I’m glad you like it here!

Blogging is great when I get comments, new followers, and awards like these.
Thanks to

The rules for the awards are:
Paste the images of the awards on your blog
List 10 things that make you happy and do 1 of them today
List 10 bloggers who brighten your day (for the Happy 101 award) and 12 bloggers who brighten your day (for the Sunshine award)

Ten things that make OJ and I happy (in no particular order) are:
1. Going for long walks in nice weather
2. Eating good food
3. Spending time with family and friends
4. Meeting new people and experiencing new things
5. Listening to music, particularly when its live
6. Having fun with other people/dogs
7. Finishing something after working hard at it for ages
8. Not having to get up early at least one day a week
9. Relaxing beside a warm fire on a cold day
10. The beach

I’m going to be lazy, and instead of linking to other people’s blogs, whoever goes to the trouble of leaving a comment (because some followers are a bit shy!) and hasn’t got this award already can have it. Come on, say hi and get an award!

A few months ago I received an email from the
wellsphere network
asking if I would join their network as a health blogger. Basically all my blog posts to date and future posts would be put up there under the “eye health” section, and I just do what I normally do on the blog. No extra work for me, its completely free, and if it helps someone else in some way then why not. It was great to be asked, and I’m looking forward to meeting new people from the network in the future. There’s just so much information there, I don’t even know where to start!

The wellsphere badge isn’t too easy to work with jaws because of the images, but hopefully I’ll get someone to give me a hand putting it on my blog soon. Check out the site
if you want to know more about what they do.

Pet passport

I finally decided to get OJ a pet passport. We went to the vet yesterday morning to have his glands checked again, he got his rabies injection (which the lovely vet didn’t charge me for) and we filled in the passport form. I got his photo taken (this is optional) and posted all the paperwork.
OJ has to have a blood test in a months time to make sure that the rabies vaccine has worked. We then have to wait for six months before we can travel outside Ireland or the UK.
The rabies vaccine has to be given annually, and if there is a break at all in the vaccination, the blood test has to be repeated and another six months has to elapse before we can travel again.

Before I go on holiday, I have to send OJ’s passport and a form completed by the department of agriculture, and they send me a prior approval form, which means I can enter Ireland again with OJ. 48 hours before returning to Ireland, the dog has to go to the vet to get tick and flea treatment. The vet stamps the passport to say that the treatment has been given. When we return to Ireland, the passport and dog’s microchip is checked at the airport.

It all sounds like a lot of work doesn’t it? Its almost as hard as getting a human passport in Ireland these days. As long as you have the passport and keep the rabies vaccine up-to-date, its simple enough. Its probably one of those things that gets easier the more you travel. The department of agriculture store your dog’s details, so that when you travel you just send them your flight details and they can email you the approval form within 24 hours.
The passport, blood test and rabies vaccine costs almost 300 euros initially.

I couldn’t decide whether this was worth getting for OJ. He hates hot weather, so I would have to think carefully before taking him somewhere warm. Do I really need him there, and is it going to be more stress than its worth if I’m worrying about him all the time? My family are usually around if I was going somewhere for a short trip and they could look after him.
On the other hand, I haven’t really found somewhere where I’m completely happy to leave him if I was to go away for longer than a week.
There are a couple of things in europe that I might be interested in attending in the future, and it would be good to have OJ with me. I know travelling to some countries might not be completely straightforward, but the more people travel with assistance dogs, the easier it will become for everybody. I am willing to overcome challenges if there are any.
It takes so long to get the passport initially, which makes it difficult to travel with a dog without planning in advance. At least now when the passport comes, I’ll always have it, and we’ll be ready to go whenever we get an opportunity.

My final reason for getting the passport now is that this job in Letterkenny has lasted longer than I thought. Its not often that I have a spare few hundred quid, so thought I might as well do something decent with the money that I wasn’t expecting to have. So, that means electric picnic for me and a passport for OJ, and now I’m going back to saving again!

Thanks a million to
for all her help.
If you want to find out more information about obtaining a pet passport in Ireland, take a look at the department of agriculture’s website:

Talking about dogs

I finally got my plextalk pocket recorder last week. Its an accessible recorder, just a bit bigger than a mobile phone, that records high quality WAV files, which is what i need for editing. I’ve had a few reasons to use it this week because I’ve been doing interviews at work and recording in the primary school.
I was playing around with it earlier and my nephew was very interested in the microphone and what it did. While he coloured in his colouring book we talked and pretended to interview each other. Here’s what our conversation about dogs went like. He really is a clever little man for his age and always makes me laugh. He has a great imagination too!
here he is

Happy fourth birthday OJ

He’s relaxing now after a busy couple of days.
On thursday during lunchtime I left him to a groomer for his first professional groom. This particular groomer in Letterkenny grooms guide dogs half price, so it seemed like it was well worth the 20 quid to have him washed and dried in an hour and a half, especially since we were going visiting after work. Apart from his toenails being a bit long (though i’m surprised with the amount of walking he does) it went well.

A friend from college teaches in Belfast so we stayed with her, had a lovely dinner and went for hot chocolate before bed. She was a bit unsure about how to look after OJ because she hasn’t had a dog before, but when she realised she didn’t have to worry or fuss, she was brilliant.

Next morning we went to her school which is in a quiet village. Her P2 class were very well-mannered and mature for their age. They asked very interesting questions and I think they learned a lot. We had a very busy day because there were two students in on work placement, so we worked with them and went to a science fair. I got a chance to play with play doh and I’ll admit that I probably enjoyed it more than the children! They were learning about vegitables and were asked to make ones from the doh, but most of them made birthday cakes for O.J instead. So cute! I read with some of them and showed them some braille. As the day went on they became less shy and we had some interesting discussions about what its like to be blind. O.J was the star of the show as usual and went home with some nice hand-made birthday cards.
The staff were very friendly, and when I explained that they couldn’t feed O.J and the reasons why during the buffet lunch (that they have during feed your face Friday), they didn’t offer him food.

After school we went to Co. Tyrone to my friend’s parents house. They are two of the nicest people you could meet and again they were fantastic with O.J. They took us for a lovely dinner and we listened to lots of great music before bed. I had time for a lovely walk after breakfast and before we got the bus back to Derry today. The bus driver didn’t realise that there was a dog on the bus until we were getting off.

We are doing the church gate collection for guide dogs this weekend. It doesn’t seem like a year since the
last one
We did two masses this evening and I have to go to three tomorrow with O.J. Then I have the horrible job of counting the money.

Currently listening to: nothing at the minute but I’ve had ‘the candy man’ from Charlie and the chocolate factory stuck in my head since 8 yesterday morning, thanks to Chris Evans who plays it every Friday. Tune!!

awards, music and the criminal court!

I had a great 24 hours in Dublin. I went down for the choice music prize awards that I won tickets for in January. I’d surprisingly never been to Vicar Street before, even though almost every band I love has performed there. Its easy to see why it is an award-winning venue, and Christy Moore and the frames’ second home! The sound was absolutely perfect, apart from the talkers, which wasn’t the venues fault. I’ve written so much about the awards online already, so i’ll keep it short. Alison Curtis was a great MC, it was well run and didn’t drag on forever, and we were entertained by videos like
before the gig, as well as performers talking about their albums before they performed live. The eight bands/artists were all very good (two couldn’t play.) The gig should be online on today fm next week if your interested in hearing it. Some of the performances were quite entertaining, and Glen and co played with Javier Mas, Leonard Cohen’s guitarist during their second song.

Galway songwriter Adrian Crowley won the award for his album ‘season of the sparks’ and he was genuinely very greatful. He’s someone I didn’t know much about, but during his performance I knew I liked him and have heard the album since and its very mellow but very good. The award could have gone to any of the ten acts really. See Adrian getting his award from Jim Carroll

I was woken up a lot by the noisy people in our hostel, but it was grand and in a handy place near Temple Bar. Next day I had time to walk around and relax in Dublin, which is something I don’t usually get to do. We went to Tower records where I bought Adrian Crowley’s album and then to road records, which i’ve wanted to go to for years. Great shop and lovely friendly staff, who probably thought my strategy for buying albums when I couldn’t remember what I wanted was mad!

My friend had to get the bus at 1, and I was travelling home on a later bus with a friend who was going home anyway. She works in the criminal court, so I got a taxi there to meet her. I had to convince the taxi driver that I didn’t do anything wrong! He tried to leave me off at a crossing near the entrance, and when I told him I was blind he was very embarrassed and was very helpful. Going through security is like it is at airports. Its a very strange place to be in. After lunch my friend gave me a quick tour of the courtroom and I got to sit in the judge’s chair. Its all fun until you actually have to be there for real. It was strange sitting outside listening to music while she was working, seeing people coming out crying and thinking how people’s lives can change when they go into this place. Gave me the creeps to be honest, but interesting to see anyway, and it puts things in perspective.

I went to a few places for the first time in Dublin. I still haven’t managed to make it to Wheelans yet, but I will someday.