So here we are again! I had the best of intentions writing a post at the end of each day, but by the time I got around to thinking about it, all I wanted to do was to go to sleep. So I will try and summarise.
So my day starts out by getting up at 5.30am. Graham will attest to this. On more than one occasion I have reached over as I woke up and said something like “good morning, Qesta, oo I mean Varek”. Graham said he has called Kara every dog’s name he’s had. 99 percent of the time you get it right, it’s not a problem, it’s just funny!!
Get out of bed and if needed relieve myself. Wack on some vaguely appropriate clothing and footware. Then grab the leash, toileting harness, new poo bag and door key–O yeah, and the dog! Go outside to the relieving area. It’s still March, so not so cold, but goodness it’s beautiful weather at that time of the morning. Tempting Varek to relieve on concrete, so when I know he needs to go, we go into concrete yard. It’s a bit annoying to get into because there are two gates which both need to be closed. I know Varek is busting so let him do a wee first up. Basically you walk around with the dog, saying “quick quicks”. Once he’s done a wee, get him to stop while I get toileting harness on him and make sure bag is properly in place over his bum and encouraging him to go into bag. Then prasing him once he’s done it. Then tying up the bag and chucking it in the bin.
Then go back inside. Have quick shower, make sure things are in place for the day. Then go down to breakfast. By this time it’s about 6.30am. In the middle of breakfast, day staff, Jenny, arrives and night staff, Kerry, leaves. Then feed Varek, brush teeth, put on shoes, do obedience in corridor with Varek and relieve him again, hopefully he does a second poo. All ready for when Pete wants to get going at 8am.
This week we have been doing more and more around my place in Lygon Street and working on specific locations. So two or three mornings were spent showing Varek how to get from home to Woolworths at Lygon Court and then we had coffee at Trotters. On Thursday we showed Varek Flinders Street Station. Then on Friday we finished the week with a good 4.3 kilometre walk around Bourke Road in North Balwyn. This was a really good way to finish the week. At the end of this walk, Pete said this was 9.9 out of 10!!
Also on Friday morning the vet, Anne, came and checked out all the dogs and we had a discussion about dog health. A few other clients came in as well. Varek was so good during the week, but it is amazing how enthusiastic he gets when there are new dogs around. Varek’s brother, Vincent, is also in this class. Varek and Vincent are both black. Yesterday, their sister, Velia, came in. Velia is completely white and is nicknamed Snowdrop!
It’s very tricky this guide dog business. Anyone who says that it’s a piece of cake doesn’t know what they are talking about. This week I have been working on my body position, harness tension and probably most important, my understanding of trusting the dog when he is positioning himself to avoid obstacles, lining up for road crossings, getting to the other side of the road etc. As a cane user I know how important lining up and body position is!! I realised on Thursday that this is just as important in guide dog work. They are just dogs aftewrall, responsibility is on both sides on the part of the handler and the dog. I feel like I have progressed a long way since the start, but still there is a long way to go.
Let’s see what happens next week!! Thanks for reading! If you are finding this interesting, please pass the link of my blog onto others!!!