I have a confession; I am not a doggy person. We never had pets when I was growing up and I used to cross the road if I saw a dog on the same side as me. I was really apprehensive around them, so my mum told me they could sense fear so if I had to pass one I would whisper to myself “ I love dogs I love dogs” so they didn’t smell the fear.
Luckily for Fred he seems not to have inherited this apprehension, in fact quite the opposite – he is drawn to dogs and many other animals to be honest. Quite the Doctor Doolittle. We are often found in our local Pets at Home or at the wonderful Nuzzlets, a charity for rescued animals near York.
We were lucky that Peter, our QTVI arranged a guide dog and his owner to pop into our local children’s VI group last term and Fred just loved him. So with his interest ignited I thought I needed to begin to appreciate the love of a dog. An email to the Guide Dogs Breeding Centre sent and a lovely speedy response resulted in a private tour arranged. We were all excited. Yes me too. It didn’t disappoint.
As we arrived we walked past what they called the offices, the funny thing was I couldn’t tell if they were offices or kennels. They all had desks and dog beds and both people and dogs equally welcoming. Looking back I guess this really sums up this organisation; a true partnership between dogs and humans; both living in one another’s space. Still makes me giggle though. OR WOOF!
We met Deano first, a wonderful shiny black Lab who charmed us with his licking and sitting. Then Marly….. the list goes on. All delightful personalities Fred and Eva loved them all.
We ventured outside onto the ‘Hazard Course’ where Fred thrived holding the reigns and kept telling us repeatedly that Tilly’s job was to make sure he didn’t bump into any obstacles….. and he didn’t. The sensory tunnel was a real hit with Fred he even went through on his own and it was very dark in there.
My mum and sister loved the onsite charity shop too. Living in different cities, this was one of the few things I have done with both my sister and mum. I hope it gave them an insight into what our life is and will be like.
A very informative chat with a Habilitation Officer has actually resulted in us having mobility via Guide Dogs – another positive outcome. An essential support as we venture into school in September, now that I am sure will be another story.
When Fred is older he may indeed be lucky enough to have a guide dog, we will definitely look into the buddy dog scheme. For now we sponsor a pup in training (thanks to our wonderful friend Rebecca, who continues to be an inspiration and has just become a guide dog owner herself).
Until then we will continue to seek out experiences people and places that help us navigate this life journey together. Even if it does have four legs and a waggy tail! Woof!