Again it`s been a while since I added to my blog as life is sweeping me along and finding time to fit everything in and look after myself can be difficult.
I met up with family at the new year they came to stay, it was busy and fun, and a great way to bring in the New year!. I`ve known my sort of sister since she was about ten or eleven. She was a typical tomboy that played football in the streets with her dog, and could hold her own in a fight but wasn`t having the best start in life at home. Today she is raising a girlie girl that loves sparkly things and being pretty; like her Mum though I doubt she`d take any nonsense! She`s also raising a sweet natured, kind little boy that has a smile that makes you melt. She works hard, has goals and she`s an amazing Mum with amazing kids and I`m so proud of her as she has come so far despite the challenges.
February took me and a friend on a trip to West Sussex. There had been a number of emails and calls between myself and Canine Partners in the weeks leading up to it and then finally, THAT call: `We think we`ve found the right dog for you!`
MMy trip to Sussex was quite an adventure too as it happens! Bless my friend for taking me and quite brave of her too but there was a host of things she had failed to tell me, such as, she hasn`t driven far in many years, she doesn`t use a sat nav, she can only drive manual and that when booking the WAV she hadn`t really spoken with them about the vehicle she had volunteered to drive or that when she volunteered she had hoped that my other friend would be back by then to drive me instead, lol
She had arranged with the vehicle hire to have the car dropped off at mine at 2 pm, (She hoped to miss the traffic in London) The vehicle arrived at 1 pm but she was still at home an hour away. The vehicle was HUGE, the sort I hated at `special` school. They had thought two wheelchairs meant two disabled people in two wheelchairs. When my friend finally arrived the two gentlemen spent ages showing her how to strap and unstrap the wheelchair into this monstrosity but NOT how to drive it! They had gone by the time we started to set off after 3 and my friend didn`t know how to drive it at all as it was automatic. So my brother in law was telling her on the phone from work and my Sister was texting or calling too! When we finally set off I could see that my friend was anxious (Something about her white knuckles on the steering wheel was a bit of a giveaway, lol) and stressed. She mistook the pedal a few times and slammed on the break, it was a very good job that myself and the wheelchairs were strapped in as we got thrown forward with a jolt. She also stalled more than once which was a bit frightening especially on a busy road.
She had all these printed out directions that her hubby had done for her, and there I was sitting in the back of the van in my electric wheelchair with my mobile torch directing her, which got increasingly difficult as it got darker.
We got to Chelmsford and we had to ring the hire people and tell them that she could no longer drive the minibus. By this time I think we were both too scared to carry on. My friend was obviously terrified driving something so out of her comfort zone and I was increasingly anxious at the fact she looked and sounded so anxious and was making so many mistakes. The hire company very kindly worked out a way forward and then offered to change it there and then despite being out of hours. We sat in McDonald’s at Chelmsford for and hour as the van was freezing and we hadn`t eaten for hours. They finally came after many calls to and throw, the manager and his wife in a Peugeot that was far more suited to both our needs.
We set off again, my friend felt a bit more at ease as it was a manual drive. I didn`t feel like I was rattling around in a fridge freezer tin can, though it still got colder after a while.
We finally got to Liphook at 9 pm but it took another hour before we found the Metro as we drove round and round; tired, too dark to read the directions easily and both still anxious from the stressful trip.
We got to the Metro at ten only to find that despite telling the Metro booking place that I was attending Canine Partners and needed a room near my `carer` in case I need help, that because I’d not actually used the word wheelchair they had not booked me a disabled room. The two rooms booked were upstairs and they have no lift!
The man at the desk had a short notice reshuffle and found me a ground floor room at the end of the corridor. However I couldn`t fit my wheelchair through the bathroom door, but luckily I could lodge it in the doorway and hop towards the loo holding onto the wall. The next morning though my friend had to remove a wheel to get the wheelchair into the bathroom for me to wash!
The previous night I had had to fill in a fire risk form due to my disability etc but had there been a fire that morning I would have been trapped in the bathroom and unable to get out and my friend would have been upstairs in her room packing while I washed.
After a wash (The bath had no plug and the shower was too high) we left and had breakfast at Starbucks, which was lovely. We set off for Midhurst but after a while of going round and round I started to use the satnav on my mobile and we finally got to the CP at 11 am but I was due at 10!
The dog trainer came down and I apologized profusely as I was embarrassed, but he was fine. I had to borrow one of their wheelchair chargers as mine had been left under the carport at home in all the van curfuffle.
Finally, after a good chat, the trainer went to collect my dog match! (She was worth everything, She came in and she is perfect!)
I did some cone work, going round the cones while using the command words to make the dog turn, stop, etc, and it was so much easier in my own wheelchair (Last time I had to borrow one of theirs) and it didn`t take long before she began looking to me for my next instructions instead of the trainer. We went outside for a walk and into one of the paddocks for a play, I loved it all and so did she.
We went back inside and the trainer said I was a natural with dogs and he felt really good about the match but that he would ring the following day for how I felt and if I wanted to continue.
The journey home was a little less eventful as I just used my mobile until we got onto the A3, despite it eating my battery per second.
The journeys to and from put my anxiety levels and asthma through the roof and it took a few days not to feel exhausted and got a virus not long after and had to up my inhalers. My friend and I can laugh about it all now though as really it was like something from a really bad comedy sketch! lol
A few lessons about the car hire were learned though and I have spoken to them directly with clear instructions of what`s needed in April.
The dog trainer rang me the following day and of course, I said yes!
So now I am all set to go back mid-April, the vehicle is paid for barring £60. My senior dog is going to her previous owner, so I know she`ll be safe and looked after. The dog loo is built and almost ready, and the garden is safe from all rubbish and the hens fenced off. (Though at the moment getting through the dog loo trellis, so the fence isn`t working.) I am already mentally packing and practicing getting up earlier as I am not a morning person by nature. I can`t wait to see my dog again and have already bought her a pink elephant toy to play with. We`ll train for two weeks, hopefully, graduate and then we come home together!
y trip to Liphook was quite an adventure too as it happens! Bless Sally for taking me and quite brave of her too but there was a host of things she had failed to tell me, such as, she hasn`t driven far in many years, she doesn`t use a sat nav, she can only drive manual and that when booking the WAV she hadn`t really spoken with them about the vehicle she had volunteered to drive.
My trip to Liphook was quite an adventure too as it happens! Bless Sally for taking me and quite brave of her too but there was a host of things she had failed to tell me, such as, she hasn`t driven far in many years, she doesn`t use a sat nav, she can only drive manual and that when booking the WAV she hadn`t really spoken with them about the vehicle she had volunteered to driv