I struggle long and hard to come up with pop culture references for this blog. Admittedly, sometimes it’s a stretch.
Today, Jane, a trainer from Canadian Guide Dogs For the Blind in Manotick, Ontario came for our yearly aftercare visit. These visits ensure that guide dog and handler are still working efficiently and that nothing is amiss with the dog’s care or health. I am one of several clients from CGDB that Jane visited this week. My concern, as expressed in a past blog, is that I might be getting a little sloppy with the ‘rules’ regarding guide dog handling. I CHOOSE to allow Opal on the bed and sofa. I give her a ‘cookie’ when she gets home…. however, when it comes to the meat and potatoes of my relationship and handling of Opal? Tickety-boo! The girl saves my life every other day. She also adds a dimension to my life that I never thought possible. To put it simply, my life is more enjoyable because Opal is in it. I still value Jane’s expertise, so I was a little concerned about the impending visit. Jane knows dogs. She loves, lives, and breathes guide dog training. I refer to it as, ‘Jane’s Addiction’ , like the band of the same name. (see how I finally got to the pop-culture reference?! Jane’s Addiction, by the way, is an alternative American rock band that plays hard rock, punk etc. They’ve had a spotty past, but are reuniting this year for the third time in their ‘musical’ history)
Opal adores Jane. She did a BIG happy dance when Jane arrived. My concerns began to ease when Jane commented on how well Opal looks; healthy and cared for. We chatted for a while about my experiences with Opal over the last year. Then, we went for a walk over to the post office in the mall. Opal constantly spun her head back to look at Jane (trailing and observing us). Other than that, we were fine. There is apparently nothing wrong with this Guide dog team! My girl even went off-curb to take me round an obstacle I could not see. We returned home victorious (and sweaty). Jane showed me a better way to clean Opal’s ears. She checked Opal’s equipment and put a new reflective sleeve over part of Opal’s harness ( goes over the chest strap). We shared t-Touch tips (see Tellington Touch link on blogroll) and then, sadly it was time to say our goodbyes. Opal? She stared at the door for a minute after she left and seemed OK when I said, “Jane had to go home and train some more guide dogs”.
Posted in animals, Canada, Dog health, dogs, Guide Dog Schools, Guide dogs, Halifax, humour, Nova Scotia, Opal, personal, T Touch, Uncategorized
Tagged CGDB, Dog health, dog obedience, dog training, dogs, Guide Dog Schools, Guide dogs, Opal, personal, T Touch
The first evening of my training period at Canadian Guide Dog’s for the Blind had an interesting and calming end. Training with a new Guide dog is stressful for both the handlers and their new dogs. The handlers finds themselves in a new environment. They are with strangers, and have just met their new guide dogs. Some have travelled from a distance and left behind home and familiarity. Some have just retired their last guide dog. The new guide dogs have been living at the Centre with the same kennel mates for several months. They have been going out with a familiar trainer every day. Now, everyone is tossed together, trying to figure one another out. I was the newbie, (having never had a guide dog). I was filled with anxious anticipation. My brain was spinning with information that I feared might forget; the layout of the Centre, the house rules, the names of my classmates and the Centre’s staff, the details of the Agreement with the school I had just signed, the first instructions on the do’s and don’ts of guide dog handling and more. The ‘handover’ of dogs had taken place that afternoon. I could not believe that the high-energy black lab on the end of the leash (Opal), was now a part of my life. It was all very new and daunting. We gathered in the lounge and our instructor told us about T- Touch. I had never heard of Linda Tellington-Jones or her method of ‘massage’ for animals. It was literally, a hands-on session. We sat on the floor and followed Jane’s (a certified T-touch practitioner) instructions. A half-hour later, four dogs were stress-free and asleep. So were the handlers. I have put the link to TTouch.com on the blogroll. I urge you to investigate. When Opal is stressed, ill, fearful, or in pain, I do some t-touches on her. I do them on myself too for everything from headaches to arthritic pain relief. T-Touch is useful for behavioural problems too. There are books and videos on the subject, by Linda Tellington-Jones. They can be found in your public library or bookstore.
Posted in Advice, animals, blindness, Canada, dogs, Guide Dog Schools, Guide dogs, Opal, personal, seeing eye dogs, T Touch, Uncategorized
Tagged dog massage, dogs, Guide Dog Schools, Linda Tellington-Jones, Opal, personal, seeing eye dogs, T Touch