Snowy Icey White Stuff

Hey gang! It’s Ushi again. Mum let me on the computer for a while.

First of all, before I tell you about what we’ve been up to, what is this snowy icey white stuff? It feels all cold and bouncey and when I sniff it and eat it it’s all cold and feels really fluffy. Plus sometimes it gets on me, but when i shake it goes away. It doesn’t leave my coat wet like the horrible rain. Do any of you know why it’s here? Will it be here for long?

Anyway i’m sure you’re all wondering what i’ve been up to….

Did I tell you about learning a new route? Well I think it was about a month ago. The instructor who works with my old mum came out to see us. I must tell you though about our adventure before we started learning the route….

Mum decided to work me before we would go out. She said just to “calm me down” or something like that. We were doing the route to the shop where I have to “find the counter”. It was really really wet and horrible and windy. On part of the route I decided to be a wee bit naughty and get just a teeny bit distracted, but not so much that Mum would notice. She kept going, and noticed that something didn’t feel right. She kept getting me to go back, and even told me to “find a kerb” to give me a destination, but I couldn’t find it! The only thing I could find was grass. Maybe getting distracted wasn’t such a good idea? Mum ended up calling her mum to come and get us. I couldn’t understand where she came from though! Anyway mum followed her voice, and then we got on our way.

Mum was a little worried though as the instructor was going to be coming out soon. We got back in time just as the instructor came.

Mum left me in the house while she went out with the instructor. She took my harness though, so I don’t know what she was up to.

When they came back, I got to come. I got in the instructors car, and got to sit between mums legs. I liked that.

We drove out to where I find the shop, and then mum put my harness on. The instructor followed behind, while I tried to guide mum who was directing me.

I guess she took the harness earlier to help her familiarise herself with the route so she could direct me.

We went into a shopping centre! It was really really busy so I didn’t have time to get distracted. I had to pay attention and guide mum past all the people and stuff. Then I had to help mum find the coffee shop. We did it a couple of times just to make sure that mum knew where it was, and that I knew that mum would be really happy if i found it for her.

We then went home after that, but mum wasn’t sure where to go, so she kept hanging back. She does that when she is nervous, you see. It is bad though cause then I can’t guide her!

The instructor came out for a couple more days making sure that mum knew where she was going.

One of the days they had coffee in that shop, but I had to be a good guide dog and lie under the table while mum and the instructor talked.

I also got a couple of new toys! Mum baught me a Kong, and a rubber thingie that she could throw. I unfortunately broke that, but I love the kong! She can put stuff in it too, but i’m happy with her just bouncing it!

Things have just been the same really as usual, apart from me getting a new nylabone. It’s much bigger than my old one, and I love it!

The snowy white stuff came on Thursday I think. That night it was really slippery, so mum really got me to “steady” just to make sure we didn’t slip. She was all nervous and stuff too. We have only been able to do the really small route unfortunately. I keep rushing on the snow, as I don’t like it on my paws! Plus mum is all tense and stuff.

Mum decided to do the big route on Sunday, but at one point there were these naughty kids who kept getting me all excited! I tried to listen to mum, but as you know I love children! Mum corrected me, then it started snowing at one point, and mum told me to find a kerb, but i couldn’t, so looked for a more deffinet kerb. We ended up in a housing estate, so mum had to phone her dad to come and get me. It was just too snowy and it covered my kerb! Mum said that she couldn’t really pick up obsticles and stuff either.

Yesterday we were back on the small block route. I was naughty and stopped and mum thought there was an obsticle, but i just wanted to eat the snow! Then I couldn’t find home.

Today mum said it was too icey to work me. So she just let me play in it! It was all slidey and all, so I kept sliding!

Mum is getting a bit down about not being able to work me. I hope she can work me tomorrow!

Mum wants to groom me now, so am going to go here.

The good thing about the snow is i get to play in it, but the bad thing is that it’s cold and that we can’t work too well!

How are you all getting on in the snow?

Waggies and woofies,

Ushi Xxx

Describing Pictures

Left a comment in my last entry saying that she wasn’t sure how to describe immages in her post. I think I saw on Ro’s blog too a few weeks ago that she didn’t know how to do it either. I thought i’d write a post on it. It’s quite easy once you know how.

First of all, I would go out of your main post, and save it as a draft. This is in case something happens, you will have a draft saved. Next, maximise the page. Press Alt and space together, then go down to “Maximise”. This will make the page bigger. It seemed to be the only way that the next step works.

Now go down past the “title” of your post if the post is still open. You will see stuff like “check spelling” and such. Go down until you get to “add immage” and press Enter. This should hopefully open a new Internet explorer window.

Here, you have options to add an image from the web, or from your computer. Click the “browse” button if you are selecting a file off the computer. Choose your picture off your computer, and press Enter. Now go down until you get to the link that says “upload immage”. It will take a minute to upload.

Once it is uploaded, click the “done” button. You can now go back to your post.

Be careful though as the code for the immage will be at the top of the post. I just cut and paste to where I want it. Near the end of the code, you will notice it should say “Alt =” and then two quotation marks. All you do is write the description of the immage in these quotes, and there you go!

You can then go to the end of the box as if you were just carrying on a normal post.

I hope this helps, and sorry if it is too techy. I can also go into more detail if you need it.

Happy describing!

Calendar Girl!

Our guide dog team, like many others, are selling calendars for christmas this year. I was asked a few days ago if I would like a CD with Ushi’s pictures from the calendar. Not being one to knock up such an opportunity, I said yes!

The CD arrived today. There are only three pictures though. I’m not sure what month Ushi is in as I haven’t got the calendar yet. Here are the photos hopefully. Thanks
For the descriptions!

I hope you like those photos. Thanks again Terry for the descriptions.

In other news, we have just these past couple of days had really bad conditions. It started snowing yesterday for a bit. It was more sleet though. This morning it has been rather slippy underfoot. I thought it was going to be so bad that I couldn’t work Ushi. I was in fact able to work her, even if it was just the short route. I don’t want to be just using the short route though-otherwise we could be doing that all winter long!

Tonight it was so icey that I had to litterally go one step at a time down to the garden for Ushi’s spending! Must have taken us about 10 minutes to get down there. Well maybe not that long, but far longer than it should have. I took a step, then got Ushi to “steady” all the way down. The last thing we would need would be to fall on our arses going down! Mum said that Ushi kept watching the ground lol. She was probably wondering why we were going so slow!

Remember ages ago I told you about how we were getting our kitchen re done by our housing organisation? Well it was meant to be in January, but it has been moved forward to just over a week from now! I am dreading it to be honest. It’s going to be total chaos. Basically, they are knocking down one of our kitchen walls. Our kitchen is being made bigger, so will be all open plan with the dining room. It’ll be nothing but noise and hell! Maybe that’s an exageration, but they will have to re do the heating and all too.

Luckily enough there is another way to get out to the garden for Ushi’s sake, rather than having to take her through the kitchen where god kknows what state it’ll be in!

In response to
My last entry
In which I talked about how I thought Ushi was too gentle with me and her coming back, I tried a few things. I basically go as far back as I can, throw one of her toys, and have started telling her to “come”. She lies a few feet away with it, then I get it off her. I could always use a treat or someting to get her to come right up? What do you reckon? I’ll see what happens. Thanks for the comments on that by the way.

I just thought i’d just keep you all up to date, and my main reason for posting was of course the pictures! I hope you all enjoy them, and I know the descriptions prob don’t do it justice, but hopefully they will be okay for totally blind guys!

I hope also that the ice doesn’t last too long here! Want to do more of my routes!

What Am I Thankful For?

Even though I’m not celebrating Thanks giving, I thought i’d write a post just about what i’m thankful for. I have been thinking about it for a while now. So here is a list of what i am thankful for…

I am thankful to be able to get up out of bed and greet the day. It’s great just to get up and go.
Having a beautiful doggy great me every morning!
A wonderful district team, who, without them, I wouldn’t have the necessary orientation and mobility skills to work with a guide dog. They are there any time during the day, and it’s great just knowing that there is someone who is willing to come and see you if you are having any problems, or just to know there is someone on the phone willing to give you some advice!
Having technology to enable me to blog!
Being able to just go out when and where I want with Ushi. I would never have gone out alone with a cane!
And finally, Friends and family.

I’m sure there is more that we can all be thankful for, but we would be there all year otherwise!

Happy thanks giving to anyone celebrating. It’s so good to just reflect sometimes and really appreciate the things that matter! Sorry for the cheesyness.

Too Gentle?

Bit of a strange question, but just a little observation I have noticed when playing…

I have got about three different toys for Ushi. I had four, but one sadly died. She loves her stuffed elephant, kong and she kind of loves her tug toy.

Ages ago I got her a tug toy. It is made of rope. One end has a loop, and I can hold onto that. Ushi then holds onto a big ball shaped part at the end. (it’s not exactly a ball, but more like a big knot). She used to play with it with me all the time, but recently she just grabs on for a minute until I pull it out of her mouth, and then she just doesn’t bother with it. She still loves me throwing the kong and elephant, though.

My dad yesterday started making gur’r’r’r’r’r’r noises after she wouldn’t play with the toy with me. She grabbed onto it straight away, and got a good game of tug going. I was a bit put out to be honest that she wouldn’t even grab it with me!

Is it possible that Ushi maybe knows to be gentle with me? I don’t have that much strength lol, so maybe she knows that she’s not going to get a satisfactory result? I used to not like playing with the toy, as I had to kind of give myself a work out because I don’t know if I was scared of hurting her, or just that I have crap strength. Now I wish she would play with it!

Do your guide dogs know to be more gentler or something with you?

Also-stupid question-,but how do you get your dog to come back to you with a toy? Usually when I throw her toy, I end up going and getting it lol.

Just thought I’d post a random post! Would love your thoughts on the tug thing. It doesn’t really bother me, but still!

New Route, And Getting Lost!

I was going to be learning a new route yesterday, but my instructor was sick. I went out in the morning anyway for our usual walk.

Everything and anything had to be a distraction for Ushi. First it was a little dog, and she went round me in a circle while I tried to control her. She got a major correction for not obeying me, and for being so wild!

We then went on, and I don’t have a clue what distracted her next. I told her just to “get on with it”, but I think one of her paws got stuck under my foot as I stepped. (She was still distracted but I was trying to get her going again). She gave a massive yelp. I felt a bit guilty, but at the end of the day, she shouldn’t have been so distracted!

She was a little distracted near the end of the route, but not as wild. I don’t know what was wrong at all with her. It had been rather stormy the night before, so that could have done it.

Today I was nakard for some reason. I had to stay up though since my instructor was coming today.

I decided to do a walk first, just to tire Ushi out a bit before going into the shopping centre and all. I wished I hadn’t!

On our route, there is this path with grass on our right. It is part of the main route to get to basically anywhere from our estate. Normally we do it grand, but something small must have distracted her slightly. There are apparently a couple of paths that go around the grassy part up to near some flats. The next thing I knew, I was up near those flats! There was nobody there to ask, or no traffic to orientate me! So I kept getting Ushi to go back, and to find a kerb, but there just seemed to be more grass. I eventually called my mum and explained the situation. She knew roughly where I was, so I said that I would try and work it out until she came to get me (luckily we live pritty near the grass part which is good). I tried to get a bit further on on the path I was on which was really narrow. There was grass on my left, but there was also a tree. I ended up going over the grass, until I felt the path again on my left. This was a good sign. And I could also hear traffic! That sounded bliss! I turned around towards it, and by this point, my mum was calling to me. I just had to go straight on, and there I was, back at the kerb I needed to be at in the first place! Thank god for mobile phones!! I don’t know what the problem was, but I thought that it was good that this has been the first time I have really really really got lost. It was still bad though! I didn’t even know those other paths existed!

So I went off to the shop as usual. Well I hadn’t been there for over a week. I don’t like going in there too often, since I hardly buy anything! It’s just a little corner shop type thing though so I suppose that’s good.

When I was coming home though, I must have corrected too hard, because the little identification disk that Ushi has attached to her collar came off! Luckily a nice kind man came to my rescue and gave me it.

I got home just in time to find my instructor waiting! She had called about 5 minutes before but I wasn’t back yet.

I explained to the instructor about getting lost, and she said that it was good that I was able to get home again, and that I didn’t panick! I panicked a bit, but nothing majorly.

We decided to leave Ushi at home for the first familiarisation of the new route. We didn’t want to confuse her by doing it wrong constantly. My instructor also gave me a ring with my identification disk for Ushi’s collar which was good.

We parked up at the shop, and then first of all walked the route on the instructors arm, then on the short handle. The route is quite simple really. You go straight down from the shop, and you come to a rounded kerb at the bottom, where there is a Zebra crossing. You then outdent on the up kerb, and you are on a street with loads of bollards and stuff. You then come to a big slope wwhich is the entrance to an alley way. It has no deffinete down kerb. You then go straight on, then two right turns, and then straight for a bit, then “find the shops”. I found a coffee shop so that if i am meeting someone, for example, we can go there.

The instructor says that I can get my dad to show me where other shops are, so that if I am out with him, and I take Ushi, I can work her. She says that they want to give me my freedom, it’s just a case of me getting more confident. I explained to her about our
Little shopping issue
And she suggested that I don’t work her around shops for now if I think she hasn’t gone. She says that it’s even embarrassing for her when she is training dogs. I’m glad it wasn’t just me!

I got dropped off at my house for a bit, before the instructor was going to return so that we could try the route with Ushi.

I have to say she worked like a total champ! She found the shop first time, and was able to pay attention to me even though there was all those people! The instructor says it doesn’t matter if a place has a few people. I was worried in case you couldn’t work a dog in a crowd of people lol. She said that there wouldn’t be very many guide dogs if they couldn’t work with people!

We went back to the house after that. My instructor says that I have really improved in my confidence. She says that if she had said to me couple of weeks ago that we would be in a shopping centre, I would have probably not liked it! I had to agree! Everything seems so much like second nature now. I think that’s a good thing!

My instructor is coming back on Thursday and Friday. She said that tomorrow I can walk the route with dad if I want, but i’ll see how he feels. I sort of want to try it myself, but think i’ll wait for a bit just in case something horrible goes wrong lol.

I hope I don’t get lost tomorrow! I’m so glad that i’m learning something new! Ushi’s tail was wagging loads today. It wags very gently on our other routes, but today it was really going! That was a good sign.

When we were in the car, I said about putting on the smaller collar. The instructor says that is more effective. She says that if you are to jerk back, but not release, it chokes the dog, and toughens their neck or something. What does that mean? I always when correcting just flick and release. They say it’s more effective that way.

I can’t wait to go further! I’m so pleased that I am doing more routes!

Spicing Up The Blog

I was just thinking that the blog needs a bit of “spicing up”.

I was thinking of opening up the blog to a few guest posters if you’re willing to do it? A couple of blogs have already done this, and I think that even the recent
Assistance dog blog carnival
Could even be considered as guest posting.

I will still write all the usual goings on, but maybe every week we could have a new entry?

If you are interested, email me your post. You can write about anything you want, whether it be guide dog related, to something totally different. I know it’s hard knowing what to write though.

Let me know your thoughts. If you already know what to write, email your article to:
(without the brackets, of course.). If you could send your submissions to me as a microsoft word doc, that would be fab.

I will publish every week, but not sure what day yet. Possibly a Monday, perhaps.

So get your thinking caps on, and I look forward to posting and reading your posts! Oh, and feel free to comment on your posts when you submit them and I post them. (I was always worried whenever I submitted a guest post to another blog if I was allowed to comment or not!).

I hope you all like this idea, and there is no rush for posts!