Woof woof! I’m a guide dog. Fletcher’s my name. Paws to meet you.
To mark the first day of #guidedogsweek 2015, I’m barking out my first blog post and asking: who am I?
Well, I’m a Labrador / Golden Retriever cross-breed who’s almost two (update: going on two and a half in June 2016). I can be bold and confident when called upon to whoosh past other humans on the go. Yet I’m really soppy at heart and love my cuddly toys. And I’ve been a guide dog officially for almost two months now (update: going on 11 months in June 2016). I’m also known as an assistance dog. This is me in the photo all suited and booted so to speak in my guide dog harness.
But what does it really mean to be a guide dog? Don’t worry, I’m not going to get all philosophical. Gosh, that’s a tongue twister word. Good job, I’ve a grand tongue. Comes from all that licking of cuddly toys, you know. Here’s a photo of me with my cuddly toys. Clearly one toy just isn’t enough. But I’m getting side-tracked.
We’ve all heard of guide dogs but what’s one like up close and personal? Cause it’s all about close and personal. Being in close partnership with my human and being personally matched to my human’s unique needs.
It takes training. It takes resilience.
Knowing where you want to go and overcoming all sorts of obstacles along the way – like vehicles parked on the pavements. Thank you to the human who appeared out of nowhere to take my human and I past a van. Onto the road. Then back onto the pavement the other side of the van.
Or venturing into the unknown past strange smells and sounds – like yesterday taking my human on a mini adventure (a bus) to see their friend. Sniffing my rear end as part of my daily routine. Wait, my human does that too. And they sniff the inside of my ears as well. Health check, apparently. It makes for a very special bond.
I’ve a very important job to do. I call it a job but not it’s like those many of you humans have. I like what I do. Trotting around in my white and glowing neon harness. Keeping my human safe with paws at the kerb™. Being a life changer. Being much loved.
And then, there’s the question of: where did I come from? I was lucky enough to be a sponsored guide dog puppy. I don’t know the full story. In time and if I get permission, I’ll sniff down the facts and share (not now because my human gets tired easily and mutters something about a steep learning curve. They’re on a curve?! What about me? I want to join in the fun).
A BIG thank you to all you humans (and dogs) who support Guide Dogs. And there’s no better day than today to raise my paw to those of you who take part in #letsglow for #guidedogsweek. Here’s a photo of me – I’m going for a touch of neon in support of #letsglow.
Join me on my adventures and follow my blog. Hopefully you’ll find them little bursts of happiness…
(c) pawsatthekerb™, October 2015; updated November 2015, June 2016.