Anual Branch Christmas Meal

Last night, all of the fundraising branch for Ballymena/Antrim were invited to go out for a christmas meal. At our last meeting we had decided to go to
JDS
It is part of our local bowling alley but thankfully there is a it upstairs which we had booked. I wasn’t sure this restaurant was a good idea though since it might have been crowded but thankfully it wasn’t.

I was picked up at about 7 ish. I didn’t bring ushi with me as i thought it might be too warm and busy for her so she got to chill. She was very confused as to why she wasn’t coming too!

When we got there we discovered that our branch organiser had a seating plan. I don’t really like this sort of arrangement but i suppose it stops people getting annoyed because they didn’t want to sit beside a certain person so i can sort of see the point of it. At each of our seats was a little card with a little badge of a german sheperd dog inside it to say thanks for all our hard work. I thought that was nice. The branch organiser had also got me and my friend a box of lip balms, and a dog chew for each of our dogs. (I thought the chew was some kind of razor!). I thought this was really nice too. I don’t mean this to come out in a bad way but alot of people get me make up for a present. I hate make up! (Bad experience one day with it). I know people are just trying to get gifts that i would like. At least the lip balms i can use! (I hope nobody is planning to get me make up this christmas lol). I should write a post one day on why i hate make up.

My friend gave me a sweatshirt that says “paws off”, those fingerliss gloves you get which have the mitten bit that you can pull down over your fingertips, and a bar of galaxy with a
Personalised wrapper
Which said “Braille free, but the dude doing the audio isn’t bad” or something and “Fish fingers” lol. (That’s kind of a wee joke between us). I thought the galaxy was a packet of colouring pencils lol. I asked my friend why she had got me colouring pencils and she just laughed and told me it was Galaxy lol.

I got her a £20 Waterstones voucher.

I had the Pasta Carbonarragh (not sure how to spell that lol). I was kind of dreading it because i usually end up covered in spaghetti sauce if i get it so i’m sure it doesn’t look too good lol). Thankfully it was just pasta so i didn’t end up too messy. There was a big chunk of halloumie cheese (that cheese that kind of squeaks when you chew it) just sitting on the top of the bowl. I hate cheese! The chicken and bacon were very jenorous. Normally it is only little bits of it but this was big chunks! They were that big i had to stab the pasta and all like i was eating it with a fork and as if it was potatoes or something. It was still nice apart from the cheese.

My friend baught me a west coast cooler so that was good. We just chatted and had a bit of craic before our desserts came.

For dessert, i had what was supposed to be ice cream and fruit but it was ice cream with like a syrup type thing then more ice cream. It was nice but why do restaurants always insist on putting some desserts in those crappy presentation glasses? They are so awkward to eat out of! Thankfully we asked for a boul which made it much easier.

We got home at about 10 o’clock. It was a great night and i would like to thank the branch organiser and my friend for the presents!

When i got home i was greeted by a mad little lady who rushed down to see me. I gave her her chew and she whined at it. (This isn’t really anything new). She then sniffed it, chased it, cuddled it, lay on it and whined some more. Normally she will whine for a short time before eating the carrot/ice cube/dental stick/playing with her kong which has food in it. She took the chew to bed with her though!

This morning it still wasn’t eaten, so i worked her and decided to give it to her when we got back. Unfortunately she was a little sick later on so that was a bit strange. She felt that sorry for herself that she wouldn’t eat her dinner and slept until about 8 o’clock. Normally she will sleep after working but this kind of worried me a little. I hadn’t noticed her drinking so put a little water in my hand and opened her mouth. That soon woke her up and she had a mad little roll around the hall. This was a sure sign that she was back to her normal self. She even let me brush her teeth and has been drinking since. So i don’t know what the craic was. It probably was a slug or something. At least she was only sick the once.

As for the chew, i gave it to Ash. She is actually making some use of it.

I don’t think Ushi realises she is a dog! Maybe she was a cat in her past life.


Thinking Of Moving?

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, but i never got around to it. I finally got all my links together today and decided to write a few words on blogger and thoughts on wordpressif you’re thinking of moving blogs. I’ve heard though that it has got slightly better but i haven’t used it yet.

Recently over the past couple of months Blogger announced a new and shiney
Interface
There was alot of talk about this on Twitter. Even sighted people didn’t like it. I decided to create an account on
WordPress
In case I needed to change because of this new interface being inaccessible.

So once you create your account or log in, you will be in what is called your “Dashboard”. This is exactly the same as what your ddashboard does in blogger. WordPress may seem quite cluttered at first, but if you go into your dashboard and press Enter on the
Themes Section
There are a number of different themes you can choose from, but the one i found easiest to use is the
Clean Home
Theme. It seems to minimise the clutter.

Unfortunately when you create a post you need to disable something called the “visual edditor”. Otherwise you can’t write links or anything. To do this, you need to go into the
Users section
Of your dashboard. You then need to go into
Personal Settings
Which is underneath “Users” when you click on it. In your personal settings, you need to tick the “Disable visual edditor” and save your changes.

So when you Create a new post
You can write the usual code for links and such. It takes a while to get used to the way a post is layed out though.

So if you’re still thinking of moving blogs, i hope this post has helped explain wordpress a little. I won’t move unless i need to though!


Oops

I was thinking the other day that i hadn’t yet posted the results of the
Fifth assistance dog blog carnival
I haven’t even read them yet as i never seem to have the time/life has got in the way/me slacking. Anyway this carnival was hosted by
Cindie
Over at
Gentle wit
This is a great blog and i’m making my way through it. As you know if i am interested in a blog i like to read the whole thing through. The theme was “achievements”.

You can read my submission and the rest of them
Over here
Sorry for the lateness and i’ll eventually get around to reading the other posts. Enjoy!


Carniny Christmas Fair

Tonight, me, the branch organiser, the treasurer and another branch member went to
Carniny Primary School
In Ballymena. It was a big christmas fair thing. There were lots of stalls and i think there were some other charities but i’m not sure what they were or if all the other stalls were just for people to buy things off and it maybe go to the school or something.

I thought we would all be in a hall, and was wondering how crowded that was going to be but thankfully we were in classrooms which was good. When we came in we had two or three boys directing us to where we needed to go lol.

I was sitting just behind the door so people would see us i suppose. One of the teachers was dressed up as an elf and ushi found this quite fascinating. She wanted to take his hat!

There was quite a crowd of people who came in to buy things or just to look at the dog. From little kids to parents to teachers to other stall holders. Ushi was fascinated by everything and just sat there looking up and down the corridor. At one point she lay right in the doorway of the classroom! I presume that was so that people would notice her lol.

We eventually moved in a bit as people were having to step over her and other people couldn’t get in to look at the other stalls. She still tried to get nearer the door.

At one point she had about three or four kids around her all calling her name and asking for her paw. She gave it to them which i was surprised about. She normally gets bored of it!

One kid couldn’t understand how ushi could be so big for being two. (My little 8 year old brother had this problem too lol). I explained that you get big and small dogs just like you get some tall people and some small people. He was just like oh right.

I was amazed at how generous the kids were being. They litterally came and put any change into the donation box without being asked to. There was even one kid who sponsored a puppy and then another who baught something and litterally put all her change into the box. This was little kids too. I was so shocked. I’m sure alot of adults wouldn’t be so generous.

I could tell by the end (we were there for three hours with a constant stream of people) that Ushi was getting tired because it was a bit of an effort to get her out of her down position to say Hi to everyone. She still managed it though.

Ushi even managed to see Santa (my rehab worker has a son who goes to the school so he was dressed up as Santa). Ushi went mad to see him and was wagging furiously! When i let her say hi she didn’t want to though!

She hasn’t moved from her bed since we got home lol. Talking of beds, i’ve decided to make Ushi a new cover for her bed. The one she has the cover can come off but the main bed can’t be washed. I’m using a pair of old jeans so hope she finds it comfortable!

It was a good night and one kid even came up to me at the end and handed me a little cone of sweets and a chocolate lolly!

That is all the fundraising events for the year. We are heading out for a meal on Tuesday though so that should be good. I’m not bringing Ushi though as the time of year it is probably wouldn’t be the best for her as it would be incredibly busy. So she can chill while i stuff myself!

I’ve also got a couple of posts to do next week that i haven’t got around to writing yet lol.

Have a good weekend!


This Time Last Year…Toys

I’m thinking of wrapping up this series. I only really have one more post, and to be honest i’m sure they are getting boring. Today i thought i’d talk about her toys.

This time last year, I worried i was being
Too gentle

With Ushi. Ushi didn’t seem to be that interested in me tugging her tug toy. She now will tug a little longer and seems to enjoy when i do it now. I still do it as gently as before though. Sometimes my brothers will want to tug with her but i am very careful in case she lets go or pulls too hard.

I was thinking what to get Ushi for christmas this year. I don’t have to get her anything, but i won’t resist the chance to spoil her. I just don’t have a clue though what to get her. She has already got:
A
Kong Tales

Which is a kong with nylon strips coming out of it. There is a squeaker encased in the nylon and a loop which you can hold onto. You can tug, shake and throw it, but Ushi prefers me to throw it.

Next, is a toy called
Hide a squirrel
This is a cuddly tree trunk with three wholes inside it. The dog then has to get three squeaky squirrels out. It took ages for Ushi to figure out what to do with it, but now she loves it. I would like to get her something similar as the toys where you hide food don’t interest her at all. It’s a stretch to get her to get food out of her normal kong, never mind something like a

Kong Wobbler
Which i had got her but she would paw it for a few minutes before getting bored and just deciding to either lie with it between her paws, or whine insessently until someone decided to get the thing open for her. She didn’t like working for her food at all. I had to give it away where it has found a loving home with my friends dog Della who uses it no bother.

Finally, her latest toy is a
Max black goughnut
Which she loves. I didn’t think it would be so big though and on second thoughts could have been a bit too big but Ushi still has great fun with it. I thinnk it is more of an outside toy though since it has quite a bounce.

So any suggestions as to what to get ushi would be helpful. I sometimes think she isn’t really a lab since she doesn’t like working for food. She will eat food if it is offered to her though. Maybe i just have a weird dog.


A Petition And A Statement

A couple of days ago, I posted about
The Twitter Campaigne
That was started by a young guide dog owners mother after her daughter was discriminated against by her school. The Twitter campaigne is still ongoing.

Since then, the girls mother has set up a
Petition
To stop this happening again to any other guide dog owner. It has got over 500 signatures already and it was only set up on Tuesday! Sorry for you all seeing this on twitter already, but i think everyone who can should sign this.

The mother has contacted various radio stations etc, and ironically as soon as she contacted the media, the principle of the school,
Released this statement
Which to start with had the guide dog owners name in it, but that has since been removed. It does sound convincing if you hadn’t followed the story, but it just seems weird that it keeps changing. It also just seems rather weird that as soon as the mother goes to the media, this statement is released.

I think in this day and age this should not be happening to be honest. Especially as there will probably be more and more younger guide dog owners around since guide dogs dropped the lower age limmit from 16 to nothing back about a year or two ago.

In comparison, here is an article about
Another young guide dog owner
Who has had a much more positive experience at school.

I really hope that something can be done, and that the girl can continue her studdies pritty soon. She is doing lots of exams so it is a pritty important year for her!

Please feel free to sign the petition. It shouldn’t still be happening!


This Time Last Year…Getting Lost

Today seems to be dragging in a little. I do have another post to write but i’ll do it later.

This time last year,
I got lost
I had decided to work Ushi before my instructor had come to teach me a new route. I think it had been raining the day before so Ushi wanted to go exploring. We ended up a path that i didn’t even know existed! I phoned my mum and said that there was a tree behind me and grass on my left lol.

I’m pleased to say that i have only gotten lost about 4 times since i got Ushi. Once was in the snow where ushi just couldn’t find a kerb, and another time was because they were sandblasting a house so it was really confusing. I have found though that there is never anyone around whenever you do get lost. It’s always that there are loads of people when you don’t need anyone. I always carry my phone with me just in case.

I do sometimes get a bit disorientated, but i can usually get back on track. The slightest thing can distract us from a leaf that catches Ushi’s attention, to us just not being on the ball.

We also learnt a route into town. I now use this route for my quilting course which i do every monday morning.

I think every partnership needs to get lost at least once. Yes it can be scarey, but if it happens, you’ll know why it happened the next time and it teaches you how to problem solve. I just wish more people were available when you needed them! Usually the common response is “i’m not from here” or “English isn’t my first language”. I remember one time coming out of our local Co opp, and i got a bit confused. A polish man came up to me and his daughter who could speak english directed me while she translated back to her dad what she was telling me!

Last night i got a call from a very distressed branch organiser. She was supposed to go to a fold with another guide dog owner, but the guide dog owner forgot, so I said i would do it. It was a good visit, and we were selling christmas cards and stuff. The branch organiser had said that she would take some of the stock that the Derry branch were unable to sell. All that stock is sold, but thankfully we only have one more event before the end of the year. We won’t start up again until January. January is when we get our next budget for the year too. So i think the branch organiser is hoping that one of the other branches have some more stock.

I nearly decapitated poor Ushi on the way out of the fold though. I was getting into the car and we had the car open. There was a car just beside us and i didn’t notice that ushi was standing behind the open car door. She then tried to put her head under the door and get in that way! I then had to step back so she could get out again.

I decided to work Ushi as soon as i got home because i hadn’t worked her before going to the fold. Ushi was rather confused and walked very slowly on our short walk. She’s been sleeping ever since really apart from eating and spending. I’ve never known such a lazy dog!


That’s Me For A Year

Today I had an aftercare visit from Guide dogs. This is to make sure me and Ushi are still working well and to make sure we don’t have any issues or anything. My last aftercare was
Back in April
(When we qualify we are visited in a couple of weeks after qualification, then it is at 6 weeks, then 3 months, 6 months, then each year after that unless we have a problem.

For some reason i was a little nervous of this upcoming visit. I was kind of expecting a lecture about Ushi’s weight or something.

I decided to work Ushi first before we had our aftercare visit. Unfortunately I crossed a little early at one of my crossings, and we ended up totally lost. I asked a kind woman what the problem was and thankfully she pointed me in the right direction. I’m just glad she didn’t decide to do it when we had aftercare.

On the way home i heard these kids shouting for someone (I think it was their dog as Ushi quickened up her step and i heard a woman saying “She’ll come back”) so that kind of panicked me a bit, but no dog came which was good. One little kid even asked me if i was okay! So I don’t know what had happened.

We had a bit of a chill time before my instructor came. She decided that she would ring me beforehand, and then she would walk behind me but far enough so that Ushi couldn’t see her. Normally she would travel in her car but she wasn’t sure where I was going, so followed on foot.

We had only some ocasional issues on our walk, but they were things like being a bit hesitant at some of her kerbs, but i just gently hold the lead in my right hand and encourage her forward. We had a sniff too, and at one point she decided to slow way down, but apart from that, she was grand! I was surprised since she tends to be a bit of a madam when she knows it’s aftercare.

My instructor says we’re working well which is good. She says that Ushi has quite a high tail and that she looks happy. She said that she noticed that Ushi tended to anticipate where we were going when we were crossing a road, and would ever so slightly veer in that direction. While nothing major, she says that I can just step up on her a bit more so that she can’t do it and that it is me who makes the decisions, not her. She asked how her social behavior and that was and i said it was all grand.

She then wanted to see Ushi’s health book which is the book that we take to the vets that has a record of her health and enables guide dogs to pay for our vet bills. I was a little nervous about this. I said that i had changed her food from 150 grams in the morning to just 100. She still gets 150 in the evening. She said not to go lower than 100 as Ushi would start to scavenge around the house for food. She says that if i can’t get the extra weight off, they might have to think about switching her food. We both agree that that would be a last resort, as i like how she is spending and how she is clean on walks at the minute. (She is on Royal Cannin Maxi sensible). It sounds awful posh for dog food!

That was basically all that was talked about. Apart from that Ushi’s “optimum weight” has been upped from 29 Kilos to 30 Kilos. (The optimum weight is the weight that guide dogs feels their dogs should be at depending on the size of the dog). I think they are a bit strict on the dogs weights, but that’s for another time.

The next time i will get a visit from an instructor is in a years’ time unless i need anything. I’m a bit sad at this, but it is good that we are having no issues and don’t need as regular input. I like to know i’m doing things right though. If i have any problems, i can just lift the phone and there will be someone there if i have any issues.

I was quite pleased with how today went. I had nothing to be nervous about!

Oh and
In my Last post
I’ve got some updated news and a petition. I’ll post that tomorrow maybe. I don’t want to bombard you with posts lol!


Can We Get This Trending?

I am part of a group for guide dog owners on facebook. This is for everyone all over the UK.

Back in July, a lady posted that her daughter had been matched with a guide dog called Unis. This young lady is deaf and blind. She was going to do her A levels in September. The school she was going is a school for the deaf.

Things seemed to go well for a while, but unfortunately the young lady and her guide dog have been forced to leave the school. I think this is disgusting. The ladys’ mother wrote most of
This Article
It’s a bad job that a site set up by a past pupil is now featuring this story as it main feature!

The ladys mother is looking for a new school for her daughter and has started a twitter campaigne. If you are going to share the link i have posted, please use the hash tags #Support4Molly and #Mollywatt.

This shouldn’t happen. Let’s make sure it doesn’t and get this trending. I’m sure this family would appreciate it!

Thanks!


This Time Last Year…Photo

This time last year,
Was mine and Ushi’s
First photo opportunity. It was with our local papers. My rehab worker wanted to show a newly qualified team with a more experienced team (and there is only one other guide dog owner in Ballymena since my friend hadn’t been matched yet).

I was a bit nervous about having Ushi’s photo taken since we can’t officially fundraise until we are at least 6 months qualified. This is so that you can get used to each other as a team. I got so many compliments that day though about her coat and such. I always just smile and say thanks.

I never actually got the photo as it was a scanned picture.

I also spent my first time in a coffee shop with ushi and she was grand.

I had came to the fundraising meetings after that but my first fundraising event wasn’t until March I think. I can’t remember what it was though. I’ve just had a quick look, and my first fundraiser was in April, and it was a
Jollyes Collection
I was a bit nervous then, but now i’ve done plenty of events. The only event i won’t do is street collections as i feel that they can be a bit too much, and i would rather be sitting rather than standing. Plus i feel that if you are doing a street collection, people don’t get the same opportunity to ask you questions i feel and it is constantly busy. Maybe someday i will collect though.

Today was a great working day. We had a little spring in our steps!

I’ve got aftercare on Monday so i’ll let you know how that goes. I’m not having any issues so i’m just going to do a regular route. (I’m not going to learn any new routes though because i don’t think there would be much point to start a new route for us not to be able to do it because of the weather. So i’m just going to leave it until the spring and just stick to our regular boring routes. I’ll let you know how Monday goes.