Edinburgh guide dog training: Days 11, 12 and 13

Firstly I would like to apologise for the lack of updates. I have had my husband Graham up visiting for a few days and I have also not felt 100%. As well as having aniridia I have bipolar disorder and despite being fairly stable on medication it sometimes comes back and bites me on the bum. I think it has just been the change of routine and feeling so many different emotions over the last few weeks and months.

We were at dinner a few nights ago and I found out that one of the other people on class also has aniridia! You know the usual conversation ‘How many dogs have you had? What were they called? What’s your eye condition?’. It’s not often you meet someone else with the same condition. I reckon it’s the luck of having two of us together making the weather so nice.

On Saturday morning we did a different route which had pedestrian crossings and a high street where we needed to be slower and more cautious and a stretch where we could go a full pace and stretch our legs. I got Annie a pink portable bowl, some pet wet wipes and dog bags from B&M Bargains and got my latte fix.

In the afternoon and this afternoon we did traffic training. This is where a member of guide dog staff drives their car towards you and you tell the dog to ‘Forward’ and either praise them if they remain firmly on the kerb or tell them ‘No!’ if they try to move. There are two types of traffic, near and far. Near traffic is where the car comes from your right directly in front of you. This kind of traffic we can practice ourselves with the dog. When we practice with real cars we don’t do the hand signal or we would give the driver a heart attack! Annie was far more cautious than the first time we did this a few days ago. Her bum stayed firmly on the kerb even when I was encouraging her to cross. I was very pleased that it had sunk in that she had to stay on the kerb and not play chicken with the car.

On Sunday morning we free ran the dogs, my trainer managed to get a brilliant photo and just before two of the dogs ran into his legs nearly knocking him over! It was lovely free running all four dogs together and they certainly kept up the chase well.

6 adults with 4 guide dogs just let of their leads and running towards the camera

In the afternoon we left Annie sleeping and Graham and I went into the city centre for a couple of hours.

About Beth Dawes

I have no eye colour but I do have an iPad, a guide dog called Annie and a pink long cane.
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