Wow what an incredible day its been so far, I am feeling really lucky at the moment and if I’m honest a little emotional and overwhelmed (I’m told that’s all part of the process)! My Mum and Dad hosted a coffee morning at their house today for family and friends to raise some money for Guide Dogs, It had be arranged long before I knew I’d been matched with Fable. I spoke to my GDMI about whether I should go with or without Fable and her advice was that it was a bit too soon to introduce her to so many new people and with the temptation of food around. So I decided to listen to this advice, after all everything is going so well I don’t want to run before we can walk and everyone at Guide Dogs really does know what they are talking about.
So I went along to the coffee morning for a couple of hours, leaving Fable with her smoked bone and this time she had access to the kitchen and lounge as my kitchen gets quite hot with the door closed. She was a star; everything was intact and when I got back she was pleased to see me but not overly excited which is a huge achievement for her, and me.
Mum and Dad did a great job organising the morning and lots of their friends helped out. I was planning on being able to help too but now I’ve got Fable I was next to useless in terms of organisation as I couldn’t be there for very long. So I would like to say I massive thank you to everyone who helped my Mum and Dad this morning. Some local Guide Dog Owners, volunteers and puppy walkers came along too with their dogs and lots of people donated cakes, cards, plants and raffle prizes, thee were lots of people there who were very generous. The final total raised was £405 which I think is incredible! Thank you to everyone who contributed in some way. This money will go towards Guide Dogs being able to continue the life-changing work they do. I’ve only known Fable for 3 weeks and already she has shown me how amazing our future together is going to be; I can’t imagine life without her already.
A little example of how our partnership is really starting to work (despite the obstacles other people choose to put in our way), was during our harness walk this morning. Our GDMI had said we could do a slightly larger block, incorporating several road crossings and a main road. When I get the harness out and Fable see’s it she gets so excited; tail wagging and she almost pushes her head into the harness; my girl does love to work hard and play hard (yet another thing we have in common)! Anyway we were happily trotting along and then Fable stops as we approach a big van completely blocking the path. We have been trained to deal with this by our GDMI; its called an off road obstacle as you have to go into the road to pass it. Fable did exactly the right thing; she stopped, I asked her to go forward and she went left towards the road as she obviously couldn’t go forward. I asked her to go to the curb which she did. I then checked that it was safe and asked her forward again. She expertly negotiated the van and headed back to the pavement with me using her lead and harness asking her to keep in away from passing traffic. Then just before we got to the pavement a small dog approached Fable on an extendable lead (these things are fast becoming my nemesis), preventing Fable getting us back to the safety of the path. I was so angry at the owners who did nothing to control their dog, but I kept my cool and politely but firmly said: “This is a guide dog, please could you move your dog so that we can get back on the path”. I praised Fable for her excellent behaviour, I could see she was a bit worried and we carried on. There wasn’t even an apology form the dog owners!! We got ourselves together and continued our journey, so while I was feeling really angry I was also very proud of us both; that is proper team work 🙂
We have just done our second harness walk which was uneventful and then some obedience work in the grounds of my flat. Using her haulti lead we did lots of walking to heel with sudden change of direction and speed, I even tried breaking into a little jog and she was 100% with me all the time. We did some sit and wait and down and wait, we managed a full circle in the down position this time! I love doing this with Fable; its lots of fun and she seems to enjoy it too. I think I might ask my GDMI for a bit more advanced work to do on this as I think it helps our rapport and is lots of fun too.
So today I am feeling very lucky and extremely grateful for so many things: Thank you to Guide Dogs for Fable; thank you to all the Guide Dogs staff, puppy walkers, fundraisers and volunteers, I have met some inspiring and lovely people during my Guide Dog journey so far: Thank you to my friends and family for your support – I couldn’t do this without you; and a special thank you to my Mum for organising such a successful fundraising event (I think the generally feeling is that it needs to be an annual event; is that ok Mum)?? 🙂