5 With Jockey


Hey Everyone,


Well, today Jockey and I woke up very late. We slept through the 6:00 AM call for feed water and park. We finally woke up at 7:00. Woody saw me in the Parking area and scolded me. I told her that it was very unintentional and she said she knew. So, all is fine accept of course, people keep teasing me. Grin...


Anyway, we had lecture at 8:00 AM. Today we talked about leash corrections and how to go about administering them. We talked about how important it is to always be in control of your dog and how important it is to be calm with your dog at all times. We also talked about suggestive turns. Suggestive turns are when you are walking with your dog and you want to turn into a doorway, driveway, etc, just before you reach where you want to go, you say in a low voice "right, right or left, left."


After that, George, David, and myself did obedience all together. Eddie, Raferdy and Jockey did extremely well. All the dogs listened to us and focused on what they were suppose to do.


WE then went to White Plains. I did my morning trip with Andrea. We did the same rout we did on Saturday accept, they added another block an another street crossing. Now, we have four street crossings.


When we first started out, Jockey got very distracted by a pigeon. He kept trying to pull me over to it. Andrea told me to give him a left hand leash correction and to tell him forward. The first time I did this, it did not work. So, Andrea told me to do it again. When that did not work, I had to drop the harness handle and tell him to "come." Andrea then told me to do puppy push ups with him. (Puppy push ups are when we have the dog do a sit quickly followed by a down command and then followed by another sit command. We keep doing this in rapid succession until the dog is refocused.) Well, Jockey responded to the sit with a verbal command but would not respond to the down verbal command unless I followed it with a leash correction. We did puppy push ups for about 3 minutes until we got him refocused. We then went back to the beginning of the block and re-worked the area where the pidgin was. The second time around, he did great. After that, the trip went well.


Sometimes at the end of a block, Jockey likes to anticipate left. I get confused because I am not sure if he is just moving me around an obstacle or if he is anticipating. So, we've been working on me saying "to the curb" at the end of each block.


I did my afternoon trip with Greg and it went well. Jockey had no distractions and when we got back to the house, he brought me right to the door handle. Jockey also did his suggestive turns very well.


Tomorrow we return to white Plains and we will work on the same rout both in the morning and in the afternoon. On Wednesday morning, we will do this rout solo. No doubles and no instructors walking with us. Of course, instructors will be posted at certain points along the root to watch us.


I can't wait to do a solo rout. The last time I was here, GEB did not do solo routs. The only type of solo rout we got was doing a double with another student. Again, this is another great change.


I can't tell you guys how much Jockey loves chewing on his bone. The Nyla bone GEB put in our room is near demolished. Its funny because Farrell also loved her bones. Her nick name was Bones. So, looks like I am going to have to come up with another nick name for Jockey. But, we are bonding well and I'm so happy to have him.


 Well, gotta go get ready for dinner. Talk to you all later.


Milissa and Jockey


Tuesday, January 11, 2005 5:01 PM

 Day 6 With Jockey


Hey Everyone,


Well, Jockey and I managed to wake up on time today. Thank God! I fed watered and parked him. I then took a shower and went to lecture.


This morning we talked about working in doubles. Greg told us that some of us would begin to work in doubles on the same rout and that tomorrow morning, we'll be doing our solo rout. Quite honestly, I was half asleep this morning and can't remember what else was talked about. Grin... But, doubles was the Maine topic.


After lecture, Bruce, Guadalupe and myself did obedience. All three dogs did really well. At one point when we were doing the down stays, Jockey got up. I had to have him do a come and do the down stay all over again. Andrea said I handled it well and that I have good control over Jockey.


We then came to white Plains. Pete and I did our first double this morning and, it was not one of my better trips. Jockey and I had to re-work several down curbs because Jockey kept veering to the left and not bringing me directly to the curb. The way doubles work is that each person takes turns being in the lead and the instructor stays behind the person following. When I was in the lead and Andrea would tell me something, I had a real difficult time hearing her due to my hearing impairment. (It also didn't help that it was raining and I had a hood on too.) To make matters more interesting, I was still half asleep and wasn't as focused as I have been on previous trips. But, we re-worked some stuff and in the end, it all worked out.


For my afternoon trip, I worked with Greg by myself. Because of my hearing impairment, its a lot easier for me to work alone. Again, GEB is doing a great job at tailoring the program to each person's needs. The afternoon trip went much better. Jockey and I only had to re-work one thing. At one point, he got a bit distracted by a lady carrying a case and he bumped me into a meter. I dropped the harness handle, gave him a left hand leash correction, and tapped the meter and said "no." We then backed up a few steps and I told him to "come." I then picked up the harness handle and told him "forward." The second time, he brought me right around the meter. He did such a great job.


Tomorrow morning, we have our solo rout. I am excited. I think Jockey and I will do well. I'll be sure to let you all know how it goes.


Today, I had something funny happen to me. While we are here at GEB, we are suppose to have our dogs with us on leash at all times. When our dogs are sitting or laying down, we are suppose to have the leash securely in our hand or under our foot. However, I have been very lazy about holding on to my leash. This is my third time getting a dog and I figured I'd know if my dog ever decided to get up and leave.


Today as I was upstairs in the White Plains Lounge reading my e-mail, Greg came up and told me we would be leaving in a few minutes. I told him I'd be down in a minute. I finished reading my e-mail and said "Jockey, let's go!" When I didn't hear a tail wag, I reached under the desk to get him. Well, needless to say, there was no dog under the desk. I started laughing because I figured Greg saw that I wasn't holding my leash and took Jockey to teach me a lesson. So, I went down stairs and asked Greg if he had my dog. When he told me he did, I asked him if he took him because I wasn't holding his leash. Greg told me no. He said that as he left the room, Jockey snuck out from under the desk and followed him all the way down stairs. Greg said he didn't say anything because he wanted to see how long it would take me to figure out my dog was missing. And of course, he wanted to teach me a lesson. Grin... I got a good laugh out of that one.


Well, it is time for dinner and I am very hungry. I can't wait to do my solo rout tomorrow. I'll let you guys know how it goes. Talk later.


Milissa and Jockey


Wednesday, January 12, 2005 6:10 PM

 Day 7 With Jockey


Hey Everyone,


Well, we did it! Jockey and I did our first solo this morning. It went very well. We approached all of our curbs the correct way and Jockey did a great job maneuvering me around obstacles. I was so proud of him when we returned to the lounge.


Now that we have done a solo, GEB is now customizing our trips for us. For example, this afternoon several people did a rout to Star Bucks. Several others went to the drug store. I decided that I wanted to go to Foot Locker to see if they had any bandanas. I want to get Jockey a Patriots Bandana. Ideally, I'd love to get him a Red Sox Bandana but, I am definitely in the wrong place to buy one of those. Grin...


Anyway, Cindy and I wanted to go to Foot Locker and I was scheduled to go last. Due to my hearing impairment, I can not work in a double. So, Cindy got to go to Foot Locker before me and scope it out. Unfortunately, they did not have any bandanas so when it came time for me to go out, I just did a really long rout with Woody.


My afternoon trip was pretty good. We had to re-work several down curb approaches. Jockey kept trying to turn at the end of the building line instead of going all the way to the curb. After a few re-works, he got it. We also worked on my positioning when I hold the harness handle. We also worked on our pace. Jockey and I are both fast walkers but, we were not exactly in sink with each other. By the end of the trip, I was holding the harness handle correctly and Jockey and I were walking at a great pace for the both of us.


It is really interesting working with a new dog. When I would work Farrell, we fit like hand and glove. I would pick up that harness handle and no matter how fast or slow we went, we were always just so in tune with one another. I'm sure that the more I work Jockey the more we will get to know each other and work more smoothly. But, its interesting having to go through the process of getting use to another dog in the harness.


It was a great day. I can't wait to get back to Boston! Jockey and I will have a blast!


Well, we are going to White Plains tomorrow although, I have no idea what we are doing. We got some snow last night but in my opinion, not enough to make training really fun. (smile) My feet could still feel the ground so, it wasn't to much.


Well, I will catch up with you all later.


Milissa and Jockey


Thursday, January 13, 2005 9:13 PM

 Day 8 With Jockey


Hey Everyone,


Sorry this post is so late. But, we've had a long day.


This morning at lecture, we got our gentle leaders. Yes, GEB is now issuing gentle leaders. For those of you who don't know, a gentle leader is similar to a horses bridle. A loop goes around the dogs nose and then the other loop goes around the dog's neck. The neck strap sits very high, right behind the ears. Under the chin, there is an O ring that you can attach the leash to. A gentle leader is used to control distractions. For example, if a dog is sniffing in harness, the gentle leader is a good training tool to use on a short term basis to deter the sniffing.


My dog is a nut! When Jockey saw his gentle leader, he went nuts. He couldn't wait for me to put it on him, He's the only dog I have ever met who enjoys having the gentle leader put on him. The dogs usually hate it. After I put it on him, he laid down under the seat, took his back paws and stretched them out as far behind him as he could, and wagged his tail. When I took it off, he kept nudging me to put it back on. (smile)


After we were shown how to put the gentle leaders on, we did our first group obedience. The 12 of us all did obedience and the dogs did extremely well. At one point, Jockey did jump up during a down stay but, I got him under control and had him do another down stay.


After Obedience, we put the gentle leaders back on our dogs and healed them to our room. The trainers had us do this to get a feel for what it feels like having the leash attached to the gentle leader instead of the collar.


We went to White Plains. We all did free lance routs today.


In the morning, I did a long walk with Greg. During the walk, I told him that the way I was walking with Jockey felt funny. I felt like my left foot kept hitting his right back paw. When we would walk, I was to afraid to get close to him because I did not want to step on him. AS a result, we could never seem to walk in sink with each other. At the end of blocks, Jockey tends to follow the building line instead of going to the curb. With the harness handle I was using, I could never quite tell when he was veering left or right at the end of a block.


After Greg watched us for a while, he suggested that we try an off-set handle.


My afternoon trip was with Greg again. We tried an off-set handle and it did the trick. Jockey and I looked much better and we finally could maintain a consistent pace and be in sink with each other. I could also tell when he veered to the right or left at the end of the block. Tomorrow, Graham will give me a new off-set handle.


I really love how GEB is working with each team individually and figuring out what works for each team.


On our afternoon trip, we were walking down the side walk and all of the sudden, Jockey just stopped. When I told him to "hop up" he would not move. I then stuck out my right foot to see if we were at a curb and when I felt nothing, I got a bit confused. I then stuck out my right hand and found a huge truck sticking out of a driveway. You bet Jockey got lots of praise for that one!


Tonight after we ate dinner, we were hanging out in the lobby when all of the sudden, Jockey started to pull me to Dave (another classmate). Ok, he didn't pull me, he yanked me! I couldn't figure out why. Meanwhile, David was laughing and saying "get that dog under control." Well, after I got Jockey under control, David told me that all he was doing was holding up his dog's collar because he was trying to put his dogs tags on it. Can you believe this nut! He went bananas over a collar! When I have to get him under control, I have to be so calm and stern. But, it is so hard not to just bust out laughing at his antics.


Well, it gets better. As I walked by the credenza to go into the Camble Lounge, Jockey jumped up on the credenza because he wanted the doggy tags that were up there. Well, needless to say, he got a good leash correction for that one!


Tonight, we had a volunteer come and take pictures of us. She is the one who does the pictures and interviews that are put up on the GEB website. So, after we got our pictures taken, she walked over to Jockey and I and he jumped on her. And yes, he got another good leash correction.


After all this jumping around and acting crazy, I decided that we would have some play time. Well, I put the long line on him and he ran laps around the Cample Lounge. We worked on the here command which he did pretty good with. We also played with the cong and wrestled. It was so much fun. We played for about a half hour.


After we finished playing, I took him out to park and then gave him some ice to cool him down. He was panting like crazy!


Now, he's all sacked out on his bed sound asleep. He's to much! He's such a fun dog.


Ok, after all of his antics today, his nick name is, Clown. I have been calling him that all day and people have been laughing at it.


Tomorrow, we do mall work in the morning. IN the afternoon, we will be doing pictures. These are the pictures that are given to the puppy raisers and that are used for our GEB IDs'.


Tomorrow evening after dinner, we do our night trip. Basically, we work our dogs in the dark to get them use to working at night.


Also tomorrow, the three action students will be leaving. So, there will only be 9 of us left.


Well, I'm gonna go for now. Talk to you all later.


Milissa and Jockey, The Clown!


Tuesday, January 18, 2005 5:32 PM

 Day 9 With Jockey


Hello Everyone,


Well, this is a little late I know. But, better late than never. (smile)


On Friday morning, we did group obedience. GEB introduced us to treat rewarding our dogs. After we did our obedience, Woody and Andrea gave us Charley Bares to give our dogs. A Charley Bear is a very small treat with very little calories.


As Woody walked through the Camble Lounge with her pet dog, we had to keep our dogs in a sit. Of course, Jockey was very interested in Woody's dog. He got up and I had to make him do a come. When he was sitting nicely on my left side again, I had him look at me and gave him a Charley Bear.


GEB is now teaching us to counter condition with the Charley Bears. Basically, when the dog is being distracted by something, we have to get the dog back under control by having the dog do a come. Once the dog is sitting in a come position, we treat them.


After obedience, we went to the mall here in York Town. Jockey did very well. Although, Andrea kept telling us to slow our pace while walking in the mall. We went into a couple of stores just to walk around and get the feel of walking up and down isles.


At the mall, we also worked on elevators and escalators. Jockey did great on both.


On Friday afternoon, we had to get our pictures taken. These are the pictures that go to our puppy raisers and that are used for our ID's. All went well until I ended up with a bloody nose. Fortunately, I had already gotten my picture taken however, a couple of us wanted to get our picture taken together and, I was not able to do so. Don't think the picture would have looked to cool with me holding tissues to my nose. (smile) As I was sitting in the lobby waiting our turn, my nose just started bleeding. I picked up Jockey's leash and we ran to my room for some tissues. When we got to my room, I put Jockey in a down-stay on his blanket. I didn't bother to put him on tie-down because I figured I'd be right back.


I went back into the lobby to see if I could get an ice pack. . Andrea and Woody saw me and decided to call Ruby, the GEB nurse. Of course, the staff were a bit freaked out. However, I told them to give me an ice pack and I'd be all set. I get bloody noses when the air is to dry. And, it is so dry here.


When Ruby came, she asked me if I was ok and when she saw that I was, she laughed and joked around with me until my nose bleed subsided.


After all the commotion was over, I went back into my room to get Jockey. He was such a good boy. I left him in a down stay on his blanket off of tie-down. I was so afraid that he was going to have a ball in my room left unattended. But, when I came back, he was still laying on his blanket in the exact same spot I left him in. He was left alone for about 45 minutes. I was so proud of him.


After all that excitement, and after dinner, we went on our night trip in Mount Kisko. We walked a root that was several blocks long. We do this to get use to working our dogs at night.


Jockey did great and when we finished, we went into Star Bucks and had some really good coffee!


When we got back on Friday night, it was around 9:00 and I was way to tired to write. That is why I've been slacking. (smile) Stay tuned for the next update!


Milissa and Jockey


Tuesday, January 18, 2005 9:31 PM

 Day 10 With Jockey


Hey Everyone,


On Saturday, we did our usual morning group obedience. Now the trainers are starting to bring in different distractions while we are doing obedience. The goal is to keep our dogs under control at all times.


Andrea came around with some turkey to try to feed to our dogs. She walked by each of us and held the turkey right up to our dog's noses. Jockey was interested but, he stayed in control.


Greg unexpectedly brought one of his dogs in. His dog's name is Jack. He is part lab and part Rotty. He weighs 130 pounds and is solid muscle.


Well, I didn't know that Jack was coming in and I happened to be closest to the Camble Lounge door. All of the sudden, Jockey jumped up and pulled me towards Jack. Yeah, my dog literally pulled me off my feet! I landed in a kneeling position right in front of the hearth. Boy, was I mad! I gave Jockey a hell of a leash correction, got back up on my feet and got him to come.


Once in control of my dog, I reflected on how funny it must have looked and how strong my dog is.


When Jack walked around the room, Jockey was fine. He even stayed in a sit when Greg brought Jack over for me to see how big he was. Damn, Jack is one big dog!


On Saturday morning, we did our country rout on Colonial Street here in Yorktown. Jockey did great and he shore lines very well. Shore lining is when the dog follows the side of the road if there is no sidewalks. On the country rout, I started to notice how much I pull Jockey to the right. I definitely have a right tendency. AS a result, Jockey sometimes brushes me by things on the right. Our country rout went really well.


After lunch, Wendy Weisberg who is a GEB puppy raiser and who is also on this list. Came to drop off her puppy for his IFT. The IFT is a test to determine if a dog is confident enough to trading to be a guide dog.


I met her puppy, Abraham and he is a cutie. I went over to the kennels with Wendy and Selest, another GEB raiser who was dropping off her dog and said good-bye to Abraham. It was so sad. I don't know how you puppy raisers do what you do. Abraham wasn't my dog but, I felt terrible leaving him in the kennel.


After we said good-bye to Abraham, Wendy and Selest went on a kennel tour and I came back to the dorm for my afternoon rout.


My afternoon rout entailed an obstacle course on the nature path. We had to work around barriers and work with overhead obstacles. We also worked on land marking. Land marking is teaching the dog to stop at a certain point. For example, if you are doing country travel and there is an intersecting road that you want to know about, you would teach your dog to stop at that intersection to indicate that it is there. We do this by having the dog sit. We then tap the spot with our foot and give them a Charley Bear in conjunction with lots of praise. We then back up several paces and tell the dog "forward. Each time I did land marking with Jockey, he stopped the second time of re-working it. He did great.


After my obstacle course, Wendy came back to the dorm so that we could go out to dinner. Also joining us (as a total surprise to Wendy) were Judy and Sally, members of the GEB_PR list. We all coordinated to surprise Wendy. We also gave Wendy a black lab Guiding Eyes stuffed animal in memory of Abraham.


We all went out to Apple-Bees for dinner and had a great time. My friend Cindy who is in class with me came along as well.


We also went to Pet Smart and I picked up some Bones for Jockey. He absolutely loves his bones.


When we went out to dinner, he had to stay behind. GEB does not allow us to work our dogs without the supervision of a trainer until we have completed the program.


Wendy is a life saver! She brought me all kinds of things for Jockey's breath. I got doggy mouthwash, some doggy breath mints, and a dental bone. Boy, was I ever grateful! Again, thank you Wendy!


By the time we got back, it was 9:30 and I was very tired and crashed.


On Sunday, we did absolutely nothing accept for long line which I described last Sunday. Jockey and I were pretty lazy and he did not play much. So, the next update will start on Monday, day 12. Talk to you all then.


Milissa and Jockey


Thursday, January 20, 2005 2:52 PM

 Day 12 With Jockey


Hey Everyone,


I'm still trying to catch up!


Well, Monday we did our usual morning group obedience. Jockey did pretty well. He did get distracted by the food that the trainers brought in. The trainers go around to each dog and try to offer them food. It is up to us to keep the dog from taking the food and keep the dog under control.


Monday Morning, I did a basic root with Woody. It was so cold out. For all of you who have been curious, we have not had any breaks. Its no lie when GEB says that they have students work in all kinds of weather. Jockey managed but, I was freezing. On Monday, it was only 7 degrees out.


Well, our morning rout was pretty uneventful. We did well. We also worked on having Jockey clear my right sides. For some reason, he kept brushing me into things on my right side.


My afternoon trip however, was disastrous. I did a double with Kevin and Andrea took us out. From the beginning, it went bad. Jockey kept bumping me into things on the right side and I got very frustrated with him. Jockey also kept rounding corners and not bringing me to the down curbs. My natural instinct was to correct him and I did.


ON the other hand, Kevin was having a bad day with his dog too. His dog would not walk fast and kept irritating Kevin. Both of us were beyond exasperated.


Both of us kept correcting our dogs and finally Andrea told us that we needed to lighten up on our corrections. She said that our dogs could not handle the type of leash corrections we were giving them and that they both were getting increasingly nervous.


Aside from all that, it was beyond freezing out and it was windy to boot. We did our rout to the mall and by the time we got there, I was ready to be done for the day.


Kevin and I sat down on some benches in the mall to calm down. We were both so frustrated.


At the mall, we worked on revolving doors and some more escalators.


After taking some time to calm down, Andrea and I walked around the mall and went into a few stores. The inside mall trip went a little better but, I was still aggravated.


Things were a little better on the way back. But, Kevin and I were so glad to be done with the trip.


Out of all the routs I have done thus far, that was the worse one. However, it is normal to have days like that during training. Fortunately, that has been the only bad day we've had. Thank God! Don't think we could handle another trip like that!


I have been grooming Jockey more frequently and he is gradually getting better with it. Although, he still will not let me brush his tail. I keep telling him that its a battle he will never win. But, he doesn't seem to listen to me. (smile)


Well, that's all for now, stay tuned for the next update.


Milissa and Jockey


Thursday, January 20, 2005 4:04 PM

 Day 13 With Jockey


Hey Everyone,


On Tuesday, we did our group obedience. But, instead of the trainers calling out the obedience exercise, they had each one of us choose an obedience exercise for the group to do. All went well. Jockey got a bit distracted and got up during a down stay but, I put him back in a down stay and he did well the rest of the routine.


After the obedience exercise, Woody went around with food again and Andrea came in with Powell, Melinda's German Sheppard. He was a good distraction and Jockey stayed in control. Jockey even sat by my left side as Powell came over to say hi to me.


After that distraction, Andrea took Ryan and Skip in the center of the Camble Lounge. They put Skip on a long line and had him do a sit stay while Ryan backed all the way up to the other end of the lounge. The goal of this exercise was to keep our dogs under control when Ryan called his dog back to him.


In a happy voice, Ryan said "Skip, Here!" Skip went running towards Ryan and Jockey jumped up. I quickly got him back into a sit and he stayed.


We did this same exercise with two more people and their dogs and Jockey stayed like a good boy.


After obedience, we went to Peekskill where we did our traffic checks. Graham drove around like a lunatic while our dogs tried to dodge his van. (smile)


As Jockey and I were walking down the side walk, Graham came flying out of a drive way. Jockey stepped back immediately and backed me up away from the van. He got lots of praise for that one! As we were crossing the street at the next block, Graham came flying out of no where as we were in the midst of our crossing. Again, Jockey stopped and quickly backed me up. After Graham sped away, Jockey calmly brought me to the up curb. We had a few more traffic checks and each time, Jockey backed me up out of the vehicle's way. He did such a great job and got lots of praise.


I'll tell you though, on Tuesday, it was freezing. I envied Graham having the luxury of driving a nice warm van.


On Tuesday afternoon, we had our dog's physicals. I worked Jockey over to the vet hospital and he did great. Dr. B gave him his physical and told me a little about his medical history. He is very healthy and has suffered from one ear infection.


We put him on the doggy scale and he weighed in at 68 pounds. Actually, he is the same exact weight as my first dog O'Shae. Ok, he's a little bit bigger than Farrell than I originally thought he was. I think Farrell was only 60 pounds. But, she was built differently and was smaller.


After our vet visits, Dr. B came over and gave us our vet lecture. She basically talked about heartworm and flee and tick preventatives. She also talked about how important it is to keep your dog's weight maintained. GEB is really getting strict about keeping your dog's weight maintained. Also, for all you GEB grads, GEB is now upping the Horrowits Fund to 150 dollars a year. The Horrowits  Fund is a yearly stipend grads are given to use for the dog's vet visits, medications, and vet supplies. GEB still has their mail order program which will soon be available on line. Grads are also able to use the Horrowits  Stipend to purchase vet supplies from GEB.


After our vet lecture, Becky Barnes came over and talked about our rights as guide dog users. She touched on how to handle the public when they want to pet your dog. She also touched on what to do if you are denied access to a taxi or any public vicinity.


On Tuesday night, we had a catered dinner in the Camble Lounge with the Local Lions Club. It was good food, and a great time. The Yorktown Heights Lions are a lot of fun. Jockey was well behaved and laid on the floor by my left side.


The dinner ended at 9:00 and both Jockey and I were mighty tired and crashed.


Well, that's all for now, talk to you all soon.


Milissa and Jockey


Thursday, January 20, 2005 4:24 PM

 Day 14 With Jockey


Hey Everyone,


On Wednesday, we did our typical morning group obedience. It was pretty uneventful until Woody went around acting like a sad old woman who missed her dog. She came over to each one of us and prattled on and on about how she had a dog like that and how she missed it. She tried petting them and coaxing the dogs over to her. We had to nicely tell her that our dogs were working dogs and that she could not talk to them or pet them because it would distract them. It was hilarious!


After Woody's acting routine, Andrea, did her bratty kid routine. I was dying. She is to funny! She ran around the room screaming, "I wanna pet your dog." "I like your dog and I have a dog just like that." She kept running around and reaching out her hands and putting them all over our dogs. It was the funniest thing. Jockey stayed under control for the most part until I started laughing at Andrea. I had to calm down and get serious very quickly in order to get him back in a sit.


We then went to White Plains. My morning rout was with Woody and it was very uneventful. Jockey did a better job at clearing me by obstacles on my right side. It was also freezing cold and all I could think about was getting back to the lounge.


My afternoon rout was with Andrea and we went to the mall where I purchased a pair of sneakers. I desperately needed a pair and figured no time was like the present. (smile)


The trip to the mall was excellent! Jockey did a great job at clearing me and I did a great job at following him.


Our in door travel at the mall was great as well. He walked me around other shoppers and we did some more escalator work.


I bought my sneakers and wore them for the trip back to the lounge. The trip back was amazing. I finally felt like Jockey and I were on the same page. Andrea said we looked great!


We then did a solo rout from the White Plains Lounge to the vans which were parked several blocks away. Jockey and I did great! Our street crossings were excellent and again, I felt like we were on the same page. I really enjoyed that trip.


Well, in my next update, I will be talking about the Manhattan trip. Talk to you all then.


Milissa and Jockey


Thursday, January 20, 2005 8:08 PM

Day 15 With Jockey


Hey Everyone,


I've finally caught up! Yay!


Today we did the Manhattan Trip. Sense we had to leave early, we had to do obedience on our own. Jockey and I did obedience this morning in our room and he did great.


We left Yorktown at 8:15 and caught the 9:11 train into Grand Central Station. I was lucky enough to work with Andrea.


Once we got off at Grand Central Station, we made our way outside to do some walking. Jockey did a great job at maneuvering me around so many people in the station. When we got outside, we walked for about 6 blocks. Jockey did such an excellent job moving me around people and obstacles. My oh my! There were so many people and Jockey handled it like a pro.


We then went into the subway and did extensive work on the platforms. We walked up and down different platforms making sure that Jockey kept me away from the edge. He did great. Andrea placed me about 2 feet away from the platform edge and I told Jockey "forward". At first, he refused to move. When I told him "forward" again, he turned his body in front of me to the right and pushed me away from the edge. We told him forward several times at the edge of several different platforms and each time, he turned his body to the right and pushed be away from the edge. I was so proud of him. He did excellent and got lots of praise.


We then walked outside some more and dealt with very crowded sidewalks. Again, Jockey handled it like a pro. Our street crossings were great too.


Andrea and I then decided to stop at Star Bucks to kill time. I had a mocha and she had a Carmel apple cider. We sat at a table and Jockey laid on the floor by my right side. He did a great job. Andrea and I hung out and chatted for about 20 minutes. We then walked up to the restaurant where we met the rest of the group for lunch.


We had lunch at an Irish Pub and it was good. Dell Rodman came over to my table and  asked me how my on -line journal was going. I told him it was going great and he told me to tell you all that while he was at my table, he stole two of my buffalo wings. Can you believe him? (smile)


During lunch, Jockey laid on the floor at my right side. He kept popping up every time the waitress came over. It was pretty annoying. But, I guess he was afraid of being stepped on.


After lunch, I came back here to the school and purchased my vet supplies to go home with. Good thing I brought a smaller suit case with me because, it is already full of Jockey's stuff. He is going to be so spoiled! But, with the job he has to do, he deserves it!


We ate dinner and tonight is just a night to relax. Tomorrow, we will stay here in Yorktown. Not yet sure what type of routs we will be doing. But on Saturday, we will all be graduating. Yay! Jockey's puppy raisers will be coming and I can't wait to meet them.


Jockey and I have been hanging out in my room. Since I have a single room, I have been letting Jockey off of tie-down and giving him some freedom. Well, all he does is chew his bones or follow my every movement. I think we're bonding well. (smile) I have also been working with him on the "here" command and, he's been doing great!


On Sunday, I will be leaving GEB. As fun as this list has been, I am going to shut it down. I'm thinking of shutting it down a week after I get home. If anyone is interested, I was thinking of writing about how Jockey settles in for the first week and then ending the list. What does everyone think?


At any rate, I'd like to thank you all for sharing this experience with me. This has been a great list with great people and its been really fun.


Well, I'm signing off for now. Talk to you all later.


Milissa and Jockey


Saturday, January 22, 2005 6:13 PM

Graduation day and, I'm stuck in New York!


 Hey Everyone,


Well, the subject line says it all. The graduation time was moved up to 9:00 this morning to try to beat the storm. Boy, its a good thing Kathy Z decided to do that. Graduation was great. Kevin (another classmate) and I wrote a letter of thanks to all GEB staff and framed it. We had Graham read it at the graduation and we told them when the new Camble Lounge is complete, they can hang it in there. Pete (another class mate) talked about his first experience of working his dog Karloff. Pete has some vision and talked about how the first time he picked up the harness handle and worked Karloff, he was amazed at how wonderful he felt. He said that he no longer had anxiety about bumping into stuff and not being able to see an obstacle. He said he felt free. He was so moved that at one point during his first root, Pete stopped in the middle of a block, nailed down next to Karloff and started hugging him and crying. Well, when he was telling this story, we all were crying. All the graduates kept passing tissues to one another. Pete also sang a song he wrote about Karloff and sung along to him playing the guitar. Believe me, that was another tear jerker. After that, Cindy (another classmate) talked about her experience as a first timer. I also spoke about being a retrain. "Vicky (another classmate) presented the kitchen staff with flowers. After the graduation was over, Jockey's puppy raisers came over. He was raised by a family in Maryland. The mother, Liz and her 16 year old daughter Jane came to the graduation. Jockey was beyond excited to see them. He was jumping an spinning around and sniffing. He could not contain himself. I took my picture with Jockey, Liz, and Jane. We then went to my room and I let Jockey out of harness and off leash so that they could visit with him. Oh my God, he was so happy! They told me all about when he was a puppy and the silly things he use to do. Liz does agree with me that Jockey does have bad breath. But, its now my fault because I've been to lazy to use all the breath stuff I have. Liz, Jane and I hung out in my room four about an hour then we went on a kennel tour. I really enjoyed meeting them and we are going to keep in touch. Oh yeah, They also brought Jockey a cong. He was so happy about that too.

I also gave Liz a card and an 8 by 10 picture of Jockey sitting by himself in harness. She loved it. Well, needless to say, I will not be going home tomorrow! It started snowing here at 2:00 and we already have 7 inches. Its suppose to snow 3 inches an hour. The same holds true for Boston. Also, the winds are suppose to be very strong. So, I don't know how much longer I'll be here. Someone just told me that its suppose to snow like this until 1:00 tomorrow afternoon. So, we'll see! I am so happy! Next month, I will be visiting my retired dog Farrell and her puppy raisers. I have a conference in DC and since they live near DC, I am going to spend a night with them. I can't wait! There is suppose to be so much snow that the kitchen staff are not even expected in tomorrow. Marie has stocked both refrigerators in the coffee room. So, we are all hunkering down and waiting the storm out. Well, I'm gonna go see if anyone wants to go out and have a snowball fight. Talk to you all later.


Milissa and Jockey


Sunday, January 23, 2005 3:06 PM

 We're stuck in side!


Hey Everyone,


Well, as I thought, I could not leave GEB today. My flight was canceled and Logan Airport is closed indefinitely. I am currently scheduled on a flight tomorrow at 11:00 AM. But, we'll see if I actually get on it. So, we've been stuck inside all day. We got so much snow. I am 5 foot 1 and the snow comes up to about my thy. Jockey loves the snow and tries to play in it when I take him out to go to the bathroom. From what I understand, its pretty bad in Boston too. I've been told that a state of emergency has been declared and that so far, they have gotten 27 inches with more snow to come. Sense we have nothing to do, Andrea let us have a community run in the Camble Lounge. So, after we did group obedience, we let our dogs loose in the lounge. It was so much fun. They played for about 45 minutes. Jockey was a nut! After all the other dogs were tired, he was still wanting to play. Hey, he's just like me, he never seems to get tired! While the dogs were running wild, we worked on calling our dogs to us. Jockey did ok but, I ended up calling him to me and giving him a Charley Bear so that he would come to me right when I called him and not a few minutes later. Once I incorporated the Charley Bears, whenever I would call him, he would come right over to me. Of course, he got lots of praise too. It looks like we are going to order out this evening. We're going to get pizza. We are all so board. There is nothing to do. Well, I'm gonna go see if I can stir up some trouble! (smile) I'll check in later.


Milissa and Jockey



Monday, January 24, 2005 9:57 PM

 We finally made it home!


Hey Everyone,


Just wanted to let everyone know that Jockey and I made it home. We were able to catch an 11:00 flight out of New York. We've had a pretty interesting day but, I will write about it tomorrow. I am tired and just want to relax and read a book.


I'll talk to you all tomorrow.


Milissa and Jockey



Tuesday, January 25, 2005 10:50 PM

 Our first full day home!


Hey Everyone,


Well, we got home yesterday in spite of all the snow. Although, we had a pretty eventful flight home. I was lucky enough to catch the 11:00 AM flight out of LaGuardia. However, it was delayed in leaving. We finally left around 11:30 and while we were in the air, we had a medical emergency. A woman had a seizure. The flight attendant made a call for a nurse or doctor over the loud speaker and fortunately, there was a nurse on board. The nurse helped the patient and eventually, the woman came out of the seizure.


As if that weren't enough, when we finally reached Logan Airport, all the power had gone out. We were the last plane they let land. Every other plane after us had to do holding patterns in the air until the power came back on. The only reason they let us land was because we had a medical emergency on board.


Because there was no power, they could not get the jet way out. So although I had finally made it to Boston, I couldn't get off the plain. Paramedics got on the plane from the rare and took the woman who had the seizure off the plane. We had to wait about a half hour before they hooked up an emergency stair case to the plane so that we could get off.


After that, I had to wait for ever for my luggage. Just as I reached luggage claim the power came back on and because they were backed up, I had to wait about another half hour.


My father, two younger sisters, and younger brother came to pick me up. Boy were we all glad to get out of there! (smile)


Jockey did very well on the plane. Although, when we were landing, (the second we hit the ground) Jockey suddenly jumped up like a Jack In a Box. As long as he could look out the window, he was fine until we got off the plane. I can't blame him for being board. (smile)


When we finally got to leave Logan, we were starving and decided to hit the MC Donald's near my house. We then came back to my apartment and ate. Jockey was a bit excited but, he was pretty much calm.


After my father left, my neighbor Chris who is currently self-training his guide dog, hung out. Chris's dog is a 10 month old German Sheppard. We decided to let Jockey and Missie meet. Jockey and I went up to Chris's apartment. Well, Jockey was all over her. Missie just finished being in heat a couple days ago so, Jockey kept chasing her and humping her. I tell you, this dog was going crazy! When I would try to get him under control, he just kept going nuts. My God! He is so strong. Finally, I calmed him down and Chris and I ate dinner with both dogs on tie-down.


After dinner, Jockey and I came back down stairs to my apartment and had some quiet time. However, Jockey would not settle down. I put his bed on the floor next to my bed and he kept popping up and crying. I got down on the floor with him and tried petting him and softly talking to him. That seemed to work as long as I stayed down there with him. Well, I finally decided that I needed to get to bed. But, every time I would settle into bed, he would pop up, go to the end of his tie-down and start crying. At first, I wasn't sure what to do, Wendy, I wanted to call you but, it was 11:00 at night and I didn't want to wake you up. Anyway, I thought about all the conversations I've had with puppy raisers and the instructions GEB gave us when we first got our dogs. After thinking about it, I began to tell him "quiet" in a very stern voice every time he would cry. (Neither one of my previous dogs ever cried when we got home.) After doing this for a while, he finally settled down and fell asleep.


This morning, we woke up at 7:00 and I fed him and took him out. Then we went back to sleep until about 9:30. Boy, was it great to finally sleep in my own bed! I slept like a baby!


At 12:00, I took Jockey out again and gave him some water. We then did obedience. He did pretty well, a little distracted but, that is to be expected.


At 12:30, my friend Melissa Emery and her GEB dog Milli came over. Jockey and Milli met and took to each other right away. They played like crazy and kept playing tug with Jockey's bones. They had so much fun! While Jockey was playing with Milli, I worked on the here command. Each time I called him, Jockey came flying over to me. I was so proud of him!


Melissa, Chris and I then went to Apple Bee's for lunch. I worked Jockey to Apple Bee's which is about a 20 minute walk from my house. However, it was really difficult because of all the snow. I tell you guys, we got hammered! I won't be walking anywhere by myself for quite a while.


We ate at Apple Bee's and for some reason, the food was not all that great. Jockey did well and laid on the floor on my right side next to the booth.


After Apple Bee's we decided to take the subway to Pet Smart. Sense Chris did not have his dog and sense he has some useable vision, I had him guide me and I just healed Jockey. I didn't want to put to much pressure on Jockey our first time out.


Jockey did well on the train and did a great job healing over to Pet Smart. However, its when we reached Pet Smart that the real fun began!


I figured the pet store would be really stimulating for Jockey so, I took his harness off before we went in. Well, he went bananas! He kept doing his little puppy play stance and bouncing and spinning, and sniffing. This dog is going to give me a run for my money! I tried correcting him and telling him to sit and stay. Not wanting to be to harsh our first time out, I was not as firm as I could be. But, after about a half hour when he still had not settled down after me telling him numerous times to sit and stay, I finally got down on the floor, got in his face and grabbed his muzzle and told him "enough" and that it was time for him to behave. I said it in a very stern voice and shook his muzzle up and down. Well, when I got up, I felt like I had a whole new dog. (smile) After that, he listened like a charm and didn't even try to pull me. He did such a great job for his first outing.


AT Pet Smart, I got Jockey some more bones. My oh my! He is a power chewer. I'm gonna go through bones like crazy with him.


We all then walked back to the subway and took the train back to my stop. We took a taxi from the train station to my house. When we got back. Jockey and Milli played some more. A little while later, Melissa and I put our dogs on leash and Chris came down with Missie on leash. Jockey was much more controllable around her this time. He did a great job!


Well, now everyone is gone and Jockey is chewing on his new sterilized bone. He loves it! I have class tomorrow but, I am not going. There is so much snow that there is no way I could ever walk to the train station. So, I think I will bail on classes tomorrow and take the time to hang out with Jockey and do some bonding.


Well, those are our adventures thus far. I will keep you all updated. For those of you here in the east, try to stay warm and not get lost in the snow. (smile) Some of the snow drifts here are as tall as me and I am 5-foot 1. So, you now understand why I can't go out walking the streets. (smile) Talk to you all later.


Milissa and Jockey


Final Words:


I want to thank you all for joining me on this journey. I've enjoyed this list and everyone's support and interest. Jockey and I will have many great times together and will be a great team! I look forward to many years together!


Thanks again!


Milissa and Jockey