Last Thursday I travelled to Cheshire with O.J and my cousin Paul to visit my cousin and her fiancae. It was O.J’s third flight, and he must be the only living thing that has no hatred at all for Ryanair. In fairness why would he? He doesn’t get charged extra, in fact he doesn’t have to pay at all and still gets two seats so he has space to lie on the floor. The flight went well and landed ten minutes early, with a bang that made O.J sit up quickly and look out the window.
We spent a while in my cousin’s school while she got ready to leave and go home. We both visited it
eighteen months ago
and the staff seemed happy to have us back. I tried to avoid children and hid in the staffroom with O.J, but a few spotted him and got very excited. We did some food shopping and got him some dog food before going to their house. The spare bag of dog food from last time which hadn’t been opened yet was only three weeks out of date. They didn’t have lab/retriever royal canin and the nearest pet shop was far away, so I bought him the all breeds royal canin. Its very similar to his own, so even though he hasn’t eaten anything different since he left Cork, I figured it wouldn’t do him much harm. He had no problems at all.
We had dinner in a pub and spent the night relaxing. Friday was going to be a busy day!
Sarah, Rob, O.J and I were in Barnton primary school at half eight the next morning. I spent most of the day with Sarah’s year three class, thirty-five seven and eight-year-olds who were obsessed with dogs! We listened to reading, went to music class (where they were learning Christmas songs for a musical), watched a drama workshop and taught the kids how to do sighted guide outside. Children made us cards and drew pictures. They petted O.J multiple times, often lying to the teacher saying that they hadn’t had a chance to pet him yet. O.J behaved like a star as usual. He can be a brat at home sometimes, is usually as good as gold in other people’s houses and in public, but when he is among a group of children he is always incredible. He was particularly amazing with two boys with a variety of disabilities and special needs. They would usually not get so attached to anything but were very comfortable with myself and O.J by the end of the day. Even though they had difficulty with speech or concentration, they asked many questions and remembered not to touch a working guide dog.
We all took the train to Chester to shop on Saturday. O.J was surprisingly very relaxed in the shops, except he kept poking his head out of the changing rooms when I was trying on clothes! Lots of people commented on how lovely he is, and one staff member in Lush had the sense not to pet him but said, ‘oh I just want to cuddle him!!’
He worked well through the busy street, either following my cousin or walking calmly while I took her arm. He was very excited by the new surroundings but didn’t pull much. We had a quick drink before getting the train back. We relaxed for a while while O.J ran around like a maniac with a rubber turkey my cousin found. He wasn’t impressed with the squeak, but when it was taken out it was his new favourite thing in the house.
We got a taxi to an Indian restaurant for dinner. The driver loved dogs and O.J loved his car and didn’t want to get out. I’m not sure if it was a cultural thing or they just didn’t like dogs, but a couple of staff members tried as much as possible not to walk near O.J. They were polite though and the food was lovely. We watched ‘stand by me’ (my favourite film) when we got home, and O.J was obviously exhausted as he slept the whole way through it and barked in his sleep.
Our plane left Liverpool this afternoon and everything went well. The assistance were very helpful, just as they had been on the way there. I asked for them because my cousin who is eighteen might have been a bit shy about guiding me around in a busy place like an airport. He did great when I needed help though, and I think we all saw a different side to him this weekend.
O.J has done nothing but sleep since we got home. I had to get a friend to read twenty-five kid’s essays and help me pick a winner. Right now I have a sore throat and am getting a headcold. Our useless government have just announced we’re getting a bailout from the EU. I want to go back to Cheshire, where I relaxed and thought about nothing important all weekend. The saying ‘its a dog’s life’ couldn’t be more true!