Ten years of independence

This day ten years ago, I met OJ for the first time, and he changed my life for the better.


When I nervously picked up OJ’s harness handle for the first time in Cork in June 2007, I knew something special was about to happen. I hoped after a few minutes of walking with him that the trainer would say we were a good match. I can honestly say I’ve never instantly connected with any dog like I did with him that day.


OJ has been a huge part of my life during the last ten years, giving me independence and confidence that I never had before. He enabled me to go where I want safely when I want, travel, meet new people and make new friends, find new jobs and volunteering opportunities, visit family and friends, babysit my nephews, move house and live my life the way I want to.

At the beginning of our training, his trainer described him as such a genuine dog, and that has always been a good description. He’s gentle, affectionate, giddy, clever and charming. He’s obsessed with food, still walks to the left of everything, wags his tail the minute you speak to him, loves barking, loves poking people with his nose to get attention, enjoys swimming, getting groomed, playing fetch and play biting, loves his bed, and adores curling up as close to the fire as he can get until he nearly goes on fire himself.


OJ is my favourite dog in the world. I wish I could have him forever. His puppywalkers gave him such an amazing start for the first year of his life. I’m so lucky that his trainer persevered with his high body sensitivity and got him through the training at just seventeen months old. Other trainers might not have been so determined. I’m so grateful that she trained him, and even more grateful that she matched him with me.




5 thoughts on “Ten years of independence

  1. Omg this made me cry! Just thought I’d look at your blog as haven’t for a while and quite shocked when I saw this. I really hope you are ok

    • No problem. I still can’t believe it. Even though he didn’t live with me it’s really hard not having him around and not being able to see him whenever I want. How are you getting on with your new dog? I don’t know its name. Do you find a big difference going from your 1st to your second?

      • Hi Jenny I totally understand I miss Uma every day hoping to see her at xmas. My new dog is called Ushka she’s a yellow lab x golden retriever. Uma and Ushka are very different. Uma was. Wet outgoing and wanted my attention all the time Ushka is more chilled and she does like to play but she also likes to sleep a lot. Work wise Ushka us a lot more cautious with me as Uma was like s bull in a china shop! I try not to compare them as you said about OJ Uma was there though the biggest part of my life . Sending you lots of hugs

      • It’s difficult not to compare them, but they will both be good for different reasons. I hope you both have a long working life together and lots of fun 🙂
        Thanks for always reading about OJ and keeping in touch.

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