Me guide dog Fletcher well just my head with my nose in big and nearest to you snoozing pawsatthekerb

Slight pause at paws at the kerb…

Woof, did you miss me the last couple of months?! I’m back (well, almost). Let me, guide dog Fletcher, share with you what’s been happening. Oh, by the way, I’m bringing you this bumper edition blog post whilst rocking my new T-shirt look. Like my photo?

Me guide dog Fletcher rocking my new T-shirt look. I'm standing looking at you with my two front legs and back in a dark blue T-shirt. pawsatthekerb

It’s been a while since I last blogged and celebrated my one year anniversary as a guide dog. Yet, around that time, things weren’t right. Couldn’t quite put my paw on it and, little by little, I struggled to guide my fabulous human, Fiona.

When Fiona asked another human for help in late August, things started to go from okish to bad. That human, whom I trusted, really let us down. And other humans, who were meant to help us, didn’t. Come late September, my partnership with Fiona was under threat. The whole thing’s been barking. But not in a good way. (Oh, there was one good thing that happened during this horrible tale. My litter brother, Umber, lent me his human for the day and that helped. Got some tips and tasty treats). But I won’t share too much now on the whole sorry saga. It’s still ongoing(if I get bribed with treats, I’ll probably tell you more in another post). 

Anyway by now, something else was also bothering me. My back.

Me guide dog Fletcher standing side on with my head turned to you. I'm wearing a "my back is hurting me" look. pawsatthekerb

And yes, I know the photo isn’t a grand one of me. My back was hurting.

Thankfully my human, Fiona, understands me and she got my subtle communications (others more experienced in doggie woofs didn’t and that surprised me). So Fiona, and Andy – a.k.a. human no.2, whisked me off to the vets on the last day of September. Drugs, rest, more vet reviews, general anaesthetic and x-rays followed.

I tried snoozing like in the photo below. Snuggly. But that only helped a little.

Me guide dog Fletcher. Well just my head. Snoozing with my nose up close and personal. pawsatthekerb

I didn’t like the drugs. I kept being sick in the early hours of the morning. One time, I ended-up back at the vets and on a drip all day. Here’s the photo of me looking pale and groggy on the back seat of the car coming back from the vets.

Me guide dog Fletcher lying down on the car seat dark blue cover. Wearing my car harness and looking at you. I'm a little pale and groggy coming back from the vets. pawsatthekerbI just wanted to get better.

One day, I knew something was up. But wasn’t sure what. Fiona took a photo of me at home with my cuddly toys (in case you’re wondering they are Big Teddy which pre-dates Fiona, Chin chin panda and Elefanta); photo below. Fiona and Andy then took me on a road trip (for those of you who like details, I’ve been told it was on 24 October).

Me guide dog Fletcher when I was last home. I'm lyding down on a piece of vet bed with my cuddly toys next to me. They are a cream teddy bear, black and white panda, and grey elephant with pink ears. pawsatthekerb

Next thing I knew I was put into a dog pen next to more dog pens with lots of guide dogs and guide dogs-in-training barking hello to me. I was so excited that I forgot myself. I wee’d on the bedding (oops! And kind of pawsome). Don’t think you can tell in the photo below. I had arrived at Guide Dogs Redbridge, Essex.

Me guide dog Fletcher sitting down in a dog pen with a purple bed and red blanket behind me. pawsatthekerb

And I’m still here. 

Well, I did get moved to the exclusive Hospital Kennels. I do so miss my humans, Fiona and Andy. And I don’t understand why they’ve not visited me. Makes me sad thinking about them.

The Guide Dogs Redbridge Hospital Kennel humans have been woofderful. Carole and Clare especially. Lots of fuss and cuddles from them. Also Kerry, Laura and Tim. Apparently they talk to Fiona a lot as I get given an extra cuddle from her every time they speak. Oh, and thanks to them, I get to share some photos of me “away”.

I spent what the humans called a “birthday” in Hospital Kennels. I got some chicken and shared it with my new doggie friends. Waggy tail (and a lot more wagging if I’m honest). Apparently I turned three. I almost got to blow out my three candles but one of the humans had other plans. Here’s a photo from that day:

Me guide dog Fletcher. Well the head and shoulders bit of me. Staring intently at a silver dog bowl with chicken bits and 3 lit candles. Pale cream tiles of my kennel in the background. pawsatthekerb

More snoozing and treats followed. I could get used to this. Here I am wolfing down the contents of a stuffed Kong.

Me guide dog Fletcher sticking my tongue into a large red Kong dog. Kong is filled with yummy smelly food. don't think you can see the food. Kong is against my paw. I'm on a piece of vet bed with pale orange kennel tiles in the background. pawsatthekerb

But it wasn’t always so nice. Sometimes I was poked and prodded (in the best interests of my health). Had a general anaesthetic then a MRI (whatever that was! Humans do have strange names for things). A week later, I had another general anaesthetic and a CT scan (I’ve heard it called a CAT scan. Can you imagine the indignity: having cats examine every part of me!).

Apparently, I had two misshaped “kissing” vertebrae which rubbed together when I moved and caused me pain. It’s how I’ve developed. Have a look at the CT image below. On the left, there’s a green circle showing my canine kissing spine in my mid-back.

CT scan of my, that's guide dog Fletcher, spine in glorious 3D. Bone is white, with shades of grey, against a black backgound. On the left, there's a thin green circle around two bony bits which "kiss" each other. pawsatthekerb

There was only one thing for it. Back surgery. Gulp. Bits of my vertebrae would be shaved off. No more kissing allowed. I took the news lying down (what else do you expect?!). Last week, I had my operation.

So far so good, I’m recovering. Paws up at that. My back is still itchy and sore. There’s a massive shaven patch with exposed skin and my surgery scar. I would scratch it but this T-shirt keeps getting in the way. I’m being thwarted. Maybe if I sit here, like in the photo below, the Guide Dogs’ humans will take it off? (You know those humans were so busy checking out my lovely photos that they didn’t spot me sneaking into their office and whizzing out this blog post on their computer. Smile).

Me guide dog Fletcher sitting down head tilted to your left. I'm still rocking my dark blue T-shirt which contrasts well against my golden fur. pawsatthekerb

Hot of the press: On Monday, I walked up and down 10 steps with no painkillers. Yippee doo daa! If I keep this up, I’ll be doing light exercise on the lead this week. Then if that goes well, I’ll be working gently in a guide dog harness next week. Oh, that’s if I’m ok with it. I still want to be a working guide dog but it’s possible that I might not like wearing my old harness. Guide Dogs have been tasked with making me a new lightweight harness which some of my fellow guide dogs have. (Yes, I know lots of ifs and a bit of uncertainty to go). I’m eager to show off to all the trainee dogs what a professional guide dog I am.

And, wait for it. Drum roll please. If the next two weeks go well, I might be allowed to continue my recovery at home with my humans, Fiona and Andy, in December. Wish me well…

Woof and paw! Guide dog Fletcher.

P.S. Thank you to every human, dog and other four-paws following me! If you don’t follow my blog, please do join them. As always, feel free to leave me a pawsome comment. Feeling a bit worn out now after this pupdate and could really do with your well wishes…

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(c) pawsatthekerb™, November 2016.


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Guide dog (Retired) Fletcher here, sniffing out the best news from the streets and grass in the UK and beyond. Keeping my human, Fiona, safe with paws at the kerb. Qualified with #GuideDogs in August 2015. Retired 2021. Can be found at the kerb or snoozing...

8 thoughts on “Slight pause at paws at the kerb…”

  1. So sorry to hear about all your troubles! But thank goodness for the medical technology that was able to pinpoint your pain, and hopefully remove it! I hope you recover fully and are able to return to your humans very soon. They must be missing you so much. Love from Gypsy and family in Canada

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Woof! And my thanks to you, Gypsy, and your family. Means a lot to get well wishes from across the waters. Bit tired now. And it’s lights out soon over here so must sneak back to my bed without the humans noticing I’ve been using their computer…


  2. Sorry to hear about your not so good times recently fletchy, but it looks like youve been a very brave and im glad youve been spoiled at the same time! You totally rock that t shirt and its great to see you still have big teddy that we gave you! Hope you get well soon and sending you more cuddles!Much love from Cressi and Andy x

    Liked by 1 person

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