"The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man's." – Mark Twain, Letter to W D Howells, 4/2/1899

Archive for October, 2013

Something In The Air.






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Walk Your Dog.




Always Watching.



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It’s Saturday.


It’s Saturday!  ( from the dogs perspective )

Was that the alarm??  Oh good.  I was sure it should have gone off about an hour ago – perhaps its Saturday?

Here she comes, down the stairs – I greet her with a toy teddy – my favourite – I sneeze and snort into it and wag my tail.  It’s lovely to see her, just lovely!  It’s been a while – I slept well, always do, but my stomach starts rumbling quite early in the morning.

Out to the toilet first – “she” doesn’t say much in the mornings.  I oblige quickly and wait at the door quietly.  I have learned that “she” doesn’t like me demanding that she open the door quickly – It’s really difficult not to make a little singing whine though…………..I try…………..but I LOVE my food!

I can hear what “she” is up to.  Humans are soooooo predictable and easy to read.  The kettle goes on, then I hear my bowl rattling, the food goes in!!  So EXCITED!  It seems like I haven’t been fed for, well, like, FOREVER!

“She” opens the door.  I hesitate – not wanting to rush in and blot my copy book, which would mean I have to go back outside and wait a bit longer…………………….”come  on Toby, breakfast ready”, she says, and I hop in and immediately sit again, wagging my tail politely.  I have learned to do this sitting thing.  To sit respectfully for things that I really want quickly.

The food goes on the floor – I can’t prevent a little drool sneak out of the corner of my mouth……….”Oh Toby, what are you like eh??!” she says.

The whistle blows and she says “get your food” and I dive in.

I am sure there was less in there today than yesterday?!!

She is quite good, she lets me lick around my bowl a few times, because I have to be sure I have eaten every morsel.  No good leaving some.  I cleverly take a few licks of water from the water bowl, then lick out my food bowl again – I find this works quite well.  And I AM clever – I am a Guide Dog, and have been bred especially for my brains.

It’s not a bad job.  My human is quite clear about what she wants, which helps.  Some of my pals tell me that their humans are a bit confusing – telling them one thing one minute, then another a bit later.  But as I said, we are clever, bred for our brains and we soon work out what the humans want, even when they are not clear.

We have time to watch them you see.  It is very important to watch them.  We learn this at pup school.

Humans are easy to read.  And they are predictable.  They do things at the same time, and always go through the same routines before taking us out, so we know it’s going to happen.  Right down to a sigh.

I have heard my human say to her friends that she is sure I read her mind.  How silly – I just read her. It’s easy!

I can tell when she is in a hurry, or a bit upset about things. Or cross about something – I learn to act accordingly, so that I don’t get in her way, or annoy her.  I find it best to just keep my head down and stay quiet, and if I do get in the way by mistake, and she grumbles at me, I forgive her quickly – she can’t help it, she’s a human you see, not as clever as us Guide Dogs.  Perhaps in her next life she will come back as a dog……………………………?

I settle down for a little snooze – this is always the way after my food.  “She” disappears upstairs again for a while.

Soon she comes back down and I hear the bells!  Oh good!  THAT’S why there was less food in my bowl.  We must be going for a run in the park.  Excellent!  Hope I see Joe and Lucy for a run round.

She lifts the white leather harness off the hook and holds it at my head height.  I thrust my head into it and she laughs.  I love working.  It makes me think and I get lots of attention from the human.  She talks to me, and praises me when I stop at kerbs, so that she doesn’t fall off them.

I take her around all the many obstacles that people leave on the pavement – and parked cars!  Cars shouldn’t be on the pavement should they? It’s bad enough them being on the road!

Sometimes there isn’t enough room for us both to get through – the gap isn’t wide enough for her not to bang into stuff – she can’t see you see – oh, you know that, so we have to go IN THE ROAD!  Yes, IN THE ROAD to get past the car.  Mad.

It’s difficult concentrating some times as there are so many lovely smells out there, and sights.  She keeps talking to me – sometimes I do get a bit distant when I smell something really interesting, but she manages to wake me up again and get my attention back on the job.

Sniffing is really important to us dogs.  It tells us lots about our environment, and about our human AND about other dogs or objects that we come across.  It’s like reading the news!  So we do it a lot, but we aren’t allowed to stop and sniff…………..we have to keep moving, which is easy most of the time, with the humans help.

Oh great, she tells me to go left.  We ARE going to the park!  I can’t help with my excitement walking a bit faster.  She quickly steady’s me down a bit to her walking speed.  Drat.  I thought I could get to the park a bit quicker…………….

I really try hard to control my excitement and pin my ears back to concentrate.  My tail drops to a “concentrating” level.  It’s hard, but I find if my tail is up and wagging, I can’t help walking a little faster and forgetting what I am doing.

When we get into the park, I do that SIT thing again, which usually gets what I want sooner.  This time she says “no you don’t Toby – on you go – let’s get into the park a bit further away from the road.”  I go a couple of steps and sit again.  “Forward Toby – just a little further.”

We get to the usual spot.  I know this spot full well, but it’s always worth testing the human out a little.

After a bit of a delay, as she tells me to sit and wait, then down and stay, she swaps collars – I have the collar with the bell on now, so that she can hear where I am.  And I have an identification disc on too, just incase I run off with a pal and then forget where the human is.

She keeps me on the lead then shows me what will happen later, by blowing the whistle ( just like she does at dinner time ) and calls my name and “come”.  I run up to her at double-quick time and sit!  Come on come on, humans are sooooooooooooo slow sometimes.

She takes the lead off and I run.  I run and run and run.  It’s great.

It’s quite good because she uses her long cane to follow the tarmac path in the park.  Some of my pals have told me that their humans just stand there, which is boring.  It’s so tempting to go a bit further away to check out the sniffs, but my human walks with me so that I can check out all the sniffs along the way anyway.

Oh a puddle!! Yay………….I run into it, stick my nose under the water, jump and turn quickly – lie down for a second – then what’s that?  Did I hear the whistle??  Oh yes, I was in a world of my own – better get back to the human.  I race back and skid to a sit in front of her.  “Good lad Toby” she says, then she touches me…………….”Oh Toby!  You always find a puddle…………that’s why you took so long to come when I whistled!”

Sometimes, when I am having fun, I just don’t hear things – certainly not someone calling me – my nose just blocks off my ears!  The whistle is quite good as it gets through to me more easily – and it’s always the same – never cross sounding!

She lets me  run free again.  We do this a lot. She calls me back, she lets me go, she calls me back, she lets me go……………………every time she calls me back, she gives me some bits of my food – that’s why I had less this morning in my bowl.  I don’t want to get fat…………well, I wouldn’t mind, but apparently it’s not good for me……..

She is careful to make me pause before letting me go and run, so that I swallow my food okay.

I never know when the end of the walk is going to be.  She is quite sneaky in this way – usually I can read her really easily.

My pals tell me that their humans call them back at the same place at the end of the walk so they pretend to be sniffing and engrossed in something really important.  The human gets a bit cross, but they think that doesn’t matter, if they can stay out a bit longer.

That’s another reason why they dilly dally, my pals, because the human gets a bit cross sounding and they are reluctant to go back to them.

Ooops end of the run – she caught me out as usual.  Back we go – I don’t bother rushing as I did on the way here.  Once home, she dries me off and leaves me for a while to dry off, then gets the grooming equipment out.  I love being groomed.  Sometimes I get a bit silly and try to roll over because it is just soooooooooo good, but she makes me stand, and tries to make me stand still.  It’s easier for her if I stand still, as she can’t see, but it’s soooooooooooo  good!

She gives me one of my soft toys to hold as I try to hold the brush that she is using – these things just  leap into my mouth, I can’t help it!  I am a Labrador retriever after all!

It’s important that she grooms me regularly as when I am out and about working, the public always smile and say how lovely I look – I hear them as I walk by.  And then they know I am well looked after.

When “she” grooms me she has learned to check me over and make sure I don’t have any lumps, bumps or cuts………..she feels my nails so that she knows if they need cutting, sniffs my ears………….I think this is funny – humans sniffing things……..their noses are rubbish, but apparently she can tell if my ears are infected or not by smell.  If I pull back a leg when she lifts it, she asks the vet to check me over – I have hurt myself before jumping around in these puddles on a run – not badly,  just needed some rest.

20 minutes later and I feel good.  Time for a little snooze now.

I’m sure it can’t be long until dinner……………..


.These are not my words……..


This Isn’t Me.


This isn’t me but I have to admit that I do this a lot.

Just sit and stare.

On our ‘long walk’ we find ourselves in Belgrave and like all small towns there are a few benches scattered around and for some reason my dogs like certain benches and dislike others. There does not seem to be any reason [that I can see] but they pull in the direction of their favourite bench every time we get anywhere near it.

We are Cafe people so the dogs got used to the idea from the time they were pups. Cafes have food and some of it might come their way.


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You and Me.



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Not Tall.



Two for the View.