Now I am close(r) to moving and getting my own dog to train, I have been contacting organisations that could help – since I AM planning to owner-train my assistance dog, but would like to have ‘backing’, as I put it, from an organisation for things like advice, training help, constructive criticism, and other things that would ensure quality of training and working. I have had mostly quite positive responses from a few of the organisations and have said that I will contact them again when I am closer to getting my dog.
Something I haven’t been thinking too much about (partly because I’m trying not to get too hopeful about things) is that I will be moving and that includes moving away from Flo, who I’ll be leaving here with my mum because of several reasons, and Charlie and Tina, and Norbi. Of course I’ll be back quite a lot I imagine, so it’s not like I’m leaving forever, but with Charlie and Flo especially, they have helped me so much to even survive to get to here, and I literally owe them my life. But like I said, I will be back, but it will be weird to not see Flo every day, not take Charlie for a run in the fields.
But one thing at a time. Let’s hope this works out, because despite trying not to, I already have way too much hope for this. But like mum AND my recovery co-ordinator put it, maybe I’ve had enough shit in my life and I’m finally getting what I deserve. We’ll see.
A little good news, I’m hoping to move into supported housing within this year (because of my physical and mental conditions), and have my assistance dog with me of course; today in my appointment I met with the Accommodation Officer who asked me several things about living, and also about the dog. She noted about ‘registered dogs’, to which I gently explained about ADUK as well as other charities, and owner-training (in my case, I am OT with the backing/help of an charity organisation, just to ensure the height of working and for constructive feedback, ideally), and she listened attentively as I explained The Disability Act 2010 and the definition of an ‘assistance dog’, and she was very nice and interested, and for reference I suggested the assistancedoglaw website created by (mainly?) owner-trainers, and she was really great about it all.
I am aware that this is ‘the first port of call’ so to speak, and I may have to do this again perhaps more forcefully as things go on, but this was really quite positive, as is my general journey to move out with lots of support and train my assistance dog, while doing a degree at a very helpful Uni also with lots of support – yet to talk about concerning the dog, but all in due time, as they say. 🙂
DAYS 1 – 6 ON INSTAGRAM !!
Day 7: Which handler do you want to meet the most?
Same as Q.6!
Day 8: Best places to train?
Pet shop is one of the best places, definitely. It has ample distractions, little judgement, and no chance of being challenged. It is a good distance from my house and through the park, so it’s a good walk and training opportunity as well as actually getting things we need!
Day 9: Any advice for new teams?
I could probably think of a lot, and I do randomly, but the best thing I can think of right now is that dogs – including trained ones – aren’t robots. They are animals and they play up and they play around and they love you unconditionally. Some just aren’t suited for working, and that’s okay too. Some learn quickly, some need more encouragement and praise. Everyone works at different paces. You’re probably doing fine.
I’m really trying to get back into writing, and this blog is going to be used for documenting training and adventures with my new dog Charlie! We’ve had a few outings already since meeting in March, but aside from summarising them briefly in pictures, I probably will start actual posts from now. So! Today it was still very humid, despite the sun not being out as from other days, and so I decided we’d just have a nice off day. I picked Charlie up and we headed down the hill in a brisk pace set by him! We went and collected Norbi from Jazz (a dog I’ve walked and trained for her for years) and Charlie got lots of fuss from her, and her daughter and boyfriend too! Soon the three of us set off on a nice walk around Water Lane and I took a couple of pretty good pictures of the two dogs sitting side by side. We went the whole way around and back to Norbi’s to drop him off with a chat with Jazz about animals and fur shedding in the winter – my cat is the point of this at the moment, with her fur coming off in balls when you stroke her! Saying goodbye to Jazz and Norbi, me and Charlie headed back through the park, in which there was no one else, so Charlie got to roam at the end of his long lead in peace. We left the park and headed up the next hill (there’s a lot of hills here!), and when a bus stopped for people to get off, I saw a black lab with its owner holding their harness, accompanied by a Guide Dogs person in a official t-shirt! It was lovely to see a guide dog training with its new owner, and I walked past carefully, keeping Charlie on a tight reign – though he made no move against the other dog anyway but just in case – as the new owner put the red & white harness on the black lab, as instructed by the instructor. A guide and hearing dog! It made me smile as Charlie and I walked the rest of the way back home and we’re now just chilling out in the lounge, relaxing on the sofa (my rule is dogs are allowed on the sofas since comfort as both a task and general thing includes cuddling on the sofa, and so on). Charlie has almost finally settled down a bit after over half an hour!
Charlie & Norbi