Friday 13th started off as a disaster but it worked out ok by the time we got to Dublin. We got the bus from Derry and there was another guide dog owner on it, who was staying in the same hotel as us and going to the meeting too. It was pouring rain when we got to Dublin. I was glad my mum came with me because we had so much stuff and didn’t know where we were going.
We met a friend for dinner in a Thai restaurant on Abbey Street. I hadn’t seen her in ages so it was good to catch up. She’s my mum’s friend’s daughter so they get on very well. The food was gorgeous and the staff were very friendly, and very good to OJ. A little baby came over to pet him and didn’t want to go home! He was so cute. He had been sick for a while, and his dad said that seeing OJ really cheered him up. We got the Luas back to the hotel. When it stopped, the door beside us didn’t open so we had to run to the next one. We got out just in time, and as we walked towards the hotel, the luas driver got out and apologised. He said he didn’t see us in the camera and he was very sorry, even though it wasn’t his fault.
We stayed in the
which was really nice, and again the staff were very helpful. We had a couple of drinks with the other GDO before bed. OJ was very considerate and let me have 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep. At 7 o clock he couldn’t resist waking me up, but I made him go back to sleep again.
The gdo network meeting was well organised and I found it interesting. There were about 25 guide dogs there, and I was surprised at how relaxed OJ was, since he’d only seen one of them before. About 10 people sent apologies, but there was a serious lack of communication on Cork’s part, as all the gdos in Ireland were supposed to be invited, and they obviously weren’t. People just spoke about different issues they had, how things could be improved and how the network can move forward to ensure that these changes actually take place.
It was great to meet people from the email list, and that’s the main reason that I went. I met some really nice dogs too, including the famous Chad, who is
brother. He is one big dog!! There was lots of water provided for all the dogs, and OJ had to drink out of every bowl encase they were different. Some sighted people helped to guide people and dogs if they needed help.
After the meeting I went for food with Nicky and
who i’ve wanted to meet for ages. They are mad! and great fun. Their dogs Ralph and Freddie are saints! They did a great job of getting me and OJ on to a packed luas and into the restaurant (I sware Darragh isn’t blind at all!) My mum met us there and asked the boys a million questions during lunch. Sorry about that! It was the first time i’ve ever got a braille menu in a restaurant in Ireland, which was nice. I also got a chance to see Darragh’s K sonar, and even though I thought I’d never admit it, I can see how it could be useful if you got used to it. Check out his site and blog if you want to know exactly what it is.
We got the bus home from Parnell Square, and dublin was busy because of the Ireland V France match. The bus was far too hot, but twitter and some music kept me sane. It was definitely worth going, and I hope to go to more meetings there next year.
ps. trust digital!