[nagdu] Introduction

Nicole Torcolini ntorcolini at wavecable.com
Sat Jul 12 23:18:50 UTC 2014

Did you get your dog from a school? Did you say that she just turned one?
That's amazing that your last dog continued to work part time for that long.

Nicole and Lexia 

-----Original Message-----
From: nagdu [mailto:nagdu-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Carmella Broome
via nagdu
Sent: Saturday, July 12, 2014 9:04 AM
To: nagdu at nfbnet.org
Subject: [nagdu] Introduction

Hi everyone, I  recently joined this list.  I live and work in SC and  have
lived here all my life. I completed training with my third guide dog, a
gentle little yellow lab named Brooklyn, in  June, and thought this would be
a good time to reconnect with other guide dog users. I was active on guide
dog-related lists in the  late 90s but then got busy with  grad school and
professional pursuits and  couldn't keep up with all the  lists I was on.  

I still don't have tons of time, but   there is so much about working with
guide dogs that only others who know what this unique partnership is like
can fully relate to, I think. Its a lifestyle and relationship that is so
special and that comes with    rewards and challenges that  go so far beyond
what even those closest to us can fully  comprehend. The various experiences
of dog handlers and the diversity  lists like this provides offers so many
interesting perspectives and information and  its always nice when  fellow
guide dog handlers can  encourage and support each other. 

Getting to know, and trust, a young new helper and companion is always
interesting.  Its a process, and as many of  you know, it takes time and
patience. Having a half-grown, newly trained  puppy in the house and in the
harness is very different from  living and working with  a dog who's
personality, work style, and   behaviors are  very familiar. Every day
brings new discoveries. 

I haven't gone through the process of transitioning to a new dog since 1999.
This time, I'm  dividing my focus between Brooklyn and  my job and other
responsibilities.  When I trained with my previous dogs in 96 and 99, I was
on summer break from college and could devote most of my time and energy
exclusively to them. Trying to find the balance has been  fairly stressful
but we're managing it okay.

On the other hand, I'm a  much more  confident and  assertive adult now so I
am able to be more clear and consistent with   boundaries when it comes to
family, friends, and colleagues while we are still in our "bonding bubble"
as I call it. I'm blessed to have a wonderful and respectful support system.
They loved my last dog, who  worked  for nearly fourteen years, and was only
semiretired when she passed a few days before her 16th birthday. They are
all so glad I  finally trained with a new dog almost a year later. Those who
know  me well know I'm not truly myself without a guide dog by my side.
Everyone wants Brooklyn and I to do well. I've tried hard to  make sure they
understand the  importance of our bond, why certain rules are necessary,
and  all the sacrifices others made to help her become a successful guide
dog.  We have  wonderful family, friends, and co workers. That's such a help
and  such a blessing. 

I also have a lot more experience traveling and  working with a guide dog,
of course. I also  live in a very walkable city  area where we can venture
out and  work more.  This was not the case when I first came home with my
first two dogs. We've had  a few adventures so far, some more successful
than others. We've gotten lost a couple times and that's always scary. We
have strengths and  weaknesses, like all teams. The heat here is limitting,
and we usually  try and get a decent walk in   around 7:00 in the morning.
Its nice and quiet then, but we also don't have a steady flow of traffic to
help me stay oriented. I know that's part of our problem at times.  

Brooklyn is very young (just turned one in early February).  She is  usually
quiet, calm,  and  a little introverted, but   she is an eager worker and
does have a playful side.  Her age is obvious in the amount of chewing she
likes to do. I live in an area with a lot of squirrels who are used to being
close to humans and dogs and she is  fascinated with them.   She  gets a
little  distracted  and overeager at times. She is a dog who needs a lot of
verbal  encouragement to keep her focussed and confident. I hardly ever have
to use leash corrections with her. She  wants to  please and for me to be
happy with her and  seems to get a little upset if/when she makes mistakes.
Sometimes, this leads her to  be in a hurry  and to try and predict what
I'll want. Sometimes, I have to slow her down and reassure her that she's
doing fine  so she'll relax into a good rhythm and wait for my  commands.
She thrives on praise and affection. She enjoys working and I think
  her confidence will grow as she  matures and gains more and more
experience with me. My confidence in her will grow, as well.       

Anyway, glad to be here.
Carmella and Brooklyn

Carmella Broome EdS LPC LMFT
Crossroads Counseling Center, Lexington SC
Author of Carmella's Quest:  Taking On College Sight Unseen (Red Letter
Press 2009) http://CarmellasQuest.WordPress.com

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