Let me clarify something please. I am writing these posts for a number of reasons. Firstly and most importantly, I am writing these posts to give myself some kind of account of what has and will happen during the entire process of retiring one dog, waiting for the new one, training and even the settling in while at home. I’m also writing them so that others who are facing this process know they are not alone. Every person, every working animal and every team is different. This is something that is vital to remember right the way through from the beginning of training right through the working relationship and even into retirement. The way I react to something will definitely be different to the way you react to it however the good times; bad times, victories and losses define your outlook on everything. The process that I am undertaking has and continues to define me in both negative and more importantly positive ways. It’s this that I hope you will get from these posts. Finally, I am writing about this because I have found it both interesting and even amazing to read about the experiences of others in other countries who are going through the same process that I am. I would like to give something back by showing people the way we do things over here. I don’t believe there is any right or wrong way of doing things. I’m not qualified or hostely, I’m not bothered to have an opinion on it either way. From my limited experience, I love the way we do it over here and I think the staff who work with clients in here are just absolutely fantastic. I seriously could not give them enough credit.
I have been made aware of concerns that certain individuals have in relation to my posts here. It is feared that by writing so comprehensively about my challenges and successes while training with Ike my new guide dog that it is possible that I could potentially paint an overly negative picture of this organization or even the process of training with a new guide dog. I fully understand these concerns and in fact I will ensure to balance my wording going forward. However my response has and will continue to be that this process is incredibly difficult. In my inexperienced and limited opinion it is not suited to someone who is not prepared for a bit of rough and tumble. It is however vitally important to recognise that this process will almost always have the most positive outcome that you could possibly imagine. Yes! It’s hard work! Yes! You are going to have hard days! Yes it’s going to seem almost too difficult at times! But guess what. Yes! It’s going to be worth it in the end! Two really good sayings come to mind: “Anything that’s worth doing is worth doing right” and “No pain no gain.” Simple but effective aren’t they? I’m very sorry that I didn’t make this clear right from the outset. These posts will continue every day. They will show the good days and indeed the bad but I’ll bet you any money here and now that the good will hugely outnumber the bad and the overwhelming message that you will get from this entire topic is that having a guide dog takes hard work, time, commitment and dedication but what you get in return is an animal that will stay by your side no matter what to guide you through situations that you never would have dreamed of going through before. If you have any questions or indeed you feel at any stage that I am being over critical or even over negative then please do not hesitate to email me. I fully understand that the training process is subjective to the background and prior experience of the person who is being trained. These are my experiences, my comments, my opinions and they do not under any context reflect those of anyone else or any organization.
Now, let’s get back to the fun of training with a guide dog. Stay tuned for the highlights of day two!