The last few weeks have been amazing; I keep catching myself thinking wow, I wouldn’t have been able or confident enough to do this a year ago. it feels like my partnership with Fable has had a growth spurt.
You may remember in my last post I was feeling like Fable and I needed some more time to do new things to challenge ourselves, well I am very fortunate to have a flexible employer and I have been able to trial a new working pattern so that I can have a day off every other week. This means longer days at work but Fable seems to be able to cope with this and we get a day each fortnight to do something different which I think will really help us improve and reach our full potential.
Since my last post the clocks have gone back and so our walk to and from work is in the dark. It surprised me just how much difference this made to my confidence with Fable; it almost felt that we had regressed a bit but it didn’t take long before we were flying again. Walking in the dark reminded me why I first contacted Guide Dogs last winter; I find it really stressful, especially when the ground is wet and reflecting all the headlights in busy traffic. It dawned on my one day that until now walking anywhere in the dark was another one of those things I use to avoid completely. The dark evenings have also meant that I have had to re-consider my routes a bit for personal safety reasons. Until recently I had been using a quieter route so that the roads were less busy but this didn’t feel very safe in the dark so we have found another route which is busier but feels safer and is more challenging, exactly what I think we needed. Trying out even small variations on routes is again something I would never have had the confidence to do. I really do believe that the long cane training provided by Guide Dogs prior to becoming a Guide Dog Owner has been a huge component of how successful Team Mable have been.
One of the many things I find amazing about Fable is her ability to remember and indicate locations that we have visited previously. For example a few weeks ago I needed to find a different route to work due to works being carried out on the footpath. We had done the route in reverse only once before on the way to the dentist so Fable had never approached the demist from this direction and I didn’t really know where exactly it was located on the stretch of road. Nevertheless the Fabulous Fables slowed and stopped to indicate the dentist. It was one of those moments where I was sure I had the best Guide Dog in the world!
We have also had some really enjoyable free runs (phew, at last), including one with another Guide Dog and her owner. We also had some sighted friends with us and the dogs and humans had a great time. I am beginning to feel more confident on free runs and Fable seems to be so much better when we find other dogs for her to play with. I really am enjoying this aspect of being a Guide Dog Owner now, being outside and active is fantastic, even in the rain!
Fable’s work continues to go from strength to strength; the thrives on a challenge but new things really do tire her out. This week I have been on annual leave and I wanted to do some of things that Fable and I don’t have time to practice on a weekly basic due to work and daily life. So this week we have been on trains and buses, to shops, out for lunch and coffee and even had a day out with other Guide Dogs and their owners. We walked into town to meet my mum, another first for me and she did brilliantly finding crossing she hadn’t come across before and she stopped me falling down some steps that were not marked so I hadn’t seen them in the bright sun. I really noticed that when we were shopping I was able to let Fable guide me through crowds and around obstacles while I looked to see which shops I wanted to go in; this is something I use to find really difficult. We have had a great week and I’ve done so much more without relying on friends and family than I would have previously done – its great feeling independent 🙂
Today we have been to gym being filmed as I have been nominated as November’s Gym Hero. Our local Guide Dogs Engagement Officer and my Mobility Instructor came along to support me and to make sure I didn’t say anything I shouldn’t 🙂 It went really well and Fable was so well behaved, she laid and waited at my feet during the filming. She is now fast asleep; I think she deserves a quiet day after our busy week.
Since my last post Fable has had her 2nd birthday and I wrote this to wish her a happy birthday;
Happy second birthday my beautiful, clever Fable. Exactly 4 month ago you bounded into my life and what a journey it’s been so far. I never thought I would love you this much; you’re great company and your work has exceeded my expectations. Even in this short time we have done things I have never done before without relying on another person. In those 4 months you have taught me so much;
– you have taught me how to trust you
– you have shown me people are mostly lovely and want to help – You have taught me to accept my disability and to be proud of it
– you have helped me realise it’s ok to ask for and accept help
– you have proved that life really can be better .
Thank you Fabes; I can’t imagine life without you.