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).