Backtracking-week 1 in Cork

The journey to the guide dog centre in Ballin Collig was a long one, because we stayed in Laois on Friday, Limerick on Saturday and drove to Kerry and Kilarney on the way to Cork. I’m training with 4 men, and I’m the youngest. Most of them didn’t come til Monday, so we spent the first day settling in and getting to know everyone. The staff are very friendly, and we’re very well looked after! The rooms have their own bathroom, radio and tv and a huge dog bed! You can hear dogs barking in the kennels all the time but you get used to it.
On Tuesday morning after breakfast, my trainer took O.J. To my room. I played with him and did some obedience work before lunch. We went for a short walk after, and also practiced getting on and off the class bus with the dogs. Our 5 dogs are all male lab-retrievers, and they are all lovely!
I wasn’t expecting the dog to be staying in my room the first night, so I didn’t get much sleep. He through up in the middle of the night and woke me up at 6. I don’t know how he can be so lively at that time of the morning!
Every day we go for a walk at 9 in the morning and one after lunch at 2. We go to housing estates and streets to learn different ways of working the dog in different situations. We had to learn to play with the dogs properly, as well as grooming with the kennel staff. Theres a lot to learn, but I’m really enjoying it, and the trainer makes it interesting and fun. I have a trainer all to myself, so it helps to learn things quick enough.
We didn’t do much in the evenings for the first week. I didn’t mind though cos everyones great craic and I enjoy just chatting to them all. I got a lovely massage on Saturday afternoon, which I felt I needed by then.
Sunday was very quiet cos some people went home, but Shaun Ciara and Sarah came to visit me (didn’t know Sarah was coming so it was a nice surprise). We went to a nice wood/park after a lovely dinner, and then to a pub called Tracy’s before they left me home. I love the guide dog centre but it was good to get a wee break.
If the rest of the time here is as good as the first week then I won’t mind staying here at all!


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