paws in the snow

Woof, I’m back! This side a lot is happening. But first, let me wish my human friend, Ness, a pawsome birthday. Apparently it’s an impawtant one. And it’s today. I like Ness. She gives good fusses. This was us on Sunday.

Me guide dog Fletcher. Well it's not necessarily my best angle. I'm lying down on a tiled floor out of harness. My head is being cradled between the knees of my human friend Ness. It looks like I have double chins. Ness has brown hair in a bun and is wearing jeans and a grey jumper. @pawsatthekerb

Now, let’s woof about snow. I know I’m “paws at the kerb”. But how’s a guide dog like me meant to find the kerb when it’s covered in all that white stuff you call snow?! Can you see the kerb in the photo? I can’t. All I can see are my paws in the snow. And this wasn’t even the deep stuff.

Me guide dog Fletcher. You can't see much of me. Just my front legs and tops of my paws. My paws are in deep snow. The photo has a blue tinge to it. It was cold outside. @pawsatthekerb

In case you’re wondering, I only went out when absolutely necessary. It’s difficult to guide my human, the pawtastic Fiona, in the snow because everything looks the same. And I had to protect her from the “Beast from the East” and the “Mini beast from the East” (they didn’t say anything about beasts in my training manual. Oh, and for my friends who don’t live in the UK, these “beasts” are names for our recent snowy weather). Here I am on snow patrol. It was very cold.

Me guide dog Fletcher from above. I'm in my guide dog harness and have a red lead. All around me is snow. You can just make out some paw prints of mine. @pawsatthekerb

I reckon snow makes for good paw prints.

Paw prints from me guide dog Fletcher in the snow. You've got my human's paw prints too. @pawsatthekerb

Woofing paw prints, I got very creative in the park. I set about creating circles of paw prints in the snow. I’m quite the artist.

Me guide dog Fletcher having some down time in the park. All around me is snow. You're looking at me side on. My tail is up and I'm making a circle of paw prints in the snow. My golden fur contrasts well against the snow. @pawsatthekerb

I was quite proud of myself when I finished.

Me guide dog Fletcher sat down out of harness in the park. I'm sitting on snow and it's all around me. In the background is a circle of paw prints by me. I'm looking very pleased with myself. @pawsatthekerb

Sitting in snow gave me a cold bottom though. Eating the snow was fun. So was running about in it. Yes, I do like snow.

Me guide dog Fletcher smiling directly at you. You're zoomed in on my head and there's snow in the background. My pink nose matches my pink tongue. @pawsatthekerb

By the way, I don’t like ice. Nasty stuff. All slippery. So I was very glad when all that disappeared. Back to regular guiding. Well I woof that, but nothing about guiding Fiona is predictable. I mean I took her round this shopping centre which we’ve never been in before. I was superb (even if I woof so). But look what I had to guide her round. It’s a “Gromit” (as in “Wallace and Gromit”).

Me guide dog Fletcher in harness sat in a shopping centre. Behind me is Gromit from Wallace and Gromit. He's three times taller than me. He looks weird and is in yellow. I've got golden fur. @pawsatthekerb

I’ve not come across a dog like Gromit before. Gromit was dressed in a weird looking yellow outfit. This is “Gromit Unleashed” apparently. What do you think? Reckon I do yellow better than Gromit.

Wishing all my readers a very Happy Easter!

Woof and paws, Guide dog Fletcher.

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(c) pawsatthekerb™, March 2018.

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happy 2017 and when I met my mum (reposted)

Woof! I, that’s me guide dog Fletcher, made a slight boo boo. Somehow I managed to delete this post from my blog. It’s an old one. From January 2017. I don’t know how to put it back apart from re-posting it. Brings back memories…

Woof and Happy New Year from me, guide dog Fletcher!

I was up really late and saw in 2017. It was wooftastic. A pawsome photo of me was taken by my human friend, Ness (Ness is nice as she gives me fusses).

Me guide dog Fletcher sat facing you and looking attentive. My fur is golden. And at the top of the photo is written 2017. There's an overlay of multi coloured streamers and hellow confetti. @pawsatthekerb

I was so excited at Christmas to get two new cuddly toys – Barney Bear who is very big and Ragga Reindeer. Oh yes, the photo captures my wide-eyed look. How were your holidays?!

Me guide dog Fletcher head and shoulders. My head's turned towards you and you can see the whites of my eyes. In my mouth is a big brown bear and there's a reindeer toy with a red nose and ears in the background. @pawsattherkerb

Before I tell you about my mum, let me give you a pupdate on how I’m doing. I’m getting better after my surgery and building up my stamina. Still a way to go until I’m 100% fit. I guess the lead up to my surgery took its toll.

You can still see where I was shaved on my back. If you look closely (for those of you who can), you might spot my scar.

Me guide dog Fletcher well my back anyway and a bit of tail. You can just make out that my fur changes colour slightly at my bottom and there's a faint dark line (my scar) in the middle of my back and in the photo's center. @pawsatthekerb

Now my fur might look good to you. But trust me, there’s one fur layer missing on my back. It’s my guard hair. So I’ve reduced coverage for all that wet rain and I’m a bit sensitive to being touched on my back at the moment. My back’s itchy too. Very distracting.

My New Year’s resolution is to get my mojo back and to be a guide dog super star again. My future as a guide dog is still uncertain but there’s hope. I finally got some trainer help on 23 December to get back into the flow of guiding. Puppy paw steps and all that.

Ah that reminds me. I met a very impawtant dog on 30 July 2016 and didn’t get the chance to blog about it (because of all the crap stuff that kicked in after). I met my mum, Jazz, who is a beautiful black Labrador. And yes, there are a few black hairs amongst my golden ones. I also met her woofderful humans, Ginny and Andy.

I got to show off my guide dog uniform too. Here’s my mum and I. Proud moment. This is one of my favourite photos.

Me guide dog Fletcher lying down in my guide dog harness with my mum to the left of the photo. my mum is sitting and she's a black labrador. we're both looking slightly to the right. I'm smiling. Proud moment. @pawsatthekerb

Mum and I had a lot of fun. Running around and playing with each other. More so than we’ve done with any other dog. Quite a lot of mouthing too.

Me guide dog Fletcher playing with my mum. We're mouthing each other. We were gentle. My mum is a black lab and she's on the left. I'm on the right and golden in colour. It looks as if we have our lower jaws in each other's mouths. @pawsatthekerb

It’s been a very long time since we last saw each other. Over 2.5 years. The humans thought we might not know each other. But of course I’d know my mum anywhere. She’s very good at playing tug!

Me guide dog Fletcher an amongst three year old golden retriever labrador cross playing tug with my mum a black labrador. I'm on the left with my mum on the right witha duck cuddly toy being torn apart between us. @pawsatthekerb

I was a bit naughty though. I didn’t let go off the duck toy during tug. Nor did mum. So the duck toy got pulled apart. Woofy woopsie. Hope I didn’t wear out my mum. She’s now retired.

Whilst I’ve already told you a lot about me (see my “about me” and “list of posts” blog pages), I found out a lot from my mum and her humans. (By the way, her humans are also known as retired Brood Bitch Holders (BBH). My human, the fabulous Fiona, is called a guide dog owner (GDO). Why humans make life complicated with all their funny letters, I don’t know).

I found out things like my early weight. At the Guide Dog National Breeding Centre, where I was born in October 2013, I was the lightest in my litter at 0.43kg alongside two of my siblings. When I left my mum to go and live with my puppy walker, I was 2.78kg and the lightest in my litter (oh, in case you’re wondering I am now around 31-32kg). Here’s my puppy weight sheet and I’ve blanked off my siblings’ weights (data protection and all that):

Puppy weight sheet for me guide dog Fletcher and my litter. My siblings' details have been blanked off. In the table are my weights starting at my birth weight of 0.43kg, then at 3 days, 1 week and weekly intervals to 6 weeks. @pawsatthekerb

And yes, I was adorable when I was a puppy. Cue cute photos of me with my 6 brothers and 1 sister: Stanley (the eldest), Ursula, Usher, Umber, Ulan, Urwin and Uska. Can you spot me? I have a bit of nail polish on my right fore leg; carefully placed bits of nail polish are used to identify us from each other.

Me guide dog Fletcher as a puppy snoozing. No change there then. In amongst my litter siblings. We're all snuggled up against each other and it's quite difficult to tell us apart. @pawsatthekerb

And here we all are with our mum, Jazz. Feeding time. Yay, my favourite time of day.

Me guide dog Fletcher as a puppy with my brothers, sister and mum. All bar one of us are tucking into mum's milk. We're golden in colour. Mum is a black lab. @pawsatthekerb

Ok. Just one more photo of all of us.

Me guide dog Fletcher when I was a puppy. All eight of my golden siblings are lined up facing the camera leaning on the side of a box with a cuddly toy in the background. @pawsatthekerb

A big thank you to my mum’s humans and to all of you who volunteer with Guide Dogs especially those of you who look after us when we’re puppies.

Now I’m a very lucky guide dog. My human has tracked down many of my pawsome guide dog family (I didn’t come with that info). They are my sponsors Alan Fletcher and Swindon Guide Dogs Fundraisers (who I’ve met briefly and I’ll blog about later), my mum Jazz, my Golden Retriever dad Archie, my puppy walker Di, my boarder Cressi and my guide dog brother Umber (Umber and I had fun campaigning for Access All Areas). Who knows who’ll I’ll meet in 2017…

Woof and paw, Guide dog Fletcher.

P.S. As always, your pawsome comments are most welcome. May 2017 bring you much joy. And success in achieving your New Year’s resolutions. Paws crossed I achieve mine. Wish me luck…

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(c) pawsatthekerb™, January 2017. Reposted December 2017.

My Agatha Christie Adventure

Woof from me guide dog Fletcher! I’ve been on an adventure. And I’m very pleased with myself. It’s an adventure in which I solved “The Case of the Missing Treat”.

It all started in the lush green countryside of Devon. A place with the most pawsome smells. In somewhere called ‘Greenway’. This being the holiday home of the mystery writer, Agatha Christie. Apparently, it was also where they filmed “Dead Man’s Folly” with this human, Hercule Poirot.

Me guide dog Fletcher in front of a tall thin poster of Hercule Poirot also known as David Suchet. The poster title is Agatha Christie Dead Man's Folly behind the scenes. Hercule is wearing a bowler hat, bow tie and moustache. I'm in my golden fur and harness. @pawsatthekerb

Anyway, forget him. I had to track down my missing treat.

Let’s have a nose in this room.

Me guide dog Fletcher. Well a close up of my head and pawsome pink nose. Behind me is a lit bookcase behind glass. You can't make out the books.@pawsatthekerb

No treats in here. Just lots and lots of books by this Agatha Christie. Hmm. Pawtastic collection.

Lots of books written by Agatha Christie on two rows of a book case. The covers are different covers. On the bottom row the book fronts are facing you. And there's a script with Dead Man's Folly for ITV in the centre. @pawsatthekerb

Wait. I smell something fantastic. Ah, but alas. My hopes were dashed.

Me guide dog Fletcher with a not happy disappointed face. My face is slightly ruppled up and my eyebrows are raised. Behind me is a wooden bench with a hole in it. Under the hole is a white bowl. It's an old fashioned toilet. @pawsatthekerb

All this room had was an old-fashioned toilet.

Time to venture outside. Now I wonder if my treats were hiding with the “Dead Man”. Nope. Not even a crumb of a treat.

Me guide dog Fletcher lying down. My legs to the left. My head twisted round to the right. I'm staring intently at floor boards. Looking for my treat. There wasn't even a crumb. @pawsatthekerb

Most puzzling. My little grey cells were working overtime. Yes. I now knew where the treat was. I turned to my human – the fabulous Fiona. She had it all along. She had tucked it away in something which stopped the smells leaking out. No wonder I had a hard time tracking it down.

Me guide dog Fletcher with my human in front of the back of the white building which is Greenway. My human is standing on the lawn giving me a treat. I'm seated of course. Best position for treats. The house has deck chairs outside. I would try to describe the house but it's a house. A big one. @pawsathekerb

Later, I shared my adventure with fellow guide dog Pete. He was very impressed and showed me round his town including the best smelly places (which of course I had to try on).

Me guide dog Fletcher alongside fellow guide dog Pete. You can see the backs of our heads. We're in guiding mode. I've golden fur. Pete has black. We're walking on the pavement alongside the seafront. @pawsatthekerb

Another pic of me guide dog Fletcher with fellow guide dog Pete. This time you can't tell we're guide dogs. We're out of harness. Just exiting a river onto green grass. I'm behind Pete and have golden fur. Pete has black curly fur. @pawsatthekerb

Also I got to meet his brofur, Texan, a retired guide dog and Pete’s predecessor.

Retired guide dog Texan. Me guide dog Fletcher am not in this one. Texan is standing knee deep in a river. The river had lovely water and lush green banks. Texan is looking slighly to the right and has his tail horizontal. @pawsatthekerb

All of these solving crime mysteries (missing treats are certainly a crime!) were quite tiring. Where better to have a snooze then at the cinema. “What was the film?”, you ask. Why “Murder on the Orient Express” of course…

Me guide dog Fletcher. Well not the best pic of me. Flash was used. Not to the best colour of my golden fur. I'm lying down back to you. Head facing away from you. I'm tucked a bit under a red cinema seat and lying on a white vet bed. You wouldn't know I was here. I'm at the cinema just before the film starts. @pawsatthekerb

Woof and paw. Guide dog Fletcher.

P.S. Hope all of you are woofderful?! Be pawsome if you would let me know what you thought of my adventure and case solving skills. Drop me a comment.

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(c) pawsatthekerb™, November 2017.