Guide Dog Uncertainty

Hello everyone, and welcome to my journal. This journal is going to be a reflection journal about my experience training for my first guide dog one year ago, and how my life has changed. I hope you all enjoy reading it.
     I just had my last final exam yesterday, officially marking the completion of my freshman year of college. This has been an extremely exciting year for me, but it did not hit me until now what a whirlwind my life has been. Last year at this time, I was a carefree senior with hardly any responsibility except making sure I got my homework done. Even that was difficult because my mind was already onstage receiving my diploma (smile). February of last year, my teacher and I decided that I would be the perfect candidate for a guide dog. I loved dogs, hated white canes, and could not keep myself walking in a straight line, which would mean disaster when I got to college and had to cross streets. But for medical reasons, I could not travel to New Jersey or California and spend a month so far away from home. Besides, I would get more out of the training if I could train in a familiar place like my college campus. So in February, my teacher took me to Madison to meet a dog trainer who worked with a new program that was offering in-home training. The trainer asked me questions about my orientation and mobility skills, and watched me walk with and without a cane to see how I walked, and determine what kind of dog would be suitable for me. But the trainer warned us that the program was small, with only a few dogs, but that he thought I would be a perfect candidate for a dog. He didn’t know if they had a dog that met my needs, but he would get back to us.
     A year ago today, I did not know whether I would be going to college with a dog or a cane, and every time the possibility of a guide dog entered my mind, I pushed these thoughts away because I didn’t want to get too excited, and then be crushed if things didn’t work out. Little did I know at the time that three weeks later, I would hear my dog’s wonderful name, and meet him four days after that. I am not telling you his name today, so you’ll have to follow my journey, and experience the suspense that I experienced (grin). But I will close for today by saying that things did work out, and I have grown to be a more independent, responsible person than I was one year ago today.

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