Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sense - Abilities # 9 - Approval Process at GDB

Happy Days are coming soon,.

Dad submitted his application for a guide dog in July. He had no idea how long it would take to get an answer. He had discussed it with his company and felt the mid November class would work best for his schedule.

In early August, a representative from Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) called to confirm they had received his application and had a few more questions.

In early October, GDB sent a representative named Emily to our house to meet Dad, Mom and Cuzzie, my soon-to-be doggie sister. (See how excited Dad was about getting a guide dog?!)

"Emily wanted to learn more about where I would live and work. She wanted to assure herself that I could provide a good, healthy and safe living environment for my guide dog," said Dad.

She also wanted to learn more about Dad's eye condition, how well he could use his cane and did he have the required orientation and mobility skills?

She checked his orientation and mobility skills while walking with him around the neighborhood. He was very nervous as they walked down the street, with Emily right behind him watching his pace, the sweep of his cane, his skill at crossing streets, how he handled changing grades along the way, and much more.

"Emily also wanted to know how well I monitored the traffic flow at intersections to determine the best time to cross the street," he said.

She also wanted to see how he negotiated obstacles and how well he knew the streets in the area where a guide dog would regularly walk with him.

In addition, Emily wanted to know the type of work he did, what types of mass transit he might use, the frequency of his out of town travels and the size of the cities that he visits as part of his job.

Before she left, Dad said that she did “Juno training” with him, which means that she pretended to be a guide dog, named Juno, and asked him to give her the commands like the ones he would learn at guide dog school.

When they got home, Emily said, “You really learn fast!” That made Dad feel very good.

The interview took about three hours and Dad passed the test.

Emily told him, "Only about 35% of the students that apply actually qualify for guide dog school.I think you have an excellent chance of being accepted, but the ultimate decision is not up to me. It's decided by a committee that weighs all the factors.

"A board reviews all applications and your application will have to go through the normal process."

However, she felt very positive and said she would "pencil" Dad in for the mid November class.

There was yet another call from GDB late in October. All they needed was for Dad to pass a physical. He got a physical the next day, and the doctor faxed the report to GDB.

Then the wait began. It was already late October and the class would start on November 19, so time was short.

Well, we all know what happened, right? Dad was approved on October 27. He recalled the emotion and excitement of being approved.

He screamed out loud in the office and his assistant wondered what was going on.

"I'm just excited and thrilled. I have been approved for guide dog school!"

Ah, isn't that nice!


PS One of Mom's friend's said, "Gee, I didn't know Richard wanted to be a guide dog." (ha ha ha)


Emily, Suede, and Burgess said...

That's great he was approved! I bet the next one will be all about meeting you, Zane! I can't wait!

Princess Coral said...

YAY! Let the fun begin!
Next, your daddie will meet all the crazy classmates, and YOU of course, at GDB!