Celebrating! I’ve been a guide dog for a year

Woof and waggy tail, guide dog Fletcher here! I did it. I’ve been a guide dog for a year. It’s been pawsome and I love being a life-changer. I’ve even got a bandana with “life-changer” on it.

Me guide dog Fletcher head turned to camera wearing blue Guide Dogs life-changerbandana

It’s all been happening this week. My other news is that my human found out who boarded me when I was doing my final training at Guide Dogs. And they’ve made contact. Waggy tail.

In case you were wondering, my human was only given details of my puppy walker. My human had to sniff out the names and contact details of all the other volunteers, and dogs, who have helped me be the guide dog I am today. Sadly, my tracking skills were not up to the job.

Me guide dog Fletcher in my guide dog harness sitting with body to the left and face to camera
Photo credit: Guide Dogs charity

Now I’m really honoured to be a guide dog. Above is the official Guide Dogs photo that was sent to my puppy walker and other volunteers to say thank you and to let them know I qualified. I don’t think it shows me at my best. What do you think?

The last 12 months have flown by.

I’ve been guiding my human – the pawsome Fiona – all over the place. I had just qualified when we went on holiday, with Andy (my master of fusses), to North Yorkshire. I got to travel on a steam train. And laze in the sunshine.

Me guide dog Fletcher lying down in my harness enjoying the golden Yorkshire sun

I’ve campaigned with Guide Dogs in London for #accessallareas and ended up on TV. Plus I’ve guided my human round a tiny part of London’s museums – like in the photo below – with our friend, Ness; (not sure about all this cultural stuff, guiding round statues of naked folk wasn’t in the training manual). Visiting London is exciting. So much going on.

Me guide dog Fletcher lying down on the mosaic floor of a London museum in front of the feet of a statue on a pedestal

And I’ve had many more guiding adventures. Just check out my list of blog posts.

It’s also the simple things. Just this morning, I spotted a big smelly obstacle blocking the pavement and decided to guide my human to the kerb. Neatly lined up my paws at the kerb I might add. This manoeuvre told my human that we needed to cross the road to get past the obstacle. Rather we didn’t have to keep crossing back and forth avoiding obstacles. The joys of street clutter.

I get lots of time off. Well, time off is what the humans call it. Work and play are all fun to me. Talking of play. I got to play tug with a very special dog. See the photo below. As to who that dog is – well, all will be revealed in a future blog post.

Me guide dog Fletcher playing tug with a duck toy with a smaller black Labrador on the lawn near a boarder of multi-coloured plants. The name of the dog will be revealed in the next blog post.

Happy #FletcherFriday! Time for some anniversary celebrations. I think some treats are in order. Well, I do so like my food…

Woof and paw! Guide dog Fletcher.

P.S. Special woof to my new followers. 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™, August 2016. Updated December 2017.

Grooming, grooming, grooming

Woof! I’m Fletcher and this is me in the photo below having fun in the park on Sunday. Now it was a bit wet and I got a little dirty around the edges (oops).

Me guide dog Fletcher sitting on the grass in the park

For most dogs that wouldn’t matter but I’m a guide dog. I help my human access all areas. So I need to look my best to guide my human in and out of shops, restaurants, hospitals, meeting rooms and more. Oh, as a slight aside and in case you were wondering, The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and the Royal Environmental Health Institute Scotland have confirmed that guide dogs are unlikely to be a risk to hygiene in restaurants and food shops.

And whilst I love my time in the park, the “dirty dog in a guide dog harness” look just isn’t me.

151215 pawsatthekerb harness dirty

Time for grooming!

Actually regardless of what state I’m in – clean or dirty, Guide Dogs recommend that I’m groomed to a high standard every day. And my human had training in grooming just to make sure.

There are many grooming stages. And because my human has difficulty bending down, all my grooming takes place on a garden bench. Other dogs get groomed on the floor, not me.

First off, physical checks.

Yes, my eyes do shine brightly. No gunk or strange discharge today. Any normal eye mucus – some of you humans call it “sleep” – is removed. Well, that’s the theory. My human gets to use a damp chamois leather cloth to wipe the corner of my eyes; I prefer to lick the cloth (just let me at it).

151215 pawsatthekerb chamois eyes

Ears get sniffed.

151215 pawsatthekerb ear

Teeth and nose get checked. As does the other end. My fur gets a quick feel through too. Chewing gum stuck in my fur from a recent trip to London was one souvenir I could do without. Oh, and of course, my paws get checked too.

151215 pawsatthekerb paw

After the checks, I’m tickled all over (well, that’s what it feels like) so that any dirt and dead fur is loosened. Next I’m combed. Then brushed.

151215 pawsatthekerb brushed

Now I’m ready for business. But there again, I’m quite happy to stay lying down for now, roll on Christmas

Me guide dog Fletcher lying down after grooming

Woof and paw, Fletcher.

Do let me know you if like my grooming post and photos. Follow my blog or leave me a pawsome comment.

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(c) pawsatthekerb™, December 2015.

 

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.