"Kong Tails" And An Armadillo

It was Ushi’s birthday last Sunday. She was 2 years old. I wasn’t sure if I would get her anything, but thought that with the recent incident that we both encountered, that I may as well spoil her.

I just spent the day as usual really. I normally don’t work her on a Sunday, but instead free run her and Ash. (Our pet dog). At first she wouldn’t really come back when I called her because she was more interested in what Ash was doing, but over the past couple of weeks she has got better and does come back. Of course she has to precrastinate a little before she comes up to me!

Anyway a couple of weeks ago I was asking on twitter what toys I could get her, and
L^2
Recommended me looking at
The Kong Companys Website
It’s a good website, but there is quite alot of flash on it, and I don’t think you can order off it. You can’t if you’re in the UK anyway.

I decided to look on
Jollyes
Website to see what they had, but it was so heavily flash based that it crashed internet explorer, and when I did get it working, I could barely see their products, as they were a slide show. So I just decided to wait until we visited the shop on Monday last week.

Well they didn’t have what I was looking for, but they did have a nylabone that is all twisty and all and has knobbily bits on it. It isn’t like a regular nylabone. I also got her a stuffed Armadillo toy which has a squeak in its nose, and two back paws, and something in its belly that sounds more like someone breaking wind than a squeak lol. It also crinkles.

Well the girl loves it! We were having a ball last week with me throwing it and her rushing to get it. Unfortunately the poor thing needed a spot of surgery after about half an hour of us playing with it. When I took it away after noticing the whole, the girl kept looking for it for most of the night after that! (We had to hide it so she wouldn’t get it).

I still wanted to get the Kong tails though, so after a quick search,
Amazon
Came to my rescue. I ordered a
Large Kong Tails
God Amazon is so cool! I suppose I’d better explain what a “Kong Tails” is? Well it’s like the
Kong Wubba
Which you can also get from Amazon, but instead of there being a ball in the middle, there is a kong. There is a big nylon loop that you hold onto, and there are strips that come out of the end of the kong that are also made of Nylon I think. There is also a squeaker encased in the nylon. You can throw it, shake it, or just tug it. It seems to be our new favourite toy. I was a bit worried in case it was a bit short, but it is really far away from her mouth. (I have a thing where I don’t like to be too close to her mouth).

Today I even tried something new. I threw her stuffed elephant and the Kong tails both together to see which one she would go for. She doesn’t really bring the toy back to me, I just stand at the top of the stairs, and then throw them down, then when she is coming back up, I grab the toy before she can lie down with it. (this is what she will do when she gets a toy). She kept alternating between the elephant and the Kong tails. I just wish she would actually bring them back, but the way we’re working I suppose is better than nothing. I’d say it’ll be even more interesting when we play outside!

Unfortunately poor armadillo needs more surgery, but we hope he will be well enough soon! (Elephant also needed surgery, but he is better now).

Have you got any tips to stop a dog getting bored with their toys? (she gets bored very quickly lool). I always have to think of ways to spice up our playtime! I only use the toys when i’m ready, otherwise they stay in a bag. I think alternating the toys might be the way to go.

I hope you find the Kong tails as useful as i am!


I’ve Got An Award!

I got a comment on my blog today from
Carlie And Tia
Who I read quite a bit. I thought i’d participate since I got such a nice award! Thank you Carlie and Tia!

The rules are apparently that I have to link to the person who gave me this award, write 7 things about me and then award the award to 15 other blogs. That’s gonna be hard. Let’s start with 7 things you might not know about me. Hmmmmmmmm………….

1. I am 5 foot tall.
2. I live in Northern Ireland.
3. I love messing around with new technology for blind people.
4. When I was younger, I wanted to be a hair dresser.
5. I think it would be cool to drive a car.
6. I used to be scared of grass lol.
7. I don’t really care if my clothes go together, as long as they are clean.

Now for 15 blogs:
1.
Jeniffer
Has been awesome through my whole guide dog process, and still is!
2.
Digital Darragh
Has recently qualified with his new guide dog. He doesn’t really write that much about his dog now, but he did write a great account of his training.
3.
Becky And Cricket
Are an american blog that I read. I think they were one of the first american guide dog blogs I read.
4.
Ro
Has come along way since losing her sight a few years ago. She is currently recapping her posts from training with her first dog Jayden, so check them out!
5. I discovered
Jess And Glacier
From the
Second Assistance Dog Blog Carnival
I recently participated in. A great blog!
6.
Julia And Kerry
Have recently completed their training together as a new partnership. I hope everything works out.
7. Mike Brace over at
One Man And His Guide Dog
Recorded a phone cast every week detailing the journey with his first guide dog Izzy. This happened back in November. He doesn’t update anymore, but it still might be worth listening to.
8.
Sylvia And Carmel
Haven’t really updated in a while, but this is another great blog!
9. This is hard!
Selina And Calven
(sorry for spelling mistakes) live over here.
10.
Andrea and her guide dog Karra
Are one of the youngest partnerships in the UK! I think Andrea was 15 or so when she got Karra.
11.
Here Is The Blog
From our local guide dogs association. It’s very informative!
12.
Cura From Cura’s Corner
Shares about training her service dog Cura to meet her needs.
13. Katrin over at
By My Side
Needs alot of support right now, as she is going through quite a difficult time of it.
14. Errica over at
Ezzie’s World
Writes about lots of interesting issues such as campaigning.
and finally, 15. Follow L-squared’s adventures over at
Dogs Eye View

Boy that was hard! Enjoy your awards!

Also before I go, Carlie was wondering how to take the immage of the award. For anyone else who doesn’t know how to do this, here’s how I did it.

At the top of this post hopefully, there should be a link that says “awesome blog award” or something. Click on this. Jaws won’t say anything as this is an immage when the link opens. Go to your address bar and copy the URL. Close down the window.

When creating a new post, type in your title as usual, and then come out of the eddit box, and use your down arrow until you get to “add immage”. Enter on this. A new window will open. Head down the page until you get to “URL” or something, and enter your URL that you copied into this box. Then click “Upload immage”, then after it uploads, click the “done” link that should appear.

You can then write your post below this immage. I usually press enter twice.

I hope this helps, and thanks again!


Training In The Shower

I was having a shower myself tonight, and came up with a great idea.  I want your oppinions on it.
 
Sometimes when Ushi comes in from a working day, she is quite muddy.  (she tends to pick up dirt easily).  My sister would want to have her paws washed if she is really dirty.  Ushi hates this.  She totally stiffens up even before she is in the shower and before the water is even turned on!  I sort of have to really drag her into the bathroom lol.  Once she is in the shower, my sister washes her to make sure all the dirt is off, but i would be there reassuring Ushi.  I also dry her off.
 
I’ve come up with a suggestion though to see if I can make it more of a positive experience.  I would like your feedback on this though.  If it’s crap, tell me.
 
I was thinking that maybe I could maybe start once a day maybe just getting her to go into the bathroom, for example.  I was thinking that I could even start by either having her on the lead, and treating her if she walked in nice and relaxed, and gradually getting her further and further in (it’s not a big bathroom).  I was then thinking of then trying to get her into the shower cubicle (we don’t have a bath).  I would then gradually turn the shower on, and then if she was still relaxed, then treat.  I would increase the sessions each day as well as working, and gradually take her off the lead.  If she showed any sign of not liking it or getting bored or whatever, I would stop instantly.
 
What do you think?  Would it just be cruel to do this?  I’m thinking though so that if she does need a shower it’ll be easier and more pleasant for her.  (I haven’t used shampoo on her yet).
 
Please give me your thoughts.  If it is pointless, I won’t do it.
 
Thanks for your suggestions.

Just A Test Post

I have just set up an account with
TwitterFeed
Which is a service that automatically posts your blog entries to twitter. It saves you having to type it out all the time!

So i’m just seeing if this works.

~Also i’ve just reached my 300th post!


Working Well

Today a guide dog mobility instructor came to assess how me and Ushi have been getting on since the events of last week. She came at about 11 o’clock.

We were going to go to the shops, but the instructor was a little pushed for time. So we just decided to do the route past the church. I was a little nervous when she said that she would be following in the car (all of the instructors do this so the dog doesn’t see them), but since the attack, I wanted someone behind me to make sure everything went okay. She assured me that she would be right behind me in the car, and if i needed her I could drop the handle. I just had to get on with it really.

I’m pleased to say that it all went grand. She had even got her cheekiness back, which was good to see. More because that’s the Ushi i know rather than it actually being a good thing. At one point she wanted to go down another path. I thought there was an obsticle, so did an off kerb. I knew as soon as we were down off the kerb that we were back up really quickly. I then thought “there’s nothing there” but continued on. She was just being a madam! I was expecting a dog to be behind a gate near the end of our route, but thankfully it wasn’t. It was behind a gate, but it was quite a yappy wee thing.

When we were coming back on our street, there was a car parked. I tried to get her up to the kerb, but there wasn’t room. The owner of the car then came and grabbed me and kind of pushed me lol past it. As long as he got me past it I suppose.

The instructor says that Ushi had a “High tail carriage” which means that her tail was up and she looked happy. She says that at the start of the walk I looked nervous and that I seemed to slow down a little. But after the first five minutes we both looked confident and happy which is good. She says it’s just a matter of getting our confidence back up again.

We then got chatting about toys, and just how Ushi is so hard to please with her toys in that she gets rather bored rather quickly lol. She warned me though not to leave squeaky toys about, as if the dog swallows them she would be seriously ill as the squeak wouldn’t pass and she would need surgery and that sort of thing. I deffinetly wouldn’t want that to happen. Not that i have ever left squeaky toys down for her, I would always throw it and then pick it up again. I would only leave her with a kong or a nylabone or something like that.

I also asked about meeting up with my friend. The last time we met, the two dogs got rather excited. Especially Ushi. I think because my friends dog is around the same age as Ushi, they both wanted a play. She says that she will meet us one day to see how the two of them get on. She also says that when I go inside the door of the shopping centre to put the halty on if I know my friend will be there. I explained that she hates the halty and barely moves when in harness, but she says that if it takes a bit longer to get into the shopping centre, then so be it. As long as i was in complete control.

So now the work begins again. I hope we can get our confidence back up again in no time at all really. I have my quilting to go to tomorrow, so here’s hoping that nothing bad happens again.

My instructor asked me on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the worst, how likely did I think the attack was. I said it was about a 6 or a 6 and a half. She asked if that would decrease over time, but I said not for a while anyway lol.

I’m pleased to say that it went well today. Let’s hope it continues! I can’t wait to start doing more walks when the weather gets nicer and when the evenings get lighter too. The light doesn’t really bother me, but my dad would rather I worked during the day when it was light.


Don’t Give Me Stick For Using My Cane:Blind Oscar, 2, Leads Campaign To Help Henshaws Charity

My dad told me about this story the other day. I thought i’d check it out so a quick google braught up
This Article
I’ve also pasted it below. Thoughts? I’ll write my thoughts soon, but want to get your oppinions first. Enjoy!

Don’t give me stick for using my cane: Blind Oscar, 2, leads campaign to help Henshaws charity

February 17, 2011

GREAT STRIDES­ Oscar O’Sullivan-Hughes strives to lead as normal a life as possible.

GREAT STRIDES­ Oscar O’Sullivan-Hughes strives to lead as normal a life as possible.

When some people see little Oscar O’Sullivan-Hughes using his white cane, they assume it is just a toy and tut at him. But in fact two-year-old Oscar was
left blind at birth due to a rare genetic defect.

Now his parents have spoken out as Oscar becomes the face of a campaign to raise awareness of a charity for blind people.

Oscar, who lives with parents Kait Hughes and Anthony O’Sullivan in Wythenshawe, has Lebers Congenital Amaurosis.

Kait, 30, said: “Oscar’s used the cane since he’s been able to walk.

“Often when we are out in the shops he will stop to smell the bread, touch the fridges or smell the shampoos.

“People will lose patience with him and stride right over his cane.

“They have never knocked him over but they are so insensitive and will tut at him because he is holding them up.

“Often we think it’s because they are not aware or because they see that he is so young and think he can’t possibly be blind.”

Kait said the lack of information on child blindness even meant the family struggled to access the specialised services he required.

She said: “After he was born in November 2008, we noticed that despite his eyes being open he was not looking at things.

“When our concerns were raised, we were told he had jaundice and his sight would be okay.

“Another person told us because he was blind he would never smile. Even when he got the cane I couldn’t bring myself to accept he was blind.

“When we went to the playgroups other parents seemed scared to look at him.

“It was only when we accessed the Henshaws service at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital that we were able to understand and to learn to deal with his condition.”

Oscar is now at the forefront of a campaign launched by the Sale and Altrincham Advertiser and Stretford and Urmston Advertiser, to raise £50,000 for Henshaws
Society for Blind People, a charity based in Old Trafford. It helps blind and visually-impaired people build the skills they need to lead normal lives.

Henshaws put Oscar’s family in touch with another couple in Worcester whose son had the same condition as Oscar but was slightly older.

Kait said: “When we met the family they reassured us that their child was normal and could move around and talk with his brother. We knew then that Oscar
was going to be okay.”

Fiona Berry, Henshaws children and families team leader, said: “Our children and families service specialises in working with children and parents with
sight loss, often with complex needs and additional disabilities.

“Oscar’s case is unique in that he is the youngest person by far that we’ve ever taught to use a white cane.”

» To make a donation go to
http://www.justgiving.com/helphenshaws


Clowning Around

Well here’s the entry about the “clowns” I mentioned in yesterdays entry. I think it was well needed today!

At about 8:30, my rehab worker and a woman from
Angel Eyes Northern Ireland
came to pick me up. (the woman was in the car with my rehab worker). Angel eyes Northern ireland is an organisation made up of parents for parents with children with visual impairments. It only was founded in 2007. I think it could be really useful!

Anyway we were off to see…
The Clown Doctors
But more on that later.

I decided to put Ushi in the back of the car (my rehab worker has one of those cars with those big boots that has plenty of room for a guide dog). It must have been too warm for her though cause she was panting quite alot. We stopped off at the RNIB while the woman from Angel eyes got some more stuff she needed, then we were off again.

There was a nice spot of grass just outside the church hall where we were to meet the clown doctors, so after introducing Ushi to them (they were all on the front steps), we took Ushi over to busy. Either she hadn’t done her busy this morning, or else the journey made things kind of jiggle, but she started to rush around, and then did her busy. I didn’t think she needed to go! I’m so glad we decided to spend her before going in, as that could have been like the time she
Happened to drop her load
In the shopping centre. Thank god she did it outside though this time!

We headed in after that.

We went upstairs to a part of the hall. It must have been a pritty big hall! It sounded big anyway. While the doctors were getting settled, and my rehab worker was getting everything set up, I got Ushi some water. I hadn’t even finished pouring the bottle of watter in and she was drinking as I poured! What a Thirsty girl! I had braught two bottles of watter with me, and the first one was nearly finished in the first half an hour! She did eventually stop drinking, and started lapping all the attention that the doctors were giving her. That tail never stopped wagging!

Shortly after this, the manager for the clown doctors told us what the day was for. I suppose you’re wanting to know who the clown doctors are? Well they are basically people who go into hospitals with sick children, to basically brighten their day. They go to four hospitals in Northern ireland. They also work with adults with severe learning disabilities. They also work with hospital play specialists. They aren’t actually medical doctors though.

Today was just a training day for them though, so that they would know what to do if they encountered a child with a visual impairment who was in hospital quite alot. I also learnt that they would be learning about deaf children in the afternoon, but we were only there for the morning.

We first introduced ourselves, before my rehab worker gave a talk about guide dogs and some myths about guide dogs.

It was then my turn to present my experiences. I was going to just kind of ad lib, but I thought it would work better if i just read my presentation. (can you tell i’m not really comfy with presenting?).

My rehab worker then talked a bit more about the different levels of vision, and how for one person they could have light perception, and another they could have a bit of vision but still be registered blind.

We had a short break after this to refill on tea etc. Ushi got admired again for a while, then I suggested that she go out for a pee. (the way she had been drinking, I thought she probably needed it). I left her harness on the back of my chair as I thought that she would be okay. She started to rush a bit, and was quite strong to hold. She ended up nearly rushing down the stairs, and ended up whacking her head off the banister. She just sat down after that and was as good as gold! That’ll teach her to rush! She didn’t need to go in that department though, so we headed in again.

The clowns informed us that we were moving to a downstairs room. It was a warmer room, because I think the poor doctors were freezing!

We got settled down again, and the woman from Angel Eyes talked about her organisation and what they did. She also showed them some toys she had braught along so they could see what toys were available for visually impaired children. At one point, she zoomed a beetle across the floor, and I think Ushi thought it was going to get her lol, as she sat straight up lol. She soon lay down again.

After that, the clown doctors wanted to tell us a story using sounds and stuff, and so that the manager could see if they were listening or not. We were to give as much feedback as possible. I thought this part was quite cool lol, but that’s the big kid in me lol. One of the clowns sat beside me (we were shifted about a bit), and got his Yookalalely (can’t spell that lol). He was going to be the narrator for the story. He started off playing the instrument. It was just two or three kords that he played throughout in a gentle lul kind of. Not to put you to sleep though lol. The story started off with a llittle dog called Jojo. He got on a bus every day. (marackas for the bus sounds going over bumps etc). The dog then got bored, and went on an aeroplane one day. (they had this thing that they blew in and it made a kind of wush upwards lol). We suggested for this that the wush could be quiet then go up, then back down again. Sort of like the distance of the plane. Next, the dog had a nice dog biscuit. (the made crunching sounds, but they sounded like pigs snorting lol). I suggested that they could get a little packet of smarties and use that like a dog crunching a biscuit. Next, there was a parrot in the first class part of the plane that the dog was jealous of. (they squalked for this). We suggested that their squalk could be a bit quieter cause it might scare some kids. The parrot was able to stretch out, so I suggested they sound like they are stretching. Then we heard bells. One of the doctors asked “what’s that?” (they do this so the child can have more interaction in the story). It was Roodalph the red nosed raindeer and they were off to lapland to visit Santa. Roodulph then decided that his nose wasn’t red cause Santa didn’t give him new batteries for his nose. He was instead “roodulph the blue nosed raindeer”. (they held up a reflective ball that someone with some vision could appreciate). I thought though that poor roodulph sounded a bit like a serial killer lol. They said that they would ask the child what kind of voice he would have, again for more interaction. The plane’s lights stopped working, so the pilot came down and asked if Roodulph would guide the plane as they were about to crash into a mountain. (I suggested they could make a sound that sounded like they were heading down). Roodulph saved the day then with his blue nose!

I thought it was a wonderful story lol. They sound like they really enjoy their work!

During the exercise, some of the clowns wore “simulation specs” which show what it is like to see different eye conditions.After that, it was basically question time for any of us. I got asked loads about the harness and how the dog knows that it is working, and when it was appropiate to pet a guide dog. I’m so glad they asked that! They then wanted me to have a photo for their newsletter, and we got one for the guide dogs facebook page.

Ushi of course got more admirers, then we were ready to go. I put Ushi’s harness on so that she wouldn’t try to fly again!

The manager for the clown doctors came over to us as we were getting into the car, and explained that it was great having a guide dog there, and they would want us back again if they were doing anything else.

I liked the way it was set up. We basically just sat in a circle which was brilliant.

We stuck Ushi in the boot again and this time we had no panting! We stopped off at Subway for some lunch, and then headed up to the guide dogs office to say hello. Ushi just plopped herself down and had a doze! At one point, the district team manager came to see how I was after Monday. He is glad we are getting back on track again, and says that soon there will be a law passed that says that every dog in Northern Ireland needs to be microchipped, and that dog on dog attacks will be totally illegal. I thought they already were, but they mustn’t be. That is great news!

We headed off again after that. Ushi was a little confused though as i stuck her in the front. She took ages to get her big bum up and into the car! Silly girl.

On the way home she tried to sprawl against my leg (pritty hard to do when you’re sitting lol)!

She has been sleeping ever since really. She just got up to eat and pee lol. I didn’t think if I wasn’t working her that she would be tired!

It was a really enjoyable day. I so needed it! Sorry it’s so long.