I’m actually finding this harder than I thought lol. I’m only on the second day! I’m just not used to writing every day.
Thank you all for wishing my brother well in yesterdays post. During the night he started to have little spasms in his leg, but the doctors say it is normal. Mum went up this morning to be with him. Unfortunately during the night, his leg must have slipped inside the splint because this morning they had to reset it but they couldn’t give him pain relief as they needed to do it as soon as possible. So now his leg is actually tied to the bed. Apart from not being able to move he is apparently in good form, and is chatting away to everyone.
Anyway onto the main part of this post.
Today last year was
the day we got our dogs
And the work really began. We spent the morning building up our harnesses, practicing obedience on the lead, and then it was time for our dogs.
We basically spent the first day bonding with our dogs. I was so worried in case i did anything wrong, and I didn’t want anything to affect our training together.
We had to learn what is called “House obedience” with our dogs which was basically teaching them to wait at doors and such, and that you always are the one who makes the call. This is to stop them rushing out a door, and shows that you are the boss. I still get Ushi to wait first of all at our stairgate if it is closed. I will say “Right up to the gate Ushi”, then I will tap it if she is taking her time, then she will sit. I will then get her to Wait while I open it, then say “On down you go”. She will usually wait at the landing until i come down, then plod into the kitchen, for example. I will again get her to go up to the back door, where she will then sit until i open it. I also get her to do it at our front door and sometimes the bedroom door.
Ushi took ages to go into a down, which is basically where the dog will lie down. This is really useful for if you are in a restaurant, on a bus, eating, basically anything where you want the dog to lie down. Ushi still will take ages to do a down when i’m doing an obedience with her, unless she sees the purpose, like if we’re sitting down or whatever. She will do it fabulously when we’re out, but not when i want her to do it in the house on a long lead. I have had to get very creative with getting her to do it.
I hated the feel of Ushi’s food when we first started feeding them. It felt all horrible and greasy. It kind of smelled horrible too. Now i don’t really mind it though. I had to keep checking that I had the food measured correctly. I still have the tins i use for feeding her lol.
To feed the dogs, we measure out eh food, put it in their food bowl, get the dogs to sit, and blow a whistle three times which signals that it is food time. We also blow the whistle three times for the dog to come back on a free run as they know they will usually get something for coming back. I’ll explain what a free run is later in the week.
Ushi was a total madam in the spending department that night. Spending is basically the dog going to the toilet. To get them to do their thing, you have to say “busy, busy”. I was so scared in case that slipped out and the dog dropped it’s load, but you do it a couple of times. It took me and my instructor a good 20 minutes at least to get her to go! (She didn’t actually do a solid spend for me until the third day!). She will still be a little stubborn, but unless i really need her to go, i’ll just let her hold on.
So that was our first day with the dogs. I really can’t believe how quickly the last year has gone! I keep forgetting that it is a different day than last year, like it was a Tuesday last year, and it took me until the Friday to write that entry. I nearly forgot to post the link to last years post! We couldn’t have that! You all wouldn’t be able to look back then! Oops.
I hope that i’ll be more motivated to get these posts written over the next couple of days! I’ll let you know more news on my brother as soon as I get it. Keep him in your thoughts though!
I would first like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has wished me and my sister a happy birthday. We are 21 today.
I wasn’t expecting anything out of the ordinary as presents. I deffinetly got a shock though at some of the things I got!
Because a couple of friends got me things, i’m just gonna use the first letter of their names for anonimity. On Saturday night, it was my friend j’s birthday. She was heading out for a meal but dropped my present off first on the way. She got me and my sister a box of Thorntons chocolate, two decorative shampaigne glasses which say 21 on them I think with glittery flowers, and a bottle of Shampaigne! We haven’t opened it yet, but my friend L is having a bit of a bash on Saturday night, so I might bring that with me! I thought it was a lovely lovely thought :).
I met up with my friend P today since i hadn’t seen him for ages and ages because he has started a new job. We met up in
The same place where I met Jeniffer
Before our free run that day.
Anyway P and I had a good catch up, and he gave me a bottle of perfume called “Handsome Darling” by Kylie Minogue, and a box of Milk Tray chocolates.
Dad got me my new Dell laptop but i got that a couple of weeks ago. Mum is giving me money and getting something engraved or something.
On a side note, my little 2 year old brother was at the park when we were out in Belfast. (He didn’t come but stayed with mum). There is one of those swirly slides in the park where he was. Mumm took him down the slide and he banged it off the side of it. Mum took him up to hospital and he has a broken Feemer. They have put his leg in a splint and are keeping him in for a week to make sure the bone is healing well enough. The good news is that he doesn’t need surgery or anything. They will put a cast on once the bone has started to set. He is settled and comfy as long as his leg won’t be touched.
So it wasn’t sucha nice day for him.
Anyway, once we got back from Belfast, our next door neighbour called at the door. Apparently there was a bunch of flowers which had been left when we were out. I also got a card too. The organiser of our fundraising branch had asked for my date of birth as she was looking for it for her records. She had had a chat with the other members, and had got me a huge bunch of flowers, along with a a stuffed puppy toy. Ushi was quite taken with the toy and thought it was hers lol.
Thank you so so so so much for everything you have got me. It was so nice, and I wasn’t expecting half as much! I loved all my presents.
You guys are all awesome! I’m off to bed now, but thank you so much for a wonderful birthday, even if it had some sadness with regards to my little brother. It was still a brilliant day though! Thank you!
I’ve got two posts for you today. I was going to post them both separately, but figured they would probably be better in one post. This will prob be a long one though.
First of all, we have
Where the nerves/worrying/excitement kicked in all at once. I was so worried in case i didn’t remember anything. Plus i was worrying in case it wasn’t the right thing for me. I found it hard to sleep that night as i’d written that post before i went to bed.
My next post
Was written later that day, after I had settled in. I remember how worried i still was, and how i was worried when i was told that i needed to not use my cane as we wouldn’t be using it with our dogs. (I only used it for going to and from the restaurants during class as that was alright).
During dinner that night, my instructor who stayed the first night said that i could have Ushi for about half an hour after I ate. (The instructors usually stay the first couple of nights on class just to make sure we’re all comfy). My instructor had braught ushi in, and then left the room. Little Ushi started to pace and whine before lying under one of the tables we had in our rooms. I didn’t want to stand on Ushi, so crawled around the floor looking for her! She actually spent most of her down time under that table lol. I phoned mum and said i couldn’t find Ushi because she was under the table and i didn’t know where she was!
I thought it was nice that at dinner the waitor put a candle in my dessert as they had found out it was my birthday!
Tomorrow we met the dogs again, and the real work begun! Looking back on these entries is so good. What would we do without blogs!
I’ll write about my birthday soon. Sorry this is so long!
This time last year, i’d have probably just got home from
Learning my way around
Which was where my guide dog class was held. It is a really nice hotel, and I found it really easy to learn where everything was.
On the way back, we had popped into the guide dog office where I was asked to do a blog for
The facebook page
I really enjoyed doing that, as i felt it might help some applicants on the page. I also got to see little Ushi again which was cool.
I really can’t believe how quickly time has flown. Last year i worried in case it didn’t work out between us, but I think it has.
It was sad in a way since i thought i wouldn’t see my rehab worker again. I know i probably shouldn’t have, but i baught him a cake to say thanks for the 7 years i had him. I still do see him now and again for talks and things but the only difference is that he isn’t working with me any more.
I hope over the next few weeks you’ll follow me as I recapp last year, and share how i felt then to now. I hope i don’t bore you! There will probably be two posts on Tuesday:one before and the first day of class. I hope you’ll enjoy!
On the subject of guide dogs, don’t forget to follow Kerie over at
Where she is just going through her training with her second dog Yale. They seem to be getting on great.
Last week, the woman who teaches me the
Got given a leaflet by her daughter. Her daughter runs a summer scheme for disabled children and one of the parents had given her a leaflet about the
Elisabeth svendsen trust
Which is a charity set up in memory of a ladies name i’m not even going to pronounce. Her first name was Elisabeth. It provides donkeys for disabled children to ride, sort of like therapy for them. This branch of the trust were going to run a coffee morning and fun day today. I think this lady might also have been part of
The donkey sanctuary
In devon. They rescue donkeys.
Anyway… at about half 10 this morning, the woman from the quilting class, her daughter, and her daughters 15 month old child headed off to the place where this particular branch of the trust was. When we got there, there were apparently lots of donkeys out in the fields surounding the main building. We all headed into like a big shed type place. There were two pens set up with two donkeys in them. We went over and I asked if we could pet them. They said yes.
The first donkey was called “Susie”. She was quite small, and had just been clipped. I think she was grey with a silver belly. She felt slightly bigger than Ushi, and her back seemed to slope down so it felt like she was sitting when she was standing. Her head seemed much too big for her body though, and she had big ears that were a bit like someone had shoved cardboard in them and covered them with fur. She was quite cute, and kept coming up for attention.
One of the women who helped organise it said that Susie was 7 years old. I asked if the donkeys wore shoes, and apparently they don’t, because their hooves are much stronger than horses, and they were more square shaped. Apparently the charity has welfare officers who will rescue the donkeys if they are being neglected or have been abandoned. They are taken to a place in Strabane (in Northern Ireland but not sure where), where they are treated for any medical problems and weighed etc, before they are braught to Belfast. They would then be trained for kids to ride them. Apparently before a kid can even ride them, the donkeys have to get used to things being dropped and stuff, as apparently they throw things and play games and stuff. I think they have 7 or 8 trained up at the moment. They have belts and things to keep kids upright who maybe couldn’t support themselves. They also have two members of staff at either side of them when riding.
There is a weight limmit for the donkeys though as they are so small. A kid can only be 8 stone, but kids heavier than that, or those who can’t get out of their wheelchairs can ride in a cart which one of the donkeys can pull.
Susie the donkey was
One of the donkeys
Up for adoption. It was £16 a year. A little kid came up and said “Mum says we have to adopt this donkey!”. I think he thought the donkey would be coming home with him.
The other donkey was much more hairy, and was called Benjie. He wasn’t as interested in attention though.
At the centre they also have an areena for riding, a “sensory room” is also available for the kids to use.
There was also bouncey castles, face painters, craft stalls, a raffle, and a gift shop selling toy donkeys and things. We headed off to get a cup of tea.
At one point while I was about to drink my tea, i felt this mighty splash and there was tea all over the table. Apparently a little boy had thrown a toy car across the room. His mother came up and appologised. Apparently the kid really liked water. He had no concept of hot or cold though. Luckily the table got most of it, and it wasn’t scorching hot. I’d say it could be quite dangerous with a child like that. It must have been something to do with his particular disability.
We left for home after that.
I hadn’t taken Ushi with me as I thought there would be more donkeys and i thought alot of it would be outside. I didn’t think the donkeys would be too happy with a dog. At the same time I probably could have taken her since there were only two donkeys, and they were in pens. I was a little disappointed. Maybe i was expecting too much, but I thought there would be rides and that. I suppose they had to start with something small, since they are only open since June this year.
It was a day out though, and none of us knew what to expect really. Maybe if i go to something similar I might take Ushi. Who knows.
I got an email the other day from my rehab worker asking if I would like to go to a sponsored walk and picnic today. (The woman who asked my rehab worker if i would like to go didn’t have my email so asked him to ask me). We met her before at the
Clown Doctors thing
Back in February. I said I would go but after replying to the email I remembered something I needed to check on.
Whenever we qualify with our dogs, we sign a document called the “Guide dog owner agreement”, and pay 50 pence to the association. This 50 pence is all we are required to pay, but we can pay for vet and feeding costs if we want. It means the dog is now ours. The agreement basically is a legal document that says that we mustn’t use our dogs in dog shows, and that we will be responsible for the dog and such. There is one part that says that if we are fundraising for another charity we must have the dogs behind us or something. I emailed my instructor to see if i could still do the walk, and she said that if we were collecting for another charity we would have to have the dogs harness off, but if we are just going to support another charity then there is no problem and we can go on ahead. So that was great news.
So this morning i decided to work Ushi before we went on the walk. I usually find that if i don’t work her at all, she is usually much more hyper. Plus I find that working her after a fundraiser is just not going to happen as she usually sleeps for most of the day afterwords. I’ve noticed that recently though she has become much more sniffy over the past couple of days. It’s usually things she wouldn’t normally sniff like cars and that. Maybe it’s because it’s coming into Autumn or maybe it’s just Ushi.
So my rehab worker came to collect me at about a quarter to 11. The place where we were doing the walk was only about 5 minutes away. The walk was organised by the charity
Angel eyes northern ireland
Who are a charity that support parents of blind and partially sighted children in northern ireland. It is made up by parents. They organise away days as well as education days and such for parent and kids.
When we got to the place where we were meeting, we first let Ushi spend, then sat chatting for a while before we got started. There was a crossword and a map for the kids, but you could just do the walk on its own.
Ushi was a little excited because it was a new place, so she pulled a bit on the lead, but it was manageable. When we got a little around the walk, my rehab worker asked if i would like to work her with him directing me where to go. I said yes and explained that she wouldn’t walk at her normal speed because it was a new place. He asked me if I felt working her would be a good idea, but I said that I may as well use her since i had her. Ushi worked wonderfully. Her tail was wagging the whole time, and she seemed to be having a great time. We even went over a bridge over a river and we had no spends, and she didn’t even give the water a second glance. She did however sniff a spending bin just off that bridge though. Her confidence did start to become a bit shakey at some points though, mostly when there was no one she could follow. So my rehab worker went in front and she soon started to step out again. She did keep insisting that she needed to go on the grass at one point, so I took her harness off and she promptly flooded the grass. She was grand after that, and we headed back for the picnic.
Ushi was a star then too. She did find a stick at one point and did have a a bit of a sniff, but apart from that she just chilled. None of the kids wanted to feed her either which was great.
There were about 12 of us all together including the kids. It was a great day.
I was expecting Ushi to be a complete nightmare as she loves kids, but she was grand.
I will probably get involved with any more events that are being organised.
It was a great day and the weather was gorgious!.
Oh before I go, I would like to wish
Good luck with training for her second guide dog on Monday. She doesn’t update her blog any more I don’t think, but she will be posting alot on a website called
Over the next couple of weeks. I really hope it goes well for her and that it works out this time. I remember how much it helped getting support last year. So do give a listen to her recordings when she posts them. I’m sure she’d appreciate it!