Thought Wheel

Ann Chiappetta

Counting Down The Doggie Days Of Winter

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Counting Down … Guide Dog School on January 5, 2009

It’s December 1, 2008, and I’m counting the days until I report to Guiding Eyes for the Blind. It’s all I can talk about, all I want to think about, and all I can concentrate on lately. I wonder what my dog’s name will be, what training obstacles we will have, and what the other folks training at GEB will be like.
I can’t wait to meet Bev and Becky, and the trainers. I wonder how big our class will be and what the food will be like. I’m also a little nervous about how I’ll get along even though I’m not a Braille reader yet and if the training materials will be accessible to me.

My employer has been generous and cooperative in terms of my time off and returning to work. Not having to worry about the potential repercussions of leaving for a month lowers my overall worry so I can concentrate on the upcoming challenges.

As for our family, I am concerned about how we will all get along once we come back home, too. I’ve only been away from my husband and kids for a few weeks at a time and I find myself saying prayers that they will get on fine without me. I just have to believe it or my anxiety about leaving for a month will be overwhelming. Keeping this in mind, I remind everyone in the household that they will be doing the dishes, laundry, and cleaning. But I worry most about how our family dog will adjust to my absence.

Since her addition to our household, she and I have bonded and although I’ve tried to get my husband to take over her feeding and morning walks, I am still the one who gets up and does it.
I fear the the sudden change after I leave will depress her, but I have to believe that all will work out so I can do what I need to do. I’ll miss the dog as much as the kids and my husband. Maybe more.
Then there is my 13 year old daughter. She always seems to have the most trouble when I go away and I hope that this time will be different. This will be a good test for both of us in terms of separation and her determination to take good care of herself while I’m gone. I know she is very capable and strong, but I also know how much we will miss one another.

As for preparations, being mindful of the capricious January weather, I’ve purchased insulated/water resistant boots, a storm coat, gloves, and hat. I also bought a set of long underwear, just in case the wind chill is really bad on training walks. I’ve been reading the GEB’s participant manual, too, and have spoken with some folks who have graduated. The

next month will probably crawl.

So, on to the holiday season, and to waiting the day my life will change for the better when I finally meet my new partner.

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