We travelled up to Cambridge for the first meeting with the National Service Dogs people. We stayed overnight Friday in Cambridge so as to avoid having to rush up Saturday morning. The trip up was very good, I thought we'd see far more traffic on the 7 and 115 on a Friday afternoon/evening but there was not too much and we were mostly unopposed travelling up -- I was able to pick my own speed without hounding slower traffic or being hounded by faster traffic.
This was an information session and an evaluation session. The trainers were evaluating us to see how we dealt with dogs who were less than perfect, so we got to do some exercises with younger, not-fully-trained dogs. Then they did a questionnaire and brief interview about our home lives and Alex's temperment. They have a number of dogs graduating right now, and this was all about shortlisting some matches so that when we go for our week-long training they know which dogs to try us with.
One thing that surprised me was that when we were doing the introductions with the other parents, we were clearly the veterans in the Autism world -- most of the other parents only had three or four years in, as opposed to our decade. Also, we were the only ones to show pictures of our kid, and that really surprised me. I mean, this is my son, I'm proud of him, I want to show him off. I'm surprised the other families didn't show the same thing.
After the three-hour meeting, we got back in the car and drove back to Ottawa. Again I went up the 115 and 7, and again I was shocked at how little traffic there was on that road. There were long periods of time where there was no traffic running with us and five or ten minutes stretches where there was no oncoming traffic, either. We only saw one police cruiser in "speed trap" mode, but apparently either he was just faking or I wasn't fast enough to be worth chasing. Overall it was a good trip.
In the next while we'll be off for a whole week of training, and when we come home, we'll have the dog.