2016 In Review

It’s that time once again for the anual year in review post. It seems to have come around quickly this year. It’s been another busy year for me life wise, but i’m afraid i’ve neglected the blog again and haven’t written for a while. I do mean to blog, but i never get round to it. So in no particular order, here is my year and some of the things i’ve got up to.

The year started with the art class i’m part of having an exhibition in the Ulster Hall. The theme for this was the natural world. We made plaster paris tiles and canvases for it. For the plaster paris tiles, i put things from shells and pine cones, to an imprint of a crows skull that my sister had ordered online for photos as she likes doing photography. I thought it looked cool when i put it in the plaster. For my canvases, i made an autumn sceen and a tulip which was as if you were looking at it through a microscope so it looked bigger than what it was. It was good to get our work noticed in somewhere like the Ulster hall.

It was a relief to finally get all the legal stuff with my uncles’ house sorted. It took quite a long time, and there were a few niggly things that needed chased up and such, but in March, we could hand over the keys and be done with it. Selling a house really isn’t as easy as it sounds unfortunately.

In March, i
Abseiled down the Europa hotel
For Angel Eyes NI. It was great craic and i found it easier than abseiling off a cliff which i did at the Grit Plus residential a couple of years ago. The hotel was very smooth to go down. Unfortunately i ended up with the flu for the next week. I could feel it working on me the day of the abseil, but put it down to tiredness. I also met a youth worker i knew about 16 years ago too that day. He used to work at an organisation called the Blind Centre. I think i was about 9 or so when i went to the Blind centre.

I attended an interesting experiment at Queens’ University all about how peoples brain waves reactive when they hear audio description. You had to listen to different pieces of audio described information and your brain waves were measured. It’ll be interesting to find out the results from that.

I attended the
May Fest sports weekend
Which was run by the folks at
Vision Sports Ireland
The weekend was fantastic. From the minute i set foot in Dublin, i was made to feel welcome. Not that people up here aren’t nice, but everybody down in Dublin couldn’t do enough, i thought. They didn’t care that i had never been to their events before. From the lady on the train who helped me get to my hotel, to the staff at the Maples hotel, to the lady who lived opposite the hotel and made sure i got on the right bus to go to the Alsaa, and everyone else in between. It was deffinetly a worth while weekend.

We got gas heating installed which was a bit of a hassle getting put in. It involved a lot of work to nearly every room in the house so that new pipes could be laid as we had oil heating before that. I managed to be out that day as i hate work being done, even though it needs to be. I just hate the mess and disruption it causes. Once it was all done though, it was worth it. My sister and i treated ourselves to a wooden floor in the bedroom after and got someone in to replaster the walls.

I was elected chair of the disability pannel for our health trust which i was honoured to accept. I was also asked to speak at the leadership conference for the trust in November.It was a very important conference.

I have still been just as involved with fundraising with guide dogs and campaigning too as well as still taking the minutes on the Angel Eyes Board.

There was a
Goalball taster session
Which i attended through Disability Sport Northern Ireland. I had played Goalball years ago, so it was nice to get back in to it again. There have been a couple of sessions in Derry since, but hopefully more will come to Belfast again.

I attended my first Ice hockey game and it was a brilliant experience as i’d never been to a game before.. While i wouldn’t go mad over it, it was good enough that i would possibly go to another game if the opportunity came again.

I am still parkrunning, and have completed my 93rd parkrun. I am still walking it, but i have tried a little running. I say a little, because i take it day by day as to if i will run or not and only run a tiny bit. I still am on the fence on that one.

Ushi is working well now, but we’ve had our little blips this year where she refused to go out of our estate and was lagging way behind when i tried to go for a walk. I had to bribe her with a little bit of cheese and guide dogs help to get her past that stage. It did worry me though given how sudden it was and her age. She will be 8 in February, so i have spoken to guide dogs about her. I want to work her and transition smoothly to a new dog, but as i said to guide dogs, she is working well at the minute, but i want to make sure i am doing the right thing by her and am not sure how to proceed. We’ll just keep an eye on her but thankfully we are blip free and working well at the minute.

I recently got back in to Yoga after not going for nearly 2 years. I didn’t mind doing the yoga up in Belfast, but i usually had to leave around 4 to get the 5 train to get something to eat, then get the bus round to the yoga studio. The yoga started at 8 and finished at half 9 so i wasn’t home until gone half 11 as the last train home is at 20 to 11. The woman who taught the yoga was brilliant, but it was such an effort to go each week that the motivation started to wane a little. About a month after i got rid of my yoga bag and mat as i thought i wouldn’t go again since i hadn’t in 2 years, i went to a yoga class in Rasharkin as part of a community day and wondered if there was a yoga class in Ballymena i could go to. Thankfully i found a class about 20 minutes walk away which means i can leave at half 6 and be home for about half 8. Again the teacher is brilliant at explaining things and i’m glad i have got back in to it again.

Unfortunately the earphone jack on my ipad mini stopped working after 3 years of having it. Since i use my ipad to take minutes of meetings and such, i figured it wouldn’t be good if i didn’t have earphones. So my sister has my old ipad as it still works apart from that and i have a new one. I had to get a new keyboard though as the ipad fell out of my old one since i had a thicker screen protector on it.

All in all, it’s been a good year. I have no plans for next year at all, but i hope it’s as busy as this year has been. I never make plans for the year, i just see what happens. I hope everybody has a happy new year and i look forward to next year 🙂 thank you all for reading as always.


2015 In Review:A Quiet Blogging Year

It’s the end of 2015 and it’s been a quieter year for me in blogging. Life hasn’t been quiet, but there hasn’t been as much to blog about as in previous years. I love doing these posts because it means i can reflect and look back and how and what i’ve actually posted.

I didn’t really start posting until February, when i posted about the upcoming Glitter ball that Angel eyes organised which was
A great success
The fundraising for Angel Eyes NI has really taken off, and we have lots of events planned, like the
Abseil
That i will be taking part in in March. I’m wondering what i’m letting myself in for lol.

Going back a bit again to February, i’d been getting some comments on Twitter about the way traffic worked by some of my american friends. I’d been meaning to post about traffic for a while, so i posted
This post
About how traffic worked so hopefully that helped people a bit.

Next, i talked about
Parkrun
And how i became involved. I still go most weeks to the parkrun, but don’t take Ushi most of the time. I find that Ushi likes to dilly dally and it effects my time. She likes to stop on the parkrun and check out all the peemail. My times improve slightly each week, but mostly i do it for the craic. I have done 61 parkruns so far which has earned me my
50th parkrun T shirt from Tribesports
Which you get when you complete 50 runs. I must say the t shirts are incredibly comfortable. They are red and are made of that really nice sporty breatheable material. I actually prefer these types of t shirts now though. The t shirt is also reflective which is good. I haven’t actually ran a parkrun yet and i thought for a while that the folks at parkrun didn’t want me to walk, but nobody seems to mind me walking so i hope they continue to let me walk rather than run. I still have no intention of running as i never enjoyed it at school. I would like to try it as an adult now just to say i’d tried it. If i still didn’t like it, at least i’ll have tried it as an adult.

The year was quite a big year with campaigning for guide dogs because
udio and visual anouncements
Became available on the metro busses in Belfast. So far the technology has only been installed on the Metro busses, which only work in Belfast. It’s a start though as it has taken a long time for this to happen. Now to get it on the Ulster busses and Gold liners. That’ll take some convincing though as apparently the Ulster busses and Gold liners don’t have the infastructure that the technology needs to be installed on, whatever that means.

I learnt
T touch
Which is like doggy massage. Fair enough, it is only the basics, but it is still something. I sent the documents to be put in to an alternative format, but i think they got lost in the post as i haven’t seen them since. At least i know the touches though. I don’t know if Ushi benifits from them as she doesn’t react to them when i do them. She seems to tollerate them though which is good. It really is a fantastic thing to learn. I hope the woman does more bespoke courses like the one i attended for guide dogs and their stock though as it was such a good thing to learn. She does for pet dogs though.

I had thought about getting an Apple watch, but
Decided against it
In the end since i can do everything the watch can do on my phone. I have heard voice over on the watch since writing that entry, and i am glad i didn’t go for it, as cool as it would have been. Voice over sounds really crisp or something. It’s hard to explain, but the S sounds are really pronounced, if that makes sense. I did however get a Fitbit, but i will write about that further on down this post.

I was truly humbled when i
Met two women
In need of a chat one day while waiting for a train. I hope they eventually got the help they needed, or sounded as if they needed.

I took part again this year in
The 8 mile walk
As part of the Belfast City Marathon. I am not doing that in 2016 as i am doing the abseil i have previously mentioned and i fancied doing something different.

I took part in another taster session ran by the Blind sports network and Disability Sports Northern Ireland. I have been on quite a few of these taster days, but haven’t found anything that really peaks my interest. I would love for Goal ball to be introduced, but it hasn’t taken off here like it has over across the water. I think there are a couple of archery days coming up in the new year, so i’ll have to go for those. I really enjoyed the archery and was quite good at too which always helps.

I was tempted to run at the
Running blind event
For Path Finder dogs, but decided to walk it instead due to circumstances beyond my control.

I got myself a
Fitbit
Which i mentioned earlier in this entry. Initially, i wondered why i baught it, and could really feel it on my wrist. I thought about it all the time and began to obsess a little over it. Now though, i have got used to wearing it, and only think about it when i want to check my steps or at night when i use it to track my sleep or wake me up in the morning. I must say, i do feel pretty fresh after it wakes me. I think it’s because its’ vibrations are really gentle, so don’t jolt you awake like a traditional alarm clock would. In fact i don’t use an alarm any more and just set a “silent” alarm on my fitbit. I am disappointed sometimes at how little it shows me walking, but i always thought i walked more than what i do. Still, it’s good to see how far i have walked each day. It’s harder than you think to meet the recommended goal each day which is 10,000 steps. You can set your own goal though if you want to but i just keep it at the recommended goal. I am amazed at how something so tiny can do so much, but then again, most of what you can do with it is through the app. I’ve even got my mum to get one as she has started a new fitness program, so i’ll be good to add in a bit of compitition between us lol.

I had a bit of a scare with Ushi sitting down while working, but thankfully, that came and went. It was me who got all in a tiz about it though.

Now that i have linked back to all the important entries, it seems my blog wasn’t as quiet as i thought it was throughout the year. Of course that’s not all i have done.

I became a branch organiser for our local guide dog branch which has been interesting, but isn’t too bad as we all chip in with booking different events and such. I still do a lot of talks too with guide dogs which is good although i always wonder do the audience think the talks are interesting and such. I still do a lot of campaigning with guide dogs too.

I am still involved with the board of Angel Eyes NI. The charity have seen a lot of changes throughout the year, but they have all been good changes. I still take the minutes on the board and attend events that they organise as often as i can.

I am involved with the disability consultation pannel for our trust. This year, we have been focusing on the new health and care centre that is being built here in Ballymena. In fact, we are going to have a look at it to make sure it is accessible and such before it opens to the public, so that’ll be exciting.

Ballymena is currently undergoing a public relm scheme, so i have been involved in making sure it again is accessible. I think we are going to have to meet with the architects and that again though as some things are still worrying. Unfortunately the town is a mess and when the road works start up again in January, it’ll cause chaos. The thing that is worse is that although they put up barriers and things, it really confuses you when you’re walking on the makeshift walkway as you don’t have the same clues you once had. Plus they do a bit, then move on somewhere else, instead of focusing on one place. I’ve been enjoying the break since before Christmas though. Poor Ushi just treats them as obsticles. It takes me ages getting her to walk forward. Especially as there are bouncey ramps put up going in to shops, and Ushi does not like walking on them at all. So i’ve been needing a lot of patience for getting her through the roadworks.

I’ve been enjoying my art class that i’m still attending on a Thursday morning up in Belfast. I now know the route both too and from the community centre where it’s held, so that’s a good 20 minute walk each way plus 20 minutes too and from the train station at home. We’re having an exhibition in February so it’ll be all hands to the pump when we go back.

We’re in the middle of selling my uncles house, so that has involved a whole heap of stuff we don’t have a clue about. Thankfully, it’s just all legal stuff between the celicitors as it has been sold. I must say, it did feel weird initially going up to his house and knowing he wasn’t there though.

All in all though, it’s been a good but busy year. I’m looking forward to the year to come and no doubt things will be just as busy. I hope to blog more in 2016 as i feel i’ve neglected this blog lately. I’m in the middle of putting tags to catigrees and have got to 2010 or so so only another 4 years to go on that front.

I hope everyone has a happy and peaceful new year. See you on the other side, no doubt :).


2011: A Year In Review Part 4

This is the final part of my review of 2011, you’ll be glad to know!

October

In October, I
Talked about how blogger
Was considering changing its editor. I still don’t know when the change will take effect, but if you are
Thinking of moving blogs
Then check out my blog post on changing to wordpress.

I attended the
80th birthday bash
For guide dogs at Stormont, and the
Celebration
At the city hall.

I was worried about going away on a weekend and
Having to pick up
After Ushi as i thought it would be so disgusting. Thankfully
It was easier than i thought

Finally for October, I attended
An exhibition
Put on for visually impaired. I got an audio CD and put all the tracks up using
Audio Boo

November

In November I attended
Our fundraising branches meal
To thank all the volunteers for their hard work throughout the year.

I attended
A christmas fair
At a primary school which was great fun.

I had my
Last aftercare visit
Until next year. I kind of feel sad in a way as i always enjoyed having aftercare to know how i was doing. I know that if i need anything they are at the other end of a phone.

I finally wrote about how one probably shouldn’t
Compare voluntary experiences
But that it was only natural.

December

We’re finally at December! It feels like this has taken ages! Anyway…I first of all asked you to vote for
Nicky
As he was singing in a compitition. It all must have paid off because
He won!

I reviewed the awesome
Musher’s secret
Paw wax.

I talked about
How i just wasn’t in the christmas spirit
But i did enjoy
Christmas day itself

That basically brings us up to the
Review part 1,
part two
And
Part three

It’s now 5 past 12, so welcome to 2012! That just sounds weird writing that. It just feels like any other day to me. I was asked the other day what i hope to get out of 2012, and to be honest, i just don’t know. I don’t know at all what the year will bring. I’ll probably be just truckin along as usual. All i can do is hope that it will be a good year, and that i discover more places to go with Ushi. I know i’ve mentioned wanting to learn how to travel independently in the past, but i am determined to have this happen this year. I feel though that we’ve sort of hit a plateau in that we did all our “firsts” last year. I guess i’ll just have to wait and see what happens. I hope we have no more dog attacks and that we continue to grow in our relationship.

I hope to get into the computers again but don’t know how yet.

I would love to not be worrying about other dogs, but can’t promise anything. I wish i could free run ushi on my own but i like the company of knowing another person is with me in case anything bad does happen.

I hope this blog isn’t just about guide dog stuff and that i find something else to write about!

I hope i don’t get bored of talking to different groups of people about guide dogs and my experiences.

I hope i remain friends with everyone and that i make new friends along the way.

I can’t think of anything else to add, to hopefully you all have a happy healthy new year. I can’t wait to read your blogs in the coming year.

I’d better go, but i hope 2012 is a good one!


2011: A Year In Review part 3

I’ll really have to rush this if i’m going to get these next two parts in before tonight.

July

In July, I finally met up with
Jeniffer
And OJ. We had a fantastic time but unfortunately coming home we had an incident with the trains that has made Ushi a little nervous of them so she tends to rush off and on. The last time i met Jeniffer was when she
Did an interview with me about reading
Back in 2007! Little did i know that 5 years later i would have a guide dog and we would have become friends!

I reflected on
Meeting Ushi
And what had changed a year later.

I had some
Awesome service
At a restaurant and would go back there with Ushi. It’s nice when for example your menu is read out to you.

I baught a
Furminator
For Ushi. It is a great job and i find that i don’t have to groom her as much after i use it.

We decided to visit
Dublin
For a day. I found it very loud and busy. We didn’t really know where to go but apparently there was more than just shopping that we could have visited if we had known where to go. The river Liffy didn’t seem too nice either as it smelled a bit as you walked past it.

August

In August I
Celebrated my 21st birthday
Along with my sister. I got some awesome presents. Unfortunately my little brother broke his leg. Now though he doesn’t even have a limp, but tells everyone he meets what happened.

The woman who teaches me the quilting, took me to a
Donkey Sanctuary
To see some donkeys which are used to help disabled children with riding and is an alternative to horses.

I took part in a
Sponsored walk and picnic
Run by Angel eyes northern ireland. I didn’t know if i could take part because i wasn’t sure if we would be allowed to because of the guide dog agreement we have to sign on qualification.

We went over to
Scotland
For the day, but discovered that it wasn’t what we thought. Maybe if we had more time we could have gone more places. I would love to go over again to visit ushi’s puppywalker.

I talked about all the preparations
I would need to do
Before we went, but i made it sound as if i needed to do alot more.

I took part in
The official talking busses
Pilot scheme which ran until October. (The last i heard was that guide dogs would take its findings to the minister for transport).

I attended a
Bark in the park
Event ran by the dogs trust and had a great time.

September

In September, I celebrated
A year with Ushi
Every time i think about that fact all i can say is Wow! I still feel as if i have just qualified!

I discussed the myth that sighted people have of blind people
Needing to feel faces
Which they don’t. Ewww.

I took part in
A guide dogs pub quiz
Organised by our fundraising branch.

The final part will be coming later. I haven’t included all the entries as there as just too many!


2011:A Year In Review Part 2

Here is the second part of the review. Enjoy!

April

In April, I attended
My first fundraising event
Which was a collection. I discovered then that Ushi didn’t like people’s faces being covered as there was a security guard who had a big helmet and Ushi couldn’t see his face. That was the only time i heard Ushi bark, and it wasn’t even a full on one, rather a low one. I want to know what she sounds like lol. She is so quiet when she is awake but when she is asleep she is very vocal!

We discovered that Ushi
Hates the sea
When we took her to Portrush. I think it was a combination of me keeping ushi in harness and the fact that she is an extreme wuss! I think she has forgotten that labs are meant to love water!

Ushi happens to be a
Bit of a sniffer
When the seasons change. I didn’t know why she was doing that but have since figured she must be since she becomes overly sniffy when the seasons do change. She also started to dig again.

I had another
Aftercare visit
Where i learned how to use busses. (I hope to properly use them independently next year).

I also attended a
Fundraising workshop
To learn more about fundraising.

May

May was quite a busy month, with attending
Our first agricultural show
Which turned out to be quite bad weather wise.

I got a bit of a scare when i met a german sheperd guide dog at a
Volunteering event
When the dog barked at Ushi. Ushi was a bit taken aback too, but we have volunteered at other events together such as
This one
And the two dogs were fine.

I started doing some
Guide dog talks
With my rehab worker first of all to get me used to it. I also did
This one,
This one
To kids, and
My first solo talk
to more primary school kids after the
Speakers training course
I did. (Those aren’t all for May but i thought i’d put them all together).

I emailed my instructor about ushi and her lack of fondness for
The rain
Thankfully she is nowhere near as bad as she used to be but she still goes exceptionally slow and i still have to push her a little to get her to spend sometimes if it is raining heavily.

When i emailed my instructor i sent a copy to my friend for her to check if it was okay. She changed her display name that comes up when you email and changed it to my instructor. Her email came first as my inbox is set to alphabetise my emails. She had said that ushi would need to go in for up to 4 weeks retraining as she couldn’t be doing what she does in the rain and that she would be in touch. Not realising that it was my friend, i wrote back in a fluster and asked where she was going to be borded, would i have her at nights, would the border know what to do etc. I felt like crying! When i discovered it wasn’t my instructor i could have killed my friend. I still haven’t got her back for that one lol.

June

In June, I took part in the
Pre pilot
For the Talking busses campaigne that guide dogs were doing. The actual Pilot was in August i think. I was also worried about Ushi’s weight in that entry but thankfully her weight has gone down a bit to 34.5 kilos. I’ll be weighing her in January at her frontline/worming so let’s hope it has stayed down.

I attended
A fun day and a stakeholder Event
Held by Guide dogs where we learned some of the changes that would be taking place throughout the whole organisation.

I discovered that Ushi is
Scared of bluebottles
So much so that she had what i now was a panick attack. I felt extremely stupid phoning the vet saying that Ushi started to pant after she saw a bluebottle! It took a few days before she really calmed down as she had a couple of Mini ones. She still pants now when she sees a fly etc but i just ignore her and she soon forgets about it. It is nowhere as bad as that first time though!

I’ll hopefully post the last two parts before Sunday!


2011: A Year In Review Part 1

I’ve a feeling this is going to be a long post, so i’ve decided to start this early just to get everything written down. I can’t believe it’s a year already. It doesn’t seem that long since i wrote my
Last review
Sorry for the amount of links, but here goes:

January

Back in January, I started my
Quilting course
I had talked about doing. I thought it would never get up and running to be honest. Every time we seemed to arrange it something would come up. I felt like the woman was never going to do it since i felt like i had let her down so much. But the day before that entry i had texted her to see what the craic was and low and behold, we were both available.

At first the woman wasn’t sure how to teach me, so we experimented. She first got a strip of Masking tape so i could sew along it. By the second week of us meeting i had gotten bored of it so we now just stitch. At the start i used a
Round hoop
To hold my fabric in place but i’ve gotten bored of that too.

I have made a cover to put on a cushion, a couple of things to hang, and i’m currently making a dog bed cover out of old jeans. (The bed i have can’t really be washed so this is a new cover for it. The covers can be washed). I don’t have a clue what to make after lol.

I am so glad this woman has been willing to help me throughout this year. Thank you Jane for your intheuziasm. It has been good craic!

I had to get rid of my
Nokea E51
Which i had had since 2008. I was having problems with
Some of the keys sticking
So had to get a new one. Unfortunately
Vodafone
Don’t have any new phones which support the Talks software, so i have an E65 phone which Vodafone put the talks on and reduced my tarriff because i couldn’t get an upgrade to a new phone.

I’m not too keen on the Iphone, because i like my buttons too much. I’m sure i’ll have to eventually go on to using it. I hope that is a while away though!

I had my
Four month aftercare
Where i learnt that the reason Ushi stopped so much was that she gets bored quickly. I wanted to show the instructors that she was starting to stop in town but of course she didn’t stop!

I came across an
Idiot dog owner
Who let his dog wander about without a collar or lead. That proved to be a huge distraction for me and Ushi. Unfortunately something much worse happened in February but i’ll come to that when i get to February.

Unfortunately as mentioned above in my after care post, Ushi started her
Stopping routine
again, Only this time she decided to do it in town. Of course everyone decided to come up to me which made it even harder to get her going again. Thankfully now that i am doing the quilting in a coffee shop in town, it is much easier to get her going, and she doesn’t stop now that we have a purpose for going into town. She does sometimes like to go down the middle of the street outside the shopping centre instead of up the left side which is the way home, but i soon get her going up that again.

I also mentioned in that entry that she didn’t like doing a down position when we were doing an obedience session in the house. When we were out though she did it perfectly but not on her long lead. I still have to be creative and usually have to sit down for her to do it. Of course she gets mega praise when she doe it! I used to do the obedience on the lead but sometimes i don’t do it for a few weeks. (I still do the “Sit/wait” part on a free run though as this encourages the dog to come back. Talking of free runs, i don’t need to use her Halty as much. I still carry it with me though. She still pulls but i can manage her.

I attended one of our
Fundraising meetings
As it was still a planning meeting and not an actual event. I still couldn’t fundraise at this point. Ushi was quite unsettled at that meeting, but i have since learned that if i am at someone elses house, it is okay to let her off her lead. I still ask first. I try not to get too worried if ushi is a little unsettled as i know that she will settle and it’s not a big deal. If i didn’t have any expectations she usually behaved perfectly. I always take her harness off when fundraising as two hours can be quite long when in a harness.

Our granny wanted rid of her pet dog, but no where would take her since she is 12 years old. So we decided to take her. On new years eve we introduced the two, and she came to live with us. Ash and ushi still pritty much ignore each other. Ash is too old to care really. She doesn’t even play with her toys, so Ushi ocasionally borrows them lol.

Apart from some extremely bad breath which the vet says is normal, Ash is in pritty good health. She mostly sleeps but she does like her walks and free runs. Ushi will look out for her, and if she is outside and ushi is in, she’ll stand at the door until Ash comes back in. When we took her for a free run she just plodded along but Ushi would have looked to see where she was.

I didn’t realise January was so busy! I’ll write each month in headings if it is worth it. Some probably won’t be in headings if there are only a couple entries.

February

February wasn’t that busy, but unfortunately wasn’t the best month. Let’s start with some
New toys
She got for her birthday. She got an Armadillo which squeaks and a kong tails. She still loves these today and the armadillo has to be her favourite. She thankfully doesn’t try to get the squeaker out, but i still wouldn’t leave her with anything that squeaked. Any time her toys are worn they get sewn unles they are beyond repair. She still doesn’t bring them back to me though.

I talked about getting Ushi used to
The shower
As she would stiffen up even before we got her into the bathroom. I never did do it, and i just got my happy voice on and persevered with her and eventually kind of manhandled her into the shower when she did need her bath. She only has been bathed once since i got her so i don’t have to worry too much. I just used baby shampoo on her. I panicked in case when i groomed her afterwards idid something wrong but thankfully nothing happened and it did get rid of all that loose hair.

We visited the
Clown doctors
Who help children who are in hospital by providing some entertainment for them. They seemed to be a great organisation!

Unfortunately Ushi was
Attacked
By another dog when we were heading to our quilting course. That really shook both of us up, and i didn’t know what to do. The
Police
Were out the next day and were great. In fact the amount of support I got was just amazing. Thankfully she had no internal injuries. I didn’t work her for two days because i was so nervous. I didn’t think my confidence would ever return to what it was. Thankfully,
My sister
Accompanied me until
An instructor
From guide dogs came out and assessed me and Ushi. Thankfully we were working well and still are. I would say that you wouldn’t know ushi had been attacked now unless i told you which is fabulous.

I do still get a little nervous now, but thankfully we haven’t ran into any off leash dogs. I’m so glad that most dogs now are on leads. I only run ushi with dogs i know which i admit isn’t many and still have someone with me. I know it’s probably not right that i don’t let Ushi interact with other dogs on a run but i just wouldn’t want to risk it. I’m just glad that i can work her on my own.

The amount of dogs i’ve heard of being attacked since is quite shocking, and new research was done saying that
More than 7 dogs are being attacked each month
In the UK. I am so lucky that Ushi is working unlike some dogs i’ve heard of. I think if it was to happen again we might not be so lucky. I certainly wasn’t ready to retire Ushi at 5 months of our partnership because of a dog attack. Thankfully though a
New law
Was passed in October meaning that dog wardens can do more and dog on dog attacks are illegal and come with hefty fines. So that is some comfort if it happens again.

In case you are wondering, this is an issue very close to my heart. I could write more but i’ll go onto the next month.

March

March was a much happier month, but the
Police
Didn’t prosicute the owner of the dog who attacked Ushi because there weren’t many witnesses who came forward. I actually found out that a few months later, that a local postman saw the attack and got the dog off Ushi. When he phoned his supervisor she said that because he wasn’t attacked he couldn’t report it. I think that is ridiculous to be honest. But he would have been the only witness if he had came forward.

On to other things…

I assisted in a pilot scheme for the
Sighted guiding service
Which is also called the “My guide” service. It is run by Guide dogs and it helps newly blind and partially sighted people get out and about again. They are with their guide for 3 months before they decide whither they want to apply for a dog, learn the long cane or get a friend to continue the sighted guiding. It was enjoyable.

One of the women who did it and who is also a volunteer driver completed her turn with her first client and is now waiting to be matched again to someone else.

I celebrated
Six months
With Ushi. I thought at some points i would have to give her back, but i figured out how to deal with all her little issues.
I’ve decided to split this post up. I didn’t realise there would be so many links!