|Its hard to fill the harness of an experienced Guide Dog - Courtesy GEB|
From the next day on, we were into rigorous training. We were to find out what it meant to be someone's eyes. There were so many people in this world who couldn't see for some reason or the other. Not being able to see is very difficult for everyone. How do you go from one place to another? I later saw a few of them use a long stick to guide them, but the stick didn't tell them so many things that eyes could. I was beginning to realise how important my eyes were!
We learnt how to wear a harness (that's what blind people hold on to so that we can lead them to places they want to go to), we learnt to cross streets, to wait for the traffic lights, to go around an obstacle, to plan the route to take when there is a car parked or is reversing, to decide so many many things that would make it safe for both myself and the person I lead.
We were taught that when we were at work (as a guide dog), we couldn't relieve ourselves everytime we felt the urge..that we had to learn to go at regular intervals, and only when told. I found that very hard. I mean, c'mon, when a gal has to go, she has to go, right? wrong! Any decent, self respecting guide dog would tell you that to learn when to go, without being a burden on your master is the right thing to do..
I'm going to let you on to a secret here..I never could resist the urge to keep exploring my surroundings..who went where, which animal had passed by, how many dogs had left their scent behind..you know what I mean. How can you not look around and find such things fascinating? The smells, the scents, the fragrances, oh so many interesting sounds, sights and wonders around you.. I did try so hard not to let these things distract me, but they were sooooo magnetic..so enticing..I couldn't help take a sniff here or there in the middle of my 'serious' training.
Four months of rigorous training and we were all deemed ready to take on a real job!
I was waiting eagerly, to show that I could do it; that I could be a good guide dog. The classes had started. It was the first day and I had not been given to anyone yet. Was I going to fail? Did I not do well enough to warrant a master? I was beginning to feel nervous. The day was over and no one came for me! Was it my exhuberance? or...was it my excessive tail wagging? I can't help being overexcited..its in my nature..how can I be blamed for that?
These kinds of thoughts went on an on for a short while, then I forgot all about it and went to sleep.
I woke up the next day, looking forward to loads of excitement as I usually did!
February 11th, 2000 - It was a few hours after I woke up, and had done my business, had my meal. One of my trainers came by and put me on a leash. I was so excited, I wagged my tail hard, panted harder to let them know I was happy and strained to run around, to rush forward, to jump with joy! I was going out!! I was being taken somewhere!
I was being taken somewhere! I went to a room, where my trainer kept by my side, holding on to my leash, while all I ached to do was run around. I had never been in this room. It looked like someone slept here. I could smell that person, and I liked that smell. I wanted to know more.
There were footsteps coming this way. I knew they stopped right in front of the door. I heard the key turn, and the door fell open. There were two people there. Another trainer, whom I really liked, and this stranger, whose smell was all over this room!
The trainer who was holding on to my leash, bent forward, released the clasp on my leash and looked up at the stranger and said, "Catch her, if you can!" and smiled (I wonder why?). I was beside myself! Freeeeeeeee! At last! to be able to run around and explore this wonderful room. I raced around, trying to get everything in..in a moment..to smell the bed, under it, the closet..what wasthere under it? I ran round and round..wagging my tail, zipping past everyone, feeling the rush of speed, until, the stranger caught me..
I stopped, my heart beating fast, my breath coming out in gasps...and in those gasps, I took in a deep breath and smelled him. He reeked of kindness, of softness, of gentleness. He was wonderful. I couldn't resist myself. I put my front paws on his thighs (he was sitting on the bed) and with one big stretch, I licked his face. There! I had told him that I liked him!
He seemed happy. He told the trainers that he liked me! He liked me! can you believe that? I was going to train with him and if I did things right, I would go home with him..to his house, and live with him forever. This wonderful man, this stranger who smelled so nice..was Raman. He couldn't see and now needed me to do the seeing for him! He had such a gentle voice! I knew he would be the kindest person I ever knew. He had such laughter in his voice too. I hoped at that moment that I would be chosen for him. I wanted it so bad. I went through the rest of the day, trying to climb his lap and lick him. I liked him that much!
|Thats Raman & I |
at the Graduation
|Don't I look Grand?Proud?|
Am a Graduate!