Those following the daily video updates of our training know I am elated with the steady positive progress we are making and my appreciation. We are exceeding my expectations in this working partnership. We are still working hard and learning a tremendous amount about each other and the requirements of supporting each other through the goal of becoming a team capable of navigating the myriad environments we are likely to encounter going forward.
I shared with one of my classmates the perspective that it was in some ways like having had a prior employee who had learned to cover for all our mistakes–or perhaps idiosyncrasies–and suddenly these are all uncovered and examined by the new employee.
We all likely bring different strengths and weaknesses to our approach and we have to develop a new meshing of the system to these processes in a way which allows us both to succeed. There was tremendous thought in the match, much like an intensive interview process, but that’s just the foundation for the coming together. We now both need to understand what each of us needs and can reasonably give to make this pairing work.
Because it was so well begun, this is mostly the polishing and practice part which two weeks barely begins in earnest. As such, we put our focus on the tools which enable us to continue the “practice makes progress” and “celebrate the milestones” mindset that will allow us to stride successfully forward. This success is not a label we achieve in completion, but rather a path we strive to remain upon as we use the tools to work together!
All this said, I want to even more strongly share that the working relationship is just part of the overall foundation and is supported by the development of a connection and bond which allows us to play, work, and steadily enrich each of our lives with the comforting presence of a loving companion.
Thank you to Guide Dogs for the Blind, our trainers, the Oregon campus staff, and of course the puppy raisers. Lives are changed so powerfully by this amazing work and I know because these last two weeks it has been my own.