I have been here at the guide dog school training for 6 days now. I am doing ok, even though I am he oldest in the class, and the only one who has a visual impairment from a brain lesion (AVM of course). Everyone else (there are 7 others) have an optical impairment -macular, rp, etc. and one army guy who was blinded in Afghanistan by a grenade. It was he who actually asked me why I waited so long to get a dog. He thought, at first, I had just recently had the brain surgery, instead of it being 50 years ago. I should have said I did not want to talk about it, but off I went trying to explain something to people who just don't get it. I have a lifetime of experience with hemianopia and its consequences, like falling down, walking into things, making messes, getting lost, losing things, and I can't explain that. He tried to say my type of loss usually comes back. Yes, that is true in 30 - 50% of cases, In mine, it never came back. He said there was therapy now and on and on and he knew this guy who.... So, I went to my room feeling so down, once again feeling like an alien where I do not belong. I can see part of the world clearly, and I was ashamed that I could. I thought well, they think I should not be here and do not deserve a dog. I do not really care what they think, but I still feel badly and am heading towards quitting. The training is hard because I can't remember the words that are supposed to be used with the dogs, which side the dog should be on when a door opens a certain way, and even the dog's name sometimes. I have always had a difficult time with left and right. It's important to say the correct way for the dog. None of the others have problems like that. I am also the short person with the not so large dog they matched for me, and we walk a little slower than most. Today we can go on the trail with a buddy, but a trainer said that I can't go with so and so because their pace is much faster than mine. Help.
Hello Wonder Woman !
You are that you know...you have traversed unfamiliar territory in and on foreign lands for five decades and it seems it must be exhausting work . You always astound me with your courage stamina and bravery and ability to see beyond the scope of others limited experience and perception(s) . You have inside of you more gumption , sorry . My intention is to explain what I read in you but this is about and for YOU , only you . If you feel unworthy of this opportunity because of others tell yourself what you would tell one of us . If you are discombobulated by the scale of persistence required for forward momentum with every aspect ( even directions and the dog's name ) tell yourself what you would tell one of us .
In this woman's opinion you ( as are we all ) are more than worthy of all of the assistance and help moving forward that is available . You are there to learn and practice and it has been only six days ....perhaps your progress is better than you judge ? It might take more thought on your part to find the correct words but I believe you will . Your pace is slower than some there ? That is so with many and perhaps if you have a conversation with the trainers there you can help them to help you ? There must be a way .
Oh Beansy just look at all you have accomplished by yourself .... imagine where you and your dog can go .... if this program can work with and for you I can not imagine the freedom you might experience . I can only imagine the autonomy the stability the joy of not being fearful of people places and things being an obstacle or a hazard for you . Perhaps woman you are meant - despite your angst trepidation and hopefully short term - feeling of feeling badly enough to quit - yes perhaps you are meant to be there and learn all you can while accepting all of the assistance offered and asking for that assistance which is not yet offered ?
Perhaps this is all about YOU and YOU are more than worthy !
Beansy whatever you decide to do I am certain will be right and best for you . You have been an amazing example of accomplishment and miraculous forward motion for fifty years and I do not think that will ever stop being so with or without the program . I simply see such possibilities for you -within you-and all around you that I believe that with a few notes to yourself with dogs name and writing right and left on your hands and a few words with the staff would be beneficial for you .
Beansy you called yourself the short person ....I see a woman who is tall enough to reach high enough to have what she wants and needs .
Be good to you . Take care of you .
I'm sorry you're having such a struggle with this, but don't give up!
Surely the organization has 'someone' among their trainers, or could at least network on your behalf to help you out.
I have a friend @ Ben's Friends community (someone I actually know locally) who is a brain injury survivor & has trained her dog as a therapy dog.
Will send you a private message with her name.
Take care & hang in there,
I knew you would answer. I knew it before I wrote this. What a great idea to write left and right on my hands and the name of the dog on my right hand. I will find a marker here and do it now. I did just go for a walk with harness without a trainer. I went with another woman here who is a student. She is the one they said I could not keep up with. I kept up with her and was ahead of her on the way back. Without being critiqued by a trainer, I did so well. You're right, I think I am a wimp. but I have been fighting my whole life and I keep moving forward most of the time. I won't fail and I won't quit. I may feel badly, but I am not answering anymore questions about myself that I don't need to. Thanks again for making me see me. I owe you one.
That would be a great help to me - talking to someone who has a dog and a brain injury. I need all the help I can get.
Beansy, don't you dare give up! Not yet. It's only been a few days. Give yourself a chance. You are absolutely deserving and worthy of this dog and all the help it will bring you. You have accomplished so much already just by getting where you are and by being there with the opportunity. You can do this, I know you can. I think you know you can too, you just were feeling a bit down and perhaps forgot how incredibly awesome you are! Besides, you have to tell me all the secrets so that maybe one day I can have this opportunity too! We love you, hang in there!
I think it is very cool that you are at guide dog training school! Good for you for sticking with it & even keeping up with the student you were told is too fast for you!
I love the idea of writing left & right on the hands. I was the kid in elementary school who took much longer than the other kids to tell left from right. At one point I had sneakers that were labeled left & right (they came that way!). I also would look for the freckle on my left hand when riding bikes & my dad would tell us to turn left or right.
I'm lucky in not having any deficits so far, but my husband and I have discussed which of our dogs would be best to train as a service dog should I need one. For years, we have talked about wanting to train our dogs for therapy work, but just haven't done it.
I hope that the past couple of days have gone well. :)