Visited my guide dog puppy walker

Woof! Guide dog Fletcher here. Time flies and I celebrated an impawtant anniversary this week. One year ago, I moved in with my humans – the fabulous Fiona and belly-rub expert Andy – and started the last leg of my Guide Dogs’ training. Here in the photo, I am celebrating with a red Kong toy which was stuffed with tasty treats and frozen. Delicious at any time but even more so in the hot weather.Me guide dog Fletcher lying down with my face to the side intent on getting food out of a frozen red Kong toy

Now, none of this would have been possible without my volunteer guide dog puppy walker, Di, who gave me such a great start in life. Essentially, she brought me up with support from Guide Dogs’ staff.

Puppy walkers do such a pawsome job. Without them, there would be no life changers like me. So a BIG THANK YOU to all guide dog puppy walkers!

I last saw my puppy walker in January 2015. So imagine my surprise when I got to visit my puppy walker again. She was worried that I wouldn’t remember her. But I couldn’t stop wagging my tail when I arrived. Actually, I was so excited that my whole body went wag wag. I got to see my doggie auntie, Kerry, too. Here we all are in the photo – I’m getting treats.

Me guide dog Fletcher sitting down getting a treat from my puppy walker Di and with my doggy auntie Kerry to the side of me

We went for a run in the park on the edge of the local golf course. Well, I did lots of running. The humans walked and talked. I sniffed the grass a lot and it was as good as I remember. All this excitement was tiring and my doggie aunt, Kerry, and I needed a well-earned rest. We slept with paws touching whilst the humans talked some more. Here’s the photo.

Me guide dog Fletcher lying down at the top of the photo with my paw touching the paw of my doggie auntie Kerry. We're both sleeping on the carpet

My puppy walker is so proud that I qualified as a guide dog. I lived with her for just over a year before going off to Guide Dogs’ big school for training. When I returned, I was all grown-up and wearing my Guide Dogs’ harness. Thought you might like to see how much I’ve changed. Here are three photos in one showing me growing up and grown-up in the same doorway; my doggie auntie Kerry is in the background of the last photo.

3 photos of me guide dog Fletcher in one. All in the same doorway. As a puppy when I arrived at my puppy walkers in December 2013. As a teenager in January 2015 when I left for big school. In June 2016 as a qualified guide dog with my doggie aunty Kerry in the background

I’m so glad my human, Fiona, keeps in touch with my puppy walker. Not all guide dog owners do. My return visit was amazing. I wonder what other surprise visits are in store…

Woof and paw! Guide dog Fletcher.

P.S. Hope you’re all enjoying the July weather wherever you are in the world. In the UK, the summer has finally arrived. Thanks to all of you following my blog. If you don’t follow my blog, do join them. As always, feel free to leave me a pawsome comment…

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(c) pawsatthekerb™, July 2016.

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I’m now 2 years old!

Woof woof from me, guide dog Fletcher! A woof to celebrate each year of my life. I’m now two years old. A teenager in dog years.

I’ve grown-up fast. This is a photo of me when I was a two month puppy. Aren’t I adorable?!

Me guide dog Fletcher as a puppy looking up at camera

The photo came from my brilliant puppy-walker, Di. Guide Dog volunteer puppy walkers make sure us guide dogs have a great start in life. So, this blog post is dedicated to them.

My birthday was on Tuesday. My day kicked off with extra fuss. To be honest, at the time I hadn’t grasped the concept of what a birthday was. All I knew was that I didn’t wanted my belly rubs to stop. Ah bliss, a spa-day.

Me guide dog Fletcher having a belly rub

And there was more fun to be had.

Now, I have a new cuddly toy. It’s a posh one which has been specially made for dogs (with embroidered eyes and double-stitched seams). It’s an elephant. And, it’s huge. It’s a little tricky to run up and down with it in my mouth. So I keep dropping it. But that doesn’t stop me trying. Oh, and it’s great for licking.

Me guide dog Fletcher licking elephant cuddly toy

It makes a good head rest too.

Me guide dog Fletcher with head resting on elephant toy

I also got an extra treat from human no. 2. Not entirely sure what it was but it was tasty. I do like my food. The rest of the day was business as usual which I also loved. I like guiding my human no.1; taking them out and about. Keeping them safe with paws at the kerb. I am a guide dog after all. A guide dog who’s now two years old.

That’s it from me. Keeping it short and sweet as it’s been a busy week.

Let me know you like my posts and photos by following my blog. Or by leaving me a pawsome comment.

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(c) pawsatthekerb™, November 2015.

Who am I?

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.

Me guide dog Fletcher in my 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.

Me guide dog Fletcher with 2 cuddly toys

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.

Me guide dog Fletcher with neon paw bands

Join me on my adventures and follow my blog. Hopefully you’ll find them little bursts of happiness…

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(c) pawsatthekerb™, October 2015; updated November 2015, June 2016.