Hello all my readers;
Those of you that follow my
will know that there were problems cropping up with my beloved guidedog cleveland, and it wasn’t getting better.
I tried everything short of screaming, gentle leader, strictly back to basics, etc.
His focus wasn’t there, and it got to a point where he started pulling really hard in harness to greet people, and I couldn’t keep his focus from outing to outing.
I called guidedogs for the blind February 19, 2013 and basically said I need help, I don’t know what to do, I’m absolutely stuck.
I tried reaching someone the day prior, but do to some holiday or another the office was closed.
I reached my FSR and we talked, including my mentioning maybe a possible reevaluation, and he said, OK, I can be up March 11, 2013 and we’ll see what we can do. Ok, *breathe* no need to panic, you can keep things rolling until someone can come up and see you. Later that day I received a second call from graduate services, and we talked more, and they indicate we can’t wait, we need to get cleveland back for reevaluation. So we put things in motion, and fast forward about a week.
Cleveland is picked up by a field manager from origon, and returns to campus.
I return to using a cane, *gasp* wait, can I still use the cane? Actually, I can!
I’m told I’ll get weekly updates, etc. At this point, it hits me like bricks, I lose it, what could I have done, and one of the guidedog lists I’m on bares the brunt of my ramblings, could I have done more, was I too hasty in returning him. The support from that point onward was absolutely amazing, the calls, the e-mails, just everything, all you on that list, you know who you are, you absolutely rock, thank you so very much.
We get to the first weekly update. It’s not good, and the person passing along the update knows this. Everything I’ve reported, there seing it, including some things I missed or that didn’t start until his return. They have had no lluck fixing it. Nobody’s giving up yet, though, let’s give it another week, I’ll call you next week.
I hope, prey, and continue hoping, but in the back of my mind I have to prepare myself for that call that says he can’t continue working.
Fast forward to March 15, 2013.
The phone rings, I grab it.
It’s the person delivering reports on cleveland.
It’s been determined that Cleveland cannot continue working as my guide, they can’t refocus him, they need to retire him from active guide work.
I’m told the next steps, what happens now, and the call is ended.
From that point onward it’s been an immotional time for me, why did I even bother, I should have just bared the brunt of it, keeping cleveland working, etc. A couple of people who immediately stepped up after his retirement was announced, I’d like to give special thanks to, you know who you are, because of your experience with dogs, and immediately not asking any questions, called me or in person kept me going, I thank you so very much. Everyone here in Toronto, back in Ottawa, the guidedogs counselling department, other graduates, all of you have continued to support me and I do sincerely thank you.
There has been the question of will I return to GDB, or will I recommend them in the future?
If you’d asked me that last week, my answer would absolutely not be fit for this blog, I blamed them, I blamed me, I blamed cleveland’s raisers, I was hardist on myself for giving up on him.
But now? Me personally? I honestly think as a new handler, and this is just my personal opinion, so please remember this. I think the two weeks is a good idea, in theory, and maybe if I’d done more research, I could have known the questions to ask, but the two weeks as a new firsttime never seen walked with a guidedog in my life, handler? sort of two much. Would I do it again? If I got a call right now from them saying we have a dog for you, I’d seriously have to ask myself if I could do two weeks. With what I know now? I probably would. I’d know the questions to ask, what to look for, who’s ear to ramble off.
Recommend it to others? It all depended on your individual situation. Blankitly, I would, but as an alumni member of GDB, I’d have to ask you individually questions and give you a recommendation at that point.
Will I get another dog? It’s in my future deffinitly, but where I might aquire the dog from will take a lot of consideration, thought, and talking to a lot of people, and making my choice from there.
If you’ve read this far, thank you.
In closing, thank you to guidedogs for still supporting me and taking my questions, my concerns, and thank you to those that took the brunt of my argumentative behavior when I wanted to scream at the injustice of it all. Thank you to both of Cleveland’s puppy raisers, names omitted unless they comment here on this post, for raising such an amazing dog, even if he had to retire early. Your dedication to him is boundless, and I thank you from both of us. To the person that has taken him in in his retirement, thank you for loving cleveland like I loved him in his working life. Once again, thank you, each and everyone of you reading this weather it’s by e-mail, rss, facebook, on twitter, etc. Thank you all for your support.
Talk to you all next time.