I’ve made my decision

You might remember back in November I talked about OJ’s
anal gland problem.
Seven months later and they haven’t got any better. They’ve got a lot worse and have to be emptied every three weeks. He’s gotten really good at going to the vet now. He goes in and finds the room no problem, stands on the weighing scales, then lets the vet work with him even though its obviously very painful. Bran, fruit and veg added to his food hasn’t helped the glands much, so I’ve made the decision to have them removed.

The vets in Derry have been very helpful during the last year since the problem began. The owner has insisted that I never pay for treatment or injections. He has left the final decision up to me, but offering advice and being very supportive at the same time. He said that they have only done a few of these operations in Derry, and recommended referring O.J to a vet in Belfast who would be more experienced. I really appreciate their honesty, because if they’d have done it themselves I wouldn’t have known any different.

I rang
Earlswood vet
in Belfast and they said they would do it no problem. They just needed confirmation from Irish guide dogs to go ahead. Julie from kennels rang me when she spoke to them, and the senior vet who will do the operation rang me to have a chat. Everything seems well organised so far, and they are happy to let him stay there to recover for as long as I want him to.

Luckily I have pet insurance. It sometimes seems pointless paying these things, but worth it when things like this happen. I have to pay for everything and then claim it back because they can’t claim insurance in the South from Northern Ireland. The operation costs the same amount that I’ve paid in insurance during the last two years.

O.J is having the glands removed on the 19th of July. I needed to pick a time when I know I can work without him for a couple of weeks at least. We’re both busy until then. Its going to be difficult, but luckily I have a few things on then that I wouldn’t be bringing him to anyway.
I just hope everything goes okay and he recovers well. Every dog owner I’ve spoken to hasn’t had any problems afterwards, but if something did happen I’d feel terrible.
I really hope I’ve made the right decision.

Happy sixtieth!

My dad turned sixty last Friday (18th June), which was the reason my brother came home from Afghanistan. We organised a surprise party for him, so we had to keep him out of the house all day while my aunts and sister got the house ready. He told us later that he had an idea that something was going on, but having a visitor from Thailand to entertain meant that we had to do some scenic tours of Donegal and it was a great distraction.

My mum finished teaching at twelve and we drove to
Grianan of aileach
for a look around. O.J had a run around too and tried to do a bit of rock climbing because my dad and brother were up getting photos. He soon realised that that was not a good idea and my brother had to help him down encase he hurt his legs. Crazy dog!
we ended up in
Glenveagh National Park
The weather was perfect, and its a lovely area of Donegal that I’m ashamed to say I don’t remember seeing before. We did the tour of the castle, looked around the gardens, had coffee in the sun and took lots of photos!

We came home at eight to a packed house, lots of food and drink and music from a playlist I had made the day before. The party went great and my dad was delighted. A few people came from London and his brother came up from Dublin, and everybody helped to make it really special. Dougal stayed with a lady in our town who watches people’s dogs, but O.J was in the middle of all the action. He spent the night out on the decking chewing a bone, on his lead or in my brother’s room where Jack had set up his playstation. One of the party guests even took him for a walk down the road before she started dancing.

We had lots of food left over, so around twenty people came back for dinner on Saturday. There were four dogs there too, but they had raw hyde bones instead.
A couple who were at the party offered to take my dad out on their boat, so twelve of us went sailing on Sunday morning. It was great fun but very cold! I left O.J behind encase he either got seasick or tried to jump out and go for a swim. We

We had lots of visitors to the house all week. My brother cooked us some lovely thai meals from his restaurant menu, and I went for dinner with work coleagues on Wednesday night. I went to get dog food and walked O.J yesterday. My dad only got his present from us (his three children) last night because we’ve been so busy. We got him a bike and he really likes it.

Today I’m in work and the rest of the family are taking the ferry to Northern Ireland and going for a drive, ending up in Belfast to shop. I’m jealous! Even Dougal got a day out too. I’m not sure what plans are for the weekend yet, but no doubt we’ll be busy. Its amazing how much you do when you have visitors to entertain and any excuse to celebrate.

Subject = none in particular

*This is one of those posts about nothing in particular*
I need to think of titles for those.

World cup fever has gripped the nation again. The most annoying thing about this is not that Ireland aren’t in it, but those bloody vuvuzelas. They sound like a constant swarm of bees and are driving me crazy. I don’t like football, so when I try to listen to a match they are the only thing I can hear. Please please make them stop!
My family did a draw to pick teams tonight. There were 8 of us and we picked 4 teams each. We only put in a fiver each because Jack is only eleven and didn’t want to put in any more money. I drew France, Greece, Chile and the USA. Not sure how lucky I’ll be but at least I’ll have a bit more interest in following the matches now.

My brother came home from Afghanistan last night and his future mother in law (who I’ve never met) is coming tomorrow to stay with us. More about why they are here soon. Last week was a horrible week so its nice to have visitors to cheer us up. We have lots to keep us busy and a good weekend to look forward to. I’m off work until next week, so trying to find time to plan radio stuff and walk the dogs every day too.

Please take a few minutes to read Darragh’s excellent post about

Torie has moved her blog to blogger, and you can find it and follow her at:

Finally, I bought ‘Dog Training Mastery, An Owner’s Manual’ last week. I have enquired about dog behaviour and training courses or something I could study in that area, and haven’t heard much feedback, so thought this might be something to read through in the meantime. Its an online publication, so no books or audio cds involved. It might put me off the subject completely, but I won’t know until I start reading.

Always paying attention

O.J often looks like he’s fast asleep, sometimes snoaring quietly, or lying on his back with his four paws in the air (he has no shame!)
Don’t be fooled though, this dog doesn’t miss much!

In the office he can associate different sounds with what’s going to happen next. When I put the phone on the answering machine it beeps twice. O.J immediately jumps up, because he knows we are going for lunch or moving from the desk. When I don’t need to bring him I’ll tell him to lie down again and he usually sighs loudly at me in disgust.
If I’m wearing headphones to edit some audio, he’ll lift his head when I take them off, wondering what I’m going to do next.
When Windows makes the sound to indecate that the computer is shutting down, O.J jumps up and gets all excited. That means I’m finished with the computer so O.J will try and get my attention before something else does.

Apart from the sound of his bowl, or me opening the container where I keep the dog food, O.J’s favourite sound is the bell on his play collar. I put it on when we’re going to the beach so that I know where he is and what he’s up too all the time (if the bells quiet that means he’s sniffing or eating something he shouldn’t be!) When he hears it he goes absolutely insane!

Maybe I should try and educate him about good music next. I’ve heard of dogs who whine when they hear tv theme tunes etc, so I’m sure its possible.

O.J, wag your tail when you hear Bruce, Christy or the frames. Stay snoaring when you hear westlife. Good boy!


I had to post something short today, because its June 3rd 2010, the day my third nephew was born.
He was born this morning just after eleven, and thankfully himself and his mum are doing great. I got to meet him when he was just over three hours old. He’s the youngest baby I’ve ever seen, but not the smallest as he was quite a big boy! He’s gorgeous!
Hopefully he’ll have a name soon 🙂 at the minute his mum, dad and two brothers can’t agree on one.

The dogs were neglected for most of the day because we were at the hospital, and O.J threw up while we were gone. Jealousy doesn’t get you anywhere mister! You should know that by now! I took them to the beach to make up for it.
Everybody is happy now.

I took my oldest nephew for lunch yesterday, and bought the three-year-old (who was the baby until today) two of
Benji Bennett’s
books, which are worth buying if you’ve got children. The inspiration behind them is beautiful, as is the message that you should always make extra time for your children and tell them that you love them.

Is it June already?

Where did the first half of the year go!

I went to Galway on Saturday morning for the Craol Feile, an annual training event for people involved in community radio. It was my first time attending, and only four people from each station could go. Flirt FM in Galway hosted the event this year, and they organised it very well. The training sessions were useful and I learned some good tips, especially for documentary making.
Everyone was very friendly, and a few people in particular were great at guiding me around if I needed help. I met the manager of a station who have a blind volunteer starting work with them soon. I was able to tell him how I worked in the station, and passed on my contact details to him, and he rang me last night.
We stayed in
hotel, which is a short drive from the university where the training took place. The staff were lovely and helpful and the food was great.
The hotel staff, radio trainees and general members of the public who were staying in the hotel loved O.J, and he managed to get himself into many photographs. He was a good example of an almost perfect guide dog all weekend, quiet and relaxed during a busy couple of days of travelling, moving from room to room, being around lots of food and people, and having no idea where he was going most of the time.

Yesterday was my second week of disability awareness training with primary school children as part of my work. It went very well, and the children put a lot of effort into the homework I gave them the week before. They were very attentive, and asked lots of questions about everything, not just guide dogs. This is great because the aim of the training is to discuss a variety of disabilities, not just blindness, so its good to have O.J there but not always being the centre of attention.

Our Spanish student Javier is going back to Spain on Thursday morning. He’s been with us since September and I’m going to miss having him around. He’s like a little brother and we have had great fun during the last nine months. He celebrated his fourteenth birthday with us yesterday, and was happy with the greenday CD/DVD I gave him as a present. He enjoyed the radio station so much when I took him in February, that I promised him We’d do another show. We’re going to do that with his friend Joaquin tomorrow. Two crazy teenagers in a studio, wish me luck!

Thursday is also going to be a very exciting day for my family, but more about that another time 🙂