The 17th Round of the Assistance Dog Blog Carnival

I’m cheating a little and just reblogging this, but here are the submissions for the 17th assistance dog blog carnival. It was a very hard topic to write about, and nobody wants to face up to those regrets. If you have any, you push them to the back of your mind and tell yourself not to be silly. The posts are very interesting so far.

I must thank Brook, for putting them up so quickly-the deadline was only yesterday. Well done to all who took part. Deffinetly some food for thought :).

so here they are, the submissions for the 17th round of the Assistance Dog Blog Carnival. First, let’s go visit Briony and Rigby over at Briony Waffling and take a look at their post titled There’s No Use Crying Over Spilled Milk. In her post, Briony reflects upon her relationship with her former guide Lilo,…

The 17th round of the assistance dog blog carnival


I was thinking the other day that i hadn’t yet posted the results of the
Fifth assistance dog blog carnival
I haven’t even read them yet as i never seem to have the time/life has got in the way/me slacking. Anyway this carnival was hosted by
Over at
Gentle wit
This is a great blog and i’m making my way through it. As you know if i am interested in a blog i like to read the whole thing through. The theme was “achievements”.

You can read my submission and the rest of them
Over here
Sorry for the lateness and i’ll eventually get around to reading the other posts. Enjoy!

This Time Last Year…No Mistakes

Last year we were able to
Iron out the mistakes
I had made the previous day. We just concintrated on the new route as well as the “Church route”.

All those mistakes i made in the early days now seem so simple but at the time i thought they were really horrible.

There won’t be much to write about during the next couple of days as we just kept working out the kinks. I’ll keep writing each day though just to finish it.

Unfortunately last night I was looking for something on Youtube, and came across part of a documentary that the
Did on dog fighting. I only watched one part of it and it hadn’t actually shown much, but i found it really disturbing. Mainly because it was all about kids being attacked as well as other dogs. I’m glad i didn’t watch any more as it wasn’t pleasant at all. I think the documentary was in 2009 or something. It still had me thinking about it today.

I’ll write tomorrows entry tomorrow. I need to think about what i’m writing for this Assistance carnival, but don’t have a clue yet. I might do something similar to my qualification entry i’ll be writing but I haven’t decided yet. You can find out more about the carnival
And the deadline is the 23rd October.

Another Carnival

Third Assistance Dog Blog Carnival
Has been posted. That link will hopefully take you to the post I wrote for this edition.

This months host was
The Trouble is….
You can
Check out the other submissions
Here. I hope you enjoy! I’m surprised we haven’t ran out of topics yet!

The 3rd Assistance Dog Blog Carnival:Reactions To The Halty

I wasn’t going to participate in this carnival this month, but then I thought of a good post. This time, the carnival is being hosted by
The Trouble Is
I’ve never read her blog, but thought i’d contribute anyway. The topic for this month is “reactions”. This is quite a hard topic, and I thought about putting up the reaction to
Ushi being attacked,
But then thought that I would write about something else. So here goes.

Oh, by the way,
Here is the link
For the post about the carnival.

I use a
Sometimes with Ushi. This sort of looks like the head part of a horses bridle. It has a clip that you clip onto the collar, and the lead can clip on to it. It also straps around the back of her head. She hates having it on, but I use it for taking her to the vets as she would pull you along to get out of there, when i’m meeting other guide dogs as she wants to play and becomes very hard to handle, or when doing a free run. This is basically where the dog gets to be a dog for an hour or two, and she can run around and sniff until her little heart is content. If she knows that she is near a park or field where she knows that she can run around, she would pull uncontrolably. The Halty calms her down and she walks just calmly whilst i am being guided. (She hardly moves when working with it on).

The halty doesn’t hurt Ushi at all, and it is not a muzzle. She can still open her mouth and that.

The first time I had any bother with the halty was at one of the fundraising meetings I would attend. One of the people there were like “what is that thing around her nose?”. (I had it on because there were other guide dogs, but i take it off as soon as she gets into a “down”.). I explained that it was a Halty, and stops her pulling. That seemed to satisfy the person. At the last meeting I went to, alot of the other volunteers commented. “do you not like having your muzzle thing on?” was one comment. This really annoyed me. The Halty is not a muzzle and will never be. Plus why the hell would I need to muzzle my guide dog? I felt as if I was being cruel to Ushi then. The other comments I got were along the lines of “do you not like getting your “head harness thing” on?”. Those comments didn’t annoy me too much, but the “muzzle” one really irked me!

Maybe I was over reacting, but I just felt terrible after that. I have now got to the point where I even explain to the receptionists at the vets what the Halty is and that it is to stop her pulling!

Have any of you other Halty users ever had these problems?

This has been my submission for the third assistance dog blog carnival. I hope you have enjoyed it. I think the deadline for posts is the 25th April? But i’m not too sure. Hopefully someone can correct me on when it is.

Happy writing!

Carnival’s Up!

Second Assistance dog blog carnival
(In which I contrebuted a post about all the decisions that go into applying for a guide dog), is now up over at
Blog. (I’m currently deciding if I shall read through the archives still, or just read more recent entries). The carnival was posted yesterday.

There are over 27 posts I think contrebuting!
Here’s the link
For you to check out! Enjoy!

I look forward to reading all the posts, and guys, remember to pay me a visit!

I can’t wait for the next one!

2nd Assistance Dog Blog Carnival:The Decision

Back in October, we had the
First Assistance dog blog carnival
Which seemed to be a great success. It’s time once again for the next carnival.
Is hosting this carnival. The theme for this post is “decision”. I thought i’d write the post in this post too, as by now you all should know what a carnival is. If you don’t, it’s basically a magazine about assistance dogs, and it’s done every couple of months. It has a theme, and posters have to stick to this theme. A blogger hosts it every month.
Here’s The post
Explaining more details about what is involved.

Now for the actual post….

I’m not sure where to go for this post. I’ll write something, and hopefully it will fit the theme. It is such a hard theme to write about.

The decision to apply for my first guide dog Ushi was quite a hard one. I knew I wanted a guide dog, but when the idea was put to me nearly three years ago now, it was a very scarey thought. I didn’t know how I would benifit from a guide dog, how to put the harness on, how I would know when the dog went to the toilet etc. I had so many questions for my rehabilitation worker. I’m sure I had him pestered!

I decided a few days later to actually officially apply, as when my rehab worker came out that night, it was just a suggestion, but I still had to officially apply. That was easy enough as I just had to phone my district team of my organisation. (Unlike America, we don’t have different guide dog schools, rather we have “The guide dogs for the blind association”. Each country has what are known as “district teams”, which basically are the team of people who will be responsible for training you with the likes of a long cane, before progressing to a guide dog and afterwards. We only have one team here in Northern Ireland, but in England, Scotland and Wales, there could be more than one.).

There are a number of stages that you have to go through before you find out if you will be put on a waiting list or not.

After I officially applied, my rehab worker came out about a week later, and did what is known as the “enquiry visit”. This is basically where you ask alot of questions, and find out more about what owning a guide dog could be like. I asked loads more questions lol.

After this, you have to undertake a “Mobility assessment” which is where my rehab worker assessed me with the cane and that, to see how good my mobility was. Some paper work has to be filled in such as a report from my rehab worker, and someone else who taught me mobility at one point, such as my social worker, and a form has to be filled in saying what landmarks I use and that sort of thing. That went grand too, which was good.

A few months later, a “guide dog mobility instructor” or GDMI came out to do what is called a “guide dog assessment”. This is where you are assessed to see how good your voice is, what your speed is like, and how good you would be at following the dog and such. You use what is known as a “short handle” for this part. This is basically where the instructor holds one end of a guide dog harness, and you hold the other. The assessment is a chance for you to see if you want to continue with the guide dog application, and some facts are filled in such as your height etc. They also ask about what kind of lifestyle you will be leading. With us we can withdraw our application at any time, no questions asked.

Sometimes the guide dog mobility instructor will want to do a “guide dog further assessment”, which you will have to do if the instructor wants to see how you will be with an actual dog. I wasn’t that strong with my voice, so the instructor wanted to see if being with an actual dog would be better. This only happens ocasionally. The dog was in training.

I was put on the waiting list after this point. I was then “suspended” for three months, since I was in the middle of my GCSE exams, so couldn’t miss them.

My decision to stay on the waiting list was a very hesitant one. Many a time I would sit and worry about
Something I was told by the instructor
Which was totally inocent, but I took it the wrong way, and turned it into a whole big thing in my mind. In case you haven’t gathered, i’m a bit of a worrier lol. I spent a year roughly worrying about what I had been told lol.

After 15 months later, my rehab worker told me that there was a guide dog mobility instructor in the area, and would I fancy a dog walk. I jumped at the chance. Within a week of that first introduction to Ushi, I was matched with her. The decision to stay on that waiting list was a worthwhile one! (By this point I wasn’t as worried).

During class, I was always wanting to know what we were doing next. I liked to be prepared and plan ahead. My instructor always said to me “just focus on what we are doing now”. The decision not to ask questions was a hard one!

Now 4 months later from when I was on class, (3 months after qualification), I don’t ask that many questions. I have more confidence in myself, and don’t lean on the instructors as much now. They are always there though if I need them which is good.

There are quite alot of decisions that you have to make on this journey to getting a guide dog. It can’t just be one decision.

I hope this post meets the theme for the carnival. The deadline for submissions is the 17th January. That is 8 days from now.

I will post nearer the time to remind you to get your posts in. Enjoy!

The First Assistance Dog Blog Carnival:First Times….

Well here is the post about the assistance dog blog carnival. I hope you like it.

“firsts” has so many options to write about. I thought I would write about the first time I saw a guide dog (I didn’t like it though), right up to getting Ushi, my first, and current guide dog. Alot of you will have read this about Ushi, but here it is for new readers. I’m sure there is something that you haven’t read before lol.

I think I was about 4 years old at the time. Our local army baricks held an open day for families to come down, and it was just fun and stuff. It was the only open day that was held. Guide dogs were invited to have a stand there. My friend, let’s call her J, was helping out at the stand. (she is a guide dog owner). I am just going on what my mum has told me for the next part by the way.

We were having a fabulous time. Mum and dad must have gone to the guide dogs stand. J had asked if I wanted to feel the dogs fur and ears. I hated the thought of that, as I didn’t like things that were furry. (thankfully I have outgrown that one). I prefered to have something that was hard rather than furry. I don’t know if it was just that it was too soft or what, but I hated fur!!!!

I was still at the stage where I “wished I could see”. Shortly after this encounter with J and the dog, my socialworker started teaching me how to use a cane. It wasn’t propperly with a long cane, rather a simble cane, which had bells attached to make it more fun. I loved that cane. That was just to teach me basic basic orientation skills, and I didn’t really use it outside that much. I called it Annabell (the bells, and she was my classroom assistant at nursery). I wonder often if my socialworker still has that cane. She is probably berried in a box somewhere lol.

I gradually started to like furry things (thank god). I heard somewhere that you could apply for a guide dog at the age of 16 (that’s now unlimitted), so I would often say “such and such more years until I am eligible for a guide dog”. I had no idea of what it entailed, though.

Mum one day joked that she had seen a “guide eel”. I thought this would be class, and wanted one! Unfortunately, I was later to find out that they didn’t really exist.

One day shortly before christmas in 2002, I was told that a “man or woman would be coming out to see me to teach me some mobility”, or words to that affect. I was so excited. I had no idea of what it was, and wanted to know more. I was about 12 at the time. So on the 16th December 2002, I met a lovely man who is currently my rehab worker. I remember that first meeting quite clearly. We had just baught a Playstation 2, and I was looking at it while my rehab worker talked. He told me all about the different types of canes that you could get (Simble cane which you hold diagonally across your body to indicate to passers by that you are visually impaired. You do not put it on the ground. Guide cane, which I think you hold out in front of you to help you find steps and stuff. I think it is used if you have some vision. And finally you have our friend the long cane, which you use by sweeping the ground, or diagonally across your body if you are indoors.).

Over the next few weeks, we went out to where he worked, and started to explore the building, or rather one corridor, first just by “trailing” the walls, which is where you make your hand into like a loose fist, and then you trail it along the wall. It helps you know where you are going, and to find doors and stuff. You don’t need to use it that much, but it is good to know.

We gradually increased our routes, and started doing more and more outside work. And here we are nearly 8 years later!

My rehab worker was the one who initially asked me if I wanted to apply for a guide dog. He came out one Wednesday night in 2008. The amount of questions I had for him that night. He tried to answer them the best he could, but he just said that he wouldn’t push for me getting the dog. I’m so glad he did!!!! Who would have thought that nearly two and a half years later I would have a guide dog!

Those first few months were full of lots of excitement. First of all, I had what was called an “enquiry visit”. This took place within the first couple of weeks of my application. This was where my faithful rehab worker came out to fill in paperwork and such, and was a chance for me to ask loads of questions. Next, my mobility was assessed in the “mobility assessment” stage of the game.

A couple of months later, a person called a “guide dog mobility instructor”, or GDMI, came out to test my walking speed and that. This was called the “guide dog assessment”. This was where I held on to a thing called the “short handle”, which is basically a harness, only instead of having a dog at one end, you have the instructor. Next, it was what is called a “further guide dog assessment”, which again is done by the GDMI. I needed this, as they wanted to see how I would be with a dog and that, as I wasn’t very confident using my voice then. I was then put on the guide dogs waiting list, which is a list of all applicants and replacements. It is from 6 months to a year but it can be shorter or longer. I waited approximately 15 months.

On the 28 July this year, I was heading up for a meeting in Belfast. My rehab worker was going to take me anyway. On that Monday, he emailed me telling me that a guide dog mobility instructor just happened to be in the area, and wondered if I would like a dog walk. Of course I jumped at the chance! That was the day I met my beautiful Ushi. I hadn’t been matched with her yet, but we were just having a good dog walk and filling in some details that day.

By the Friday of that week, I got a call from the instructor saying that they would come out the following Monday, as they wanted to try me with the wider harness handle. (there are two types:a “top fitting” handle, or a “A type”, or a “side fitting/B type”.). The “top fitting” one was the one I used on that Wednesday. I found I couldn’t really feel the tention in that handle. The wider handle is like something that would go on a horse and cart, and the dog fits in between the two sides of the handle. The handle rests just on her rump. I was beginning to wonder “Is this a good thing” when they phoned.

Well the Monday went well, and I found out that more dogs were coming over in September (as they told me that Ushi was still in training).

On Tuesday afternoon, I got a call saying that Ushi was a “potential” match, and that they were coming out on the Wednesday to do a “matching visit”. I was scared to get excited in case it wasn’t a match! I found out that it was, and that I would be going on class on the 30th August!! This is my birthday, so I was chuffed that this was my birthday present! What an awesome one at that!

I went on two weeks training up at a hotel in Belfast. After this I did a couple of weeks training at home, and then qualified on the 29th September!

So now I am just finding my feet in my new partnership, and just trying to work things out. My team are always there at the end of a phone, and wwill be coming out regularly for a while, before they leave me for approximately 6 weeks, then every three months, and then every 6 months, and then once a year! They are always there if i need a new route taught to me or something.

We are having our fair share of little teething troubles, but I am hoping that these will sort themselves out.

I hope you have enjoyed finding out about my “first times” in regards to me getting my first guide dog, and hopefully it wasn’t boring for you!

I will post the carnival when it is released, and look forward to reading all your latest posts on the subject. Remember the deadline for submissions is Tuesday the 19th of October. Read my last entry to see the rules for posting.

Oh, and forgot to say, if you want to follow the rest of my journey with Ushi, then my blog URL is:

The First Assistance Dog Blog Carnival

I read about this idea on Ro’s blog (sorry Ro, can’t be bothered getting your link), and thought I would first of all give you all the details, then write my post!

The assistance dog blog carnival is for anyone who has an assistance dog of any kind. This can be guide, hearing, autism, diabetic, or epilepsy dogs. Basically any dog that “assists” you. I think anyone can post, as long as they have a blog, and are connected in some way to assistance dogs. I think this includes puppy walkers/raisers, trainers, instructors, or anyone else really.

The theme for this carnival is “firsts”. This can be anything really. The deadline for submission is the 19th October (on Tuesday).

For more details, check out
This blogs Post
I’m off to write my first post!!! I orriginally wasn’t going to sign up, but I may as well!!!

Good luck to anyone writing!