As those of you who follow this blog will know my previous guide dog, Drew died on 18 March. I’d been with Drew since June 2005, consequently we had built up a tremendous bond and I was devastated to lose her. I think of Drew every day. At first the thoughts where extremely painful, however over time I’ve come to dwell on the good times together, the wonderful walks we enjoyed in the parks in and around Crystal Palace. I’ll never forget my old friend, however I now feel able to move on and train with my new guide dog, Trigger.
I know Trigger is an unusual name for a guide dog (indeed for any kind of dog). On first hearing the name I was immediately reminded of one of my favourite comedy series, Only Fools and Horses in which one of the cast (a road sweeper if my memory serves me correctly) is called Trigger. So I have lots of joshing to look forward to on that score! Again on texting a friend about Trigger his response was “Kevin, they have given you a horse”! I’m sure that I have lots more humour, in a similar vein to look forward to, however the fact that my very first guide dog was called Nixon will stand me in good stead as I soon lost count of the number of jokes, about Watergate which got cracked once people became aware of Nixon’s name.
Trigger is a lovely Brindle lab/retriever cross with long floppy ears. Thus far I’ve had one walk with him (a brisk trot of some 20 minutes or so) but I’ll start my training on 4 July.
As with most (perhaps all partnerships) I was introduced to Trigger prior to entering into a commitment to train with him. Once it became apparent that Trigger and I worked well together (after that initial walk which I mentioned above) the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association and I agreed that Trigger seemed right for me and the training commencement date of 4 July was fixed on.
I trained with my first two guide dogs (Nixon and Zeff) in specially designed guide dog training centres. I stayed at the centre for some two weeks or so and every day I’d leave along with other class members to be trained in how to work with my guide dog in a safe and efficient manner (irrespective of whether you have been a guide dog owner before you are still required to undergo fresh training with your new dog to ensure that both you and the dog bond and work safely and effectively together).
With my third guide dog, Drew I stayed in a hotel with three other trainees and went out, each day to undergo training with Drew. Training with Trigger will be different in that I’ll be trained from home with the guide dog trainer visiting me, every day to train both Trigger and I.
I’m looking forward to training with Trigger and will update this blog as and when training commences.