O J and I usually have our aftercare visits from a guide dog instructor during the summer, so I was a bit surprised to get a phone call last week from an instructor who would be in the area, and was wondering if he could see us on Sunday morning. That was this morning, and thankfully it all went well.


I didn’t get to walk O J much last week because I was working, so made sure he got a long walk yesterday to make him more relaxed for today. My five-year-old nephew stayed over last night, so the instructor arrived to a busy house and a table full of lego. I had to wait for my sister to collect him, so we had a bit of a chat about O J’s work in general and life in general. During this time O J was getting to know the new visitor, so when we began walking, he refused to go far without making sure he was behind us. When I got him past the first road crossing to town, he concentrated better and his work improved. We walked to the beginning of town, where I stopped to suggest either continuing that direction or walking around the park and doing a full circle back to my house, but the trainer said he was more than happy with what he’d seen and we could go home! O J made an enthusiastic pull towards the coffee shop on the way home, sure that this is where we’d be going since I walked past it without going in earlier. I don’t know what that says about me 🙂

We made O J rework an area with overhanging bushes, to prevent him from walking me into them. When he has to rework something, he does it great second time around. Its something I need to do more, instead of usually letting him away with it since I’m often in a hurry when he does it.


The instructor was happy with O J’s overall weight, appearance and willingness to work. He said he looked happy, responds to be well, and is very definite when he wants to go somewhere or find something. He certainly has his own way of working and doing things, but as long as it works for both of us and we’re both safe, then he can’t fault it.

He also brought up the topic of retirement, and was glad to hear that it was something I’ve thought about already. He said, that from what he’s seen from O J’s work, I don’t need to worry about it every day, but to be aware that its something to think about. Realistically we’re talking to to three years of work left, and I’d want to be back on the waiting list again before he retires.


Aftercare is always interesting for me, because since I’ve trained with O J, I’ve always worked with a different instructor. Its interesting to see their different approaches to dogs and their work. I know I could have had some interesting discussions with this instructor if we’d had more time. I liked his relaxed attitude, and the fact that whatevers working for us at the minute is good enough for him.


I’m just back from a walk with the dogs and my aunt, and I wanted to let O J run on the beach just to relax. I never work on Mondays anymore but have to work tomorrow, so he will have to wait until the weekend to get all sandy and dirty.

Belated happy new year

Things are starting to get back to some kind of normality around here, which means I’m spending more time online again. Christmas seems like a year ago at this stage. I had a lovely relaxing one with family and friends. It involved eating lots of yummy food, spending time with my brother who I don’t see too often, and getting presents! I got lots of lovely things, including clothes, a few CDs, a very cool mixing bowl, which my nephew used to make pancakes and cookies when he came for a sleepover. Two presents that were quite cool were the Braille watch and Green Angel cosmetics Nicky got me (have wanted them for ages), and the “movie box” my cousin Leah made for us. It was basically a shoebox decorated, and inside she put popcorn, spices and pizza toppings (not sure how they work yet), hot chocolate, the Commitments DVD (think this is my 3rd copy now!) and two chews for Orrin and O J. She also made me a body scrub, since all her presents this year were hand-made. I was very impressed!


I usually hate new year’s eve because everywhere is so busy, and unless you have a house party, going out can be a bit crazy. Darragh sorted out that problem by getting married to Emma on New Year’s eve, and it was a brilliant day. They are genuinely one of the nicest couples I know, and were totally relaxed on the day. Nicky was best man at the wedding, and I didn’t know many people, but everyone was so friendly, and I knew most of them by the end of the night. They finished the night with a session in the residence bar. It was great fun!


I never make new year’s resolutions, so don’t see the point in doing it this year. I have some things I want to do though.

Its going to be a busy year, with four weddings and two hen weekends in the U.K,, so I’ll be spending more weekends staying in, especially if I have no job. I need to concentrate more on work for my disability studies course, and do more background reading. I also want to read more dog behaviour books. If anyone knows where I can get good reading material in audio, on either topic, please let me know.

I’m looking forward to cooking more and learning how to make new meals. Another thing I want to learn more about is how to make cosmetics like lip balm and body scrubs. Not sure where I can do that or how easy it is when your blind, with all the exact measurements involved. I’ve contacted one person who said that some of these things would be possible, but she’s on maternity leave until the end of next year. I’ll keep trying!


I hope everyone has a great 2013. If this blog makes it through another year, I hope I can have interesting discussions with anyone who reads it. For me, that’s what writings all about.