A Busy Couple Of Days

Me and Ushi have had a couple of busy days. All good fun though.

On Wednesday it was our branch meeting, which thankfully didn’t kick off between certain people but we thought it would at one point.

Yesterday we were invited to a talk held by the
Dogs trust
It was a summer scheme held by the
Hope centre
Which is an organisation that help kids who’s parents are drug and alcohol users. Or rather it helps kids who’s parents are abusing drugs.

So at about half 1, the branch organiser collected me and Ushi to head out to the dogs trust. We weren’t sure what the kids would be like given their background, but they were grand!

When we arrived, we went into the reception building first as we didn’t know where to go. Some volunteers had come in to walk some of the dogs, and there was a greyhound who happened to be in front of us. So Ushi got quite excited about that.

We had to go past the kennels to get to the barn which is used for training the dogs. So there was a major sniff fest by Ushi. The people from the dogs trust said i could let Ushi off her lead which was a good idea since she was very unsettled and i had her at the end of her lead. I got to hold a little puppy called Lotty who was a shitzu before we started our talk. It just lay in my lap. Ushi started making little weird sounds at the pup. Sort of like a whine but not a whine.

Our talk was only meant to last half an hour but we ran on for another half an hour lol. We got presented with a dogs trust mug and bag. And a rubber bracelet.

After that, the kids were taken out to do agility with some dogs from the dogs trust. I thought this was a great thing for the kids to do, and thankfully the weather was nice for them.

Today me and my rehab worker went down to a place called Lusty beg in Fermanagh. The family have two twins, with one being sighted and one being blind. They wanted to meet someone who was a twin with the same situation as theirs. My rehab worker suggested i would go and i said yes. If i could help in some way, then i would go. The little girls family were interested in applying for a
Buddy dog
But it was felt that the dog wouldn’t be much benifit since the family have two cocker spaniels of their own.

So at about 8 o’clock me and ushi were picked up. We had to stop off at another guide dog owners house first, in a place called Lack.

The lady had a black lab called Hester. Ushi and her had a great time running around, chasing each other and just being silly dogs. Ushi was exhausted afterwards!

We then headed down to Lusty beg to meet the family of the little girl. There was also a social worker from the local trust there too.

The little girl doesn’t like furry things, and doesn’t like walking on grass. I apparently didn’t like that either. She will touch their cocker spaniels, but it is on her own terms. She is very into music so she has lots of musicle toys.

The parents are very keen for her to learn braille, and have got her a perkins which i am so jealous of! It is much smaller than mine and is lighter.

We stayed talking for ages and i hope it helped a little. I have given my contact number in case she needs to contact me. I’m so glad the little girl is so independent.

Before we left Lusty Beg, we stopped to get a photo of me and Ushi with the ferry that takes you around the island behind us.
Me and Ushi with the ferry that goes across Lusty Beg Island in the background

Finally we headed off to Omagh. There is a 17 year old who is on the waiting list for a guide dog. She had some vision. We chatted for a while before she went out with her cane for a mobility lesson. Me and Ushi stayed and talked to her mum for a while. By this time Ushi was more than ready to go home.

It was a busy couple of days, and we were off on our travels again on Saturday, but i’ll write about that in a separate post. I hope i helped a little with the little girl.


Bed Cover Business

I’m not sure if i told you, but in my
Quilting course
I do every Monday morning at a local coffee shop, I decided to make a bed cover for Ushi’s bed. Ushi’s bed is from a company called Pets Incorporated. It is like a big massive pillow. It is much wider though. It comes with one cover but you can only wash it but i think if you the actual bed part it was fall apart. When we had her bed cover off her bed Ushi put her claws through part of the bed so i thought i’d make her another one so she could have one spare.

Me and the quilting woman decided we would make a bed out of dennum jeans. We baught about three pairs of jeans both mens and womens out of a charity shop. We then cut them up into squares as the woman said this would probably be easier to do rather than a big bit to work with. We measured Ushi’s orriginal bed cover first. It was 27 inches long by 38 wide. (I actually thought it was metres or centimetres but that would have been too small).

I first of all started stitching squares together using
A technique called Quick stitching
Which is basically where you put the needle up one side and down again from the top. So you would put it underneath then bring it up and put it down again. That took too long though so we moved on to a stitch called a
Running stitch
Which is where you put the needle in one side but instead of going up and down you push it a little and kind of bunch up the fabric until the point of the needle comes out again. Then just pull it through. They need to be small though. That was okay for stitching the squares together but we decided to do a Jab stitch (can’t get a link for that one) to stitch the two sides together. This is basically where you hold the two sides together but making sure it is the sides with the stitching so that when you put it on it will be on the inside. A jab stitch is where you put the needle in pull it out the other side and loop the thread once over to the other side. So you go in one side and out the other with a loop before you go out the other side. It sounds more complicated than it really is.

I am then going to use those little popper things that you get on duvet covers to actually keep it on Ushi’s bed.

I will post a photo of it when it is finished.

I have quite enjoyed making this bed cover and was thinking that i could do more for other dog owners. I talked to my dad about possibly doing this and he said that would be good. I looked up on Google to see what i would need to start an online business and it said that i would need to create a business plan and all. That sort of scared me.

I said on twitter but was kind of thinking it was a silly idea and that nobody would buy them. But then i got a tweet from
L^2
And we had a good chat about it. She said that i should basically go for it. She said that you wouldn’t need a business plan and i could just set up a shop on something called
Etsy
Which is an online shop. Once i had a couple of covers done i could post photos of them and start listing them. Etsy said that they charged 20 cents (not sure what that would be in Pounds) to list something for 4 months and 3.5 % when someone buys it, but again i’m not sure how much that would be. You can use a credit card or Paypal which would probably be my prefered option since i can link that to my bank account.

So that deffinetly sounds like a good option.

I’ll let you all know when or if i decide to pursue this venture. I would deffinetly like to though! Thanks again L^2 for giving me a spur on.


The Ballymena Show 2011

Today was the 2011
Ballymena show
This is an event every year where cattle are shown, but not sold. There are lots of farming things that happen, like tractors on display as well as show jumping and such. It is meant to be the second largest agricultural show in Northern Ireland, next to
Balmoral Show
In Belfast, but I don’t think it’s that good lol. (When you click on the link for the Ballymena show, there is a vidio of a person talking, but you should still be able to read each page).

This year Guide dogs had managed to get a stand at the show, so today I was going to be doing the 11 o’clock to 1 shift. Luckily enough, we had a big Gizeebo type thing which I mentioned briefly in
My last entry

So we were picked up by the treasurer of our fundraising branch. She drove us to the gate nearer our stand, whilst me, her son and another volunteer went in. (We had been given passes to enter the show for free because we were a charity i think). Again, getting out of the car I put Ushi’s halty on. This really seems to cut down on her pulling. I took it off as soon as we got to where we were going to be though.

Almost as soon as we got to where we were, we started to get people. Well I think they were from before we arrived.

We mostly had kids coming into see us, but there were a few adults. We were saying about how it costs £50,000 to support a guide dog throughout its working life right from it’s a puppy. One dude was that shocked that he got money out immediatly. We weren’t really intending to make him feel guilty or anything, but I think people should know how much it does cost for a guide dog, considering the organisation doesn’t get any government funding.

My friend came at about half 12, with her dog Della. They had a little play around, but then we had one on one side of my friend and Della on the other. They just sniffed after that.

We were just gabbing away when my friend told me about something called a
Furminator
I have heard of this product, but is it good? Can it be used with a zoom groom? It would be interesting to see one.

We finished shortly after that.

Unfortunately the Gizeebo was set up on concrete, so the rain kind of kept coming in. Ushi’s belly was kind of dirty then lol. She didn’t know what to make of the sheep though! Every time she heard one (they were behind us), she looked round as if to say “what’s that?”. The same as when a little girl blew bubbles in front of her lol.

It was a good day, and thank you again to the branch organiser for making it such good craic.


10th Day Of Guide Dog Class

We’re deffinetly on the “home straight” now. Hard to believe!! It was another nice morning today as I took Ushi out for her first spending opportunity of the day.

Again, I had cornflakes with an orange juice for breakfast, which was lovely. We had the pleasure of listening to a bit of opera while we ate, which was different, but nice and relaxing.

Again, I wasn’t needed until about 11 o’clock, so I just chilled again, and had a doze. One of the “house keeping” staff came in just before I had a doze and just chatted for a while to me as they changed my bedding and got me fresh towels. It was gorgious just lying there afterwards.

I didn’t have Ushi for the morning though, as she was getting her routine weighing, that all the dogs get before they go home after class. The room felt really empty while she was away, so I just had that doze.

It was weird not having to take Ushi out to spend at about 11 o’clock though.

My instructor was going to meet us down where our walk was going to be, so the other instructor came and got me.

I found out what her weight is (Ushi’s, not the instructors!), and it is 29 Kilograms, which apparently is well within her normal weight which is good. Because Ushi was rather distracted over the past couple of days, we decided to try something around her nose called a “Halty”. This is like a little strip that clips onto the collar, and you put the lead on the collar I think. It is sort of just like part of a horses bridle. It is just a strip of cloth that goes over her nose. The only thing you have to be careful with is that you don’t pull as hard when correcting, and when you use the harness, you lengthen the lead a bit to give her more room when she has it on.

We put it on for her first walk, but she would hardly move lol, so we took it off again. She went at her normal speed after that.

We did some more “traffic training”, and went into a busier area with lots of shops and people. There was one point where we stopped at a rounded kerb. Well I missed it, so got Ushi to come back so that we could re do it. I could sense that there was a bin to my right which was were we were going, so I was a bit hesitant. I thought that it would have been an “off kerb” obsticle, but they said that you don’t want to be doing them unless you really need to. So I just got her to go right, and then told her “over” by pointing m arm to the left and saying “over”, and then “up to the kerb”. If we had kept going right on down the street, and didn’t find the kerb so close to the bins, we would have been way way way down the street lol.

It was a good walk, apart from me missing that kerb.

It was off for lunch after this. I had a chicken sandwich again and a glass of orrange juice.

I wasn’t needed until about 3 o’clock again, so just chilled again.

We did a similar walk to the morning, only we didn’t do “traffic training”. Just business and people. We also had to “find” some crossings, and that was really all. Also just making sure I stopped when Ushi stopped.

It was quite a good walk again, and only needed to be told when to turn which was good.

It was about 5 o’clock when we got back. We just chilled until about half 5 for evening spending.

I decided to have battered chicken goosions and chips for dinner tonight. I had a chocolate fudge cake and ice cream again which was gorgious.

We had our nightly chats after dinner.

I took Ushi out for her last spend, and when she came back in, I had to give her a massive correction. There are stairs just as you come in from where the spending pen is. She rushed over to them, and her head was down. She normally wouldn’t do that. I stood there and gave her a big chuck back on the lead, and told her “No” and “leave it”. We then walked back to our room. I felt terrible. As soon as we got into the room, she just went and lay on her bed. That made me feel even worse lol. I stroked her for a while after a bit, and she was grand. I think she was just having a huff though lol.

I think I just felt worse than she did lol.

She didn’t rush or sniff after that though which was good.

I can’t believe it’s the last full day tomorrow.