Six months later.

Six months after my Fairwell to Freddie, my previous guide dog, I’m still waiting for the new dog Ike to be fully trained in preparation for the class in the middle of January 2011.

It’s been a long, boring, difficult, frustrating and challenging six months. Still, I’ve navigated my way around the country and even to England, Spain and Italy with just the cane so I really can’t complain. Not having the dog has limited what I can do and where I can go substantially but I’m lucky that I still have quite good cane skills so I haven’t been completely left high and dry.

It’s funny how things change. Originally when I applied for my first dog I had hoped that it would make getting through crowds easier. Crowds have always been one of my weaknesses. I just can’t keep my Barings while walking through them. Interestingly now that I’ve experienced the benefits of using a guide dog my reasons for looking forward to the new one are slightly different!

There are three homeless people around this area. Leaving aside if they are legitimate or not, I’m tired of walking into them. There’s one man who stays in the same place but the other two keep moving! Also, the man who stays in the same place stands where the other two are sitting or something so their almost completely impossible to miss. I’m sure there as tired of being met with a cane every day so you’d think they’d warn me when I’m approaching? No. They don’t. They just wait until they get poked. Actually, last Friday there was a new person sitting at one of the walls. He or she really got on my nerves. I was walking along trying to listen out for people coming toward me and trying to make sure I didn’t land on my behind by slipping on the ice when this idiot grabbed the bottom of my cane and tried to steer me around by it. This is like showing a red rag to a bull for me. Leave my cane alone! Don’t touch it! For any reason! I don’t care if a bus is coming toward me, leave my cane alone! There are other ways you can direct me if it’s absolutely necessary!

My next reason for looking forward to having a dog again is simply relaxation. I haven’t gone for a walk for the hell of it in six months. I miss strolling around Stephens green during lunch. It’s nice to just get away and have a few minutes to think from time to time. I probably didn’t appreciate how much I’d miss it when it was gone.

Christmas shopping. Before I had Freddie I use to get friends to give me a hand with this. No, the dog was completely useless for finding good presents for people, but he was great at finding doors to shops. This year I neither have the motivation or frankly and honestly, the independents to do this as efficiently as I have been able to for the past seven years. The simple act of asking people to help with this is also embarrassing! Yes. I’m well aware that that’s stupid thank you very much.

Yes, I’m looking forward to January. So much so that I can’t seem to get into the Christmas spirit at all this year. I just want the whole thing to be over so I can get on with 2011.

Oh, I really miss the social side of things. I’ll never again complain that people come over constantly when the dog is around. I actually miss it! This isn’t as sad and pitiful as you might think! It’s simply a thing of logic. Say you’re out on your own for whatever reason. If you’re surrounded by people, it can be difficult and actually even intimidating to simply strike up a conversation with a complete stranger. In fact, I did this last week and began by talking to an empty chair. Stupid! I know! The fact is that when you have a dog, people are more likely to come over and say hello. This gets the ball rolling nicely. By that simple conversation you can gage a dozen little helpful things about what’s going on without asking one single obvious question.

So, today, I’m going to have to bight the bullet. Today is the day where Christmas shopping can’t be put off any more. Things need to be done.

It’s been a difficult six months but I think it was just the six months I needed to give me a good kick in the ass and make me appreciate what I had and what I’m striving for again.

Bring on 2011!

2 Responses to Six months later.

  1. Great post. I’m dreading the wait between OJ and my next dog, even though it hopefully won’t be for ages yet.
    When I was training, one of the lads training with me finished working his dog on the Friday and began training with the new one on Monday. I thought this was mad, and would he not want a few months in between, but can sort of understand it understand it now.

  2. I’m glad that you were able to work Freddy up until 6 months ago.

    I was never that motivated with the cane lol. I hardly ever used it!

    I’m dying to go to something over christmas just because I have the dog! I wish someone would just ask if i want to do something lol.