Bunny Albert’s birthday bash

Woof and waggy tail from me guide dog Fletcher!

I know. I’m late with this blog post. I’ve been running out of puff recently and haven’t been feeling great. The vet reckons I have allergies and I’m on anti-histamines. The medication makes me feel wooftastic. We’re working out the right dosage and frequency for me at the moment and then I’ll be even more waggy tail.

Anyway when I talk about being late, my human – the pawsome Fiona – mutters something about the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. That brings me to this tale about my friend bun Albert and his pawtastic birthday bash.

This is Albert. He’s woofderful.

My friend bunny Albert. His fur is mostly brown and heis ears are darker, almost black with lighter patches. His face is in the center with his droopy ears. Behind him is a dark green circular opening to a bunny run. There's a bit of red strawberry on the grey carpet. @pawsatthekerb

Now what do you get a bunny for his birthday? Well, thanks to my friends at the Bunnington Post and other four paws on Twitter (yep I tweet, no scratch that, I bark on Twitter), I knew what to get. Something to knock over. Something to chew on. Here I am with stacking cups and willow ball presents.

Me guide dog Fletcher. Well my head and gront paws in my golden fur. I'm lying down staring down at a white box with a pic of green, blue, red and yellow stacking cups. To your right is a brown woven basket containing a big willow ball. Brown ball made from twigs as far as I can tell. Rabbit stuff. @pawsatthekerb

Albert kept me waiting. And waiting. He wouldn’t come near me or my humans. Look. He’s on one side of the room near his bunny tunnel and I’m at the other.

Me guide dog Fletcher with my head just visible at the bottom of the photo. At the top of the photo is bunny Albert. He's at one end of the room and I'm at the other. You can just about see us. There are some helpful arrows pointing to each of us. Other objects in the room is a light brown wooden coffee table and legs of humans. @pawsatthekerb

I was on my best behaviour and was very calm. Albert is very little and, even though we’ve met before, I didn’t want to scare him. When he came close, half a dog’s length close, I did not move. I did not eat my treats. Let me say that again. I did not eat my treats. Food is very impawtant to me. Oh the sacrifice. The green Kong toy has untouched food in it!

Me guide dog Fletcher lying down with my head up. I'm staring to the left at bunny Albert. In between my golden paws is a green Kong Y-shaped toy with untouched food in it. Bunny Albert is on the left of the pic sitting on a bed of hay in a red shallow plastic box. In between us is a huge gap. About 50cm in human speak. And a wooden coffee table. @pawsatthekerb

And still Albert kept his distance.

Then all the humans, and there were a lot of humans, made funny screeching noises. I’ve been told it was singing. And Albert’s cake arrived. Here it is. Albert got some of the strawberries (I was not allowed any but got fusses from lots of humans).

Yummy cake which I didn't get any of. on the top are strawberries dipped in chocolate with their stems on. Diamond thins of milk chocolate. They are in between the strawberries. The cake is circular with a white buttercream coating. Not sure what it's resting on. @pawsatthekerb

After the humans had finished eating and most of them had left, Albert decided to say hello. I tried to #bemorebun but no nose bumps for me this time. Albert checked out one of my paws.

Me guide dog Fletcher with my friend bun Albert. We're facing each other side on. Albert is sniffing out my right paw. I'm trying to be as still as possible. @pawsatthekerb

Then he checked out my other paw.

Me guide dog Fletcher lying down very still with my golden head alert and upright. My friend bunny Albert is checking out my left paw. I've golden fur. Albert's fur is patchy dark brown. @pawsatthekerb

Afterwards, we chatted a little before going home. It was a pawsome birthday bash. Though at the end, I was starving…

Woof and paw, guide dog Fletcher.

P.S. Sending Haas, one of the Bunnington Post, get well wishes! He’s just returned home after staying overnight at the vets for not properly processing his food.
P.P.S. Thank you all for reading and following my blog posts. I’ve been with my humans, Fiona and Andy, for two years now. Happy anniversary to us. Now where’s my anniversary cake…?

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(c) pawsatthekerb™, August 2017.

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.

Getting MPs support for #AccessAllAreas for guide dogs

Woof and here’s my #FletcherFriday blog post!

Let me first say that I woke up to some barking news this morning. I can’t believe we’re leaving the European Union. I’m in shock (and lying down as a result). Challenging times ahead…

To the topic of access for guide dogs. Last month, I blogged that I was off to the Houses of Parliament to lobby for #AccessAllAreas. Whilst it’s the law to let guide dogs like me into restaurants, shops and taxis, many of us are getting turned away. So I joined 100 fellow guide dogs, and their humans, to get MPs to take action on access refusals. Here’s a photo of us:

Many guide dogs and their humans in several rows in front of Big Ben and Houses of Parliament
Photo credit: Guide Dogs charity

Let me share how the day went. Now, having made it all the way to London, I really needed to go (yep, that kind of go). And what better place to go than on the lawn outside Westminster. In my defence, it was the only grass area available.

As soon as I had finished then it was lights, camera, action. We were approached by a Channel 4 News crew and the delightful Emily Davison, with her guide dog Unity. They interviewed my human. Afterwards, it was off inside the Houses of Parliament.

I had a starring role. My human – the fabulous Fiona – and I were one of four ‘Access All Areas’ case studies. Guide Dogs had made our story into a mini-poster.

Me guide dog Fletcher and my human Fiona sitting on a bench with lots of text describing case study

[As there’s a lot of text on the mini-poster – too much for the alternative text description box – go to this page for the case study text].

I met the Minister for Disabled People, Justin Tomlinson MP, alongside two fellow guide dogs, Guide Dogs’ Chief Executive and a few other humans. The Minister seemed to make agreeable noises; I was snoozing most of the time. We presented him with a petition of almost 50,000 signatures asking for action on access refusals.

Then I met my MP who was really supportive of the ‘Access All Areas’ lobby and I got fusses. The humans did a lot of yapping.

Me guide dog Fletcher getting fusses from my MP, and on the right my MP, my human and I inside Westminster Hall

Additionally, I met my younger brother, Umber. In the photo below, I’m the handsome one on the right in case you’re wondering. We gave each other the run around too (a little naughty, I know, as we were in our Guide Dog harnesses). I think we last saw each other when we were 6 weeks old.

Me guide dog Fletcher on the right with my brother Umber on the left with humans' legs in background

There were so many meet and greets to be had. After all, it was woofderful that 100 guide dogs got together. I was somewhat distracted (I tried to be good, honest). Thank you to Guide Dog volunteers, especially Darren, Steve and Nicole, who helped out us on the day.

In the big photo finish, I got a kiss from ITV This Morning’s guide dog puppy in training, Clover. Pawsome!

Me guide dog Fletcher on the right sitting down getting a kiss from This Morning's Clover

Lastly and to my delight, I was on TV in the evening. It seems that the Channel 4 News crew liked us and Emily Davison did a great job reporting.

Me guide dog Fletcher looking to the right and seated on TV. Yes TV!

The whisper is that Fiona, our MP, Guide Dogs and our city council are putting something together locally as a result of this lobby. Plus Andrew Gwynne MP is championing an ‘Accessibility Bill’, as a private members’ bill, which could make it compulsory for taxi and private hire drivers to have disability awareness training. It’s early days. And I’ll keep you posted on this impawtant topic.

Woof and paw! Guide dog Fletcher.

P.S. 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™, June 2016.