This is Mummy hijacking Teddy’s blog for the first time for a fair while, and, sadly, for the last time.

Today we had a meeting with some hoomans from Guide Dogs for the Blind Association (GDBA) and they delivered the devastating news that, despite all best efforts, Teddy is to be withdrawn from Guide Dog duties. He has said, in his own inimitable way, that he simply does not want to be a Guide Dog, so, with his best interests being of paramount importance, it has been decided to stop asking him to try. Instead, he will become a forever friend pet to a carefully selected person/family. That person/family will be blessed beyond measure as Teddy is the most adorable, adoring boy imaginable. Sadly, that won’t be me/us though for all sorts of reasons including practicality for us aboard the boat, and, above all else, doing what is best for Teddy.

This is devastating news and we are heartbroken, but perhps not surprised as Teddy was showing signs of being unhappy in his work and this has, apparently, not improved, depsite the very best efforts of his trainer.

Sadly, not every dog that is trained to do this amazing and life-changing job is able to carry it through. Teddy is one of those rare ones, and we have to accept that he will be much happier as a loved and loving pet.

GDBA will ensure, beyond all doubt, that he goes to the right, carefully vetted home where he will enjoy a life of love and fun as a VIPotF – Very Important Part of the Family.

This week has been all about moving.

Teddy sitting on grass beside a raised concrete block platform, where Mummy is pulling hard on a lock beam

Waiting for Mummy to heft the beam

 

 

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’.Continue reading

A large pile of shredded sheet plastic and twigs, plus various other bits of detritus piled on the dark blue back deck of the boat

Daddy’s excuse for being late

Daddy took forever! Mummy and I had set off for a rather lovely workies practice along the pawpath beside the long puddle. We reached destination, went a bit further, got back again, went another round-route and got back again again… still no Daddy on chuggyboathome! We just had a restful sit down. Well… Mum perched on a wall and I had a lie down – never being one to waste an opportunity to be horizontal! Eventually, Daddy came chugging along and stopped to pick us up. On the blunt-end-deck was a big pile of shredded stuff that was apparently his excuse for being so slow! He woofed something about having had to clear it all off the prop. It seems the prop is some twirly thing that makes chuggyboathome glide along in the slosh. This prop apparently doesn’t appreciate being dressed. Oh well… it was a very pleasant workies and I enjoyed lying there watching the quackers and honkers, and Mummy enjoyed listening to all the chirpers and cheepers. I even got a fuss from some passing hoomanpuppies. They did ask Mummy’s permission first though.

We’ve had visitors this week. Several of them. A shehooman called Cynthia came for hooman-noshies, then Pastor Helen and her he-mate Mark came for slurpees. That was all on one day. The next day a whole family came; Clinton and Joanne, plus their growed-up hoomanpuppies Josh and Emma. It seems they are friends of Mummy’s and Daddy’s from their past life. We all went out together to a hooman noshery and then to a park for a freerun, followed by a workies back along the pawpath.As we were walking underneath the huge vroomerway, (we could hear the vroomers grumbling above us), a big white dodgy-dog came growling and snarling and barking at me. I didn’t like him. His neck-fur was all sticky-uppy and he was really rather frightening. Mummy saved me though; she woofed loud at him and he ran away. He came back for another go though after we had gone up and over a bridge. It seems he wanted to make sure we were going off his territory. Mummy growled at him again and he, thankfully, ran back again to the other side of the bridge. Phew! We got away and continued on our nice walk!

Close up of Teddy's face with is grey toy rat in his mouth

Ratty Greetings

Every visitor gets a waggy greeting from me, accompanied by the presentation of a selection of my squidgy toys. Sometimes they appreciate my offerings but many of them seem to be unimpressed with the sogginess. So ungrateful! I like to share – both my toys and my mouthjuice!

We’ve got in quite a lot of working practice this week. I’m getting to know some of the routes around the places we’ve been. Mummy says they are called Oldbury, Tipton, Dudley and Tividale. I most definitely know where to find Costa, Pets at Home and Sainsbrees, plus Aldi too. Some of the routes are quite straightforward and I can take Mummy without Daddy’s satnav help, but the Aldi one is still a bit too long and complicated but we are learning!

A very large canal basin amidst a housing estate. The straight-edged expanse of water is approximately the size of 2 football pitches and has a variety of styles of red brick homes around the edges. In this photo, the boat is moored in the far distance with a clear blue sky reflected in the perfectly still water. In the immediate foreground is a patch of floating rubbish.

Chuggyboathome in Tividale Quays – aka Dudley Port Basin

I think my favourite of these places is Tividale. We moored there in a big open area of splosh with hooman kennels all around it. There were some really nice hoomans around there that we meeted and greeted. Some of them were with pooches too, so they were extra good to greet! Mummy won’t let me go greet on my own though; I have to ‘Stay on the boat’ until I have Mummy or occasionally Daddy on the daft end of my lead, then I can be sociable. I am a good boy – I do stay on the boat and then I get lots of ‘Good boy to stay’ fusses and loves! I think it is worth being good!

Teddy lying on grass with his lead attached and Mummy standing beside him. They are in a huge expanse of lush green grass with trees in the far distance

Pre freerun ‘Down’

Mummy standing beside Teddy who is in a very alert sit, having just sprung up to the 'upsit' command. He is focussed on the treat in Mummy's right hand

‘Upsit’ and munchie

Mummy standing beside Teddy having just removed his lead and given him the 'Go play' command. He is leaping into full speed zoom mode on a wide expanse of grass with trees in the background

‘Go play’ moment

Another reason I like Tividale is because it has a hugenormous fantabulous park just a few minutes workies away from chuggyboathome. That was a wonderful freerun place! Of course, I had to work to get there – and do the usual ‘Sit. Down. Upsit’ routine, plus plenty of recall practice as we wandered around all the greenfloorfur areas. It was worth it though! Sooooo much space for zoomies and sniffies and rollies. There was a really steep slope in the middle and I was at the top of it when I heard my toot-toot-toot summons for a munchie. I came racing down the slope but couldn’t stop. Daddy’s backlegs saved me when I crashed into them though! Thanks Dad!

Teddy at full run toward the camera. Ears flapping and back end off the ground. Behind him is a steep grassy bank

Zoooooomies!

Teddy lying on lush grass chewing a chunk of wood that he found

Paw-rest for some jaw exercise

Teddy in the shade of some trees enjoying a chance to do what every dog loves to do - sniff about!

Freedom to sniff

Teddy working on harness on a very narrow stretch of pavement where the bushes are very overgrown, making the pavement only just wide enough for him to walk. Mummy is beside him walking along the line of the double yellow lines

Looking after Mummy where the pawment is too narrow

On one of our workieses, I had to take special care with Mummy because the pawment wasn’t wide enough for both of us. Mummy had no choice except to walk on the two yellow stripes on the vroomerway. Thankfully, it was only for a short distance but I was watching carefully. Daddy says he is going to send a weemail message with this photo, to the local clown sellers or something to show them that it might be a good idea to trim the spiky bushes back as they are covering more than half of the pawment and making it unsafe for its pawpose.

We’ve been on a workies on a new route in Tividale; I liked that route; it involved lots and lots of ‘Find the box’ bleepy crossings! It was yummy work! Every one of those boxes got me a munchie! Twelve of them in total – 6 on the way there and 6 on the way back! Yum Yum! It was a big beastie of a vroomerway crossways to get to a gigantical Tesco’s. Inside there, I had to do lots of ‘Steady… left’ and ‘Steady… right’ and ‘Wait’ etc while Mummy and Daddy searched though lots of hanging-up hooman backleg covers. At one of the ‘Wait’ places, my bum rather sprang itself up again – there was a little black star scurrying across the floor! I needed to investigate him! Daddy told me that spiders are not for Teddies and Mummy asked me again to ‘Sit. Wait’ I did sit again, but I kept very intent vigil on where that star had scurried off to. I never did get to find him again to say hello! Humph!

Once all that strange behaviour seemed to finish, I guided Mummy into a sort of cupboard and she shut the door. It was most odd; she took off her back leg covers and then put on some different ones, then put the old ones back on again! Hoomans are so peculiar! Me? I just took the opportunity to lie down and admire the handsome dude I spotted through the window who looked identical to me and mimicked my every twitch!

Teddy lying on grey floor of Tesco fitting room admiring himself in the mirror

Handsome Dude

We have done some of that cruising stuff this week too. I do like doing that! It means that I can watch the world glide by but stay lying down! What’s not to like about that? We’ve seen and heard lots of feathery things as we’ve chugged on by. There was a little black one with a very sharp white nose who got up off a pile of sticks. Four little fluffpuffs followed! They were making some funny little squeaky noises that made my head go all tilty! We’ve also seen a big tall grey thing on long stick-legs. That one was standing on the pawpath and it had a REALLY nasty looking nose! I wasn’t too sure about that one! There have also been lots and lots of quackers and honkers about – all along the sploshways – both on pawpaths and sitting on the splosh.

This morning, Mummy gave me a super pampering session. Ooooh! it was lovely! She used her pawsticks to massage me allllll over, then used a set of things to titivate my golden fur. When she had finished, I was all fluffy and there was a big pile of my fur on the floor. Mummy then gathered up all that pile of fur and, when we went outside, she put it all up in a tree! She says that the birdies will like it for their nests. Well, I am happy to donate my golden fibres of love!

Teddy lying on grey rug facing camera, with grooming rakes and a huge pile of golden fur in front of him

I should be bald!

 

Now for this week’s Infloblog:

Dog Attacks.

Thankfully, the dog that came all nasty at me this week was shooed away by Mummy, so no harm was done. However, many of my colleagues have been really seriously hurt by pet dogs who don’t seem to like us for some reason. When this happens, it is not only super frightening and distressing for both dog and hooman, but it also often means that the Guide Dog never works again, either because of injuries, or because they are too traumatised and frightened. This is horrible for the dog, and also really lifechanging for the hooman. For some reason that we placid, gentle (we have to be to do our job) Guide Dogs never understand, some pet dogs seem to think we are good targets and, even if they are otherwise friendly, they seem to want to attack us when we are working.

So, it is really really really important that we spread the message about hoomans doing the right thing; that is to ‘Take the lead’ – attach the lead to the dog and keep a firm hold of the daft end of it please – just while we guide our hooman charge past.

Here is what Guide Dogs UK have to say about it – this is taken from www.guidedogs.org.uk and is a super important message to pass on to everyone – PLEASE!

National charity Guide Dogs is calling for urgent support from dog owners, as latest data reveals an alarming 12 guide dogs are attacked every month on average. In nearly 60% of these attacks the aggressor dog was off the lead.

In addition to the emotional and physical trauma of an attack, for the dog and owner, this serious issue has cost the charity over £1.3million since 2010 – the equivalent of 90,000 guide dog leads.

Today, the charity is launching their Take the Lead campaign, calling for the public to put their dog on a lead when they see a guide dog working. Canine researchers from the charity say this simple action could be the key to preventing future attacks.

Guide Dogs has campaigned on the issue of dog attacks in the past and back in 2014 tougher laws were introduced meaning if your dog attacked an assistance dog you could face up to a three-year jail sentence. However, the charity feels more needs to be done to prevent attacks and is now looking to the nation’s dog owners for support.

Guide Dogs Researcher, Rachel Moxon, says: “Guide dogs are life-changing for those living with sight loss, helping their owners live life to the full. Attacks on our dogs destroy confidence and can mean a guide dog owner once again loses their freedom and independence. Putting your dog on a lead when you see a guide dog working, allows you to have more control over the situation. Even if you know your dog is well-behaved, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.”

Attacks on guide dogs can have long-lasting affects for both the dog and owner.

Mike Brace’s guide dog, Izzy was attacked in London back in June 2016 and the pair are still dealing with the emotional scars from that day, he comments: “Izzy was badly hurt by a dog that sunk its teeth into her back – whilst the physical scars have healed she’s lost a part of herself, showing signs of anxiety, which breaks my heart. Each day a bit more of her sparkle returns but it all could have been avoided if the owner had put their dog on a lead that day.”

 

Teddy working in harness guiding Mummy along a pavement with grass beside it. Mummy is wearing a mid blue open fleece jacket and rainbow striped jumper and black trousers. Beside her is Debbi - tall and slim wearing pale jeans and grey cardigan wrapped around her

Workies guiding Mummy with Debbi

Sunday started with a bedroom buddy again! Debbi arrived in the middle of darktime and stayed to share my bedroom! Yippee! Then, when Mummy and Daddy got out of bed, I took them to church where we met some of their hoomanpals, including Aunty Lindsay and Uncle Tim. I likes them! They gives good fusses. We all went out on a workies to find a hooman noshery. That meant a lie-down for me, of course, while they all munched, then, after saying tattybyes to Tim & Lindsay, we set off on another workies to find Debbi’s vroomer. It had a long tail stuck up it’s nose, with the other end attached to a post. She pulled its tail out and got in, then kind of whiiiirrrred away – no vrooming!). I guided Mummy and Daddy back home again. (Well… I guided Mummy and Daddy tagged along!).Continue reading

Chugging along and working locks.

A lovely protrait shot of Teddy in harness. He is looking slightly to the left of centre and his golden fur is beautifully highlighted in the sunshine. Blurred trees in the background

Simply gorgeous!

This week has been mainly about chugging along and working locks. Daddy says we’ve chugged 32 smiles and Mummy and I have worked 60 locks. I think that counts as plenty of practice! The first set were familiar to me; I remember them from when I was a pupster! My PuppyDaddy is something called a Lock-Keeper there and I visited many times when I was diddy.Continue reading

Phew! What a week!

Before I tell you all about that, I need to make an announcement: Since woofing with my predecessor, I have established that Ma and Pa are really called Mummy and Daddy, or Mum and Dad for short. I think that sounds much nicer than Ma and Pa. So, from now on, Ma and Pa will be Mummy and Daddy to me too – after all – Oakley was a sort of brother dog!

Teddy lying on stern deck, looking backwards over his right shoulder toward camera. His ears are all fluffed up in the breeze

Fluffy lugs

Continue reading

Church was fun today. Not only did I get to snooze using Ma’s backpaw as a pillow, but at the end, there was a whole load of poppings going on. It was all very exciting. The hehooman at the front was woofing about selly bray shuns or something, I got showered with coloured thin string things. I did try them to check out if they might be tasty but Ma seemed to think that was not a good idea. She said she didn’t want me pooping rainbows!

Ma wearing blue coat and hi viz yellow backpack striding down the pavement with Teddy guiding her. The road is on their RHS and grass in on their LHS. The shot is taken from a little way behind them

Workies on the pawment

Continue reading