This week has been all about moving.
It started with a chuggyboathome bimble with a few locks to work on the way. Only 12 locks this time. The final 8 of them came with hoomanfriends for fusses while we waited for the splosh to go down in each one! We did the first 4 of the journey on our own. It was good practice for Mummy and me to work on our team approach to the task. Basically, it involves me guiding Mummy to ‘Find the beam’ then ‘Find the bollard’ if there is a bollard to find. Then I get to have a lie down while Mummy pushes and pulls the big beam, that opens and closes the huge gate of the oblong, then she uses her strange bentstick toy to twirl the clanky thing, which makes the splosh go either up or down inside the wet oblong, with chuggyboathome going up or down on top of it. Then, after another pushing and pulling of the beam, we set off to ‘Find the next lock’.
As we started the final flight of 8 locks, I did my duty on the first one, then, as we set off to find the second one, I spotted a hooman walking up the pawpath in the distance. Mummy was blissfully unaware but apparently my tail told her that someone was coming. Then my tail went a bit berserk when I recognised the hooman! It was Aunty Lindsay! I may have been a smidge enthusiastic in guiding Mummy to that lock! She had to ask me to ‘Steady’ Oops! I don’t think she understands… when my tail is wagging that hard, it drives me forward ever faster! Heehee! I was a good boy though, I steadied as much as I could manage to and guided Mummy safely to greet Aunty Lindsay, who then helped with the hooman bit of the lock work. Another couple of locks further on brought us to meet and greet another nice shehooman who was also helping. This one is called Wendy and she is rather a nice hoomanfriend too! With their help, all of our jobs just got oodles easier! I did have to slow down quite a lot for Mummy on some bits of that pawpath, as it was all rough and lumpety-bumpety. Not a problem for my 4paws, but Mummy’s 2paws didn’t cope too well with it!
When we finished the locks, we just had a short chug further and then a turn to go under a little bridge. This is our garden at the moment! I SUPER LIKE this mooring: It seems it is a chuggyboatkennel and it has us all in a cage! That means I have a garden to explore! It is a big garden! And it has doggy pals to play with sometimes too! There is Isaac, the big hairy huskyish who brings Aunty Lindsay with him, and there is a little fluffpot called Jess who brings Wendy with her. The three of us have had some lovely times playing and exploring this big garden together.
On Monday, I took Mummy and Daddy out of our chuggyboatkennel cage, via a sort of caged-in vroomerway, to another cage door with another chuggyboatkennel area, with another huge garden. There, we met a very old black labrador called Shadow and a whole bunch of little fluffpots, including little Jess. Jess is a little fluffy terrier-ish, and there were 2 shitzoos called Floss and William and a tiny but very loud pupster chewaawaa-poodle called Pippin. We all had a fab time playing together, while the hoomans all stood around yipping.
After all that fun and exertion, I then had to go on duty and guide Mummy to do some shopping. When we got to the checkout, I simply had to have a lie down! Well… why would I waste the opportunity for a bit of horizontalness while we waited in the kyoo?!!
On Tuesday, something weird happened: I had to take Daddy walkies along the pawpath beside the long puddle and into a place with lots of vroomers. I did my greeting duty (with permission) inside a building, while Daddy did some yipping and pawperwork, then we went outside and got into a vroomer. It wan’t a normal vroomer though – it was high up with only 3 seats, and a huge box at the back. Daddy put my bed on the floor in front of the seats and I got to ride there. We went back to chuggyboatkennel and found Mummy again. She had packed stuff into a wheeliecase, which Daddy then loaded into the huge box-on-wheels. We all three got into the seats bit (called a cab, apparently), and vroomed on a long journey. It wasn’t so comfy having to share my floor with Mummy’s back paws, so I sat up some of the time and rested my head on her lap, or watched the world whizz by the windows. I quite like riding high and looking down on it all!
After a lot of vrooming on some very whizzy vroomerways, we stopped at a big building. We went inside (after a very necessary bit of watering duty on the greenfloorfur) for Mummy and Daddy to nosh. Then, we went outside again and around the back of the building where we found a fabbytabulous freerun! Ooooooh! That was sooooooo good! It gave me opportunity to do big zoomies and even came with some pooch pals to meet n greet in passing. That got me all sorted and ready to lie down again for the rest of the journey!
The journey got us to a house with a huuuuuuuuge garden! I had a wonderful romp about there! Ooh… I should mention that the house also had Debbi and Ryan in it! I could smell purryfurries too, but didn’t get to meet them. But… oooooh! That garden! Woohooo!
We stayed there a little while and there was some strange hooman activity; everything was being packed into boxes! I stayed out in the garden most of the time – it was much more fun there!
We left there in darktime and got back into our box-vroomer, and it took us to a hoomankennelblock. Inside our kennel, Mummy put my bed on the floor and the next thing I knew it was lighttime again outside! After brekkie, we got into box-vroomer and set off back to the big garden. I spent quite a bit of time investigating that all again, while the hoomans (3 extra hehoomans had arrived too) loaded AAAALLLL the boxes and everything else into the box-vroomer.
Then the purryfurries were brought downstairs in little carrykennels and got loaded into the backseat of Debbi’s vroomer. I sort of got of meet them there – at least with a friendly sniff through the carrykennel bars anyway. I really wanted to make friends but they didn’t seem too keen. They were making a lot of yowling noise!
Another journey took us all (box-vroomer plus 3 hoomanvroomers) to another house. This one had nothing in it until all the boxes and other stuff was unloaded from the box-vroomer. The purryfurries were taken in their carrykennels upstairs and shut into a room up there. I went to check on them, but could only sniff under the door. I think they were a bit unhappy, so I had a lie-down by their door for a little while to comfort them. Most of the rest of the time, I got to explore this new house’s garden. Not as big as the other one, but the greenfloorfur was long enough to tickle my belly as I walked through it! It seems this is now Debbi and Ryan’s new home. They have left the old one – the one with the huuuuuuge garden 🙁
It was a long day of watching all the hoomans do all that unpacking stuff – Daddy and Ryan and the other hehoomans hefted everything out of box-vroomer and into the house, then Mummy and Debbi took stuff out of boxes and found places to put it all inside the cupboards. Eventually, everyone sat down on the floor in the lounge and a hehooman delivered some flat boxes with some hooman-nosh disks inside. I had already had my dinner, so I just took the opportunity for a snuggle on Mummy’s lap while they all munched.
After all that, we got into box-vroomer and went back to our kennel for some well needed zzzzzzs. The next day started really early! Everything was packed back into the wheeliecase and we left the kennelblock and went to the huuuuge garden again. Well… I went to the garden – Mummy and Daddy went into the house. They were joined by Ryan and two other hehoomans. They all huffed and puffed and brought a big black thing downstairs. It had a huge row of black and white teeth! They loaded it into the box-vroomer and used a long yellow lead to tie it to the wall inside. Then we all vroomed off again to the new house, where the process was all reversed again. That black monster with black and white teeth got taken upstairs and re-assembled, then the hehooman used his pawsticks to tickle its teeth. It made all sorts of plinkydings!
While all this was going on, I was supervising Mummy in the garden. Well… actually, I was watching from the safety of indoors! Mummy was using a growling monster to munch the greenfloorfur! That monster was greedy! It scoffed it all – right down to short fluff! It took a long time though. Mummy was to-ing and fro-ing over and over and over again…
Finally, after a lot more of that hooman stuff they call ‘sorting’, we set off again in the cab of the box-vroomer. This time the big box was almost empty – except for the wheeliecase and a couple of empty boxes. We went on the whizzy vroomerways but didn’t do much whizzing. We seemed to spend a lot of time in slow moving kyoos of other vroomers. It was a long slow journey! The stop at the freerun place was very welcome! I got to enjoy a good romp around there and then, after a bit of a lie down while Mummy and Daddy noshed, I got a picnic dinner outside! That was welcome too and got me all sorted for the rest of the journey back to chuggyboathome.
A quiet and easy day on Friday was very gladly received. Just a walkies back from taking the box-vroomer home to its kennel, then a leisurely walkies along the pawpath with Mummy later, plus a few wanders around the chuggyboat cage garden. That was enough!
Saturday started with a lie-in. It seemed to take Mummy and Daddy ages to wake up, but I can’t say I was sorry about that! Then, I took them workies to do some shopping before a snoozy afternoon, rounded off rather nicely with a play in the garden with Jess when she came to call for me.
I rather like this idea of having big gardens! Oooh… Did I mention the huuuuge gardens?…….
And so to this week’s Edublog:
‘It’s not fair’
‘Guide Dogs are always working’
‘Guide Dogs never get to be proper dogs’…….
These are just a few examples of the things we hear very often. They are all so very untrue!
Guide Dogs are only working when they are wearing their iconic white harness. The rest of the time, they are off-duty, happy, relaxed and exceedingly well cared for.
When working, they are doing what all dogs love to do; Going walkies! It is a walkies with a purpose. A walkies with a built-in mental workout too; Just what any intelligent dog needs and loves to do! In this work, they go into all sorts of places that a regular pet dog doesn’t routinely get to go; shops, offices, restaurants, hotels, theatres, cinemas, hospitals… indeed, anywhere and everywhere that their human charges need to go (with a couple of exceptions such as restaurant kitchens and clinical/sterile areas of hospitals like operating theatres, some treatment rooms, and ITU areas). Most pet dogs have to be left at home for sometimes long periods, while their owners go to work, shopping etc, whereas a Guide Dog is seldom left behind. (They are trained and happy to be left for short periods when appropriate though). A simple fact of the job of a Guide Dog is that they are the mobility aid of their Vision Impaired human partner, so their job is to take that human to wherever he/she wants/needs to go – even to the toilet!
If the dog’s human charge has a job to go to, then the dog enjoys working to get there, by whatever means of transport they routinely use (walking, buses, trains, taxis, trams – sometimes a combination of several means), then they have a designated bed to snooze on and appropriate toys to play with, plus water and any other provisions as appropriate, at the workplace. They are trained and accustomed to this and do it happily and willingly, with plenty of ‘comfort breaks’ scheduled throughout the workplace time. Then, of course, they have the exercise of the work/walk home again.
When at home, a Guide Dog has plenty of ‘downtime’ with a good range of suitable toys and other recreational supplies (chews, apppropriate bones and other enrichment items and activities). They also have a safe, secure, clean and comfortable bed (or several, in some cases!) and lots of love, fusses and attention. They are groomed to a high standard – for reasons of health and hygiene, and are given a thorough check up by a vet every six months. They are fed on good quality food, appropriate to age, activity, breed, weight and any dietary special requirements, and are given all vaccines and anti-parasitic medications as recommended by vets.
A Guide Dog gets plenty of freerun times every week. This is when they are seldom recognised as Guide Dogs because, when running around a park or woodland, for example, they are not on harness and so simply look like any regular labrador, retriever, German Shepherd or any of the other breeds or crosses. This is when the professional Guide Dog gets to truly be a dog! Running, rolling, playing, sniffing, getting muddy and generally having a load of fun! There is good training involved in all of this – especially on recall. It is good for any dog to have good recall, but for a blind / partially sighted person, it is especially important that their dog comes back to them on reliable recall. All Guide Dogs are trained to respond to a certain whistle signal and will come zooming back to get a treat!
In addition to all of this, the dogs and owners are carefully looked after by a team of people from Guide Dogs for the Blind Association (GDBA), who all have the best interests of both members of the partnership at heart.
Astonishingly, this all comes at NO COST to the Guide Dog Owner! GDBA holds to its policy of never denying a blind or Vision Impaired Person of the freedom and independance that a Guide Dog brings, on the grounds of financial means. All costs, including vet fees, food, all equipment (food bowls, grooming equipment, harness, lead, collars, toys), and the professional support of the team is provided free of charge. Of course, some Guide Dog Owners (GDOs) are willing and able to cover or contribute to the costs and that is never refused. Many GDOs are keen fundraisers for the charity – as a way of saying ‘Thank you’ for the invaluable, immeasurable, priceless and utterly life-changing gift of freedom and independance that is a Guide Dog!