Clowning Around

Well here’s the entry about the “clowns” I mentioned in yesterdays entry. I think it was well needed today!

At about 8:30, my rehab worker and a woman from
Angel Eyes Northern Ireland
came to pick me up. (the woman was in the car with my rehab worker). Angel eyes Northern ireland is an organisation made up of parents for parents with children with visual impairments. It only was founded in 2007. I think it could be really useful!

Anyway we were off to see…
The Clown Doctors
But more on that later.

I decided to put Ushi in the back of the car (my rehab worker has one of those cars with those big boots that has plenty of room for a guide dog). It must have been too warm for her though cause she was panting quite alot. We stopped off at the RNIB while the woman from Angel eyes got some more stuff she needed, then we were off again.

There was a nice spot of grass just outside the church hall where we were to meet the clown doctors, so after introducing Ushi to them (they were all on the front steps), we took Ushi over to busy. Either she hadn’t done her busy this morning, or else the journey made things kind of jiggle, but she started to rush around, and then did her busy. I didn’t think she needed to go! I’m so glad we decided to spend her before going in, as that could have been like the time she
Happened to drop her load
In the shopping centre. Thank god she did it outside though this time!

We headed in after that.

We went upstairs to a part of the hall. It must have been a pritty big hall! It sounded big anyway. While the doctors were getting settled, and my rehab worker was getting everything set up, I got Ushi some water. I hadn’t even finished pouring the bottle of watter in and she was drinking as I poured! What a Thirsty girl! I had braught two bottles of watter with me, and the first one was nearly finished in the first half an hour! She did eventually stop drinking, and started lapping all the attention that the doctors were giving her. That tail never stopped wagging!

Shortly after this, the manager for the clown doctors told us what the day was for. I suppose you’re wanting to know who the clown doctors are? Well they are basically people who go into hospitals with sick children, to basically brighten their day. They go to four hospitals in Northern ireland. They also work with adults with severe learning disabilities. They also work with hospital play specialists. They aren’t actually medical doctors though.

Today was just a training day for them though, so that they would know what to do if they encountered a child with a visual impairment who was in hospital quite alot. I also learnt that they would be learning about deaf children in the afternoon, but we were only there for the morning.

We first introduced ourselves, before my rehab worker gave a talk about guide dogs and some myths about guide dogs.

It was then my turn to present my experiences. I was going to just kind of ad lib, but I thought it would work better if i just read my presentation. (can you tell i’m not really comfy with presenting?).

My rehab worker then talked a bit more about the different levels of vision, and how for one person they could have light perception, and another they could have a bit of vision but still be registered blind.

We had a short break after this to refill on tea etc. Ushi got admired again for a while, then I suggested that she go out for a pee. (the way she had been drinking, I thought she probably needed it). I left her harness on the back of my chair as I thought that she would be okay. She started to rush a bit, and was quite strong to hold. She ended up nearly rushing down the stairs, and ended up whacking her head off the banister. She just sat down after that and was as good as gold! That’ll teach her to rush! She didn’t need to go in that department though, so we headed in again.

The clowns informed us that we were moving to a downstairs room. It was a warmer room, because I think the poor doctors were freezing!

We got settled down again, and the woman from Angel Eyes talked about her organisation and what they did. She also showed them some toys she had braught along so they could see what toys were available for visually impaired children. At one point, she zoomed a beetle across the floor, and I think Ushi thought it was going to get her lol, as she sat straight up lol. She soon lay down again.

After that, the clown doctors wanted to tell us a story using sounds and stuff, and so that the manager could see if they were listening or not. We were to give as much feedback as possible. I thought this part was quite cool lol, but that’s the big kid in me lol. One of the clowns sat beside me (we were shifted about a bit), and got his Yookalalely (can’t spell that lol). He was going to be the narrator for the story. He started off playing the instrument. It was just two or three kords that he played throughout in a gentle lul kind of. Not to put you to sleep though lol. The story started off with a llittle dog called Jojo. He got on a bus every day. (marackas for the bus sounds going over bumps etc). The dog then got bored, and went on an aeroplane one day. (they had this thing that they blew in and it made a kind of wush upwards lol). We suggested for this that the wush could be quiet then go up, then back down again. Sort of like the distance of the plane. Next, the dog had a nice dog biscuit. (the made crunching sounds, but they sounded like pigs snorting lol). I suggested that they could get a little packet of smarties and use that like a dog crunching a biscuit. Next, there was a parrot in the first class part of the plane that the dog was jealous of. (they squalked for this). We suggested that their squalk could be a bit quieter cause it might scare some kids. The parrot was able to stretch out, so I suggested they sound like they are stretching. Then we heard bells. One of the doctors asked “what’s that?” (they do this so the child can have more interaction in the story). It was Roodalph the red nosed raindeer and they were off to lapland to visit Santa. Roodulph then decided that his nose wasn’t red cause Santa didn’t give him new batteries for his nose. He was instead “roodulph the blue nosed raindeer”. (they held up a reflective ball that someone with some vision could appreciate). I thought though that poor roodulph sounded a bit like a serial killer lol. They said that they would ask the child what kind of voice he would have, again for more interaction. The plane’s lights stopped working, so the pilot came down and asked if Roodulph would guide the plane as they were about to crash into a mountain. (I suggested they could make a sound that sounded like they were heading down). Roodulph saved the day then with his blue nose!

I thought it was a wonderful story lol. They sound like they really enjoy their work!

During the exercise, some of the clowns wore “simulation specs” which show what it is like to see different eye conditions.After that, it was basically question time for any of us. I got asked loads about the harness and how the dog knows that it is working, and when it was appropiate to pet a guide dog. I’m so glad they asked that! They then wanted me to have a photo for their newsletter, and we got one for the guide dogs facebook page.

Ushi of course got more admirers, then we were ready to go. I put Ushi’s harness on so that she wouldn’t try to fly again!

The manager for the clown doctors came over to us as we were getting into the car, and explained that it was great having a guide dog there, and they would want us back again if they were doing anything else.

I liked the way it was set up. We basically just sat in a circle which was brilliant.

We stuck Ushi in the boot again and this time we had no panting! We stopped off at Subway for some lunch, and then headed up to the guide dogs office to say hello. Ushi just plopped herself down and had a doze! At one point, the district team manager came to see how I was after Monday. He is glad we are getting back on track again, and says that soon there will be a law passed that says that every dog in Northern Ireland needs to be microchipped, and that dog on dog attacks will be totally illegal. I thought they already were, but they mustn’t be. That is great news!

We headed off again after that. Ushi was a little confused though as i stuck her in the front. She took ages to get her big bum up and into the car! Silly girl.

On the way home she tried to sprawl against my leg (pritty hard to do when you’re sitting lol)!

She has been sleeping ever since really. She just got up to eat and pee lol. I didn’t think if I wasn’t working her that she would be tired!

It was a really enjoyable day. I so needed it! Sorry it’s so long.