Cap and gown.

Mr Banks has now graduated and is now an official guide dog with me as his recognised handler. As a friend of mine use to say, he got his cap and gown today. So, tomorrow when I’m at home, I will tell you his real name. I know. I can feel your anticipation from here.

Right! On to the good stuff. I was wondering why Mr Banks was so obsessed about my bed last night and this morning. I had a bit of a chat explaining that it was not his bed and I’d appreciate it a lot if he would leave it alone. However, this morning when he persisted I decided to go look for myself. When I pushed the bed out of the way I found his bone right under it. The poor fella. I was kind of wondering why he hadn’t presented me with his bone for two days. Now I know I suppose! He was thrilled when he got it back. Running around the room and dropping it at my feet to get me to throw it for him. I’ve tried explaining to him that this isn’t a toy and I don’t want to throw it for him because it’s slimy and horrible and I have no intention of touching it any more than I absolutely have to. I don’t think he’s listening though.

Our first and only walk was quite interesting. We got a bus from the training centre into town, walked from the grand parade into Patricks street, Through the English market, down Washington Street, and eventually back to the bus station where we got a bus to return to the centre. Mr Banks was in a very trying mood today. His level of distraction has increased quite a lot since Tuesday but I’m quite confident that with the instructors help we’ll get this to return to normal quite quickly. For the moment though, he’s driving me a little crazy when he sets his mind on picking up something from the ground. For example, we were sitting at the bus station and although there was nothing on the ground he was absolutely determined to disobey me to sniff it anyway. It’s a blatant challenge to my authority however it is to be expected in a dog of this nature. With confidence comes a personality that can quite easily challenge authority. It’s fine. I can deal with it. I just want the support of the instructor at this early stage to ensure I don’t overdo the correction.

While on the busses he was absolutely fine. Of course, he is still getting used to the way I get him under seats in busses but he’ll get there soon enough.

When we returned to the centre we had to attend the usual presentations about dog care, vet visits and weight management. Unfortunately the number of situations where dogs gain too much weight while working has increased beyond acceptable levels so it’s very important that this is highlighted to all perspective guide dog owners so that the right care is taken to ensure that the dogs health is well managed.

After the presentation I met with the client services manager for an assessment meeting. This is where the service users provide feedback on their time at the centre. My rating of their service was consistently excellent. I simply couldn’t have asked them to do anything else. The way this course was delivered, the helpfulness of the house staff, the advice given by other instructors and the flexibility of all staff was just first class. I must say, it is very easy to see why Irish guide dogs for the Blind in Ireland are ranked among the best guide dog schools in the world. Again, I would ask that you use the donate button on the right of each page to help out this very worthwhile charity.

I’m sorry but that’s all for tonight. I’m packed and ready to go home but although today hasn’t been a particularly busy day, I must admit I’m actually quite tired. Because a lot could potentially happen tomorrow as a result of bringing the dog to a completely new environment, I want to be alert.

Between Tomorrow and Tuesday the 23rd of October I will blog every day to tell you of the trials, tribulations and successes of the settling in process. From then, we’ll see how it goes.