One year on

22nd June 2007 was one of the most important days of my life, the day i went to meet OJ for the first time. So much has changed in that year, and it has all been for the better.
Its funny how you remember even the smallest details about a special day. My aunt drove us to the train station in Laois to get the Cork train on the Friday morning. Jack couldn’t decide if he wanted to come with us until the last minute, when he decided to go. We had coffee on the train and met a lovely man (mr. O’Shea from Kerry i think) who was a retired teacher.
I was so excited when we got to the training centre. We had soup and sandwiches and i couldn’t wait until the trainer went to get OJ. I remember thinking he was soo big! He wasn’t sure what to think of us all fussing around him, but when i took his lead he sat and lay down and did everything i asked him too.
Mammy daddy and Jack went to look around the centre and i walked OJ on his lead in the corridor. Then we drove to a quiet residential area about 10 minutes away to do my matching walk. Queen’s greatest hits was on in the van, and the trainer was hoarse.
I was so nervous walking with OJ for the first few minutes, but i quickly relaxed and he seemed more relaxed too. I was delighted to be asked to come to Cork and train when we had finished, and i smiled the whole way back to the centre!
Back at guide dogs HQ we filled in a few forms and met some more guide dog staff. I even remember having a yorkie and Lucozade sport on the train on the way home. Jack had been comparing the price of the drink in different shops since we left Buncrana, and concluded that the train station was a ripoff!
I even still have some of the messages i got on the train:
“Are you in Cork yet? Did you see O.J yet? Is it wild exciting? Get a photo” – Veronica
“Im so happy for ya one of the best days of your life id say. Wahoo!” – Mark
“Hey Jenny Im soo delighted for you that’s great. will you have to give him a name? Dougal will be the craic…” – Jennifer

It feels like I’ve had OJ for ages now, and i can’t imagine having to use a cane again. I’ve got so familiar with his silly habits and strange likes and dislikes. He’s a funny dog but i wouldn’t have him any other way.

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busy busy!

So what have me and OJ been up to since the boss gig?
Well lots really. I’ve been busy in work doing all kinds of things, and worrying if i’ll have a job after christmas.
The Mizen to Malin cycle for guide dogs took place in the last week of may. Last year i went to meet the cyclists in Malin when they finished, and 2 hours later i got a phone call from Neil from guide dogs to say they thought they might have a dog for me. I thought it was too much of a coincidence, and i promised i would do, or at least attempt part of the cycle this year. Of course i didn’t, and feeling slightly guilty, i met them in Letterkenny, before going to Laois for my cousin’s 21st.
It was a crazy weekend, and OJ was very well behaved. Leah’s pup Charlie was there with her other two dogs, and they all didn’t bother too much about each other.
I had a wedding the following weekend, which was probably the best one i’ve ever been too. OJ didn’t come, but its like having a child, because when you don’t bring him everyone asks about him. My brother was home from Afghanistan, and saw OJ for the first time. They got on really well, and OJ loved somebody else fussing over him. I forgot how strange it must be for Colm. The last time he was home i was using the dreaded cane, and their was no mention of a dog. Now his little sister is all independent and stuff!
Today is friday the 13th, and I’m in work because i took tuesday off. I just found out that the Frames are playing with Neil Young in Malahide Castle, Dublin, and now i really really want to go. I said when i went to see Bruce i wouldn’t care if i didn’t go to another gig this year. That didn’t last long. I was invited to stormont on June 30th, the day after the gig, with a group of blind people who are lobbying for employment. I really should go to that, but now the frames have upset my plans!