Back From The Weekend

I’ve been internetless since Monday. It was apparently something to do with our hub. I’m playing catch up now though.

I’m just back from a weekend at the
Share Centre
I’m a bit tired so it might take a while before i write the full thing. I’ll split it up into headings though as it is very very very long.


I went on Thursday to check my emails as i needed to learn when i was being picked up. I didn’t get any emails from her but thankfully she phoned me on Friday to let me know that i was being picked up at about half 6 that night. When the woman from Angel Eyes Northern Ireland phoned me i thought that the weekend had been cancelled. Thankfully it hadn’t so that was good.

I fed Ushi at about 5 o’clock so that her food had plenty of time to digest before we went in the car. She was wondering where we were going as i was still packing. She just stood around looking at me.

I decided to put Ushi in the boot of the car since it was a big boot and the woman from Angel Eyes wasn’t sure how to turn off her airbag. (If a dog is in the front of a car the front airbag must be turned off as if we had an accident the air bag would break the dogs neck). Ushi was quite comfy in the boot though.

About an hour into the drive, we stopped to let Ushi have a pee, and for us to have some hot chocolate the woman had braught. I was glad we stopped as i find that if i am travelling for a long time in a car i feel a bit sick. Thankfully because we stopped i didn’t feel ill which was good.

We arrived at the chalet at about half 9. We first located some grass to spend Ushi but she didn’t want to do anything. Everyone else were already in the chalet, so we headed on in to meet everyone.

I asked the organiser who’s room i would be sharing if I could let her off the lead to be introduced to everyone and she was grand with that. Ushi was wagging hard and ran around just exploring the place.

There were about 10 or 11 kids there altogether. Most of them were partially sighted, but there was one other blind child. She had some other issues though and maybe a bit of over protection happening but i will explain more about that a bit later. All the girls seemed extremely happy to have a dog there. They were between 9 and 18 i think.

Shortly after arriving the organiser announced that we would be having a chinese. I thought this would be a good time to have a talk to the girls all about guide dogs and feeding etc. I didn’t want to lecture them though. It was quite hard to get their attention though as they were all quite hyper. Once they had all quietened down I said that Ushi wasn’t allowed any human food and explained why she couldn’t have any. I then explained that there would be some things that i needed to do on my own with Ushi such as take her to the toilet etc. I explained that when the harness was on that ushi was working and she could not be petted. I then said that around the chalet she would be off lead so could be petted. I finally mentioned that for about an hour after she had eaten she would be kept in my room as if she got excited she could become quite sick. They all seemed to understand and were quite keen to ask some questions about her such as her age and how long i had her.

There was much chattering after that, so me and the woman who braught me down decided to look for a more permanent spending place where i didn’t need to get someone to help me. We found grass just behind the chalet which was good. I was orriginally going to use the concrete run that is there but then thought that there would be no point since Ushi wouldn’t go in it.

We didn’t really do that much more. There was one point though where the girl i mentioned earlier who i thought had been over protected said something that really shocked me. I’ll call her C from now on. So anyway she was asking lots of questions to everybody basically. When it was time to go to bed she said “How do you dress yourself when you’re blind?”. This utterly shocked me because she was 12 years old. I just said that i did it the same way anyone else did it. She said to one of the staff when it was bed time that she couldn’t dress herself because her mum always did it for her. The staff member wasn’t having any of it so told her that she could dress herself and just handed her her Pyjammas when she was going to bed. (She did eventually decide to dress herself).

I’m going to side track for a minute. I know C was blind and had some other issues (She rocked a bit). I think this is called an Aquired learning disability or
She seemed to have quite an attitude problem and was very rude throughout the weekend to alot of the staff. They were continually telling her not to be rude/shout/appologise about what she said etc. The dressing problem was also a problem too throughout the weekend. She kept saying that she couldn’t dress herself and pretended that she couldn’t put her socks etc on. (She was made to dress herself each time).

I know i might be being a bit harsh, but i don’t think there is any excuse for that. Yes she is blind with other issues but is she not getting to an age where she needs to be able to dress herself. I thought it was quite sad really that she claimed she couldn’t when she could.

There were also some other issues that really made me think she was over protected. I found it really upset me and made me reflect and I really am lucky in my situation. My parents didn’t want me to be any different from anyone else really. Yes they had to make adaptions, but they used common sense. Plus they had the rest of my family to look after so they couldn’t really molly coddle me.

I’m probably going to offend someone in these last couple of paragraphs, but it is just my oppinion. It just made me realise how lucky i am.

Anyway I suppose i’d better get on to day two.

Day 2: a busy day

We woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed yesterday morning. Ushi had a bit of an unsettled night though. She started to whine at about half 1. This normally isn’t like her so i took her out to see if she needed a pee. She did in fact, so it was a good job i did take her. I think that because she had been travelling for so long and all the excitement of meeting so many new people through her routine out of whack a bit. She did get up a couple more times but that was because it was really really warm in the room. So i don’t really blame her for that.

To be honest last night she was a bit of a terror. It wasn’t anything really major but just the fact that she wouldn’t come when i called her when she was being fussed over by all the kids. To be fair though one of the kids was rather obsessed with her since she had two dogs at home. She kept telling Ushi when to sit and stuff and i had to tell her to stop it yesterday when we were shopping as she was telling ushi what a good girl she was whilst i was working her. I just said that it was me who needed to give her commands and know one else. I think she got the message after that. Anyway i was kind of dreading the rest of the weekend if ushi wasn’t going to listen to me, but thankfully she was much better both yesterday and today and did what i told her which was good.

This morning was the first
Poo pick up
So i was a bit nervous of it. She had woke me up at about 10 to 7 because she was still too warm so i decided to feed her then. I went out all prepared with my bags and rubber gloves only to discover that she had just peed. I lost one of my bags so decided just to use one with my gloves from then on. So i put Ushi back in my room while i got ready for the day. The organiser of the trip said that ushi was whining a bit, so i went out again to see if she had to do anything, and lo and behold, a little package was left. Ushi decided to wonder round in a circle once she had gone. So I had to shorten her lead, get her to sit, tell her to wait, put my lead between my legs, then begin the search. After some groping in a bag i found it and got it all. It was smaller than i thought and not as bad as i thought either. My sister had always described it as “massive” so i was expecting a monster sized one lol. Unfortunately i couldn’t find a bin but just left the bag at the end of the grass so that someone could find it. (The bin was in quite an awkward place so the staff said they would sort putting it away.

After that was taken care of and my hands washed, it was back to the room for ushi and i went and had breakfast.

Normally we would go over to another building for breakfast but we decided just to eat it in the chalet and have lunch and dinner in the other building anyway. It gave us more time to chill and meant we didn’t have to rush things.

At 10 o’clock, we headed over to what was called the “Arts arrena” to do T shirt printing. I decided to work ushi over there. She did rush a bit but she does that when we go on a new route. I just tied her to the table leg so that i was free to paint or whatever.

First of all the others drew on paper what they were doing first but i said that i would just use the T shirt. The woman teaching us said that we could put masking tape in the shape of what we wanted to have on our T shirts and we could go in between that. So i got the woman to do the shape of a fish. We could then paint, use crayons or felt tips. I decided to use crayons as they would be less messy.

While we were doing that, the organiser of the trip recorded us each talking about our T shirts for the next edition of
Sound Vision Ulster
Which is an audio magazine run by the RNIB.

It was then back to the chalet for a while as lunch wasn’t until 1 o’clock.

Unfortunately it had started raining when we were heading to lunch. Again i worked Ushi. Unfortunately when we entered the dining hall some poor woman got soaked when Ushi shook all over her. The kids were fascinated at how ushi just lay under the table.

One of the volunteers told me what there was and then went and got it for me since i didn’t think working ushi and carrying plates would be a good idea. I had lasagne.

After lunch, we headed to Eniskillin for some shopping. We got a minibus. I was surprised at the amount of room there was for Ushi. We sat at the front of the bus. On the way down she just sat and looked out the window.

Because of the way Ushi was sitting she couldn’t really turn round to get out of the bus. She backed up a bit but then wouldn’t go any further. So I kind of had to do a little twirl so that i could get off first, then tell Ushi to “come”. She was fine afterwards. Maybe dogs don’t like going backwards or something.

I know i probably shouldn’t have worked her since i didn’t know where i was going, but i thought it would be a good idea. One of the volunteers went with me and directed me all the way. The girl who was obsessed with dogs was like at one point “good girl ushi” when she was working. I wasn’t having any of that so politely told her that all the commands needed to come from me when she was working. She didn’t do it again which was good.

Me and the volunteer were a bit disappointed that there weren’t that many shops that we were interested in so we sat in a coffee shop until we would go to Asda for nibbles. She asked why Ushi couldn’t go on escalators as i’d said that she couldn’t earlier. I explained that her paws could get caught in the teeth of it and they could cut her. W had a good gab. She was amazed at how ushi could take me around an obsticle. She was quite shocked that people walked in front of her though when she was guiding. I just said that you got used to it.

Before we got into Asda there was a really windy ramp thing that you had to go up to get in. I think Ushi found this a bit confusing. She did brush me a couple of times against people but it was a bit tight.

She worked really well apart from the crisp isle as she kept looking at the crisps and was very slow to walk down it. A little encouragement got her going again though. I don’t think she liked the sound of the crinkling of the packets.

Ushi worked extremely well on the whole trip. Considering i was just going on direction and i didn’t have a clue where i was going she was great! She really enjoys the busier conditions as there is less for her to get distracted by and she has to focus more.

She went straight to sleep on the bus lol. I think it all tired her out.

I fed and spent her when we got back as it was half 5. Our dinner was at 6 o’clock. I didn’t take ushi and just closed the door to our room so she could chill. The kids were bitterly disappointed that she didn’t come to dinner.

Dinner was roast beef and potatoes and gravy. The beef was a bit tuff but still nice.

The Share Centre are trialling out the
React Systim
but it still has some teething problems. They aren’t giving people the little fobs until they are sorted. They let me try it on the way to dinner though. I had only heard the one used for the Talking busses i did back in august, but not for a route. (I can’t be bothered looking up that entry). It was quite useful.

I mentioned that on the way back to the chalet there was braille on the wall just before you went in. I only read the bottom and it said “chalets”. I couldn’t understand why they had “chalets” written on the wall but it was a tactile map. I suppose that would make sense.

When we got back to the chalet, we chilled until it was time for the X factor. (The kids wanted to watch it unfortunately). I went and spent Ushi as she still hadn’t done her evening poo. The grass was soaking so i don’t think she wanted to go so i braught her in again.

It was then time for some pampering. There was an electric foot spa, nail polishing, hair stuff and face masks. I just had my feet and face done. Everybody loved the foot spa. When i was getting my feet done ushi came over and stood there looking at me wondering what i was doing.

We were going to watch a movie, but by the time the pampering was over with it was nearly 10 o’clock so we didn’t bother.

Ushi still hadn’t spent when i took her out for her last one of the night. She seemed very alert though. I phoned the angel eyes woman and she got the organiser to come out with me. I was going to see if she would go in the run but then i thought i would see if she would go if i let her off the lead. (The organiser was with me and she said she would keep an eye on her. So of course Ushi decided to have a good run around and decided that the would roll in the middiest part of the grass. She had a very smelly hard green neck. So once we got her into the chalet again, we use wet kitchen roll to get it all off. I don’t think she was pleased to have to keep going back into the kitchen for us to get it off.

The kids then went to bed at about 12 o’clock and Ushi took herself off to bed too. We all stayed up chatting for a while. Ushi started to dream and the staff thought it was hilarious. Luckily i had warned them that she would do it lol.

Last day

Ushi had a much better night last night. She was up and down a bit but no whining. The room had a little camp bed thing. I actually thought it was a chair lol. Anyway it was just at my ankle level. It just had a quilt on it. We found a little Ushi lying curled in a ball in the morning! My bag and all were ther but she managed to squeeze on. She normally wouldn’t even attempt getting up on the furniture, so it was a bit strange. I think that either she missed her bed (I just braught a mat for her to lie on as the bed is really massive) and decided that this was the next best thing, or she just accidentally stepped up on it and thought “This is nice”. I couldn’t correct her though since i didn’t know she had got up there and hadn’t caught her getting on. As soon as i got up and told her to get off she bounced off and never got back on.

Thankfully we had no spending problems this morning.

At about 10 o’clock we were off for a swim. I was going to walk Ushi before the swim but she was wrecked from yesterday. So while we swam a couple of volunteers stayed to clean the chalet and Ushi slept. The kids were deeply disappointed that ushi couldn’t come but i explained that other people had to use the pool too.

It was lunch time after our swim. We had a roast dinner and Pavlova. I braught Ushi to lunch and the kids couldn’t believe how she just lay under the table all the time.

It was back to the chalet to pack and wait for the bus after that. Some of the girls wanted to do a singing compition before we went so they were allowed to do that. Ushi went in to our room and wouldn’t come until one little girl had finished!

Before we were about to leave the organiser gave us all a bag full of little samples of make up and shower jell and stuff. It was then time for the bus and we went home in the angel eyes woman’s car.

It was a good weekend and i was so pleased with Ushi. She wasn’t as bad as i thought and the kids loved her.

I’m sorry for the long post. I’ve got a couple of other posts to write too. I hope this one isn’t too long!

Picking Up The Presents

I figured i’d write this question in a blog as not all my readers would want to read about this, and also it’s too long to post on Twitter. If you’re a bit grossed out easily or are about to have food, it might be best to skip this topic.

From the 21st to the 23rd of this month, I am off to
The Share Centre
For a pampering weekend. It is mainly for kids, but one of the women from
Angel Eyes Northern ireland
Is taking her daughter down and asked me if i would want to go. I said yes and emailed the organisers and that to make sure it was okay. They said yes so all i need to do now is just pack.

It should be a good weekend and i’ve decided to take Ushi. I can’t wait to see just how she’ll get on since this will be the first time taking her away anywhere. I’m just going to really play it by ear and have asked that some of the time when we are in our chalet if i can let ushi off her lead. I would hate to have her on her lead for the whole weekend.

Along with bringing Ushi comes the rather unpleasant task of picking up presents left by her. There is a dog run there and i am determined to use it! (Ushi doesn’t do concrete for her spends unless she is desperate). I’m hoping that because other dogs use it she might. There is always grass if she absolutely won’t go though since the run is there, I may as well use it. I have heard of people tying plastic bags to their feet and picking up with their hand inside the bag. I’m just a teensy bit germaphobic and just the though of picking it up is just horrible. (Here at home mum picks it up since she picks up Ashes and ushi does it all over the garden so i’d never know where it was. We have a grass garden but ushi likes to go behind bushes and stuff).

I am not prepared to leave her businesses there though as that would just be irrisponsible and the fact that there is kids there too means i kind of have to pick it up. I won’t be using biodegradable bags (The ones i have are very flimsy) but i will be using plastic bags and i might buy a packet of rubber gloves and a hand sanitiser. I’m sure i’ll be alright after the first pick up, but the thought just grosses me out.

Any tips for a slightly more pleasant experience along with a bit of a squeamish handler?

Other than that, it should be a good weekend but that is the only part i’m not looking forward to. Thanks for any hints!