I went to Dublin on Saturday, where I met Nicky as we were invited to a 30th birthday party in the city. I was in Dublin for exactly 24 hours. It’s amazing what you can get done in that time!
We had lunch in a hotel that the bus stops outside. The staff are always friendly, so it’s a good place to eat. Then we took a taxi to our own hotel, the
Grand Canal Hotel
which isn’t too far from the city. It’s often difficult to get a hotel in or near Dublin city with grass nearby, and they can be so expensive, especially on a weekend. This one was in a great location, with grass and a bin just a minute’s walk away. The things us guide dog owners have to worry about!
The hotel staff were very helpful without being intrusive, and one in particular adored Sibyl! The breakfast wasn’t anything special and not worth the extra money, but apart from that it was perfect, and I’ll definitely be back.
The party was fun, and Sibyl did great. We met up with some friends and met some new people, which is always nice.
In between lunch and dinner before the party, Sibyl’s puppywalkers came to the hotel to see her. She went back to Cork for training in October 2013, they hadn’t seen her since and possibly didn’t think they ever would. I don’t think she particularly recognised them, but I know she’d remember their house if she saw it again. Two of their children couldn’t come but really wanted to see her, so we’ve promised to go and visit them soon. We talked for more than two hours, and it was lovely for me to hear about the places they brought her and how much they enjoyed having her. She was their first dog, but hopefully they will puppywalk another, because they were obviously very good at it.
I’m very lucky to have met both of my dog’s puppywalkers, and that they have taken such interest in their dogs and my life with them. These are the people who do all the hard work before the dog reaches training. These people are the heros of the guide dog world! I think Irish guide dogs could do more to connect puppywalkers and guide dog owners, both during training and when dogs qualify. I sent an email to their CEO this morning to suggest this, as well as an email to the manager of the Grand Canal hotel to tell him or her how helpful their staff are.