A school trip with a difference

On Monday, O.J, my PA and I worked in our final school of this year, delivering disability awareness training. The journey involved driving around the windy roads of Donegal, which we’ve become used to recently, but it also involved taking a 20 minute trip on the ferry.
We went to the only secondary school on Arranmore Island, one of the islands off Donegal, with a population of about 500 people.

I can’t remember if I’ve ever taken O.J on our local Ferry before, but he wasn’t bothered at all getting on. Sometimes metal steps and walkways freak him out. Having a guide dog there didn’t seem to be a novelty for anybody, even though there are none on the island, but over a cup of tea in the staff room before we began, one of the teachers told me all about her son’s assistance dog who was also trained by Irish Guide Dogs. It was very interesting to hear her experience of living on the island, and the sense of community and how it helps her son. She was working in the class that we were teaching, and she was very involved, writing things on the board and asking lots of questions. The students were very quiet, but I got the impression that they were absorbing the information and enjoying the class, which is what I always hope will happen.

We didn’t hang around after the class, and got the ferry straight back. I wanted to walk around the island, but the weather was so wet, there was no point. So really, we could have been in any school, for all that I saw of Arranmore!
O.J had a chance to show off his mature, well behaved personality to a younger pup. A man came on with a boxer puppy, who was very interested in O.J. The man tried to get him to sit down and not be disturbing us, but the pup was too curious. I told him that it was okay, and petted the dog as it stood looking up at O.J, who had his harness on and was very chilled out. Eventually the puppy sat down beside o.J, looking up as if to say, I can be good too! He lay down while I petted him, and then returned to his owner, totally relaxed. We walked off the boat before they did, and the puppy cried when O.J passed, and tried to go after him. The man seemed very good with the dog, and I’d say it won’t be long before he’s sitting quietly and well behaved in public, just like O.J was.

The weather had improved by the time we got to Dungloe, so we had lunch and walked around for a bit. It was nice for O.J to stretch his legs and look around him, since he was in a very curious mood all day. We worked in a school in Dungloe a few weeks ago (the day I had my guide dog reinterview), and when we finished the class, Deborah and I were presented with two engraved pens, from
http://www.donegalpens.com
The boys who own this company were students in our class. The pens are presented in a lovely wooden box, and would be a lovely gift, if anyone’s looking for an idea. Check out their website. They are a nice keepsake, and a lovely reminder of a brilliant group of students, and an enjoyable year of disability awareness training.

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2 thoughts on “A school trip with a difference

  1. Great to hear that OJ is working so well. It’s hard to believe another school year is almost gone – bar the dreaded exams. Love boxers and that pup sounds adorable. Love the words OJ and mature in the same sentence – he’s the father figure now, lol.

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