They’ve been doing this weekly open thread thing for a while, I guess, but are making one tweak. They want to start inviting special guests to each open thread, and they decided to use me as their “test run” yesterday:
We’ll feature a regular Bark contributor, so readers can drill down on specific topics, such as training, behavior, rescue, activism, animal law and more. Other times, we’ll invite folks we admire to join the conversation.
I’ve never done instant messaging, but I’m guessing my experience yesterday afternoon was kind of what IM is like. Bark fans would comment or ask questions to the thread, and I’d answer in real time. An example from yesterday’s Off Leash thread:
Submitted by Jennifer B on April 27, 2011.
Beth, I’m not blind but I know several people that will be due to degenerative diseases of the eye. How hard was it to learn to trust your dog? I’ve worked as a care aide and done sensitivity training as if I were blind and it is hard to trust a human, that’s why I’m asking. How long did it take you to really put yourself in her paws?
Submitted by Beth Finke on April 27, 2011.
With my very first Seeing Eye dog I think it took me about a year to trust her. The second dog it only took me three months. I have been with Harper, my third dog, for four months now and find I don’t trust him *completely* yet, but I think that’s b/c I am living in a very busy city now — Chicago — and traffic is more difficult here. So actually, I guess I *do* trust Harper, just don’t trust the traffic!
Submitted by Lizzi on April 27, 2011.
I’d be interested to hear some more about your challenges in living in Chicago with a guide dog, as I live in Chicago and have a BIL with a guide dog.
And I agree, you should definitely NOT trust the traffic in Chicago. Especially cab drivers. Maybe they should teach guide dogs to recognize cabs and refuse to cross in front of them (only half joking here!).
The timing for this little threading experiment was perfect for me – the Seeing Eye sent out an instructor Monday to give me some techniques to try with Harper. We’ve been at it all week, and after making some progress yesterday afternoon we decided to take a break. While Harper snored at my feet, I “mingled” online.
In exchange for all this, Bark will place an ad for my children’s book Hanni and Beth: Safe & Sound in an upcoming issue. Bark had me write a guest post for their blog Wednesday, too. It’s about what it takes to be a guide dog instructor, a timely topic since Harper and I have spent so much time this past week with the visiting instructor. More on all that in a future post. Now that my open thread real-time mingling is over, I think I’ll join Harper in snoreland. Zzzzzzzzz…