Dog Blog: catching up and celebrations!

Hello! Jazzy here again after quite a long leave of absence. 
I’ve been as unhappy about this lack of Dog Blogs as I’m sure you have, but the only poor excuse the boss has to offer is that final year uni stresses have unfortunately put my posts on the backburner recently. I’m not sure I buy that. I think she’s just jealous of how much more popular my posts are than hers! But never mind, let me catch you up. 
Back in September we returned to Uni for our final year. I’ve come to think of the library as something of a second home and have decided on my favourite spot to sleep under the radiator, graciously accepting any pets or fusses I might receive by passers-by. 
But don’t worry, we’ve done a lot of fun things too. It feels like a long time ago now when the boss and I spent a weekend sightseeing in London with the boss’s family. I think I love the big smoke as much as she does! We did lots of strange but interesting things like go on a Duck Tour, where we sat in a vehicle which one minute was whizzing around the streets of London and the next was cruising along the Thames! 
We visited this bizarre place where there were lots of very still and strange smelling people, the boss and the fam seemed to very much enjoy posing with. I got in a couple of these photos too, naturally. We also spent a lot of time in the air, which I have to admit I wasn’t a huge fan of. We went on this great wheel thing that hung in the air and moved! I did not appreciate seeing the ground so far below and stayed well away from the strange glass walls. As I also did when we visited the tallest building I think I’ve ever seen, though I did concede long enough to pose for another picture. I swear more time was spent posing that weekend than anything else!
Not long after, we visited the boss’s sister in another lovely city called Cardiff. I very much liked this place because of the spectacular park I got to run wild in! My boss’s sister is at Uni there, like the boss and I are in Chester. But I much prefer our digs to hers, it was little bigger than a box!
After lots of time in the library again, I got to spend my first Christmas with the boss and her family. This was an absolutely brilliant time! I had the company of my best friend Bella for three weeks, the boss’s baby brothers have even more energy than I do, and oh the food! The boss even had a miniature version of me put in pride of place on the Christmas tree.
The 6th of January was the anniversary of the day I came to live with the boss. We travelled back to Uni and prepared to face more quality library time. The boss was quite concerned for me that month because I’d put on a little holiday weight and I’d acquired a funny lump below my chin. When we visited the vets the boss was told that it could be a tumour, benign or otherwise and had to wait a whole worrisome weekend for the test results. Thankfully the lump turned out to be a benign growth and after a few weeks of steroid cream treatment it disappeared. 
After that, it was back to yet more chilling in the library. All the stresses of Uni work was taking its toll on the boss, but what she didn’t realise was that it was affecting me too. Humans are far less intelligent creatures than we canines, which is why I’m sure it took several weeks for the boss to figure out that the reason I didn’t seem to be myself, not enjoying my work so much and not wanting to play, is because trying to remain up-beat and happy when your boss is so down in the dumps is very hard work. When she finally came to this realisation though I think it might have been the push she needed to talk to someone about how she was feeling. So of course I accompanied her to lots of meetings and appointments where I did my best to make things easier by resting my head on her knee and letting her play with my ears while she talked.
I am pleased to say that the boss now seems to be feeling much better, which of course means that I am happier too. People had told her that I would be very sensitive to her emotions but I don’t think she had fully grasped this until she realised the difference in my demeanour and work when she was feeling low, compared with when she feels happier. She now understands that it is much easier for me to go about my work with my tail wagging when the boss has a smile on her face too. Fortunately I think the experience has brought us closer as a team and the boss tells everyone that she is more pleased with my work than ever. Humans eh?
A few weeks ago the boss and I spent the weekend in Derby with friends and were on our way to go home when we entered into an unfortunate altercation with a taxi driver. It seemed that this driver didn’t want me in his car! Can you believe that? Who could refuse this face?! The boss wrote about our experience so I won’t bore you with the details again. If you’re interested check out her post here:

https://elinangharadwilliams.wordpress.com/2016/04/07/access-refusal-being-refused-by-a-taxi-driver-because-of-my-guide-dog-accessallareas/
And that brings us to today, which I’m sure all of you know is a very special day. It is a very important someone’s birthday. She is charming, beautiful, is highly intelligent and is widely adored. That’s right, it’s me! Even better, it’s a rather important birthday too. Today I am turning three in human years, but to me and all my four-legged friends I am turning 21! The boss celebrated her 21st last month, but I’m not sure I want to celebrate the way she did. I was not impressed to find her returning at the early hours of the morning, smelling quite strange and falling about all over the place (more than usual)! How very undignified. I have celebrated my birthday for my graciously with a trip to town this morning, a visit to the vets to get my nails done in the afternoon followed by a lovely run in the park. What more could a girl want?
So I think that’s you well and truly caught up on what’s gone on since my last post. It’s a very busy time for us right now; the boss is powering through her last few months of Uni while also trying to find us a new place to live. As usual, it’s my job to be her guide, companion and furry comfort blanket so I’m sure you’ll understand that with my paws full already it might be some time before my next Dog Blog. But I do hope you’ll subscribe so that my next update will go straight into your inbox!
Until then, chow for now!
J xx

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Dog Blog: All work and all play!

Hi there!
 
Its Jazzy here again, the four-legged one (and the better looking one) back for another Dog Blog!
 
After the success of the last Dog Blog I posted during International Assistance Dogs Week, the boss has decided to let me take over here twice a month to keep you updated on what I’m getting up to. So make sure you enter your email address in the box and follow us on See My Way so you can get my masterpieces straight into your inbox!
 
Anyway, onto business.
 
In this Dog Blog, I want to tell you about a visit to the hospital I made last week. Now before you start to panic, don’t worry! The boss and I are both perfectly healthy. We were actually visiting the hospital to do some very important work. We volunteered a few hours out of our day to do some fundraising for Guide Dogs.
 
It was my job to look as cute as possible to attract all the passing Doctors, nurses, patients and hospital workers over to our table where they could purchase some Guide Dogs merchandise, enter the tombola or give a donation. It was the boss’s job to answer everyone’s questions and generally tell them all about how fabulous I am! We had a couple more volunteers helping us with selling the merchandise and tombola tickets, but naturally I was the star of the show.
 
Fundraising apparently is work, but it was more like play for me! I spent two hours being stroked, cuddled and generally made a fuss of, all in the name of fundraising for Guide Dogs. It was our first time volunteering in this way and we both enjoyed it, though I was pretty tired by the end of our shift. I never thought I’d get tired of attention but even I admit that being so avidly adored got quite exhausting after a while! Just when I was about ready to sneak under the table to have a little snooze, my colleague Freya thankfully appeared to take over my post.
 
The volunteers helping us man the tombola table were two lovely ladies who’ve been volunteering for Guide Dogs for years. One of them is a border, which means that she takes care of dogs like me if our bosses are going on their holidays or have to stay in hospital overnight. On the other hand when that day comes to hang up the harness and enjoy a comfortable retirement, the other lady is one of the people that I or one of my colleagues might be rehomed with.
 
But boarding or rehoming retired dogs like me isn’t the only way you can volunteer for Guide Dogs. The lovely couple who raised me for the first year of my life, before I received advanced training for my job, they were puppy walkers and were also volunteers. Guide Dogs have a whole army of volunteers, from drivers to fundraisers to My Guide volunteers that they rely on to keep providing people like my boss with dogs like me.
 
The boss enjoyed being able to contribute something back to the organisation she feels has made a huge difference to her life, and I thoroughly enjoyed being surrounded by adoring fans. We raised a total of just over £200 that day, around £50 more than they normally make! Obviously my charming personality is too hard to resist 😉
 
So that’s it from me for today. If you’d like to check out how you can get involved with volunteering for Guide Dogs in your local area, have a look at this:
https://www.guidedogs.org.uk/supportus/volunteering/#.Vehup6twZYc
 
Otherwise I’ll see you again in my next Dog Blog!
 
Bye for now,
 
J xx

Dog blog: international assistance dog week

Hey!As its International Assistance Dogs Week, I thought I would introduce myself. My name’s Jazzy, I’m two years old and I’ve officially been working for seven months now!
 
I love my job because it’s never the same from day to day. It can be demanding, but it’s very rewarding. I know I’m very lucky to have my job. Most of my kind have to stay at home all day while their owners are at work or school. Not me though; My job is to go with my owner, everywhere. And I mean everywhere! This year alone I’ve attended lectures and work placements, I’ve been to restaurants, cafes and even the cheeky pub or two, I’ve been to the cinema, I’ve been to comedy gigs, I’ve even been to a play in the West End!
 
I get on well with the boss too which is always a good thing. It’s taken us a while for us to get to know each other and to establish a good working relationship, but now that we’re there we’re like a well-oiled machine. We’ve gotten really good at realising when one of us has a problem so the other can step up to take charge.
 
For example, I know that the boss doesn’t like crowded places, so when we find ourselves in the middle of a mob I do my best to get us out of the situation quickly and calmly. On the other hand, I’m not a big fan of sudden loud noises; they can totally throw my focus and give me a bit of a fright if I’m not careful. Thankfully, the boss has a knack of changing her voice to get my attention and to get me back on track. Dream team or what?
 
There are a lot of perks to my job too. I know I’m doing a good job, just because of the number of people who like to tell me so every day! Not to toot my own horn or anything, but we can barely go to the shops without being stopped by someone telling the boss how beautiful I am and asking to give me a fuss.
 
I know that the boss is usually very flattered by this, but sometimes she has to ask them not to fuss me, in case I get distracted from my work. I’m never one to shy away from attention, but I do understand when the boss has to do this as well because I know I have to be focused when I’m on the job.
 
Some people think that those of us in my line of work get no rest, but I assure you it’s definitely not all work and no play! I get plenty of playtime and time to relax, I overheard the boss tell someone once that I have more toys than she has shoes! That was a slight exaggeration in my opinion, but it’s true that I have plenty of choice of things to play with.
 
We go for a big long walk to a park or a field every week when I get a chance to really let my hair down. I can run, jump, roll around as much as I like, as long as I always go back to the boss when she calls.
 
I’m always rewarded with a tasty treat for good behaviour, but only at the bosses discretion. I need to watch my figure after all! Someone thought they were being kind by slipping me a treat without the bosses permission once, but the boss had to tell them off because I had an upset stomach for the rest of the day, which meant I had to take time off work!
 
I know I must be special to have been picked for this kind of job. Lots of my friends didn’t make it through the 18 months of training I had to do beforehand, and I can understand why. It’s a difficult job sometimes, always having to be on the lookout for obstacles and trip hazards, keeping an eye on the boss behind me and keeping an ear out for her instructions.
 
Lots of people think that it’s always me making the big decisions like when to cross the road, but I’ll let you into a little secret. It’s actually the boss that tells me when it’s safe to cross, by listening to the traffic. She understands cars and traffic better than I do, so it’s safer to leave that decision up to her.
 
But I have to make the big decisions sometimes too, like when there’s a car parked on the pavement and there isn’t enough room for us to get passed. When this happens I have to stay put, no matter how much the boss tries to encourage me forwards, until she realises that I’m being stubborn for a reason! Then I have to help the boss figure out how to get around the obstacle safely, which can sometimes mean us walking in the road if the pavement is completely blocked.
 
I suppose I should’ve mentioned this earlier really, but you see, my job is to help the boss get around safely because she can’t see very well. Essentially, I have to be the bosses eyes. My job even has a fancy title. I am a Guide Dog. It’s a great job; I get lots of breaks, the job security is brilliant and I’m always employee of the month! If you like challenges, don’t mind long hours and like attention, I’d definitely recommend it.
 
The boss wrote a piece for the papers a couple of months back, explaining how I’ve helped her and what kind of things we get up to. I really enjoyed posing for the pictures for the article and now we sometimes even get recognised in the street! If you’d like to check it out, here is the link to our story:
http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/porthmadog-students-new-lease-life-9441333
 
So that’s it from me for now. I need to get back to my friend Bella, who the boss and I are staying with over the summer until we go back to college in the Autumn. It’s great having another four-legged friend to play with, even if she does take up all the room in my bed sometimes!
 
Until next time,
 
J