crypticgirl: (ashton)
( Mar. 29th, 2009 07:28 pm)
I'm getting a new guide dog in just a few weeks. I had a trial walk last Sunday with Elise the black lab, a three or four year old female who has come from a human just retired from work. She trotted into my flat and immediately came to say hello... by licking my arm. Then switching to my other arm. Then she started in on my foot. She was waggling her tail all the time, so I'm not sure if this is just her standard greeting or whether she just decided I looked particularly edible for some reason.

After a few minutes talking about things like "do you think this shoebox will really be okay for a dog?", we went outside and looked for toileting areas. There are a couple of possibles: across the laneway at the back of the apartment block is a tree with some grass around it (downside: have to walk across laneway first, hell of a trek in the rain), down the side of the building itself (downside: windows look directly out at ground level; people would see, hear and smell her pooing in high definition detail), and at the front of the building behind some trees (downside: not fenced). We decided that if we can get the body corporate to allow some temporary fencing like lattice or chicken wire at the front that will be the best option. Steps are already underway to see just how recalcitrant my body corporate is. I've never had to deal with a body corporate before, but my understanding is that it's a matter of degrees, not whether I'll run into problems or not.

Then we went for a trial walk to the station. It's not very far from where I live, but I noticed a couple of things: she was on the ball straight away, rearing to go. She dodged obstacles very deftly. She loved being in a new area, but wasn't distracted by it - I could tell her head was moving around a lot, but this is an obstacle-laden walk and she didn't run me into anything. This is especially impressive because there are also distractions: I don't know if we ran into the resident cat, but the dogs in the houses nearby were barking. She turned her head more at their noise, but didn't stop working.

So after thinking on it for a couple of days, I said yes. The 20th has been settled upon because it looks like I won't have a lot of interstate travel for work in the month thereafter. I'm already making preparations for then: I now have a backpack without broken zippers (important because you can't carry a bag that cuts out use of one arm with a guide dog), and I may have gone a leetle overboard on the doggy toys today at Coles. Overall, I'm feeling positive about it, though I'm obviously sad about Ashton at times too. I'm sure that will keep cropping up in the months to come.

Oh, and I think I'll be calling her Ellie if she'll let me. Elise is nice, but it does sound like a name that belongs on a receptionist, not a guide dog.
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