Unplanned Social Occasions

Yesterday was our anual outing with the Acorn Arts group that i am a part of. This year, one of the volunteers had raised money so we were able to hire a bus to take us to and from
The donkey sanctuary
In Templepatrick.

The bus collected us all from Divis community centre where the art group is held, at 10 o’clock. Unfortunately when the bus came, they didn’t have a ramp for some of the people to get on, but we eventually managed to get everyone on and we were off. I didn’t realise it was such a short journey as it only took about half an hour to get there.

When we arrived, we met some of the staff and were taken off in pairs to lead one of the donkeys and groom another. In the main reception area they have a sensory room for children and nice comfy sofas for people to wait. You can also see the donkeys in the areena through the glass. There is also a gift shop and a kitchen.

Ushi’s nose was going 10 to the dozen with all the donkey smells. We first of all took Ushi over to sniff some of the donkeys that were in pens too. When we went in to the areena, the donkey wasn’t too keen on Ushi and stomped his hoof at her. The donkey was called Redmend and was quite young so wasn’t used to dogs. One of the volunteers from the art group held her while i walked Redmand around the areena. Redmand was very light walking. He kept a very loose tention. He was slightly bigger than a german shepherd dog. The one thing i noticed about the areena was that it was a hardspungey floor, rather than the sand/wood shavings that it used to be when i went horse riding.

I didn’t bother grooming any of the donkeys, so i just pottered about until it was lunch time. We had home made vegetable soup with sandwiches and tea or coffee.

The sanctuary don’t charge for any of their riding sessions for disabled children, so they rely on donations and their “adopt a donkey” scheme. They would also get money from the gift shop and the lunches i think. There was a donation bucket sitting so we all chipped in a little something for them.

After lunch it was just pottering. The sanctuary has recently got a sensory garden installed which has buttons which people can press to hear all about how many donkeys they have and things. They also have donkeys in the fields too.

Finally, we all headed down to see where the donkeys slept and to get a few photos. Ushi tried to jump up and lick one of the donkeys lol.

It was a lovely day, and the art group have adopted 3 donkeys. We’ll get to follow their progress for however long the adoption runs for. I would liek to thank the staff and the art group for taking us. I bought the art group some biscuits as the volunteers keep us all fed and watered which they don’t have to do.

When i arrived back at the train station, i had missed my train home litterally by 2 minutes so i waited until the next one. As i was just about to be taken out for my train, i met the branch organiser for the Limavady branch. She told me she was going to a piggy racing event. She asked if i would like to come along too, so i said yes as long as it was okay with the people who were organising the event. So we both headed off to Bangor instead. Thankfully the train staff didn’t mind the change of trains lol.

When we arrived When we arrived in Bangor, we got picked up by one of the puppywalkers. They have a little 11 week old pup i think called Oakly. He was tiny. Ushi made herself at home and played with all his toys and inspected his bed.

Around 7 o’clock, we headed off to the 45 club in Belfast where the piggy racing would happen. Basically, you have 6 battery opperated pigs. They go on a race track and you have to bet 50P and pick a pig from 1 to 6. Which ever pig wins, 40 % of the money goes to guide dogs and the winner gets to keep the remainder of the money. The pigs wear little coats with a number from 1 to 6 on them. Between each race, some prizes are raffled off. At the end of the night, the pigs are auctioned off or else they are kept for the next race. It was great craic and was finished by about 10 o’clock. I would like to thank the pininchula branch for letting me gate crash their event, and ofcourse the puppywalker and the branch organiser from the Limavady branch for inviting me along in the first place!

I must also thank Ushi for being so adaptable and waiting for her food until we got home which was about half 11ish. I love totally unplanned social occasions :).

Why Did I Let You Stop

It’s the Assistance dog blog carnival again, and i think i will get this in just in time as the deadline is later on today. The topic for this round is
I hmmed and hawed about posting as i really don’t know what i would regret, but i suppose this would be the closest thing to a regret as i think of. My only regret with Ushi apart from applying for a dog earlier is…her stopping.

When i got Ushi, everything was grand until about a week after we qualified. She first of all started standing at her kerbs instead of sitting, and then the stopping started. We’d just be walking down the street, and bamb, she wouldn’t move. There were no obsticles, no reason for her to stop. I even called my dad to come look at her paws which were grand. I did not want to go to the guide dog instructors, as i thought i had caused Ushi’s stopages but eventually i had to. The instructor said i should be a bit more positive, which worked for a few days, then she stopped again. They said i needed to be more firmer with her this time, so that worked for a few days and then she stopped again. Each time she stopped, we were getting closer and closer to the house. My dad said to just walk on and she would eventually have to come with me, but i couldn’t physically do that as i didn’t want to choke her.

The district team manager came out when i called again, which put the willies up me. He was the head instructor if you will. I really thought i was in major trouble. During this time of stopping, i wanted, or had thought of giving her back. I never told anyone this until long after Ushi was sorted as i thought they would come and take her away immediately.

When the head instructor came out, i was very nervous. I would have kept Ushi on the lead when i knew people were coming. Now, when he came, Ushi jumped up all 4 paws on his chest. I really thought i was scuppered, but he just ignored her. Now, she probably wouldn’t have done this if i hadn’t kept her on the lead. This was the first and last time she ever did this.

As for the stopping, he told me that Ushi was just being a madam and i just had to tell her to get on with it and make her go forward. I was so so relieved.

During all this stopping, i only worked Ushi once a day. I think that if i had kept working her twice a day if i could, she wouldn’t have put on weight which i couldn’t get off, which would have meant she wouldn’t have had to change foods. On the other hand, she had started to eventually refuse her food she came with, and she seems to enjoy her Burnes food that she is on now. For my next dog, i plan to have her on Burnes because it is a really good food. It is not just a food saying it’s more natural but it isn’t really, it really is a decent food. The food she was on before was very greasy and smelly. It also had lots of things i did not understand when i looked up what was in it. Thankfully the Burnes, while having some additives, these are mainly vitamins and minerals. Plus it feels nicer.

Anyway, we still have the issue of stopages, but i know how to manage them now. I do find myself over annalising them though since she is 6. I really do hope she will let me know when she doesn’t want to work any more.

My secondary regret would be that i am not so nervous with my next dog since i know the ropes, but i just wanted to get everything right.

This has been my entry for the 17th ADBC. I’ll post the submissions when they are compiled.

Thanks to Brook from
Ruled by paws
for the topic idea.