Breakfast with blind people. Very loud.
Next, a “Juno” walk, wherein a simulated guide dog experience unfolds with trainer named Sue at harness front end (pretending to be dog named Juno), and me at harness backend (pretending not to be demoralized). All the while, through the streets of Morristown, the head trainer watches to assess my skills with Juno, and to make sure that Sue’s pick for me is the right one. This pick is supposed to remain a mystery till tomorrow afternoon, though Sue has hinted, not so subtly, that I am getting my heart’s desire – a large German Shepherd male – by saying things like “here is the elevator. You and your dog won’t fit in there!”
But Sue is a wiseass and there are no guarantees.
Lunch with blind people. Again, very loud, but it dawns on me that it is our little foursome – Sue’s group – who are particularly loud. Let me just say that we have a lot of personality here.
After lunch we meet some dogs – one of which is mine. It was all very hush hush – no names exchanged but love at first um, sight! At least for me. in fact only two of us out of Sue’s training group met their future pup today. The official meeting and installation into our little dorm worlds happens tomorrow.
They are very good at generating excitement and anticipation here at The Seeing Eye: Sue told us the first letter of our dogs’ names – mine starts with an “I” and my first guess was Ivan, but now I think it’s Isaac… I’ll know tomorrow. The only guy in Sue’s cohort is also getting paired with a German Shepherd with initial “I”, and, knowing that they name every puppy in the same litter with the same initial letter, we correctly guessed that our dogs are brothers. Unfortunately his brother is a spazz while mine is perfect!
It was pretty cool being the eye of the hurricane: this dog named I—and I, sat calm and content whilst the soaring heart rates, heavy breathing, wrestling, scrambling, huffing and harrumphing swirled round and round us.
In those first few moments I wasn’t sure if he really was my dog, though I prayed that he was as he sat quietly by my side. Then we heeled the dogs into the lunch room and as I sat Sue whispered in my ear, “so do you like him? And I said, “it’s love at first sight – you can see that right?” she gave me a kiss on the cheek and ran off to deal with the blood (for real!), sweat and (not so happy like mine) tears of the others…
In my room now with a glass of wine that I stole away with after fifteen minutes of a “wine & cheese party” – I’ve socialized with blind people enough for the day – I look forward to tomorrow almost in a swoon.