One week down !

Ricky and I have been home for a week now and have been working well together ! We are establishing our routes and our relationship ! I am amazed at the difference he has made in me ! He is just amazing !
We are trying to become a stronger team and to do this we need to work hard together and have been out walking and working on his skills and mine ! We have also had a lot of fun blowing off some steam in the back yard playing just as hard as we work.
This past weekend we were a part of my great friends wedding. I was a bridesmaid and so was Ricky, he did a fabulous job and was great everyone there loved him. He also got to dress up and had a tux and bow tie he was very dapper. We also stayed in a hotel for the weekend which went really well the hotel we stayed at was amazing they were so accommodating and nice this was a nice change. Usually we don’t get great treatment. And my friends that helped us this weekend and were so tolerant were so amazing ! You know you have amazing friends when the bride tells the photographer that we need to rap up the photo shoot so Rick can eat. True amazing friends, I couldn’t ask for better people in my life.
We have also went to our first toastmasters meeting together and Rick was a very welcomed new member. Toastmasters is a great thing in my life and a outlet that I love to be involved in.
Next weekend we will be off to another wedding as my brother in-law is getting hitched. Rick has been thrown into my busy life and has adjusted very well.
I would love to say thank you to all of you that have supported us and helped us reach our goals !
Until next time !!!!!!

Life is good !

Well the second week of training flew by so fast. We did many things that made me very nervous but together Ricky and I did it. We rode the train, the city bus, and did many routes to unfamiliar places. Learned to take the escalator together, I have always hated the escalators since I could not see where the steps were when they were moving. Now we do them no problem.
I have always tried to be a person that doesn’t let life get in the way of what I want to do but I have always had some nervousness about certain things when going about life with low vision. So I find it amazing that in this short amount of time Ricky has helped me to realize that I can do anything. I had a tendency to only go out when I had to and or wait for someone to go with me and now I don’t care if someone comes or not and I wanna go out and enjoy life and tackle it one day at a time and do what I want not what people think I should do. My experience has been nothing but positively life changing.
Unfortunately with the good comes the bad but I am learning to deal with people and their ignorance. Last night we went to the school for the kids open house and when we were walking through the busy hall someone said “Oh I didn’t know you could bring  dogs to the school now”. Since I was with my kids and didn’t want to cause a scene I took the high ground and left it alone. But I am truly surprised at peoples ignorance I am holding a harness in my hand that says “Guide Dogs for the Blind” this clearly states the obvious. I don’t think I am special nor do I take for granted being able to take Ricky in public with me, but he is doing a job and giving me the freedom you take for granted on a daily basis.
Education is going to be the key for the people around us! But it doesn’t matter what anyone says I am smiling from ear to ear and my new confidence and freedom ! I was a little depressed before and just couldn’t seem to kick it no matter how positive I tried to stay. But now I am sleeping well again and smiling everyday, and beyond grateful for the people that have made Ricky my reality ! There are not enough words in the world to describe my gratitude !
Ricky and I will be heading to a hotel on friday to be a part of a good friends wedding I am very excited to not be nervous about finding my way around. Ricky will be by my side eager to find a chair and to get me where we need to go ! So life bring it on !

HERE !!!

Hello Everyone,
I am here in Portland Oregon training with my new guide dog. We have been doing great. His name is Ricky he is a 2 year old 67 lbs yellow lab and he is the sweetest thing ever.  Our personalities match perfectly !

It is hard to put into words how happy I am to have him by my side, every time we go out and do a route to practice our skills together I am more and more amazed and in awe. We walk seamlessly down the streets of down town Portland during busy rush hour and don’t bump a single thing. Being able to enjoy the walk and not have to find things on the way is amazing and just having to say find the door and taking off like a rocket to find it !!!! instead of fumbling around poking things with my cane trying to find it or relying on my husband or someone else to find it ! The same goes for finding stairs or a chair ! The things these dogs do is more than amazing there are no words that will correctly describe the feeling I get knowing he will be by my side for many years to come. We work as one and I am in awe he is my angel from my dad !

The day the instructor brought Ricky to my room to introduce us I was not sure how it was all going to pan out if we would click or not. That day I was not really sure it was going to work he didn’t really pay much attention to me and every time he heard the trainer in the hall he would whine a little, and he laid on the floor away from me facing the door whenever possible. So I was a little discouraged to say the least. We started working right away and I slowly started to win his heart with food ! The trainer told me he could be easily persuaded with food and that we would eventually bond as a team. The next morning when I got up I rolled over to say good morning to Ricky and there he was with his head on the bed beside me and greeted me with a big kiss. Since then we have been working so good together he is a very affectionate fellow. He loves to cuddle and he now gets excited every time he seems me and never leaves my side. When I brush my teeth he is right there behind me when I get up and leave the room there comes Ricky a close step behind me. He is officially one of my kids. I love him to pieces and trust him with my life. I told him to go forward from a curb the other day and a car came whizzing up and he put himself between me and the car and I knew that he felt the same way about me.

I will try to keep you updated on the next week of our training, but so far I am on cloud 9 ! My cheeks hurt from smiling all day for the last 5 days !

Until Next Time
Ashley