This Time Last Year…Food

You’ll be pleased to know that number one this is going to be a short one as i want to write another post and two this is the last in the series i’ve doing about reflecting on this last year with Ushi. I hope you enjoyed it. It was quite hard to write as i felt like i had to rather than wanting to. Plus i thought you all were getting bored.

This time last year we were in the middle of getting our kitchen redone by the housing executive. Ushi had been fine for most of it, but there was one point where she became very hesitant to eat. We had many
Frustrating days
Where she took an age to eat. She had her food with water in it since i got her but one day she just decided to not bother. I had many days of frustration until one day i felt things needed to change so had a little chat to her. She probably didn’t understand but within a couple of days she was eating okay again.

She now eats her food dry with water beside her. She used to be very lazy and there were times where i would have to shake the food in front of her before she would get off her bed to eat it. She is sometimes like that still or sometimes she will sit at my bed and whine for it. While this is a good sign, she will sometimes do it almost an hour before i need to feed her! I just send her back to bed.

I noticed something strange when she eats her dinner. Very ocasionally after she has eaten and spent she will be sick. The first time this happened i thought she had eaten something. It has happened a couple more times though. I haven’t done anything strange and have it practically drummed into everyone here that Ushi must not be played with for at least an hour after her food. I even check the time when she starts eating and work out an hour from then. (We are told not to work them for at least an hour after feeding, and not to feed until two hours after a free run). Ushi herself usually lies and chews her bone.

I think i may have worked out what was causing it. I usually leave her for at least an hour each day. When i come back it is around half 5. I usually fed her about 10 minutes after, but have decided to leave it maybe 20 minutes. While Ushi doesn’t really bound, she will still be a little excited to see me back again. She is such a chilled dog though that after she has slid herself along the wall opposite our room, she will lie on her back then come in and sit beside me until the food is prepared. Since i have started to wait longer before feeding she hasn’t been sick in about three weeks. So maybe it was just that i needed to wait a little before feeding. I carry a bag with me though in my pocket in case after she comes in i need to use it but thankfully i haven’t. So god knows what the craic was.

I do know that one thing i have learnt though over the past year is that Ushi doesn’t like working for her food. I baught her a
Kong wobbler
A few months ago and although she did get excited when i put food in it, she just wouldn’t use it. Instead she would whine at it and paw it for a few times before lying or sitting whining at it until you opened it. So I gave it to my friend who thankfully is making some use of it.

It is even a push to get her to use a regular kong but she will eventually. I have a weird dog i think.

I will probably write more later, but i’m going to leave this now. I hope you don’t find it boring.

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:
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.

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!

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.

This Time Last Year…An Unwelcome Gift

I would first like to wish everyone a happy Halloween. I hope that all animals aren’t too terrified by the fireworks.

This time last year, Ushi decided to
Drop her load
In one of our shopping centres. I wanted to just crawl away into a whole and never come out again! I think the only reason she did it was that she had held it in all day.

Thankfully she has only done it twice. Once was in the shopping centre, and another time was when i took her to my grannies house for her to meet her pet dog since we were considering taking her. The only other time she will indicate needing to go is if we are walking past open water like the sea or a very open river. So I always tell whoever is guiding me that we might need a stop. She usually comes to a dead stop so i know that she is probably needing to go. I’ve still got no idea why she does it though when we are near open water. It’s not a problem though as i know that she may need to so usually find grass near the sea or that to let her go.

I always give her an opportunity before a walk. Sometimes she won’t go in the morning, so i will bring a bag just in case, but i haven’t needed to use it yet. Mostly she is good and doesn’t try to hold onto it. If we are away somewhere i usually take her after about 4 hours.

I’m so glad that she is in a reliable shedule now!

My next post is Ushi’s first photo opportunity!

Oh and about an hour ago, Ushi ran down the stairs to say hi to the trick or treaters!

This Time Last Year…A Solution!

I’m finally catching up on all those blog posts i was writing over the past couple of days.

We had a visit from the
District team manager
Last year. I was so nervous since he was the manager and thought i had done someting to make her stop.

Ushi jumped up on the manager when he came to the house which i was mortified about! Thankfully he was okay with it and she hasn’t really done it since.

He discovered her little whines she used to do but doesn’t do any more while working.

We didn’t go straight up to the kerb outside our house and sometimes we don’t do that since she will stop if we do go up to the kerb and turn right sometimes.

Thankfully the stopping did stop and when she does it now i know how to deal with it and just tell her to get on with it. I sometimes sound like i want to kill her!

In the next post in this series, Ushi decides to leave a little something behind when we go shopping. I was mortified that day!

This Time Last Year…More Stops

This time last year
The stops seemed to be getting worse
In fact i was even considering giving up because we weren’t getting anywhere.

I had tried being really positive but it didn’t really work. I discovered that when we went shopping though in a new place she didn’t stop at all.

I was still spending ushi on her lead in the garden but now she goes on her own since i don’t have to chase her or anything any more and she will come straight up again.

My rehab worker had told me that i must persevere with Ushi and to ring the team if i had any problems. I didn’t want to ring them all the time though.

I think it was this time last year when my dad and sister commented on how i walked much faster with Ushi than i did when i was being guided. My sister even suggested that i was walking quicker so i would be matched quicker. That had really annoyed me at the time. Number one i couldn’t really keep that up throughout the whole process, and number two the instructors would have noticed straight on class. They are cool now though.

Her stopping was that bad last year that i wanted to give her back, and i really felt horrible for saying that.

Ushi still stops now, but in my next entry i’ll explain how it stopped. I know she does it now because she is bored.

I’m sorry for so many posts.

This Time Last Year…Has The Stopping Stopped?

I thought that this time last year
The problems i was experiencing
Were sorted since i had aftercare. It did sort it out for a while.

The instructor who came to see me said i just needed to be really positive, and that should hopefully stop the stopping. She said that i would be firm if i needed to be, but to try and be a bit more positive. (When she had stopped i had just corrected her).

Unfortunately the stops continued for a while after. I think my next entry is when the district team manager had to come out and see why Ushi was stopping.

Today we had two very good walks. We only had one sniff and she indicated that there was an obsticle at one point (it was a stick), but i thought that Ushi was just being Ushi. I don’t think she liked the wind though as she kept slowing way down. We mostly had normal speeds though which was good. Sometimes she’ll slow way down and kind of crawl along.

In other news my wee brother got his cast off today. He was orriginally meant to stay in for two or three days but the physio theropist says that because he has been so active they are letting him out tonight. He will have to basically learn to walk again propperly though. He is still very nervous to stand but they said that will just take time for him to get his confidence back.

I’m writing this in a notepad document since we don’t have internet. I’ll probably post this tomorrow.

I’m gonna go now and find something else to do.

Oh by the way this is my 400th post!

This Time Last Year…The Stops

I am glad to say that Ushi is totally back to her old self and wasn’t sick since Wednesday morning. So god knows what she got into!

This time last year,
The stops
Started. Again i thought i had done something terribly wrong.

Thankfully back then the stopping wasn’t as major as it did get. It was still really strange though. I actually thought the reason she stopped the first time was that she couldn’t see in the dark!

I also had a couple of annoying kids. They are still annoying today but thankfully i manage to do my walks when they are not around. They don’t try to feed her now but are still very ignorant and if i do come across them they continue to walk in front of Ushi. They are the type that will never learn.

I can’t remember when the next post will be, but October last year was quite a bad month. Thankfully now i’ve sorted out those kinks.

Oh and when i’m away
Next weekend
I might use
Audio Boo
To record what i’m doing each day. I haven’t decided yet.

This Time Last Year…The Problems Start

I must start by saying that i had a sick girl last night. She had just come in from her last spend of the night when about 10 minutes later she was sick. This is the second time since i’ve had her that she has been sick. I thought she was grand after that but this morning she was sick again. I didn’t think breakfast would be a good idea though so didn’t feed her. I know that was probably bad of me but i thought it might help her stomach if she had nothing in it.

Thankfully she hasn’t been sick the rest of the day, and I fed her her dinner and it has so far stayed down. She’s not quite her self, but she did want to play earlier so that’s a good sign.

I think she might have eaten something when she was outside last night. (Mum thinks it was a slug). There wasn’t any grass in it at all so god knows what it was.

Anyway onto the main post. They say that it can take a good 6 months to a year for a new guide dog owner to work out all the “Kinks” in their relationship. Unfortunately the instructors can’t warn you about the
That might occur or when they will happen. (If they did tell you everything I think some guide dog owners might decide there and then to throw in the towel!). I’m guessing that the instructors don’t know because they only work with the dog for a short time.

I thought i had done something terrible. Over here guide dogs are taught to sit at down kerbs and steps. I’m not really sure why this is. Ushi just would not sit at all. I figured that because i had been the only one working her that i had done something to make her not sit at them.

Thankfully my instructor reassured me and said that we could let ushi stand at her kerbs as long as she waited. So Now I get her to stand at her kerbs but do have to tell her to “wait” sometimes because she anticipates what direction we are going.

I also had a complete weirdo who claimed that i was hurting ushi when i was correcting her. (Over here we use a “half check” collar which when you correct you basically chuck back on the lead and release it immediately. This is sort of like a little squeeze around her neck to let her know that what she is doing isn’t right. It never hurts the dog. It would only hurt the dog if you kept it pulled back). Anyway this dude thought I was hurting Ushi which i would never do. Of course that got me panicking in case he called Guide dogs. He never did though.

Little did i know that not sitting at her kerbs would only be the start of her little problems. In a couple of days i’ll talk about a problem that i thought was much worse.

In other news…

On Monday Ushi just didn’t seem to be on the ball. We were coming back from my quilting course and she walked all over the shopping centre where we do it and walked me into a couple of things. We always go out a certain way so don’t know what was up with her. Yesterday she was much better but I didn’t work her today.

If she is well tomorrow i’ll take her with me to sell christmas cards at a fold for elderly people. I’ll probably not work her but just take her along. Normally i will work her beforehand but think we’ll just chill. If she is sick again i won’t take her.

I don’t think it was anything serious since she was only sick those two times. Let’s hope for a better night! She is much more lively so think whatever it was is out of her system. Thank god!