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#GuideDogDiaries Day 12

#GuideDogDiaries Day 12

Ida settled really well and seemed very relaxed and content when it came to bed time.
I think I was more worried about her settling and getting a good nights sleep more than she did.
As I live in a one bedroom flat I knew she wouldn’t be too restless because she could hear and smell us from her bed.

When Gary’s alarm went off in the morning she decided to come in and say good morning to us. Ida was very happy to see us both and intruded our space to say her hellos’ and ask for a fuss, it was very cute!

Breakfast was a bit of a dance. Ida decided to follow me everywhere I went; just encase I was making something for her!
When it came to actually getting her breakfast ready she was very enthusiastic.
I wanted her to lie in her bed as I got everything prepared, but the second I walked away she would jump out and follow me!
I had to rope Gary into getting her to stay as I pottered around.
He had no luck, she would lie down for a few seconds but as soon as he moved or stopped looking at her she tried to sneak past him to find me.
We both found it very funny, and couldn’t help but giggle a little, but we knew we couldn’t encourage her excitement, so we tried to be stern telling her to go lie down.

Eventually when I was organised and ready for her to approach, she bounded through to the kitchen, skidded all over the place and finally sat wagging her tail furiously.
The waiting process was probably less than 40 seconds but in this time Ida had formed a pool of drool, that literally sounded like a dripping tap!
Both Gary and I were very disgusted, and said as such to one another!
I got Gary to clear it up… there was no way I was touching her slimy slobber!

When Gary grabbed his jacket and headed for the door, Ida thought it was time for a walk because she stood by the front door, tail wagging. She seemed rather sad that he was leaving, but I made sure to distract her and we had lots of cuddles afterwards.

Because it was our first full day together at home, and due to safety and insurance reasons I was not allowed to leave the house with Ida, we spent the whole day indoors playing lots of games and having lots of cuddles.




Due to the weather being rubbish, I decided to groom her inside. She loves being groomed and took this opportunity to start rolling on the floor and pawing at me. Although very amusing I had to be stern and get her to up stand and stay focused while I groomed her.
She did try her luck a few times but I just kept repeating the obedience training.
She thoroughly enjoyed her grooming and found it very fascinating when I started cleaning up all the fur.
I soon noticed Ida wasn’t a fan of the hoover because she disappeared and ran into a different room every time I was in the same proximity as her.

When Gary came home, Ida got a little confused thinking there was an intruder at the door… She began to bark and rushed up to the front door to investigate the noise.
She didn’t bark for long and with lots of stroking and some obedience I managed to calm her down.
Everything went to pot when Gary came through the door…

Ida bounded up to him excitedly wagging her tail and backing her body into his.
I had tried to hold her by the collar but she managed to wrench out of my grip as her focus was on Gary.
I asked him to ignore her until she settled down, which he did.
When she realised she wasn’t going to get any attention until she calmed down, she just sat in front of Gary wagging her tail and smiling up at him until he eventually said hello.

Dinner time was interesting: although Ida was more relaxed than she was in the morning, she was still very excited and it took Gary and I being a tag team for her to stop wondering through to the kitchen to see what I was doing.

The rest of the evening was spent playing lots of games with Gary and I.
Gary and I love our little pup so much already, she keeps us entertained and on our toes… We couldn’t ask for a better companion! 🙂




#GuideDogDiaries Day 11

#GuideDogDiaries Day 11

I can’t believe it; we’re actually home!
It’s so surreal being at home and having a new addition to the family! 🙂

Today has been a whirlwind, after treating myself to a cooked breakfast: very tasty indeed!
i came back to the hotel room and started to pack. For the most part Ida relaxed but thought it a better use of my time was to play with her…
She became overly curious when I started to pack her things away and the excitement got the better of her when Mikyla arrived and started taking our things to the car.
She started running around like a loon and wouldn’t listen when I tried to get her to sit and wait each time Mikyla came/ left the room.
Ida’s giddiness got the better of her and as she was pulling me Mikyla had to step in and tell her off in order to settle her down.
When she finally settled, with her tail wagging ten to the dozen, I put her gentle leader on her and headed out to the car.

Considering the car was full of our things, she settled quickly.
As it was still early in the morning Mikyla asked if I wanted to work Ida in the shopping center before she dropped us home.

The walk turned out to be a great idea, not only did it give us all a chance to stretch our legs, but it gave me another opportunity to work Ida without Mikyla using her guiding lead.

Ida did a fantastic job, we walked the entirety of the mall complex,going in and out of shops she knew, she even relaxed fully when we sat at a bench.
There were lots of distractions in the form of tiny humans saying “doggy” and lots of cooing from the big humans, aside from wagging that tail, she didn’t let their interest peak hers.

When we arrived home, we unpacked the car and put Ida’s things in her new home before bringing her in.
This was so the smell of her own scent would be welcoming to her, and that way she didn’t get confused or overexcited when coming into a new environment.

I brought her in on her gentle leader because Ida tends to get rather excited in her new surroundings.
When she had settled, I let her off the lead for her to go and explore her new home. 🙂




Mikyla and I couldn’t help but laugh: every time my automatic Air-freshener went off she would jump out of her skin and stare it down!

Before too long it was time for Mikyla to go. She informed me that Ida may be unsettled for the first few days because there has been a lot of change for her in the last few weeks.
Mikyla assured me that if I had any worries or problems I could call her, but she was going to leave us to it and would come back on Saturday morning to do our first route together.

After the initial sadness of Mikyla leaving had worn off, Ida settled nicely. We played lots of games with her toys, and spent the time bonding.

I was looking forward to Gary coming home, I was eager to see him but most importantly I was excited for he and Ida to meet again.

As I expected her to be a little tornado when Gary entered the house, I got him to call me when he had pulled up outside.
This gave me time to put the gentle leader on Ida and settle her down before he entered.
The second she heard the door go she tried to lunge at Gary and shower him with love.

Gary ignored her while I gave Ida lots of obedience getting her to sit and lie down.
Mikyla taught me to do this because it gives your dog another focus, and reminds them that you are in control and they need to settle down.

Ida did beautifully, her tail and entire back end would not stop wagging!

When she was more relaxed I let her off the gentle leader and allowed her to go and say hello to Gary.

It was so cute seeing the two of them together! Clearly Ida recognised Gary, and was very pleased to see him again.
Although Gary was probably just as excited as Ida he stayed very calm and relaxed when saying hello, this encouraged Ida to settled down much quicker and make her feel at ease.

Dinner time was entertaining to say the least.
I got Ida to lie in her bed while I went to get her dinner ready.
Unfortunately because it is Ida, and this is food, she kept running through to the kitchen to investigate.
I kept walking her back into the living room and telling her to get onto her bed.
She just thought it was a fun game and kept jumping out of bed every time i left the living room.

This kept us laughing for a good 10 minutes before Gary and I teamed up and I got him to keep repeating stay as I got her dinner ready.

When I called her to me in the kitchen, she shot out of her bed like a bat out of hell and skidded into the kitchen.
She tried to devour her dinner but I managed to get her to sit and wait until I had blown the whistle 3 times allowing her to go ahead and eat.
Another bed/ dinner saga happened as Gary made our dinner…
Ida wanted to witness it to make sure she wasn’t being left out so kept coming through to the kitchen.
Lots of “come”, “down”,, “stay” and “good girl” continued as we showed her how we wanted her to behave during meals.

She certainly kept us laughing, but i know it’s going to take a lot of time and practice for her to grasp what we want from her.
It’s a learning curve for all of us, but i’m really impressed with how well she has behaved so far.

I just hope when it comes to sleeping she will relax and not be unnerved by her first night in a separate room from me.

Here’s hoping 🙂

Much love, Sassy x




#GuideDogDiaries Day 5

#GuideDogDiaries Day 5

Today has been full of fun and new adventures,well aside from the 06:00 AM alarm in the form of Ida barking!
I know she isn’t barking to be naughty, she’s either giving the noise a warning or she’s unhappy about the noise.
It wasn’t until I spoke with Adam later on that Ida barking had set off Hope… Ooops!

Our walk this morning was in a shopping centre type building, Ida and Mikyla have been training there so it was a chance for me to see how pro-active she is when she is on harness and knows exactly where she is going!
We walked through a carpark with her stopping at each kerb even if it wasn’t necessary for her to do so.
She veered off to the left and walked through automatic doors. As it was indoors the floor was lovely and smooth so it made the walk even more enjoyable and relaxing for me.

She weaved through people, past objects and furniture, and when she got to the end of the route she went straight to the automatic doors and headed left, back in the direction towards the carpark!
I was seriously impressed! If this is what she is like on a familiar route, I cannot wait for us to do routes together in places I actually know!
She is such a confident dog on harness and i’m so proud of her work ethic and minuscule distractions!

Before we headed back out for our second walk Mikyla taught me how to tackle stairs with Ida.
You get the dog to find the stairs and she put her front 2 paws on the first step and waits. This is so you can find the step, step up and then judge the depth of the step itself.
When you are comfortable you tell the dog to set off and you use the lead to control the speed you want your Guide Dog to go.

On the way down Ida sat at the edge of the stairs and waited, this gave me a chance to find the handrail and stairs.
I then stepped down onto the first step and asked her to come when I was ready for her to join me.
Her pace was fine until we got to the last 3 steps, she decided to go a little faster, and as the handrail stopped 2 steps before the stairs finished this made me really unsteady and uncomfortable.
Mikyla said that this happens with all dogs because they get into a rhythm, and I am just to hold the lead firmly and tell her to steady if I need her to slow down.
She wants to make sure that I am comfortable and confident to use stairs safely.
I’m going to definitely practise with Ida more tomorrow. 🙂

In the afternoon we headed towards the area we have been working in previously, this is so that both you and your Guide Dog can tackle a familiar route together and it gives you time to work the dog.

For this walk Mikyla reduced the tension on her support leader giving me a chance
to really steer ida on my own.
it definitely felt different; there was more tension in the harness as we walked and if I needed to make her steady or pay attention I would do a small jerk of the handle, to add a bit more dominance to her through the harness.
This isn’t painful to the dog, it’s a bit like a friend giving you a nudge if you were to fall asleep in lectures.

I did have to do this twice.
Once because Ida walked me into a wheeliebin.
I corrected her by taking her back to the setting off position and as we approached the bin I did a flick of the harness and said over.
Ida is so switched on that she did automatically move over this time, but it’s good practise for both of us to remind her that she needs to be aware of our width together.

The way Mikyla explained it to me was that Ida is still learning our width together and as this is very different to the width of her and Mikyla, she is having to readjust.
This also happened because Mikyla had allowed me to take full control of Ida on harness instead of steering her gently with the support lead.

The second time happened when we were approaching a down sloping kerb.
Mikyla had previously mentioned if I felt Ida going off to the left or right, I should flick the harness and tell her to go straight on.
As we approached the kerb I felt Ida veering off to the left. I flicked the harness and said no, straight on.She followed my direction and then stopped.
I bent down to give Ida a fuss for listening and as I did so my hood slightly grazed a stone bollard.
The reason Ida was going off to the left was to avoid the bollard and get me to a safe part of the kerb to cross.

Mikyla said she had an inclination to what would happen but she wanted to see what would happen if I would correct her. Which I did.
Immediately I felt terrible, Ida was doing the right thing and I made her go off course.
Mikyla said that sometimes things like that will happen, especially in environments I don’t know. She said I did the right thing by correcting Ida, because I thought she was going wrong, and when it does happen just give Ida praise for paying attention and doing as she was told, even when she knew which way to go.

A massive highlight of the day has to be when Ida took me into the Co-Op.
This is a route she has been learning with Mikyla, and wow was she amazing!
She found he automatic doors, turned right as we got into the shop, found a smaller set of doors and sat by them so I could judge the width and tell her to go.
She then took me through thee aisles without me catching anything. She stopped infant of a queue of people until there was a gap in the crowd and she gently manoeuvred us both through the queue.
She then stopped just after,, by the Irn Bru was, Mikyla has been training her to stop at. And then I gave the command to find the door, and she took us out the doors.
She did it so gracefully it was absolutely easy going and relaxed!
I don’t think i’ll ever forget that moment. It was so beautifully executed; ida was totally in control and utterly confident.
I’ll never forget the calmness that fell over me even though I had absolutely no clue where she was going!

On the way back to the hotel we popped into Pets At Home for a nosey; wow they like to hike up the prices for things don’t they?
But it was good to see the sort of things I can get for Ida. 🙂
Also, we saw a rabbit that was flat out on it’s side and fast asleep, but it looked eerily like it was dead!
And another rabbit who had one floppy ear and one stiff ear sticking straight up!

When we came back I decided to groom Ida, i’m really glad she likes being groomed, it’s good to see her so relaxed and zone out. 🙂

At dinner, Ida was great. There was a few distractions but she listened to me when I wanted her to settle down.

Oh boy, I actually had tears streaming down my face when it was time to go back to the room.
The bit of the harness that sits over her mouth and nose had come loose, and because I was all fingers and thumbs trying to put it back on I removed the lead so I could put it back on correctly.
This was when she decided to wonder off and wouldn’t come back to me when i called her (she was only about 2 foot away but still). I had to go over to her, I tried to get her to sit so I could put the gentle leader back on but the combination of her being on a tiled floor and her not being interested she started slipping about.
I guided her back to the carpet and got her to sit. She was completely uninterested and thought it would be fun to collapse on a heap on the floor.
At this point I was already giggling, but that ramped up to shoulders shaking kind of laughter… I put the gentle leader over my hand and guided it towards her nose, just as I got to her mouth she stuck out her tongue and licked the inside of my hand.
I removed my hand and repeated the process, but she just kept on sticking her little tongue out every time it was about to be placed over her mouth and nose.
After she snuck under the chair I managed to slip it on.
Maybe this isn’t as funny on paper, but honestly at the time I couldn’t stop crying!
Even Adam laughed along with me, telling me to never give up my sense of humour, because it’s good practise for the future when she wants to be be difficult!

As soon as the gentle leader was on, she went back to good dog mode! 🙂
I love her cheeky side, her character is just brilliant.
Her happiness and cheekiness is magnetising 🙂




Things I’ve Learned.

•Learning how to go up and down stairs with a guide dog, I definitely need more practice!

•I cannot leave empty food bags on the bed and then leave the room: ida rips them to shreds!
Clearly the smell of food is far too tempting for her not to jump onto the bed and grab it down.
I think she thinks i’m depriving her of food!

•She is so good at direction and knowing our routine within the hotel she now knows how far away to sit from each door so I can open it to get us both through, not only this but she finds the door when I ask her to.
Technically when a Guide Dog is on a gentle leader she is not guiding you so you shouldn’t ask her to find things but I think it’s good practise for her listening to me, plus she gets a massive fuss every time she is right! 🙂

•She enjoys being mischievous but will snap back into good dog mode when the gentle leader is back on.

•She loves company but also enjoys her own company; every time we come back from somewhere and have had some playtime together she takes herself off to her bed and entertains herself.
It’s great knowing that she’s not needy and will come see me when she wants attention 🙂



I’m so excited for tomorrow, we are heading to a proper shopping centre, AND Gary is coming to visit!
I can’t wait for them to meet, I can tell Ida is going to be a proper little flirt!
And of course, I shall let you know all about it! 🙂




🙂

#GuideDogDiaries Day 4

#GuideDogDiaries Day 4

It’s the cutest thing waking up each morning, getting out of bed and Ida noticing; she comes running up to the end of the bed and wags her tail excitedly. How could that not put a smile on your face everyday? 🙂

She’s definitely more relaxed with me now, and has been testing the boundaries in the case of jumping up onto the bed!

I got a shock after turning off my hairdryer and hearing a jingling coming from behind.

I put on my stern voice and told her off. She just sat smiling and wagging her tail!
It wasn’t until I got hold of her collar gently tugging her towards the edge of the bed and saying off that she decided to listen!

I shared this with Mikyla this morning and she gave a little laugh and said yes, she’s pushing the boundaries to see how much she can get away with!
Funnily enough Hope had done the same to Adam this morning too!
I think they had a cheeky conversation the night before and see who could outsmart us first! 😉

The walk this morning was good, the bitter weather made me quite stiff but that didn’t seem to phase Ida, she is so in tune with slowing down when I physically can’t walk at her pace. I’m so incredibly lucky to have her.
I give Ida so much praise when she does this, especially because i’m not even asking her to slow down!

Later on in the morning Morvan from the health and well being team came in to chat to us about caring for our dogs’ health and how to notice behaviours in a dog when they are not feeling quite right.
It was reassuring to know that I can pick up the phone at anytime if i’m worried or have questions.

Ida was a total whirlwind when we first went into the room, new smells and lots of faces, I had to be firm with her to get her to settle, but when she did, I only had to ask her to lie down once.
It’s fab knowing that she is becoming really receptive to me. It’s a pleasure having a charismatic dog that also knows when it’s time to listen. 🙂

In the afternoon we went on a slightly different walk compared to the morning; full of lots of types of road crossings, pelican and zebra crossings and fantastic guiding through lots of people and street furniture.

Ida certainly had her business head on this afternoon, I could tell she was full of energy and really wanted to work.

She got big love and praise throughout our walk but it’s so rewarding to remove her harness and give her so much fuss and attention for being so assertive and hardworking.

The walk obviously hadn’t burned off enough energy for her because as soon as we got back to the hotel and I was sitting on the sofa she came up to me with her toy dinosaur: her way of telling me she wants to play.
I threw it across the room and couldn’t help but laugh as she sped of and skidded around the room retrieving it and having me repeat the process.

She got a little too excited because she thought the bed was another part of the game! The second she jumped up i stood up, cleared my voice, said a firm no and pointed to the ground… instantly she got down!

I can’t explain the feeling I get having that fun with her yet still having that respect for me that she does as she’s told.

As strange as it sounds i’m actually enjoying her pushing the boundaries and being mischievous; she’s always keeping me laughing!

I can’t believe it’s Friday tomorrow, time really does fly when you’re having fun!




Things Ive Learned.

•Ida thrives off working. I can’t put into words how happy that makes me.

•When finding a pelican crossing: Ida takes me to the kerb edge, but right next to the crossing button, this means I can reach out and press the button and wait in a secure place to cross.

•Ida is so tiny she can sit up straight while being under the table. OK not on her best Guide Dog behaviour, but it’s very funny, and not to mention super cute!!

•She is learning the layout of the hotel: knowing to sit at doors and wait, but also how far away she needs to sit so when it opens it won’t catch her.

•Loud noises don’t startle her: we had fire alarms and unexpected bangs happening and she didn’t react.

•Food is even more precious to her than I first thought: as she was scoffing her dinner, a bit flew out of the bowl,, she bolted to it and inhaled it before returning to the bowl to finish it off.
You definitely had to be there to appreciate just how funny it was!!

I’m looking forward to tomorrow, we are tackling stairs and going to a different area completely to walk new routes 🙂

I hope you are enjoying our journey so far? 🙂

Much love, x




#GuideDogDiaries Day 2

#GuideDogDiaries Day 2

I spent my first full day and night with Ida. She slept in the hotel room with me; her own bed set up at the other end.
After her anxiety and whining in the day I was wary that she might be unsettled and not sleep.
I was pleasantly surprised, she crashed out before I did!
I had a nice alarm in the form of her barking at something around 06:40 this morning.
It wasn’t an incessant barking so I left her to it so-to-speak. She isn’t even 2 yet and this was her first night alone with me, with lots of busy sounds going on around her I was pleased she was relaxed.
I took her to the toilet and when we came back in  I started getting myself ready for the day.
Mikyla said that we should busy ourselves after spending our dogs, this way they do not expect food as soon as you walk in the door.
When feeding your Guide Dog it is good practise to hold the bowl high out of reach and repeat leave it while you are sorting it. This way your dog knows not to try and interfere when you are preparing their food.
Ida is a little fatty when it comes to food….. I should have taken this into consideration when I placed her bowl down, asked her to wait and lent over to grab the whistle.
The guzzle chops ignored me completely and dived straight in!
I had to grab her by the collar and pull her back… All the while the little monkey was crunching her food in her mouth and delightedly wagging her tail.
As they say: school boy error.
I corrected her behaviour by making her sit,and wait as I held onto her collar. Once she had settled down I gave her permission to eat by blowing my whistle 3 short sharp times.
At breakfast I explained the situation to Mikyla and she suggested coming back to the room after obedience training to be my support in getting  Ida settled so I could try food obedience.
Adam and I did obedience training with our dogs together out in the corridor..
 Our dogs’ are actually best friends; they were born on the same day, but, from different litters. Their puppy walkers lived very close together, so as little puppies they were taken from the breeding centre together and homed.
They have also been together for the last 12 weeks in kennels, the car and training together.
So having them deliberately being in each others space but on the gentle leaders a good training experience for them.
The training was also good for us as owners because we can see what our dogs’ would be like coming into contact with other dogs outside.
It was really interesting watching them eye each other but having to ignore each other because they were on their leads and because we were giving the verbal instruction of leave it.
There was definitely a few naughty moments which turned out to be quite funny.
The closerIda and Hope got to each other, the more excited they got. We were specifically instructed to have them lie down facing each other, and got them closer and closer.
Ida got a little overexcited; she sat and lay nicely but started commando crawling towards Hope. I had to get her to sit up and lie back down.
At this point Ida thought it would be a great idea to roll onto her back and wriggle about.
Through Mikyla’s instruction I had to get her to sit up and repeat the process again… Unfortunately Ida carried on with her little game twice more, I really couldn’t help but laugh… Which intern made my voice far less controlled, giving little madame even more reason to not listen!
Finally I got her settled and we came
 back to my room and ran through food obedience.
I put a tiny bit of food in her bowl but this time I had the whistle to hand and put my back to Ida as I placed the bowl on the floor. Making sure I asked her to sit, wait, and then gave her permission to eat.
Having Mikyla there as back up,, and, blocking Ida’s path to her bowl, really helped me control the situation. Thankfully she was much more responsive and got big praise for doing the right thing the 2nd and 3rd time around. 🙂
We went out for our first walk together with Ida on harness. I was super impressed with Ida’s guiding; since breaking my leg my walking has been disjointed which means I can sometimes walk quite wide of the harness. Thankfully this did not seem to phase Ida, and she even slowed down naturally when the pavement was more uneven.
She walked me around a block of terraced houses; this included always walking in the middle of the path, avoiding street furniture, guiding me around people and taking me to the road crossings.
In the afternoon we did the same route but in reverse, not only was I more confident but I was in considerably less pain. This made our walk together much smoother and faster. Mikyla commented on how well I walked with Ida on harness and how fluid the second walk was.
It’s really nice to hear some positive feedback from Mikyla, it gives me more confidence to know that i’m doing the right thing.
I’m very happy to report that Ida was so well behaved at dinnertime; having the whistle already around my neck, blocking her path with my back made a whole lot of difference.
This time she sat nicely, even after I moved away from her bowl I continued to make her wait, just to make sure she would not dive for her food like she had done in the morning.
She did not move, and only did after I blew the whistle 3 times.
I’m really pleased with myself for controlling the situation properly this time, but especially to Ida for listening and doing as she was told!



Things i’ve learned.

  • Always correct your dog when they don’t listen/ get overexcited.
    This is good practise for her obedience and your bond together.
  • Up sit: means to get the dog sitting , from the lying down position.
  • Guide Dogs are taught to walk in straight lines so you need to give them the command to turn left or right.
  • How to groom her: Ida has a number of different brushes to be used during grooming.
  • Using the lead when grooming your Guide Dog gives you more control of where they are and what they are doing as you are brushing them.
  • Ida looks like a frog when she lies down. She spreads her hind legs wide. It is very cute!
  • Ida reverses her backside to me when she wants a fuss.
  • Her tail never stops wagging 🙂




    I’ve absolutely loved having her with me all day; we’ve had lots of down time and she gets lots of praise for behaving and following through with  my commands.

I’m excited to say that we are definitely bonding and she enjoys my company 🙂
Looking forward to checking in tomorrow! 🙂

A Day In Brighton

A day in Brighton.

Back in April myself and 2 friends visited Brighton for the day. I’v never been to Brighton before so it was a nice way to explore the famous sea side town.

It was raining for the majority of our train trip so we weren’t particularly looking forward to stumbling about in the rain… Lucky for us as we got off the train and walked through the station the rain stopped!

I popped to the disabled toilets in the station before we headed off, they were clean and smelt nice 🙂 The member of staff by the barrier was very friendly also! 🙂

We were going to walk down to the Marina but as the bus stop was just across the road from the station we decided to catch the bus. A local came over to us and started chatting to us until our bus arrived, he was very friendly. The bus driver could tell that we were not locals and gave us a few ideas of where to go.

We caught the bus down to the Marina, the bus journey itself wasn’t that long, but entertaining. Not only did my friend manage to insult another passenger by announcing that she couldn’t tell whether the passenger was a man or a woman (the passenger was a woman, she had her head shaved and said she gets it a lot).
But the most exciting part for me was that the bus itself was electric and a talking bus! Great for the environment and the blind! Talking buses announce each stop and tell you what stop is next! I fell in love with the town instantly!

Number 7 electric and talking bus

We got off the bus and had a walk around, snapping some pictures and enjoying being in each others company!

Mermaid Statue

Brighton Marina with docked boats

Stone Fountain spraying water into a large basin

We decided to go for lunch and Zee-Zee’s , I have been to the chain before and as we were out celebrating my birthday I was given the deciding vote 🙂

We were seated promptly and given menu’s and our drink order was taken.
I asked for a Braille menu and the waitress went and fetched one for me; another bonus to Brighton!
After Kathy explained we were out for my birthday I was given a complimentary glass of Pressecco!

After the drinks were brought over there was a swap of waitresses, and the new waitress Maddie took our order She was very friendly and bubbly.
I ordered King Prawn Linguini in a tomato sauce with courgette shavings.

King Prawn Linguini in a bowl with courgette

Lenny ordered spicy meatballs in a tomato sauce.

Spicy Meat balls in tomato sauce

Kathy ordered some vegetarian rubbish 😉

Goats cheese salad and bread

As we were placing our orders Lenny and I were trying to encourage Kathy to get a meat dish, and kept trying to tell Maddie our lovely waitress that she should bring her a giant plate of food with various meats, much to Kathy’s dismay!

I would like to point out that neither of us have any problem with people’s life choices and if Kathy were not such a great friend, we wouldn’t have wound her up! 😉

When Maddie returned baring gifts of delicious food she too joined in the banter exclaiming that there were extra prawns in Kathy’s lunch! Kathy just about freaked out and Lenny and I couldn’t contain the fits of giggles we burst into!
Not only was our lunch delicious but having such a bubbly waitress with a great sense of humour totally enhanced our experience at Zee-Zee’s Brighton!

We were far too full to order any desserts, although they were mouth watering, we may have had another Pressecco or two 😉 of course drinking all that Pressecco called for a bathroom stop.
Zee-Zee’s Brighton had very disabled friendly toilets, they were clean and smelt that way too! 🙂

After letting the last of our drinks go down and giving our tummy’s a rest we asked for the bill.
Lenny i’m sure was batting his eyelashes at the lovely Maddie!It was fun to not only chat to her but get to know her a little too!
She even gave us some money off our bill!

As we were gathering our things I mentioned to Maddie that I was a blogger, and I planned on doing a review for Brighton, and was going to do a special mention of Zee-Zee’s and their fantastic service!

She said she wanted to read it, then I suddenly got bashful! So Maddie if by some very slim pickings you do ever read my blog; thank you for making our trip to Brighton all the more enjoyable, it was lovely to meet you!

We left Zee-Zee’s and headed out towards the Marina to take a few pictures, and then we took an easy stroll along the sea front back towards the train station. There is a tram service which passed us but as it was really warm and sunny we wanted to take in the sea air and soak up the sun.

Brighton Beach with a calm sea and the peir in the distance

We popped into Pret- A Mange for a quick drink as the sun was beating down! :

We also dropped into a quirky music shop; there were so many cool instruments and they allowed you to pick them up and try them out! 🙂

Lenny Plucking the Chello

A wall of guitars

Our entire trip to Brighton was fantastic, we enjoyed our leisurely time there, and would happily go there again, especially to explore the pier and the more touristy bits!
The locals were extremely friendly and welcoming, the services they provide are accessible and accommodating to Visually Impaired people, I would definitely recommend visiting Brighton!

Have you ever visited Brighton? Do you have any recommendations?




Disability Q&A Interview #4 Meagan Houle

Welcome back to my disability Q&A series where I interview people from around the world about their disabilities, and how they cope in daily life and overcome any struggles they may face.

Today’s interview is brought to you by Meagan, I stumbled across her Twitter page, a while ago, noticed she had a blog also, and got absorbed reading it she too blogs about visual impairment, disabilities and challenging stereotypes. So I thought who better to ask to join my campaign?

Now I hand you over to Meagan…
.

tell me about yourself?

My name is Meagan Houle, and I hail from the Great White North
(Alberta, more specifically). I’m a soon-to-be graduate of MacEwan
University, working on a Professional Communications degree. I’m
finally 21, so can now raise a glass anywhere I’d like! It’s terribly
exciting.
What hobbies do you have?
Language is one of my greatest loves, so I’m always reading, editing,
reviewing, or writing. Crowds don’t scare me, so I like to get up in
front of them and either speak or sing. Research is another great
love, so I’m always chasing some elusive answer or other.
Now we know the basics, can we learn a bit more about you?

What is the medical reason you have a disability?
My eye condition is Leber’s Congenital amaurosis, but its friends call
it LCA. It’s a rare genetic disorder that affects patients in varied
ways. Some may be completely blind, while others, like me, have light
and colour perception. The particular form I have is literally one in
a million, so I get to be special in at least one way. You might say I
won the genetic lottery.
Have you had your Visual impairment / disability from birth?
Yes. What little vision I was born with is declining now, but I’ve
always been visually impaired.

Which terminology do you prefer: Partially Sighted, Visually Impaired, Sight
Impaired, Severely Sight Impaired or Blind?I tend to favour “blind” because it’s such an easy, uncomplicated
catch-all, and because I’m not sensitive about perfect accuracy. If
we’re being technical, though, “visually impaired” suits me best as I
do have a tiny amount of vision, though not enough to give me any real
perks! (Thanks, universe.)
Do you have a cane, Guide Dog or neither?
Oh, I’m a lover of the long white stick, for the moment at least.
If you could extinguish your disability, would you? – If not, please explain
why.
It’s a complex issue, but the short answer is, maybe. If there was a
medically low-risk cure available I might consider it, but only if
rehabilitation services were being offered afterword. I can’t imagine
suddenly being able to see with no one to help me process the new
information my brain was receiving. I’m not exactly happy to be
disabled, but I’ve grown used to living this way and the thought of
such a foundation-shattering change makes me shiver a little. For me,
it’s not a matter of snapping my fingers and making my problems go
away; it’s far more nuanced than that.
For those who do not know much about your VI what can you see?
I can’t properly answer this question, because I have no idea what
seeing normally would be like. I have no frame of reference. I can
tell you that I can see light and colour, though my colour perception
is fading as LCA continues to limit my peripheral vision. I can’t do
any of the useful stuff, though. I like to joke that I’m functionally
blind, for the most part. I can’t read print or recognize faces or
drive. I read braille, and use screen readers, and travel with a cane.
How has your disability effected you?
*Socially
It’s tough to say how exactly blindness has affected me socially,
because I’ve never been any other way. I will say that, within the
bounds of my family, it made very little difference. Certainly, my
cousins and sister had to slow down a little when playing tag or
hide-and-seek, but generally I felt like one of them in the ways that
mattered. School was a different story. I was lucky for the most part:
I wasn’t usually bullied, and when I was, it often involved some kid
running around me in circles chanting “You’re blind!” over and over.
(Really? I had no idea!) I was, however, ignored by almost everyone,
even the nice kids. I eventually made a few cherished friends, and I
graduated with a healthy social life.
Dating was harder, not least because I was introverted and shy. I
couldn’t exactly fall for someone I’d hardly spoken to because looks
were mostly irrelevant. I also found it difficult to exchange those
loaded glances you’re supposed to send across the room to the
potential new love interest. I met my fiance online (though not on a
dating site), so I haven’t dated in several years.
Now, I don’t find it much of a challenge to make friends and
socialize. It takes people some time to warm up to me, but once I
prove to be fairly normal, I find it simple enough to join groups for
work and school. While I do have a large group of blind friends and
acquaintances, I get along equally well with sighted people.
*physically
LCA is believed to be capable of causing all manner of delightful
things, like organ damage unrelated to the eyes, but so far I’ve been
spared. Blindness itself is not an overly physical disability, in that
you can still move uninhibited for the most part. With blindness, it’s
the external environment that’s more worrisome. I’ve sustained more
than a few minor and moderate injuries courtesy of a post I couldn’t
see or a wall I forgot about entirely. I actually gave myself a minor
concussion once via a support pole while playing a spirited game of
tag. I did forget which grade I was in and the names of my cats, but
what’s a knock on the head here and there for a life of carefree play,
right?

*Mentally
This can tie into the social aspects, I think, so it’s a hard question
to answer on its own. One of the most important parts of a human’s
general development is their relationship to the outside world, and
since I grew up in a rural community packed with sighted people, I had
no geographically close friends who understood me or my particular
struggles. The internet, when it finally came along, broadened my
horizons enormously, but as a child and young teenager, parts of my
life were quite distinct from those around me and I had no idea if I
was doing everything right. Any exclusionary trait is going to
interfere with mental development, so I doubt I could even begin to
quantify the ways blindness shaped mine. I was sometimes put in
separate classes, though not often as I went to public school. I was
excluded from many activities, and placed in groups with people who
had cognitive disabilities (the reasoning being that disabled people
should all be lumped in together, even when they have nothing in
common at all). I really think my small but loyal group of sighted
friends saved my sanity while I was growing up.
Now, I’m reasonably well-adjusted, so I doubt blindness is quite as
problematic for me mentally as it used to be.

Do you think your disability has made you who you are today?
I imagine it’s impossible to have a disability like blindness and
remain entirely unaffected by it. My identity is made up of so many
components of my life, and blindness is an undeniably important part
of that. Maybe I’d be more inclined toward sports if I could see,
though there are many blind athletes, so that’s unlikely. Maybe I’d be
more interested in fashion, though again, there are many
fashion-conscious blind people, so that seems unlikely, too. Maybe I
wouldn’t be as introverted or bookish; maybe I wouldn’t be as
interested in music; maybe I wouldn’t be as passionate about diversity
and social justice. Still, introversion, musicianship, and a passion
for social justice are fairly common, so I’m not convinced blindness
has made me who I am, from the ground up. It would be naive to claim
it hasn’t shaped me at all, though. Blindness has a habit of
encouraging certain traits while minimizing others. Music an books are
blind-friendly, so it’s natural that I would gravitate toward them. It
makes sense that I’d be passionate about diversity, as I’m a diverse
individual by default.
If I had to cite one positive, disability-related aspect of my
identity, I suppose it would have to be a certain empathy toward any
and all struggles, whether I understand them or not. I’m quicker to
get involved on behalf of someone else, and much more likely to
consider a new discrimination case carefully before making judgements
about how it might be dealt with. Disability has, in short, reminded
me on a regular basis that life is unfair. It has made me want to make
it a little fairer.

Is there a particular question you get asked often because of your
disability? If so, please explain below.
There are too many to name! I suppose I’m most often asked how I
manage living with blindness. I don’t have a satisfactory answer to
this, so I just tell people that necessity is very persuasive. If
you’re given a burden and told you must either bear it or not exist at
all, it’s not a hard choice to make. This doesn’t mean I don’t
struggle, and this doesn’t mean I necessarily enjoy being disabled,
but it does mean that I’m forced to handle it, so I do. Most days,
it’s not even on my mind much. >
What are the positives of having a disability?
I’d say the positive I most value is that I get to see the best of
people. I definitely get to see the worst of people, too, when they
discriminate against me or tell me I’m just a drag on resources and
ought to go home to my mother. I get to meet people while they’re
offering an providing assistance, asking how they can get involved in
associated causes, and generally trying to understand me. So many
strangers have crossed my path because they wanted to know how they
could improve the lives of others. It’s a privilege to interact with
so many who seek education and champion diversity for all people, not
just themselves. These are the type of people who make great lifelong
friends.
What are the negatives of having a disability?
There are a few too many to discuss properly here. The obvious ones
are social exclusion, chronic unemployment, accessibility barriers,
gaps in understanding, lowered educational an professional standards,
bullying and bigotry, etc. Even the most successful, functional
disabled people can’t escape at least a few of these. You just learn
how to deal with them. We have all the same issues as every other
humans; we just have a few extra ones, too.

What would you say is a difficulty for you being VI / disabled?
At the moment, my most immediate difficulty is finding gainful
employment. I’m on the job hunt, and I’m routinely bumping up against
barriers that wouldn’t exist for a sighted person with my
qualifications and skills. I’ll be looking at the ideal job,
daydreaming about the interview, only to find a few duties associated
with video editing or some other skill I just can’t learn to a high
enough standard. Then there’s the issue of disclosure: I no longer
disclose blindness on application forms, because it’s the quickest way
to guarantee that my resume will end up in the recycling bin and my
calls will go unreturned. More than once, a hiring manager has become
excited about me as a candidate, only to go silent when they realize
I’m blind. Suddenly, the position has been filled, or they no longer
need anyone at all. So, interviews are stressful because I’m
anticipating their reactions to me. I know I’ll be defending the
qualifications a sighted person would simply be assumed to have. When
sighted people point to their degree, it’s assumed they can do the job
until they prove otherwise. For me, it’s the opposite: I find myself
defending my degree, because it’s assumed I’m incompetent until I
prove otherwise. It’s highly discouraging.
As a person with a disability, what are the things you face on a daily /
weekly basis that frustrate you?
*In your home
Unless I’m very careful about organization, it’s easy to lose things,
even if I’ve only just put them down. I can spend ten minutes
searching my tiny apartment for my keys or cell phone. (Of course, I
can put this down to being a wee bit scatterbrained, as well.) Then
there are general accessibility issues, like labels I can’t read,
though I have developed labeling systems to get around that. The home
is the least frustrating environment because it’s the only one I can
control.

*outside your home
The most frustrating obstacles outside the home are usually outdoors.
While I can learn a route and travel with reasonable safety and
precision, any unexpected obstacles can really throw me off. (This is
partially because I have a cane, but it can hinder guide dog
travelers, too.)Construction zones, illegally-parked vehicles, and
snowbanks are just a few of the objects that can knock me off course
if I’m not especially familiar with the area I’m navigating. Of
course, outside the home, people are free to move objects around with
impunity. So, even if I’m organized, as soon as someone moves my
belongings around, it’s going to slow me down. This happens especially
in school and workplaces, where a huge volume of people come and go,
often touching and manipulating things I will later need to use. This
is why we can be so fussy about our own possessions, and why we hate
it when others move them.
Are there any tips or tricks you use in daily life you’d like to pass on to
another VI/ disabled person?
I don’t have a ton of handy tips and tricks that aren’t either common
knowledge or stolen from those wiser than I am. I think the single
most useful thing I can think of is the value of labels. Label
everything, even if you think you can probably remember where you’ve
put a thing. That way, if someone else comes in and shifts your stuff,
you’re not facing hours of fiddling. If you can afford one, get
yourself a Pen Friend. The thing is an ingenious piece of tech that I
use all the time.

Do you use Assisstive technology in your daily living?
All the time! Assistive tech is how I get through my life with any
degree of efficiency, especially at work and school. I use, among
other things, a screen reader, an electronic labeler, (pen friend),
multiple image recognition apps, a scanner, and my beloved Packmate
braille display (yes, I still live in the Middle Ages, sue me).

What piece of advice would you give to someone newly diagnosed? Or going
through a deterioration in vision / or mobility?
I don’t know what it would be like to lose or be about to lose your
sight, since I’ve never really had much of it myself. All I would say
is that it’s so important to reach out to others going through the
same things. The internet is full of support groups for every
imaginable struggle, and if you can’t find one, start one. I know it’s
cliched, but you’re never alone.
Any advice you’d like to give to a person with sight / no disabilities?
Assume we’re normal until told otherwise. Obviously there are some
differences, but I think you’ll find they matter far less than you
might imagine.
Did you seek out any specialist services / charities to help you and your
family deal with your situation?
I was diagnosed in infancy, so my parents sought out the CNIB to
provide some support. As I got older, I usually handled struggles
without tailored help, though the CNIB continued to provide occasional
guidance as I grew. Today, I’m almost entirely independent of
designated charities and the like, but I do know when to ask for
help–something it took me a long time to learn.

Where can people find you out in the world?
🙂
When I’m not being featured on the excellent blogs of others, I can be
found on my own blog (wheresyourdog.wordpress.com) where I write about
advocacy, education, and diversity, among other things. There’s even a
post about how horrible mosquitoes are; it’s definitely a riot. You
can follow me on twitter (@MeaganHHoule), where I share things that
make me laugh, cry, and think. You can also witness my addiction to
literature on Goodreads
(https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/27630033-meagan-houle). Add me so
I can fall in love with the same books you do!

Anything you’d like to add my lovely?

Thank you so much for taking the time to read about me and my dubious wisdom.
If you take nothing else away from what I’ve said today, just remember
to follow this blogger’s example and ask lots of questions (after
checking that they’re nice, polite questions, that is). We all need to
know how much we don’t know. Knowing how much you don’t know is half
the battle…or something. Now, get out there and (respectfully)
pester some folks!




Thank you Meagan for your fabulous answers! Not only did I see yet another great prespective of how you live your life as a person with a disability, but you embraced it with such humour and pazazz! I love your writing style, it’s unique and amusing; certainly puts my ramblings to shame! 🙂

Please don’t forget to follow her links, and why not share the love? Leave her a comment, we would both appreciate it!

If you or anyone you know would like to take part in my Campaign, do not hesitate to contact me on the following:
Email:SassysWorld6@gmail.com
Twitter
Facebook

If you enjoyed this interview why not check out the others in the series so far?
Interview 1
Interview 2
Interview 3

You are most welcome to subscribe to my mailing list so you do not miss any future interviews. For that I would be most grateful! 🙂

Thank you once again Meagan, it was lovely to interview and find out more about you as a person!




I hope you enjoyed this interview as much as I did?

Until next time wonderful people!

Much love, Sassy x

What To Expect When Dating A Blind Woman

What to expect when dating a blind woman…

Men have always said that women are a pain when it comes to getting ready for a night out, so imagine the struggle the partner of a blind girl has to face on a daily basis… If you’re not sure, i’ll give you a little list 😉

Hair:
*Girl* Is my hair straight? it doesn’t seem to be lying right?
*partner* There’s a flicky out bit on one side…
*Girl* Flicky out bit? Where? And what side?
*Partner* The right, no, I mean the left.
* Girl, attempting to find said sticky out bit * A bit further back.
Noo a bit further than that…
Yep there!

Make Up:
*Girl* How does my make up look?
*Partner* Yeah it looks fine…
*Girl* Fine? You mean i’ve spent all this time putting my make up on and I look fine?
*Partner* Umm I mean you look beautiful!
*Girl* Thanks, but that isn’t really what i’m looking for; is my make up smudged?
*Partner* No it’s fine.
Oh wait, actually the green seems a bit thicker on this eye…
*Girl* You mean my eye liner?
Which one?
*Partner* Just a little bit on the right eye, if you just put it a bit more on the other eye in the same place it’ll be done.

Clothes:
*Girl* OK so I want to wear a dress, but I think it’s a bit cold.
*Partner* Why don’t you just wear a top and trousers if it’s cold?
*Girl* Because I live and die in jeans and a top, I want to wear something nice for a change!
*Partner* OK, what about the black one?
*Girl* Which black one?
I have loads of black dresses…
*Partner* The one with the longer sleeves, that way you’ll be warmer…
*Girl* Oh, I always wear that one! Plus I’m fat at the moment, so I don’t want my rolls showing!
*Partner* How many times have I told you, you aren’t fat!
*Girl* If i’m not fat, then what’s this? (Grabbing a roll of fat).
*Partner* (Ignoring her) What about this one?
*Girl* Ooh yeah, I haven’t worn that one in a long time!
Good choice!

Shoes:
*Girl* So which shoes do you think will go with my dress?
(Holding out two different pairs of shoes)
*Partner* Umm, they both go, it’s up to you love
*Girl* Yeah I know that! That’s why I picked them out,
What ones do you think I should wear?
*Partner* The sparkly black ones.

Jewellery:
*Girl* Shall I wear my silver or black earrings?
*Partner* Black, they are pretty.
*Girl* Don’t you think i’m wearing too much black?
*Partner* Go with the silver ones then…
*Girl* Yeah I suppose, that makes sense!

Bag:
*Girl* I think i’ll wear a different bag today…
*Partner* Why don’t you use the one you wear all the time?
*Girl* Well I suppose I could, but that’s black too, and I thought I should match my earrings… (Thinking deeply)
*Partner* (Trying not to lose the will to live) Yeah sure, go with the silver bag then…

Nails:
*Girl* Oh, can you paint my nails for me please?
I haven’t had my nails painted in ages!
*Partner* Do I have to?
I’ve just spent ages picking out your entire outfit…
*Girl* Oh great, thanks, just because you helped to pick out my outfit, i’m not allowed to have my nails done?
I’ll remember to cash in my token next time! (Girl sulks)
*Partner* Fine, OK. I’ll paint them!
*Girl* Thank you!!! You know how much I love you right??
(Tries being mushy, making kissing noises) Come here then, let me give you a kiss!
*Partner* Can I not just paint your nails?
*Girl* (Giving him THE LOOK)
*Partner* (Gives her a chasing kiss, and heads towards the nail varnish drawer) OK, what colour do you want?
*Girl* You choose…

So gentlemen, next time you complain about your girlfriend/partner/wife taking so long to get ready, just be thankful you are not having to help her pick every thing out!




***Disclaimer, this is a tongue in cheek post, generally women have got the entire outfit and make up already planned,although they might ask you to check their hair or make up, it’s highly unlikely anyone would be asked all of these questions in the same day!

Or maybe that’s just me? 😉

***DisclaimerII Not every Visually impaired or blind girl is into any of the above, likewise they may love bags and nothing else.

***DisclaimerIII I know I was being extremely stereotypical, but i did it for the convenience of this post.
Also, I do not discriminate against a persons’ sexuality or gender.

Much love, Sassy x

20 Reasons It’s Fun To Be Blind

So why is it fun to be blind? we’ve got to learn to laugh at our misfortunes instead of crying over them, haven’t we? I’m all about fun: laughter is certainly the best medicine!
😉

  1. If someone is cooking you a meal, and decided not to tell you what it is, you get a food surprise with every bite.
  2. Wearing dark glasses means you can stare at people and they’ll never know!

3. Walking into inanimate objects and apologising!

4. Saying hello back when someone says hello. No they weren’t talking to you!

5. You’ll never be asked to help people move, or redecorate their house.

6. You can’t see how messy your house is, so therefore it’s not messy.

7. You can read in the dark: if it’s braille or read by speech of course!

8. You can use your blindness to get out of doing chores, even though you are perfectly capable of doing them!

9. You can play Eenie Miney Mo when you’re out in are choosing from the menu.

10. Every time you drop something, it’s a cross between Blind Mans Buff and playing treasure hunt like you did as a child!

11. No one is going to ask you to read a map on road trips: it’s not a fun journey until you get lost!

12. Every partner you have is a 10 out of 10!

13. Playing eye spy everywhere you go.

14. When you’re in a group of people and someone points and says look at that… The witty response is, i’m trying really hard but my eyes just don’t seem to be cooperating!

15. When people ask if you’re training your Guide Dog, you can tell them that yes they are part of a secret mission but it’s classified information.

16. No need to buy an extortionately priced and oversized TV: you can’t see it anyway!

17. Hoovering your house and when you’re finished, a voice says hello and you jump out of your skin… They’ve appeared from nowhere; It’s like magic!

18. You don’t have to look in the mirror and be greeted with your scary morning face!

19. See when something gross has just happened…Like your parents kissing 😉

20. No need to purchase a blind fold to spice it up in the bedroom… You’ve got one built in 😉




***Disclosure This is a light hearted post, with no detrimental feelings towards Blind or Visually Impaired people.
Not every person who is registered blind, or refers to themselves as blind, has 0% sight.
I hope you can take this post for what it is, funny… And if not, maybe try some happy pills 😉

Much love, Sassy x

I’m No Poet, and Don’t I know it!

I’m blind and cannot see,

And encase you’re wondering I do watch TV,
I prance around dance and sing,
Even though I don’t see a thing,
Sometimes it’s hard and can be rough,
But when life throws a curveball it makes you tough,
Don’t stay sad or glum,
Apply for a guide dog and you’ll have a life long chum!
I know this is extremely cheesy haha, but I came up with it yesterday morning. The inspiration came from fellow blogger rhymingwithwine as I think her blog is great and her writing style is funny and unique 🙂
I know that it’s terrible but I just want to put some humour into this blog! I do want to educate people on disabilities, especially visual impairment, but I believe that you’ve gotta live life to the fullest and not take everything so seriously, laughter has definitely been my best medicine over the years!
Any daft musings or poems you’d like to add?
Hope you’ve enjoyed your weekend!
Much love, Sassy x