Doggy Oggy

There is do much to tell you all and I’ve missed a few deadlines for my blog… Sorry! LBE and I are enjoying so much of life together. We truly are team LBE. Even my husbands new phone cover is in ‘team colours’! We had a wonderful holiday in Cornwall. Easter this year was really good weather and we stayed on a farm near St Austell. Access was really good and we got the best views! The farm is called poltarrowΒ 
Converted barn It was just lovely and LBE was welcomed from the off.
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There’s a pool on site. LBE was very good at helping me pass the towel and as there were shallow steps we all had a dip. LBE was a good boy and kept himself dry.
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We went out nearly every day- visiting museums and places of interest which there are an abundance in south cornwall. Access wise there were a few issues around but mostly it was great. The internet is a good help but do plan ahead is my advice. We love history and so a castle visit was top of the list. Unfortunately castles don’t seem to have been built for the wonkywarrior in mind so it took careful planning but we found a doozy in the form of Pendennis Castle at Falmouth. With pirate enactments and picnics LBE was in his element sticking close with mum and helping with a dropped sword or two.Β Castle

 

Look out dog

Look out dog

One for allimage

We visited a lot of places and the visits to Eden project and the lovely Heligan Gardens were not to be missed. Especially at this time of year. My eldest son is coming to the end of his college training to be a gardener so I was impressed by all his knowledge of the plants we were looking at. LBE was very patient in those large expanses and not being able to scamper off and just be a dog so we made sure he got plenty of off lead time every day.

Heligan dog on a log

Heligan dog on a log

Tropical house

Tropical house

Woodland Wheel

He loved the holiday as much as we did I’m sure! One thing you may have noticed is I love to sew. LBE has already been benefiting and I’ll leave you with his new ‘travel bed’ I made with NASA foam stuff (only the best you know!) I think LBE enjoyed the holiday as much as we did.
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My dog and me.

No I haven’t forgotten you all, I’ve worked on my post, edited and sorted the photo’s and pop! I’ve lost the whole thing! Aaaaah!

Right. This is it!
Let’s try again eh?!

It’s been a really busy diary and this is partly because my Rheumatoid disease has been really awful.
Lots of hospital appointments and busy inbetween. Some long waits in orthopaedics. Thankfully LBE has his own bone

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LBE has enabled me to attend things all by myself! It’s been like turning into an adult again.

One problem I’ve experienced is a great deal of pain in connection with my jaw. The emergency X-ray involved going into a little room and you get your X-ray by biting on a lever thingy and resting on a chin rest. You have to stand ideally and so with my two new knees I can manage a few minutes.
The machine rotates around your head taking pictures.

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The X-ray technician showed us in allowing us time to settle and LBE to look and sniff. I settled him down behind the glass screen where the technician sits. Told him to STAY.
Quickly I went round and assumed the position!
Overhead I head footsteps, workmen overhead. I worried that LBE would get up or be alarmed. No sign and the moment the X-ray finished I plopped into my chair and whisked round behind the screen. I was delighted to find my lovely, clever boy wagging in his STAY position. He’d moved his head round to try and see the X-ray thingy but otherwise, spot on.
He got a mega fuss for that and yes there was sausage and cheese for him.

On the days where I’ve had a bit more movement. The craft and creative hobbies are on the go in the background and I took LBE to measure up my grans chair for some new loose covers. Gran loves dogs and she enjoyed explaining him to the other residents in her older persons flats.

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That completed I’ve had a few commissions for spring bunting. At Β£6 a meter I realise I’ve underpriced myself but I really enjoy making it and choosing the colours as well as the technical stuff.

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We got PAPPED at the community ‘fountain cafe’ fulfilling my parent champion role talking with the parents and PCSOs. Spelt my name ok but called LBE ‘elvie’…. Now THATS insulting! Thankfully HE can’t read πŸ˜‰

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One real highlight of the past week has to be our weekend trip up to Alice holt we started by the kids climbing about in the go ape activity rope path through the trees.20140316-214832.jpg
LBE and I explored the wood path behind there, full of interesting turns and dogs and families to visit and woodland that’s 100% access friendly. Such a treat!
Lovely (if pricey) cafe lunch (note to self to bring picnics next time).
We went off to explore the really fabulous accessible trail with LBE who was frankly in doggy heaven, finding den building locations and snuggling up in there. Met a lovely scruffy boarder terrier called Poppy with her family.

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Finally, I want to end telling you all about LBE’s fabulousness at tasking. He’s learned a new one with me by showing an interest in me with my wrist splints. Up until now I have not been able to put on or take off the strap without another person helping.
LBE has learned how to take them off which is hard as the neoprene and plasticky Velcro feels funny in his mouth.

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He’s so gentle, I thought if I could teach him to put them on and tighten them- that would be great and over the last few days he’s learned!
Our aftercare lady was very impressed with that, she taught him how to tuck me in at night by lifting the duvet over me.

This is a huge help, as the duvet is very hard for me to lift. He’s learning to tug it, just enough at the top for me to hold. The lower part of duvet is a bit more tricky.

We have a new one to practice in getting the phone when it rings. LBE gets the phone. But he needs to get it when it rings, not just when I ask.
Silver award test next time πŸ™‚

LBE has got a new toy or two and he’s also got a new grooming device as he’s shedding being a Labrador X retriever.
It looks like we have scalped Boris Johnson!

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We are planning a break as a family to south cornwall and if you know of dog friendly/ families with wonky warrior friendly places to go- please let us know.

Half term hols

Its half term week here which means a busy diary and lots of fun.
It normally means me trying to get help in and so I can go places with the children but this half term I have LBE!

Alas, the first few days LBE wasn’t really himself and reluctantly leaving his basket…
I rang aftercare who suggested bearing in mind this: new forest virus we had best be careful having run him up the woods here several times.
LBE was quite friendly at the vet and with no obvious symptoms I felt a bit silly having brought him.
Then the vet popped the thermometer up his HELLLLLOOO and yes- he’s got a fever. 2 jabs later and a check with bloods the following day LBE began to recover and shortly was back to his happy self.

So he came with me to appointments and runs up the park and got my boots to go out and picked up my phone a dozen times.

On wet days we played indoors and LBE picked up the card I dropped showing Boo the Answer!

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He even helped me with my sewing projects- picking up those pesky bobbins is a tricky job!

LBE and I were interviewed by ace journalist Jamie from the local junior school. Fascinating questions about what LBE does to help me, how old he is and why I have a helping dog instead of a pet involved much thought and careful answering.
LBE demonstrated how he works using special words and how smartly he works out problems. He brought both boots at the same time and got a bit of broccoli and sausage.
Jamie brought his hack photographer (aka mum Pam) and support crew (sisters variety) and they were wowed by LBE and how he’s wonderdog in this family.
To our delight they delivered a fab thank you

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And best of all
LBE got his first fan mail

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Library visit is part of half term here and so we went into town with Boo and had a lovely time. Boo read LBE a story in the rug area. Lots of little people came and asked as LBE was so chilled and gave him a gentle pat.
Their grown ups (mostly grandmas) asked all about him- I was delighted to hear Boo answering πŸ™‚
Then a grandma dropped a book right near him.
We all jumped…
The grandma was sorry.
LBE turned
He picked up the book
Passed it to me!
No instruction needed
What a clever boy πŸ™‚

Everyone said ‘aaaaah’

LBE and I found out they’ve levelled the path to the park so no more big bumps…. That was worth an email to the council

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Unfortunately, the woods have been more of a challenge

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So as a wonkywarrior & her children wanted to go wildlife hunting- we did go to the south downs which they’ve kindly made access friendly.

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A simple gate with a RADAR key lock gave us hope….
We then discovered a new Olympic trial sport.
Wheelchair mud slalom with optional teenager & child ballast, with encouraging wonderdog sniffing at local fox hole.

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Warmth in the wet

It’s the wettest winter on record- it’s been a challenge getting out there with LBE but inbetween downpours we’ve tried to get out as much as possible.
Got utterly soaked a few times- what makes me laugh is how we can be wet through and yet LBE will still leap over the puddles!

There’s lots to tell you about πŸ™‚

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Here’s lbe’s first trip to the community cafe with me. (Photograph with permission) he was centre of attention from a initially cautious clutch of toddlers. LBE did ever so well. There’s food, drink, noise, chairs & tables plus people in and out.

I’m a parent champion for the children’s centre and I am an ambassador for parents and other family to come and talk to, sign post to activities and gage from them ideas for further service.
That makes it sound very formal but it’s a lot of fun.

LBE has got increasingly settled at home and now tucks himself under the table while we eat our meals.

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He’s been working on getting my handbag and shoes from the other room. Lbe’s had a good try and each time has got better at it. He’s popped my slippers inside my bag and brought the lot through today which made me laugh!

We’ve been to visit the indoor museum at Basingstoke called milestones. It’s a huge indoor place with buildings, carts, vehicles and dressing up from Victorian- modern times. They have large artificial roads and it’s all set out like a collection of streets.

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LBE was an attraction all himself and lots of people asked questions. Every time we got to the kerbside LBE sat waiting to cross over πŸ™‚ got a bit confused when no cars ever came!

The big events for us this week were taking the infant school assembly where Boo attends. In May, canine partners are taking in a Demo team but for the time being I just went to explain, show what helper dogs do and how they should treat these dogs.
My background is as a primary school teacher, so felt at home in front of 430 people.
I made a simple PowerPoint that guide dogs help people who can’t see well, hearing dogs help people who can’t hear well and canine partners help people who can’t move very well.
The children really enjoyed the video clips of the dog tasks of washing machine, opening doors and collecting things. They had a good go at working out what his jacket and passport was for.
Their questions were very good e.g. How old is LBE ? (Nearly 2), How did he get all trained? (They teach him a little bit at a time and give him treats.)

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We’ve been visited by my cousin and her new baby. LBE was a really lovely boy- we were all very proud.
The weather might be woeful outside but inside we are settling beautifully. He’s following me about in the house now- and will choose to wander with me rather than anyone else. He comes when I call him and is a delight to take out and chat to (very good listeners these dogs!)

Next week is half term. Mr has no leave left so it’s the Mrs wonkywarrior & LBE show with the teens and boo about! In the rain it could prove to be pricey… I wonder if assistance dogs can bowl?!

Week 2 and a bit..

Team LBE have been out and about more this week.

Young miss Boo is put out because she is not allowed to snuggle LBE in her own bed. LBE has to sleep in his own basket next to mummy.
Our 6 year old thinks this is deeply unfair… So wonky followers I’ve got going with the creativity and Lo!

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Became

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Added the jacket

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And one bespoke cuddly hot water bottle cover completed πŸ™‚

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So one happy girl later… LBE, mr and I went off for a woody walk. LBE hadn’t been there before so we checked out a smaller section of pathway so the overall exercise area didn’t feel too daunting for him and then he had a fantastic time.

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It’s been a tricky week work wise for our young Waggy friend. He’s been up with me to the children’s centre where I volunteer and we went past the school playground. My aftercare lady came with me, we met my manager and I showed her round. There was lots of noise and bustle and there’s definitely some acclimatisation work to do there.
He’s fine in the children’s centre.
But the busy playground- the cacophony of noise was huge. Im to take him up there a few times to get him used to it more, he will be ok- but it’s early days still. We worked hard on not sniffing and although really tired afterwards I was pleased with how we had demonstrated the marvels of how well we are getting on.

I’ve spoken to school and arranged for me to come and talk in assembly. Probably without LBE at this stage but frankly the 400 children need to know when they spot us out together that they can’t just say hello and fuss LBE when he’s wearing his purple jacket.

Life continues a pace here and there’s been a flurry of outings, times in town, round shops and in cafΓ©s.
LBE gets a lot of admiring glances πŸ™‚

I have to allow extra time as talking about CP and my wonderdog to lots of strangers is part of my life right now, although one persistent fella who blocked off my route down the high street to ask 20questions about ‘the washing machine dogs’ got ‘here’s a leaflet- sorry can’t stop today- fundraising information on the back’

Lbes got good at getting my handbag so I can retrieve my purse. He’s also simply stunning at taking my jacket off- when we get in he has a drink and trots straight back to me, sits and waits for the command to do the jacket. He’s so gentle when he does it.

Later this week we’re going to attempt travelling on ambulance to my hydro appointment.
Wonder if he will have to wear those little blue plastic over shoes over his paws?!

Our first week together.

LBE and I are happily settled in our respective beds.
We’ve had a good first week. Really pleased to say that despite the frequent deluges we’ve managed to get out and about for various adventures.

The first weekend we met up with our daughter who’s at college. Took LBE round the village and into the co-op and was thrilled to see a canine partners fund raising box πŸ™‚

Then first few days he’s tethered at home, it’s like swaddling a baby really and gets him used to our home and our cuddly kitties.

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Young miss Boo really wanted to take LBE to school and promised to take him for a walk at lunchtimes πŸ˜‰ so instead she took a labelled picture

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Boo really missed us when she was at school but it gave LBE chance to meet my lovely PA and have some lovely walks about and get used to the sights and smells. We went to visit the children’s centre where I volunteer to support other parents and am a parent champion.

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Avoiding the speedy groper has proven to be difficult along with the keen other dog owners who have those mega long telescopic leads…. Cue the marvellous aftercare support who came out and about with us on Wednesday.
Frankly, relieved to know we are doing really well it’s just the confidence and practice that needs to grow. Our bond is really strong already and can only grow more. LBE did superbly off lead.
So we are now allowed to let him off lead everyday!

On Friday we got ready and went up to Winchester.

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Our lift routine was solid and LBE did a great job. The door is very small but the lift inside is just about big enough for me the dog and my PA.

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Nearly choked on our tea when the elderly ladies behind us asked if he was a ‘blind dog?!’

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I said he could see perfectly well thank you !!!!
Heheheheh!

Think our best day has been Saturday when we took LBE for an extra long walk and run up round the fields. LBE did great with his obedience and despite the reservations of Mr & Boo that LBE might not come back- waiting for his play to break and he came back brilliantly.

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LBE was a total star at my birthday party.
LBE was lovely at church.
LBE is home.

LBE is happy.

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Home :-)

We are HOME

The preparations and packing done, final good consistency based plans for home made, we were delighted to find not only were we going home…. We’ve achieved a

bronze award

But! I’m so embarrassed!

ELBIE is in fact LBE

Because some wonderful company has extremely kindly given the money to train my lovely boy.

The company is Lee Brown Events and we are hugely grateful to them. Team LBE!

There are some amazing ‘meant to be’s’ about me and LBE.

Firstly, my wonderful Grandfather’s nickname was ‘Elbie’.
Secondly, he was a boxer in the Royal Navy which links in with the sort of charitable event Lee Brown Events run.

My grandfather had the most generous nature and a loving family man. He had one leg and would have been fascinated about the dog. He passed away in 2004.

What a happy set of coincidences!

Currently LBE is snuggled up in his new bed, has used his new dog loo area sniffed the two cats and been ‘hello’d’ by Boo, Mr and my carer help friend too. He’s on his tether just now, which acts like swaddling a new born.

It’s lovely, truly lovely to be home.

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Cool (or soggy!) runnings

It’s the very last day of the course today so Elbie and I were out and about all by ourselves!
The trainers were all loitering with intent πŸ˜‰ and there on hand if needs be.

Elbie and I got off to a great start, trooping off round our tried and tested route. Every day so far has built up to today.

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So, were off…. Past the pub.. Cross two roads.. The pressy button crossing…
The sit, turns and dropped purse…. All fine πŸ™‚

Then! We met a dog coming along the other way who is a medical detection dog. We waited politely, Elbie didn’t pull to say hello but he kept focus on the wonky mum. ‘Good boy!’

Then onto the tricky bit, the switch at Boots to open the door.
We lined ourselves up beautifully. About to issue the command, an older lady popped her hand across us and was about to press the button.
I asked politely if she wouldn’t mind waiting a moment for my dog.
She stepped back.
Elbie did go for the up switch command and sat ready to go. We got a round of warm applause πŸ™‚
Elbie did give one little lick to the lady as she went past saying ‘coochi coo’ but other than that we were doing great.

On the way back to the pub car park now and glad of my coat. He walked so smartly

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Crossed roads really well.

Then it happened. White van man…
Suddenly from no where.
He pulled onto the pavement in front of me and Elbie. He did not look once. Nearly took both of us out :-O

Heart racing a bit but put Elbie into a safe sit. Then went round him.
The trainer watching me went and had a word…

Quickly back to the pub. Played a game of TUGGER TOY. Then back to the centre.

I spent some cash getting little presents for family. Key rings and badges and a cuddly Elbie puppy-a-like for little miss Boo.

Then a nap, lunch time and we had tea and cakes to celebrate the end of the ‘OST’ weeks.

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Then it was off to the free run for the day.
Elbie is capable of playing politely with other dogs. The canine partners have enjoyed lots of play with eachother through puppyhood and can be more permissive with their play.
So today we tried out and about with non CP dogs.
We started off with some obedience, sits and turns culminating in a sit and wait off lead.

Trooping along, trainer Steven put him on a long lead in case, but he was great. Frankly he wants to walk with mummy!
When a dog owner approaches with their dog on lead in an area like that, it’s a good idea to lead Elbie up too as there’s normally a good reason that dog is on lead eg. Gets lost. Not too friendly etc.

Off lead with Elbie parallel to one of the trainers dogs, I honestly thought he’d be off but no- keeping his attention first with squeezy cheese then that went away and my voice only.
He was so good

Because he was splendid I popped him in a sit, said good boy and sent him off to play with the trainers dogs. It was interesting to watch how well mannered he was with gentle play bows. You watch until a natural break in the play then call him, he arrives and plenty of praise given on the way he gets a lick of squeezy cheese. Happy he can go play again or trot alongside me. He choose the latter.

The rain was coming in then, so we headed back to a warm dry wonkywarrior family battlebus. Soggy runnings!

Cuppa and a chat about things to do and not do when home and taking things gently and teaching good habits from the get go is important.

Packing is now underway in my chalet. Settling up bills for the odd thing is on the agenda along with a bacon butte tomorrow morning and then we take my lovely dog Elbie home.