“Home” Interview

Following up with yesterday’s announcement of Yara’s retirement, I’d first like to express my gratitude to everyone for the thoughtful comments, tweets and emails. I can’t begin to keep up with replying back, so please don’t think I’m ignoring you, but as you can surely imagine there is much going on and I’m a bit spent.

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m also reapplying for my next guide dog. Fidelco’s process is pretty simple for graduates and the requirements are quite basic: up-to-date medical forms filled out and submitted and a home interview. I already had a doctor’s appointment scheduled for Wednesday and figure I can have that all sorted then.

The home interview took place yesterday. Sort of randomly at that. I’d taken the day off because of Yara’s eating strike and the fact that my eyes were hurting a lot and I figured I was getting a migraine. By mid-morning I’d convinced her to eat her breakfast and decided to run a few errands with my free day. This required a visit to Crossgates Mall and while I was wandering around I got a call from Dave who was in the area and wanted to know if I was able to work in my home interview.

I had been anticipating a call from Fidelco, but this one took me quite by surprise as I was expecting my interview to be with Mary sometime next week. She and I had talked last week and in fact she was the one who finally helped me ultimately decide to retire Yara. I’m quite familiar with her and, as she was planning to be in the area over July 4th weekend, had suggested conducting my home interview. Anyway, I told Dave all that and basically expressed some mild confusion as to what to do. In the end, with Mary’s blessing, we all decided the best course of action was to get this all moving as quickly as possible. Or, at least, everyone else decided this and I mostly babbled in confusion, which seemed to be taken as some form of affirmation.

And so that was how I found myself at Friendly’s with a kiddie straw feeling a might jittery. I don’t know exactly why, since I’m fully behind my decision to retire Yara and equally so with getting a new dog. But something about confirming that and having everything, well, just happen is vastly intimidating in some intangible way. I spent most of the time waiting for Dave trying to distract myself with pestering friends via text message. Mostly I think I was just freaking my waiter out with how jumpy I was. He was pretty sweet about it, especially when I briefly explained what was going on and why my nerves were strung so tight.

Anyway, after waiting for about an hour, Dave finally showed up. Turns out he got turned around in the mall and had a bit of trouble locating Friendly’s. He didn’t waste any time and immediately started asking about my reasons for retiring Yara and the specifics of her health issues. He also inquired about my plans for Yara in the interim and post-retirement. To which I reaffirmed my desire to work her until I have a match, stressing how very much I didn’t want to repeat such a lengthy wait between dogs as I did with Dolly. And I explained my two as-yet-unconfirmed options for Yara’s post-retirement home, noting that I won’t have any specifics for a few months. Yara busied herself with discretely sniffing every inch of him she could reach without moving from her spot camped on my feet. After, we walked back through the mall so Dave could observe us working inside. And then we then drove to my apartment and chatted some more about my needs in a subsequent guide and what would best work for me with training. I gave him the very condensed version of my issues at work with time off as well. Dave seemed fairly confident that a match wouldn’t be available until at least the end of this year, which we both agreed is both good and bad. He’s made many placements in this area during his career and is quite familiar with the harshness of training during winter. And that’s not even factoring in my bad weather curse when it comes to guide dog training! Though, he did say that an alternative to taking off two weeks from work would be to start on a Friday after work and train the full nine days following. Thus I would only have to take off one week. Personally that sounds fine and great, but I’m not exactly thrilled about ending a day of work only to train for ten days and then go right back to work the very next day. We’ll see.

When Dave was through taking notes on all this, we headed back outside into the lovely summer day and walked through my neighborhood to Price Chopper and back. I joked to Dave while we were out that with my luck in terms of guide dog training and weather they’ll most certainly call in December/January when it’s freezing and snowing or next July/August when it’s sweltering and humid because I’ve yet to train in weather as pleasant as yesterday’s. Anyway, once we were back home Dave concluded that “[we] look really good together and seem very much in tune.” He expressed sympathy that it wasn’t going to work, but he very much understood the reasoning behind the decision and fully supported it.

That was basically it. Once my medical forms are submitted my file will be presented to the selection committee and I’ll officially be on the waiting list for my next guide dog.

It’s all a bit much to grasp for me just yet.


  1. Wow, that was so fast. No wonder your head is spinning. I do hope you won’t have to train in the worst of the winter weather, though.

    • It took me very much by surprise. But now it’s done and the waiting thing begins. I have no doubt that I’ll hear nothing until later this year, but come Thanksgiving I’ll be going out of my mind, I’m sure.

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