The 17th Round of the Assistance Dog Blog Carnival

I’m cheating a little and just reblogging this, but here are the submissions for the 17th assistance dog blog carnival. It was a very hard topic to write about, and nobody wants to face up to those regrets. If you have any, you push them to the back of your mind and tell yourself not to be silly. The posts are very interesting so far.

I must thank Brook, for putting them up so quickly-the deadline was only yesterday. Well done to all who took part. Deffinetly some food for thought :).

so here they are, the submissions for the 17th round of the Assistance Dog Blog Carnival. First, let’s go visit Briony and Rigby over at Briony Waffling and take a look at their post titled There’s No Use Crying Over Spilled Milk. In her post, Briony reflects upon her relationship with her former guide Lilo,…

The 17th round of the assistance dog blog carnival

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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
Regrets
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.


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!


The Fifth Assistance Dog Blog Carnival:Achieving Independence

I thought i’d write my post for the
5th Assistance dog blog carnival
The theme is “achievements”. I thought i’d write about how i have achieved independence with Ushi. I hope this fits into the theme.

I was about 5 when i was introduced to the cane. It wasn’t propper cane work. My socialworker had given me a little symbol cane which she had attached bells to. I called it Annabell after a favourite classroom assistant in Nursery school. Annabell was mainly used for around the house to improve my orientation i think. Even then i hated using the cane. Unfortunately it is not recommended that kids use the cane so young now, even if it wasn’t actually a proper cane.

I propperly was introduced to the long cane when i was about 12. My rehab worker used to work for our local social services before he became a full time rehab worker for guide dogs. I was a bit of a slacker when it came to using the cane though, and would only use it when i had mobility and when i was going around college. I just found it really awkward and used to dread it as it seemed to take so long going anywhere.

I had often thought about a guide dog, but never really thought long and hard until my rehab worker suggested it back in 2008. I thought he was mad and must have spent a good few hours asking him all the questions i could think of. I applied a couple of days later.

There were a number of assessments i had to go through before i was even put on the waiting list. These were things like medical forms, what my lifestyle would be like, walking with an instructor and a harness to assess my speed and how i could control a dog, and sometimes they get you to walk with a dog just to see how you would be with a dog. They don’t do that all the time though.

The waiting list is normally from 6 to 12 months, but it can be longer or shorter. I waited 15 months in total before i got Ushi.

Now that I have got Ushi, I go out at least twice a day. I am now doing a quilting course every monday morning at a local coffee shop. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but i don’t think that would have been possible without a guide dog. Sure i could have done it with a cane, but i wouldn’t have enjoyed it. The rest of my week is just walks mainly, and I ocasionally go into town to meet up with people. I know just “walking” isn’t much, but i can relax and just go for a strole. I’m not really into shopping so i don’t really go to town that much. I sometimes wonder if i should be working her more, but i’ve lost my motivation to studdy or find work. I hope next year i find it again!

I can now walk at a normal speed, and I find that more people will say hello whereas with the cane nobody hardly spoke.

I hope you have enjoyed my submission for the 5th assistance dog blog carnival. The deadline is the 23rd October! (Sorry for my other readers reading some of this before).


Another Carnival Announcement

We’re on the 5th assistance dog blog carnival already. Wow! I didn’t participate in the last one, but thought i’d give this one a go. The theme is “Achievements” and you can find out more information
Here
And the host is Sindie from
Gentle Wit

The deadline is the 23rd of October, so plenty of time!


2nd Assistance Dog Blog Carnival:The Decision

Back in October, we had the
First Assistance dog blog carnival
Which seemed to be a great success. It’s time once again for the next carnival.
L^2
Is hosting this carnival. The theme for this post is “decision”. I thought i’d write the post in this post too, as by now you all should know what a carnival is. If you don’t, it’s basically a magazine about assistance dogs, and it’s done every couple of months. It has a theme, and posters have to stick to this theme. A blogger hosts it every month.
Here’s The post
Explaining more details about what is involved.

Now for the actual post….

I’m not sure where to go for this post. I’ll write something, and hopefully it will fit the theme. It is such a hard theme to write about.

The decision to apply for my first guide dog Ushi was quite a hard one. I knew I wanted a guide dog, but when the idea was put to me nearly three years ago now, it was a very scarey thought. I didn’t know how I would benifit from a guide dog, how to put the harness on, how I would know when the dog went to the toilet etc. I had so many questions for my rehabilitation worker. I’m sure I had him pestered!

I decided a few days later to actually officially apply, as when my rehab worker came out that night, it was just a suggestion, but I still had to officially apply. That was easy enough as I just had to phone my district team of my organisation. (Unlike America, we don’t have different guide dog schools, rather we have “The guide dogs for the blind association”. Each country has what are known as “district teams”, which basically are the team of people who will be responsible for training you with the likes of a long cane, before progressing to a guide dog and afterwards. We only have one team here in Northern Ireland, but in England, Scotland and Wales, there could be more than one.).

There are a number of stages that you have to go through before you find out if you will be put on a waiting list or not.

After I officially applied, my rehab worker came out about a week later, and did what is known as the “enquiry visit”. This is basically where you ask alot of questions, and find out more about what owning a guide dog could be like. I asked loads more questions lol.

After this, you have to undertake a “Mobility assessment” which is where my rehab worker assessed me with the cane and that, to see how good my mobility was. Some paper work has to be filled in such as a report from my rehab worker, and someone else who taught me mobility at one point, such as my social worker, and a form has to be filled in saying what landmarks I use and that sort of thing. That went grand too, which was good.

A few months later, a “guide dog mobility instructor” or GDMI came out to do what is called a “guide dog assessment”. This is where you are assessed to see how good your voice is, what your speed is like, and how good you would be at following the dog and such. You use what is known as a “short handle” for this part. This is basically where the instructor holds one end of a guide dog harness, and you hold the other. The assessment is a chance for you to see if you want to continue with the guide dog application, and some facts are filled in such as your height etc. They also ask about what kind of lifestyle you will be leading. With us we can withdraw our application at any time, no questions asked.

Sometimes the guide dog mobility instructor will want to do a “guide dog further assessment”, which you will have to do if the instructor wants to see how you will be with an actual dog. I wasn’t that strong with my voice, so the instructor wanted to see if being with an actual dog would be better. This only happens ocasionally. The dog was in training.

I was put on the waiting list after this point. I was then “suspended” for three months, since I was in the middle of my GCSE exams, so couldn’t miss them.

My decision to stay on the waiting list was a very hesitant one. Many a time I would sit and worry about
Something I was told by the instructor
Which was totally inocent, but I took it the wrong way, and turned it into a whole big thing in my mind. In case you haven’t gathered, i’m a bit of a worrier lol. I spent a year roughly worrying about what I had been told lol.

After 15 months later, my rehab worker told me that there was a guide dog mobility instructor in the area, and would I fancy a dog walk. I jumped at the chance. Within a week of that first introduction to Ushi, I was matched with her. The decision to stay on that waiting list was a worthwhile one! (By this point I wasn’t as worried).

During class, I was always wanting to know what we were doing next. I liked to be prepared and plan ahead. My instructor always said to me “just focus on what we are doing now”. The decision not to ask questions was a hard one!

Now 4 months later from when I was on class, (3 months after qualification), I don’t ask that many questions. I have more confidence in myself, and don’t lean on the instructors as much now. They are always there though if I need them which is good.

There are quite alot of decisions that you have to make on this journey to getting a guide dog. It can’t just be one decision.

I hope this post meets the theme for the carnival. The deadline for submissions is the 17th January. That is 8 days from now.

I will post nearer the time to remind you to get your posts in. Enjoy!


The First Assistance Dog Blog Carnival Submissions

I mentioned in
This post
About the first assistance dog blog carnival that
After Gadget
Compiled. In fact, she came up with the idea of it. It is hosted every three months I think by different assistance dog blogs. It’s really exciting!!! Rather than linking to each post individually, i’ll just put the link to the post so you can read it yourself. So
Here Ya go

Enjoy!, and thanks Sharren for coming up with the idea!