Thursday, October 27, 2011

I Don't Want to Jinx It

The last 24 hours have been extremely good and productive ones. Glacier and I had our assessment yesterday and I also got a bit further with the triathlon training aspect of things.
First of all, the assessment went very well. I felt confident going in because of the solid work Glacier and I have been putting in as of late. The guide dog laws are a bit different in the UK  in comparison to  North America with regards to access laws and such. Pretty much, in North America, if your guide dog is qualified you are covered by all access laws. In the UK your dog must be from one of five schools-guide dog and assistance dogs alike-in order for them to be protected by the laws. This means, Mr. K and I have to register with the Guide dog Association. Otherwise, we do not, by law, have the right to be in public facilities. Thus far, we have not had any problems, but we've only been here for two months and who knows what may pop up. There are a few other benefits to being registered with the Guide Dog Association, but my main concern is access laws.
So, both Glacier and Roscoe have to under go an assessment by the representative to ensure our dogs are working safely and are healthy. I can kind of see why because if we are signed on, we are covered by the association's insurance. I'm not sure I agree with the way things are done, but there are a lot of reasons why it works here. Plus, I'm sure some of my resistance is due to what I am used to. Regardless of how I feel about it, it is more beneficial to be signed on with the association.
The representative arrived around 2 and followed Glacier and I at a distance. Glacier did slow his pace a bit, but his work was spot on. His curb work was perfect and that fluidity I talked about before was there. The Rep stopped us after about a ten minute walk and said that he had seen enough. He was impressed with the work we had done. He said he wished he could have taken some of the credit for our progress, but conceded that it was all me. That made me  high as a kite. I have been working hard with Glacier and to have a professional recognise it,  makes me feel fantastic.
I asked him if there was anything Glacier and I could work on and even though he was stumped for a minute, he suggested that we could work on stopping closer to the curbs' edge. To be quite honest, when Glacier and I are working alone, I am comfortable with where he stops. It is about a step back from the edge and that makes me feel safe. There have been a few times where cars/trucks have taken corners too close and wheels have rolled up over the curb. If Glacier and I were standing up close, we would have been rolled over. I think part of it is that the Rep wants to make sure the vehicles know Glacier and I are about to step off the edge. So, I have made an effort to make my hand signal for "forward" over exaggerated in order to signal to the drivers that we are on the move. At Leader Dogs for the Blind we are also taught to drop our handle hand down almost on to the dogs back to indicate that we are not moving and that is what I do. Either way, it doesn't really matter because Glacier and I have made big changes and the representative was able to see that. He should be back next week to keep the process of registering moving right along.
On the triathlon front, things may be looking up. E, one of Tenie's flat mates and a friend, and I are going to start a running regiment tomorrow. We're starting out slowly even though E's fitness levels are higher than mine right now, but will be ramping up the intensity of our runs as the weeks progress. We haven't figured out the gym thing yet, but at least there is progress in the running department.
I have also been in the middle of an emailing frenzy contacting Scottish Disability Sport and a bunch of other sport oriented organisation in order to get the triathlon thing going. A member of Scottish Disability Sport wants to sit down and chat with me and Talking Tandems, a cycling group for blind people out of Fife, have given me a few dates for an introductory session.
So, you can see  why I wouldn't want to jinx it. "Rome wasn't built in a day" and neither was great athletes and so baby steps make me very happy. Let's just hope things keep progressing this way with both mine and Glacier's work and my triathlon training.


L^2 said...

Yay, very glad to hear things are progressing well for you. :) It's always interesting to hear how guide dog programs do things in other countries. I had no idea you had to be a member of one of their organizations in the UK in order to legally have public access with your dog.

Nicky said...

Hey, I would be very interested to learn more about the access laws in the states pertaining to Guide Dogs and a little more about just how it all works. I am also interested in your opinions on the way things are done in the UK. I would imagine its very much the same as we do it here. Maybe its something we should just chat privately about I don't know but if you feel you can write more about it to give more of an insight here I would certainly be interested to read.

Glad the assessment is going well and fair play to you and Mr. G.

Jess and Glacier said...

L^2 Thanks. :) I didn't either until we got here and the guide dog rep told us. I'll go into more detail one of these days, but I want to learn more about their process before I start writing about it.
Nicky: I'd actually love to talk to you about the process you under go here. I would like to do a post on the differences, but I don't know enough about the classes/laws here to write anything yet. Would you feel comfortable leaving me a comment with your email address and I can contact you? I just won't post the comment so that your email address remains private.