Not One, But Three!

Last week i got a phone call from my rehab worker saying that Carniny Primary school who i have talked to in the past and who raised £419 for us, were having a day up at Portglenone forest. They wanted to know if me and Ushi would come. They normally have a day up there at the end of each term apparently, but this time it was because they are the first school in Northern Ireland to
Sponsor a puppy
Through the new schools initiative for sponsoring a puppy. I thought it was only one pup that was being sponsored but it is three because of the amount of money raised. They are sponsoring Sparkle, Dudley and Dotty and have received their first “pupdates” and photos.

We arrived at about half 10. I thought there was only going to be a couple of classes there, but the whole school were there! From the moment we got out of the car, it was “there’s Ushi!” and “That’s a guide dog!”. We stopped for some pats before heading off for a walk. While we were chatting, one kid said “that whole is where her poo comes out!”. I thought by the way they were talking that she had pooed but i hadn’t felt her sit. Then one of them said “i saw ushi’s bottom”! Then they looked underneath her and it was “That’s where the milk comes out!”.

We were going to go down a particular path but it was right beside a river so we turned and went another way. I decided to work Ushi to see how she did, and apart from needing to answer natures call at one point she did great. Although she didn’t like walking on the gravel and wanted to walk on the grass just off to the side. We had to stop every few steps for pets. I didn’t mind though as they all asked. Thankfully the paths were quite flat which was good.

I liked that when the little ones were doing a scavenger hunt, the bigger kids were making huts out of tree branches and stuff. So it was fun for all the school.

There was one point where ushi wanted to go down onto a jetty that was just beside us. So because i was being directed we went down because it was closed off. If it wasn’t for the steps down to the water being made of metal, i think that Ushi would have been away. I think she likes the still water but not the sea still. She whined and tried to get to the water. After discovering that we weren’t going down she turned and walked back onto the path again lol.

We headed back to where we started and to have a cup of tea and a biscuit. A little girl came up and even vidioed me and Ushi to show to her mum lol.

It was a good day out and i would like to thank the school for inviting me, but most of all for choosing to sponsor a puppy!

Meeting With The Arketect

On Thursday night I got a call from the campaigns officer from guide dogs. He was telling me that
Ballymena counscil
Were planning a consultation to look at how accessible the town centre was to blind and partially sighted people. He said that the first meeting was yesterday and asked if i would like to come along. I said yes as i think it is a great opportunity and it’s good the counscil are listening for once.

So yesterday I met with my friend P first of all, and headed down to the town hall at about 10 to 12. My friend decided to walk down with me and it is a good ob he did because we got a little lost. We ended up having to call into a selisitors to ask for directions. Luckily i eventually got to the town hall.

I was very impressed with the receptionist who guided me up to where the arkitect was. She knew exactly how to sighted guide me and even knew how to guide someone with a guide dog.

The architect was consulting with guide dogs, and
Disability action

The consultation is running for 12 weeks. They want to improve Ballymena to encourage more people to come to the town. They asked if we had any issues. I said that the buttons on the crossings aren’t in the same place always. I said it would be good if they were consistent. I also said that it would be good if they beeped as well as the little cones because i wouldn’t fancy sticking my hand under the box and finding something not so nice under there.

Some of the wheelchair users mentioned shared surfaces, which is where there are no kerbs, but these aren’t good for guide dogs as they work from kerb to kerb. So they are thinking of making them like a speed bump kind of thing.

I did point out that there is a street that is really good now that it has been widened out a little as they want to hear the good and the bad.

One of the wheelchair users asked if i would use the busses and i said yes and braught up one of the bus stops is half way up the wall and it isn’t up on a pole. The architect said he would look into that too.

There also might be a crossing installed at the entrance to our local park because you can’t cross it independently. I would love if there was because i could get there independently to free run with people!

It was a good meeting. I hope some of what we discussed is used. It would be a shame for there to be no money or anything.

On the way home i ran into my dad. He showed me a much easier way to get to the town hall than the way we went so that is good.

I’ll let you know about anything further and if the consultation is posted on the website i will share it here too. I’m so glad Ballymena counscil are listening!

Changing the meals

I’ve decided to change the ammount ushi gets in the morning and evening.

I used to have her on 100 grams in the morning and 150 in the evening. Over the past couple of days she has been sick after her meal in the evening. This is over an hour after her food, and i make sure she doesn’t do much or get excited after she has eaten. It is only when she comes upstairs. She likes to lie downstairs after she eats her evening meal. It is only a little bit as when i go to pick it up it is gone. So I presume she eats the little bit she has sicked up. This has only happened the past couple of evenings and nothing has changed.

I decided to phone my branch organiser for some advice just to see what the craic was. She used to be a vet receptionist so figured she might know. She said that the fact that it was only happening occasionally meant it probably wasn’t anything serious. If it was she would be sick in the morning, which she isn’t. She comes straight upstairs in the mornings to go to her bed after eating.

The branch organiser has suggested that i change her meals and give her a 150 grams in the morning, and 100 in the evening to see if that helps. She says i should take her to the vet if she doesn’t improve.

I tried the change last night and she wasn’t sick. She didn’t seem to wake me up as early for her breakfast this morning either. So i’m wondering should i keep her on the bigger portion in the mornings? Or should i change her back again?

I’ll just have to make sure that i do work her twice a day still to make sure that she doesn’t put on any weight.

The ADBC-Sorry

As some of you may know, there is a carnival for all assistance dog bloggers hosted every three months. A person picks a theme and then people write posts for it. You can find out more about it

I had planned to host the July edition. I had even thought of a theme and planned it all out in my head. I would have a note pad of who and what posts were under which catigry.

Unfortunately i don’t think i will be able to take part. I could probably at a push, but life has got really busy lately. Nothing bad, but i would hate to commit to anything and not be able to follow through.

So i’m throwing open the spot.

I’m sorry i wasn’t able to do it. Maybe at a later date. But the spot is free to a good home.

The Waterstones Mother And Toddler Group

Every Monday morning, our local Waterstones bookshop holds a mother and toddler group. It is just in the kids section of the store and only lasts an hour. I was invited along to this one by the lady E i mentioned in yesterdays entry.

Me and Ushi arrived nice and early so that we would get settled before the big mad rush. I braught the kids some stickers which said things like “i love guide dogs” and “i’m a guide dog hero” or something. I also braught a copy of the braille alphabet for waterstones to keep.

All the kids loved Ushi. One little boy got a shock and burst into tears when he came over and Ushi planted a great big kiss on his face. He was grand after that though. I don’t think he was expecting it that was all.

One little boy told us all about how he had 4 chickens called granda, George, Peppa, and Wallie. His dog was called Dibbles.

The books E read were: I love dogs, That’s not my puppy, Another one i can’t remember, and “No!”. (I thought when she said No that she was shouting at one of the kids lol! Thankfully she wasn’t.

Once again i’d like to thank E for inviting me. I only wish it had been longer!

Waterstones had a really good deal on. For each child who came, they got a token off a book as long as they spent it the day the group was run they would get money off a book. I thought the group was really good as it encouraged reading, plus the kids got to colour in while the story was being read. I think any kids could just come along.

So another good morning!

An Invasion Of Guide Dogs!

A couple of months ago, I was in
And i just happened to have Ushi with me. We got talking, and the staff in our local store really liked Ushi. The next time i was in one woman in particular, (I’ll call her E) asked if i would come in and do a talk or something with Ushi. I said i would be happy to and told them to ask the branch organiser of our branch.

It wasn’t long before a date was set, and we were invited by E to have an information table on Saturday the 16th June. We weren’t allowed to sell any stock, but we were allowed to sell little guide dog pins as it said on the box that you could make a suggested donation of a pound to have one. I orriginally thought it would be for the whole day but we were only there from 1 o’clock until 3.

So yesterday me, Ushi and the branch organiser arrived bright eyed and bushy tailed.

All the staff had to come over and give Ushi some love. E in particular would have spent all day there if there were no customers.

About half way through there just happened to be a crowd of about 20 guide dogs in the centre. They all had come down from belfast to shop and for a meal. Thankfully they all didn’t come into the shop as that could have been interesting! About four dogs and their owners did come in though. One lady recognised me from the Talking busses pilot we attended last year. The dogs who did visit us were called Truffle, Keeta, Dylan and Eric. Ushi and the dogs all had a little roll around the floor and Ushi wanted to follow them out of the shop.

We raised £49 out of selling pins, and tomorrow i am going to the mother and toddler group that E runs in Waterstones. Plus we have been invited back to sell our range of stationery!

It was a brilliant day and i think it is a good opportunity possibly for fundraising and even some volunteers in the future. Thanks for having me! I’ll let you know how the mother and toddler group goes.

Oh That’s Such A Shame

I was up visiting my uncle again. We went up on Wednesday and came home today. I’ll get to the title of this post in a minute.

I decided to work Ushi to the train station on Wednesday. She worked really well and was good at getting on and off the train. I still have to tell myself not to be nervous getting on and off as that could rub off on Ushi, but i do still feel a bit anxious. Once i am on then i’m grand. It’s just the getting on.

Ushi worked very well until we were getting the bus from the city centre of Belfast up to my uncles. She just started going to the kerb all the time and not following my directions. My sister then guided me and Ushi kept going in front of her. She even said that she wouldn’t want me bringing her next time if she continued. I was pretty annoyed about that. My sister usually is great with Ushi but i guess she was just annoyed. Maybe i shouldn’t work her if i don’t know the route and am getting directions, but Ushi has coped well in the past when i have done that.

When we got to my uncles, Ushi went to spend straight away. So i think that could have been what she needed. She doesn’t normally indicate the gutter as she is reluctant to go on concrete. Unfortunately it was the middle of the city centre so i’m not sure i’d want her going there anyway. I did some obedience with her as i admit i do become a bit slack with it. I think i’m going to have to do it every couple of days now rather than waiting until her work becomes a bit scratchy. Not majorly, but i do notice it.

The last time my uncle had baught Ushi a food bowl but it was too shallow and small for princess Ushi. So this time i thought i’d bring her own just in case. My uncle had kindly baught her a bigger deeper one, and it seemed to do the trick as she ate all her meals in it. So at least i’ll not have to bring her own bowl in future. I never thought a bowl would make such a difference to whether she eats or not. She took herself off to bed at about 20 to 9 that night lol.

I’m pleased to say yesterday was a much better working day. She listened much better to me and wasn’t wanting to go the kerb all the time. She did insist on walking at an angle when she was working, wanting to walk along the right side of the street. Normally she likes the left, but for some reason she wanted to walk along the right.

Unfortunately we got stopped by a woman as we were coming out of Tescos. She told us all about how she loved dogs even though she got bitten as a child. She then went into every detail about how her lip swoll up and how the doctors gave her a Tetinus injection. Then her mum apparently took her to a private doctor and the doctor said that the poison from the dog bite was going up to her left eye. (Can you tell i was deeply interested? Not). I then got told that she had a dog but before it died a cat came to her house and she adopted it. And then all about how she is bothered by her neighbors cats and they sit there until she gives them food.

Next came the worst bit of all though. She said to Ushi “What are you having for your dinner tonight?”. I said she was just having dog food. There was a silence then “Are you only having dog food? Maybe at the weekend you’ll get some chicken.”. (Can you guess where this is going yet?). I explained that ushi could only have her food and the reasons why. (I had to do this at least 3 or 4 times until she got the message). You’d have thought that i had done something cruel to Ushi (which i never would), but she said “Oh. That’s such a shame. Can she not even have a bite?”. (Again the explanation as to why not). It ended up we had to say we had a bus to catch. Technically we did but we could have got it at any time. That was the only way we could get rid of the woman. It also took her ages to grasp that Ushi was a girl. I felt like telling her to look for herself but decided that might have been a little rude.

Nothing more eventful happened. Ushi again ate all her food and went to bed quite early.

I was woken by a little whine this morning at about half 5. She has started looking for her food in the mornings. I used to feed her at half 5 in the evenings, but i was woken far too early so now feed her about 7 o’clock. I managed to get her to go back to bed until half 6, then 7. She must have been hungry lol.

Unfortunately on the way back home our train was delayed for half an hour because of flooding. It ended up that we had to change trains. The conductors kept appologising for the delay.

So Ushi is now asleep. I’m away doing an information tables at Waterstones so that should be good.

So apart from the wierdo at Tescos, it was a good time as always. I love the way ushi is so relaxed at my uncles house. He loves having her too which is fabulous!