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!

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!

It’s About Time….

That mum let me on the computer again!! Yes you guessed it, it’s Ushi again. I thought i’d tell you what i’ve been up to for the last while…. Mum has probably already told you all of this, but she hasn’t told my side of it!!

After we had been qualified about a week, I started to stop loads. Mum got really frustrated and tried to get me to go forward. There was this place where there had been a fire, and some kind people had put up a barrier. We got around it, but when they took it away, I just didn’t want to go past this part. It was at night, and mum kept going on at me. She then got her dad i think to come down and look at my paws. What did you need to do that for? There’s nothing wrong with my paws!!

I kept stopping at this place, until mum got the instructor person to come out. It wasn’t my old mum, I don’t know where she has got to. She told mum to praise me loads, and tell me what a good girl I was. Mum had gone straight for that horrible lead correction! I still kept stopping, and by the wednesday of that week, I just wouldn’t go any further than the front door. It was really really really raining so mum took me back inside. Thank god. I hate getting my paws wet! I thought that we weren’t going to work, but mum went back out again when it had finished raining. I just kept stopping.

Eventually mum had to get another instructor person to come out. I just kept stopping for like 4 days, and mum couldn’t go very far. Plus she was getting really really worried.

Before the instructor man came out, mum took me into town with her dad and her sister. That was really really exciting, although I did not like the slippy slidy floor in one of the shops!

That was really exciting, and mum thought that it might cheer me up a bit and get me going again on our walks. But that wasn’t the case lol.

I was really naughty when the instructor man came out. I heard mum saying to me that morning when she was taking me out for my busy that I needed to be good, as this man was a “district team manager” whatever they are. What’s a district team? Anyway, I think he is pritty important, so mum was a bit nervous. I was just lying there at mums feet nice and quietly, and the instructor man came. I just hadn’t seen him in like ages, and I had only met him once. I decided to try and jump up on him, so mum had to get up and correct me! He didn’t pay attention to me though, so I had to lie down again after it. Mum and him talked for a while, and I tried to get way over to the small squeaky things (mum says they are called “guinny pigs” but I can’t see them cause i would eat them.). I don’t want to see them anyway! I just wanted to see what mum would do. She ket pulling, but I tried to win. Then the man said to give me a hard pull, well not hard to hurt me, to get me over. I lay quietly after that.

Basically the instructor man says that I was just being a “Madam”. (Shhhhhhh, don’t tell mum!). He says that she has to kind of flick my lead forward to get me to go forward. She always did it on a short lead, but the man says I need the lead to be long. (Not as long as when i’m doing my busy, but where the shiny thing is at the end of my lead). I decided that I would just get on with it, as I didn’t like when mum flicked me forward, and used a cross voice. Plus I knew mum would get frustrated if I didn’t do what I was told.

So I have been working well. I managed a sneaky jump up onto a person we met in the street, but mum corrected me again, so I only did it the once. I was really sneaky, you see. I waited quietly, then when mum was least expecting it, boing! She was not a happy bunny.

We had big bangy things over the weekend. Mum was worried in case i’d be affected, as she has heard of some doggies like me having to retire from work. I would hate for that to happen, as even though it’s kind of boring at the minute (mum only knows three routes), I wouldn’t like to not be able to work. After all, that would mean that mum would need a new doggie to guide her, but everyone knows that that. is. my. job. Anyway I didn’t even notice those big bangy things, but mum wouldn’t take me for a free run because of them. I’ve told you before mum, I don’t mind them! I just snored on my comfy bed.

Oh, did I mention my new blanket? Mum says it’s from “auntie Julie” whoever she is. I think she is mums friend. Anyway mum says that it says “Ushi’s blanket” on it, and has a paw print. Mum got it in the post, and I just knew it was for me. She spread it on the floor when she got it to see if i liked it, and boy was it comfy! She then let me come downstairs, as her little brother wasn’t around (I wish he was, as he always drops food, but mum always tells me to leave it.). I’m just being her hoover so she doesn’t have to worry about it. She braught my blanket downstairs, and I got really hyper, and then rolled the blanket into a ball, and licked it.

Mum has now put that blanket on my bed, and I lie on it more than my fleese. Sometimes I lie on it when I want to be close to mum though.

On Sunday we all went out to town. Mum worked me to the shop, then we waited until she could grab dads arm and hold on to my lead. I had to lie down on the ground while she ate something called chocolate, (which I couldn’t have apparently), then we headed off to a shopping centre. I started to pull on the way, but mum just told me to steady. She thought that I was just excited, but I really needed to go to the toilet!

We went into this horrible place that smelt like the vets, but mum got something for her teeth. It’s in a bottle so i’m not sure what it is. She says it’s “mouth wash”, but I don’t understand why she would need to wash her mouth? Doesn’t she use tooth paste like me? (I love my chicken tooth paste! And the little brush tickles lol).

Anyway I really needed to go to the toilet. We went into the shopping centre, and I pulled to the left. Mum says it was like I was distracted, but I just had to go. I know that all good guide dogs should never ever go to the toilet in a shopping centre, but I had held it in all day, and was really really in need! So I had to do my busy. Mum didn’t shout at me, but I knew she was disappointed. Some cleaning people came, and cleaned it up. I felt ashamed.

Mum and her sister took me outside, and mum tried to see if I had to go again, but I didn’t. She then went home with her dad and sister, and the small brother who doesn’t drop food. She let me go on some grass, but I just did a pee. She then worked me home. (She wants me to tell you that she says thanks for all the comments regarding my busy in the shopping centre). Wait a minute, I don’t discuss when you do your busies, so why do you discuss mine? It’s not ladylike, you know.

We had some more bangy things that night, but I didn’t care. It was a tiring day.

On Monday we had nothing but wet stuff all day. I just dawdled along lol, and mum only did the small route. Yesterday was wet too, but mum didn’t let me just do the small route. I was okay when we crossed the road and did the big walk, as I knew mum didn’t really know the way back, so we had to do the way she was used to. Plus the rain calmed down a bit.

Today mum first of all worked me, then we had to go to the vet. Mum put the halty thing on me, as she says that I am much calmer with that on. I don’t really like it, but I suppose I need it on. I got weighed today, so that wasn’t too bad. While mum was getting the book that I have filled in (so that guide dogs can pay), a nice lady came up and talked to mum. She said that she had 2 guide dogs, but today she was just here with two puppies. Were they guide doggies too? She was a nice lady and told me that I was beautiful (I know I am).

We then went home.

Mum says that tomorrow I need to be a good girl as we are getting our pictures taken. She says that rehab man (the person who told mum to apply for a doggie like me and taught her how to use that stick) is taking me and her to some place. We are just getting pictures taken to show a newly qualified partnership or something. She says it’s not fundraising, and it’s just a picture. Mum got all worried, but rehab man says that he checked with the instructors, and they said it was fine as long as mum didn’t talk to the picture people about guide dogs. She also says we might go for coffee afterwards.

I will try my best to be behave. I don’t want mum shouting at me, after all. I hear though that another one of mums friends has a guide dog!! I can’t wait to meet him!

I better go here, as my paws are getting sore. Before I go though, mum says I have to mention about her friend
Who has a very sick cat. I like to play with cats, but when we are working mum doesn’t let me. We can’t have any cats at home as mums sister gets sick when she comes near them. But I hope you get better soon Tiacat, and I heard that her doggie is sicky bad too! Get better soon all of you.

I really must go here-I think I need a sleep after all that typing.

Waggies and woofies,

Ushi xx.