My first music gig

Woof again from me guide dog Fletcher! Hope you’re all pawsome and are enjoying good weather?! I’ve been out and about all over the place since I blogged last. I’ve been to my first music gig. It was called “Common People”. It was pawtastic and in a grassy park [which is really good for me as I love smelling the grass].

I excelled in my guiding. I knew exactly where to guide my human, the fabulous Fiona. She knew the vague direction she needed to go but that was it. I was in charge of navigation.

We weaved in and out many times. There were lots of people everywhere in all sorts of clothing.

Me guide dog Fletcher, well the back of my head and shoulders in the right hand corner of the photo. The rest of the photo are the legs and upper bodies of men. Some are wearing shorts and trainers, others jeans, some have ripped t-shirts on. @pawsatthekerb

And more people.

Me guide dog Fletcher once again guiding through the crowds. You can see the back of my head and shoulders in the far right corner of the photo. The rest of the photo shows men and women from the shoulders down. Most of them are wearing shorts which are different shades of brown. Many of the t-shirts are shades of blue. @pawsatthekerb

Human no. 2, also known as Andy, could just about keep up with the two of us. He wanted to stop and ask the way. But I cracked on. I knew, somehow, that I had to head to accessible viewing platform. 

Once I got my humans to where they needed to go, I decided it was time to snooze.  I’m very good at snoozing.

Me guide dog Fletcher part in the sun and shade. The sun bringing out the shades of my golden fut. You've got a head shot of me snoozing. I'm resting on big teddy and the leg of my human is just in shot. @pawsathekerb

My humans enjoyed themselves in the sunshine listening to the music.

Head shots of my humans in the sun against a blue sky with a flag in the background. One white male with glasses and dark brown hair. One light brown woman wearing dark glasses. Her hair is glack and she's in white and blue with a red bag strap showing. Both are smiling at the camera. @pawsatthekerb

The music had a good beat and seemed quite tuneful. I’ve no idea who was playing. Everyone at the gig seemed happy and many danced to the music.

My view of the Common People stage. The stage is rectangular and in the distance surrounded by flags and green trees. Most of the photo are people of different ages standing with their backs to the camera in the sunshine. @pawsatthekerb

Whilst the loud music didn’t seem to bother me, my humans kept a close eye on me in case it was too much. I spent most of the time snoozing. Though every once in a while I popped my head up to say hello. And to check if it was time for a treat.

Me guide dog Fletcher a golden fur Labradaor Golden Retriever cross. Well my head looking up to camera. You can just make out my body between the jean covered legs of my human. I'm on a viewing paltform and in the background is a water box and my Guide Dog harness. @pawsatthekerb

After a while, it was time to go. And I guided brilliantly on the route back taking my humans to the exit, which was different to where we came in, with very little direction. Somehow I just knew where I was going. My humans were pretty clueless.

We passed lots of people. Weaving in and out again. Sadly, I didn’t get a chance to snaffle all the lovely food abandoned on the grass. Too busy focusing on keeping my human safe.

Me guide dog Fletcher. Just the back of my head and shoulders. I'm guiding my human to the right as there's a group of people in front of us sat on the grass. To the left of me are more people. These people are dressed in shorts, trainers and t-shirts. @pawsatthekerb

I was pawtastic! Even if I do say so myself. And I got lots of fusses for being so good.

Now unfortunately that was one of the few times that I have been paw perfect in the last two and a half weeks. Can’t quite put my paw on it as to why that is. I seem to have disrupted my guiding flow. Fiona, my human, is being very patient with me and continues to use positive reinforcement techniques.

On Sunday, I got to guide in my new harness for the first time (more on that later) and it feels good. I think my back feels better for it. Dog osteopathy and follow-up with the vets next week (if you’re new to my blog, see my earlier blog posts about my back surgery via my list of blog posts page). Hopefully the vet will allow me to play fetch again and have longer playtime in the park [running around, twisting and turning is soooo good for me, woofy smile]. Wish me well in getting my guide dog mojo back…

Woof and paw, 

Guide dog Fletcher. 

P.S. Found out that Stanley, my brother (see my guide dog family post), is back with Guide Dogs. They’re making sure he’s in tip top shape and up to speed with the latest guiding techniques before matching him with a new guide dog owner.

P.P.S. Thank you to every human and four paws following my blog. You’re very impawtant to me. And I love your comments. If you’re not following, then don’t miss out. Follow me…

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(c) pawsatthekerb™, May 2017.

Fun with my boarders

Woof from me, guide dog Fletcher! I know it’s been a while. I’m still trying to sort out this niggle in my back. Thankfully it’s just a niggle and I’m getting a helping hand from an osteopath. My guiding is getting better, though I’m still stopping unexpectedly. Less so than before and I like this positive reinforcement technique that my human is now using too. All good stuff. Talking of good stuff…

I had fun with my boarders. No, not the wall kind of boarder which some in the USA are on about. By the way, that one is barking. No, I’m talking about two very impawtant people, Cressi and Andrew.

They boardered me when I was undergoing my early and advanced training to be a guide dog. Basically the time period after I was with my puppy walker, Di. And before I went to live with my human, Fiona, and qualified as a guide dog (I’ll give you a timeline and who’s who in my next blog post).

Cressi and Andrew took me into their home and made sure I got plenty of TLC in the evenings after training all day. Plus they made sure I had fun at weekends like going to the seaside.

I last saw them in July 2015. Here’s a photo of Cressi, Andrew and me from back then and when the sun was shining.

Me guide dog Fletcher back in 2015. I'm in the middle of my boarders Andrew and Cressi. It's a selfie. And I'm giving Cressi a lick. Photo credit: My boarder Cressi. (c) pawsatthekerb

And I got to see them again in 2017.

And we all went to the park. My first time running in a park since my back operation.

And Cressi and Andrew brought along life changer-to-be, Isaac; he’s now left them to live with his new owner-to-be and paws crossed he will qualify as a guide dog.

I had a mega pawtastic time!

In the park, I got treats from my human.

Me guide dog Fletcher sitting down. I'm not looking at you. I'm looking to the left and focused on my human who is giving me a treat. Her hand and my mouth are touching. (c) pawsatthekerb

Lots of fusses from Cressi. From Andrew too. Here I am receiving fuss from Cressi alongside Isaac; he has black fur and mine is golden.

Me guide dog Fletcher the handsome one on the right of the picture standing facing my friend, Isaac. Isaac has black fur. My fur is golden. We're in front of my boarder who's hand you can see rubbing the backs of our necks. (c) pawsatthekerb

Of course, life changer-to-be Isaac and I couldn’t resist running around and rolling on top of each other.

Me guide dog Fletcher lying down in the park. I'm wearing my Perfect Fit harness. My mouth is open. I'm on the left and have gold fur. my friend Isaac is to my right and he's upside down on this back. (c)pawsatthekerb

Oh, and there was the obligatory sit down photo call. Here I am showing Isaac how it is done.

Me guide dog Fletcher. A handsome Golden Retriever Labrador cross with golden fur. Sitting with my friend Isaac. He's on the right and has black fur. (c) pawsatthekerb

Then I got to show my boarders my awesome guide dog skills when we all went to the pub after the park (I am a professional after all). Lying down is key guide dog skill. As is staring up at humans with big brown eyes…

Me guide dog Fletcher lying down on the blue and cream pub carpet. My golden head just in view at the bottom of the photo. My friend Isaac is lying down turned to you. His black fur paws are wrapped around our boarders feer. (c) pawsatthekerbVolunteer guide dog boarders are pawsome (here’s the link to Guide Dogs’ website if you want to know how to become a boarder). A big thank you to everyone who boarders a guide dog-in-training / guide dog. I got two of the best boarders (not that I’m biased!). Plus I got to see them again when I was a fully-trained all qualified guide dog. That’s a big thing for me.

For, my human didn’t get details of my boarders. She had to track them down on something called Facebook (I’m not on Facebook. I’m still getting my paws around Twitter and blogging here). Took my human and Cressi over a year to connect. They got there in the end. Now we have said thank you to another two members of my guide dog family. How lucky am I?

Woof and paw, Guide dog Fletcher.

P.S. Happy Mother’s Day to my woofderful mum, Jazz, who’s now retired. Her humans are Ginny and Andy. And to all guide dog brood bitches (that’s what they call our mums. Not very polite is it?!) and their humans.

P.P.S. My humans took me to the park briefly today (I’m not allowed too long in the park whilst my back still niggles). I rolled on my back (which made my humans happy). And also rolled in some very nice smelling poo (which made my humans less happy).

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(c) pawsatthekerb™, March 2017.

I’m home

Woof, woof and woof again from me, guide dog Fletcher! Why all the excitement?! Well, I’m home.

Me guide dog Fletcher head and front paw only. I'm snoozing looking to the right in a red T-shirt under a cream blanket and nuzzled against a green cuddly toy. And I'm home. @pawsatthekerb

Wasn’t that long ago I was rocking this T-shirt look at Guide Dogs Redbridge Hospital Kennels just after my back surgery (photo below). That’s why there was a slight pause at paws at the kerb™.

Me guide dog Fletcher sitting looking at you in a bright red T-shirt. I'm on a white bed with nylabones around me. The walls are brown tiles. @pawsatthekerb

Waggy tail for all your get well soon wishes. Licks to all my new blog followers. And soppy kisses (or nose-bumps as my bunny friends prefer) to my regular readers. Knowing you are there for me means a lot.

Talking of kisses. My “kissing spine” and I even made it into Forest Vets’ newsletter. Forest Vets are Guide Dogs Redbridge’s authorised vets. Here’s the pawsome bit all about me:

Me guide dog Fletcher upside down in a CT scanner which is a white donut. I'm on the bed with tubes attached and my nurse and vet are nearby. There's also an CT scan of my kissing spine. The text says: Forest Veterinary Centre Winter Newsletter 2016. New CT Scanner. Clive, Paul and Glenn have been taking our first CT scans with some very impressive results. These pictures show a working Guide Dog in the CT scanner. The dog had been experiencing back pain. The image shows the spinous processes (the sticky up bits!) are touching. This is called a "kissing spine". This is not what Clive was expecting. The god will now have an operation to resect the spinal bones that are causing the pain. All being well, the Guide Dog will be back working with his blind partner as soon as he is recovered from the operation. Posted in pawsatthekerb.

Whilst the Guide Dogs Hospital Kennels staffs were lovely, I missed my fabulous human, Fiona. I missed my belly rub technician, Andy. Then after 6 weeks away, I saw my humans again. I forgot that I had a sore back and went crazy.

I’m home now. It’s woofderful.

For the first time in months, I can snooze on my back. For us dogs, it’s impawtant to take-up as much room as possible and get into the most awkward sleeping positions. Multi-tasking is also good. So whilst I’m lying here, I’m happy to receive belly rubs. Anyone?!

Me guide dog Fletcher snoozing on my back. Belly exposed ready for a belly rub. I'm wearing a white T-shirt and there's a red cuddly toy poking out from under me. @pawsatthekerb

I’ve also got a new bed (the Piggy Bank was raided – poor Miss Piggy – and my new bed’s got something called memory foam). It’s vast and has a very comfy head rest. Here let me show you.

Me guide dog Fletcher looking at you. My head and right leg are visible only. My head is resting on the brown bolster of my bed and I'm looking serious. @pawsatthekerb

I’m getting better each day. Be a couple more weeks before I’m allowed my free run in the park and to catch-up on all my wee wee notices.

My future as a guide dog is a little uncertain though. As per the vets’ orders, I’m currently on light duties building up to full working. But I need a little help so my guiding is really good and I don’t stop unexpectedly. To be honest, I needed help a while back. My humans are on the case but it hasn’t been easy for them getting others to help us (I may even tell you all about it in a blog post).

While my humans and I are waiting for help, I’ll just have to double-check that my new bed is properly squidgy.

Time for another nap… 

Woof and paw, Guide dog Fletcher.

P.S. I’m hoping to get in another blog post this month. Probably tell you about my doggie family. Make sure you don’t miss it by following my blog. As always, your pawsome comments are most welcome.

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(c) pawsatthekerb™, December 2016.