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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Guide Dog Week

I was so happy on Thursday for a number of reasons. For one, it was Freya's birthday and I always love having another year go by where all I hear is good things. And the second was that I was volunteering at the booth for Guide Dog Week here in Scotland. That meant I would get to see "my boy" Frankie.

I got to the mall a little early so I decided to sit down, have some coffee, and work on a paper for my psychological assessment class. When I was packing up to head to the upper level I noticed Frankie and his raiser talking with someone a little down the way. Now, the past few times Frankie has seen me he's gone a little nuts so I wanted to see what would happen if I fell in stride with them while they were walking. Now, it had been about a month since I had seen Frankie, so I did expect a little excitement. I definitely did not expect the greeting I received. I swear, he threw a little conniption fit. As soon as he saw me he lunged towards me and just would not settle. When I stepped a ways back to ignore him so he realised I wouldn't say hi until he calmed down, he started barking and scrambling towards me. While I know he was being really naughty I kinda felt a little loved and like I had been missed.

Anywho, he settled a tiny bit so I got to take his leash and say hi to the goof ball and then we headed upstairs. We were joined by a woman and her Guide Dog Yoosif (I think that's how it's spelled). He was such a handsome boy and they had just become a team in September. They seemed like a really good match. We all sat there and took donations and handed out fliers and let people say hi to both Frankie and Yoosif. At one point I went off to use the restroom and when I was leaving Yoosif's handler asked if she could get a picture with both Frankie and Yoosif with her. So, I handed the leash over and trotted off to the bathroom. When I got back they were still trying to take the picture and they had a perfect pose, but when Frankie saw me coming he went nuts and all I could think was, "Frankie you bad boy. You're with someone who's actually blind right now!" So I quickly walked the other direction and hid behind a pillar...all the time Frankie looking for me. They got the picture though after I was hidden.
Yoosif, the beautiful, black lab
For those of you who have been asking me about what harnesses look like here, I finally got a nice picture of one courtesy of Yoosif. The body bit is made out of white leather with the blue GDBA logo and a nice big yellow reflector in the front. The harness is removable and is make of yellow and black plastic. Yoosif had a handle sign telling people to back off...but nicer.
Tired Yoosif.
My Frankie boy. He's grown so much since the last time I saw him.
Why is Frankie making that ridiculous smile. Because he was actually telling me what he thought of me getting onto one knee when I wasn't going to be playing with him. Silly boy.

I think my favourite part of the day though is when a small child...definitely older than one but couldn't have been two came over and sat down right next to Frankie. He looked up and totally ignored this baby. In fact he continued to ignore him while the baby played with his legs, tail, and ears. Such a good boy.

After our shift was over we headed to the other mall. I wasn't signed up for a shift there but I wanted to be a little social since I missed the last meeting and see the new puppies in the area and see the "big" Guide Dog week set up. When we got there we saw training giving out blindfolded walks with dogs that were in training. I've done Juno walks back home and I've been wanting to do one here for such a long time to feel the difference in harnesses and what not. So, I got in line and got to do a walk with a beautiful border collie/golden retriever mix named Quaker. It was so much fun and he was such a good boy. He could guide me any time.
Me and Quaker. It's a little dark, but you sort of see him.
After that I was dying of hunger so I headed home. All in all, a good day. I don't quite understand why Frankie reacts the way he does with me. I don't have him for very long when I do have him and it's only been three or four times. But he apparently loves me. Not that I don't adore him, because I do. I love his little golden needy side that climbs into my lap when I'm on the floor and I love his confident lab side that can handle anything you throw at him. I guess I should just feel loved and not wonder why. I do have to say, if he was mine and was dropped I would have a hard time not keeping him. And I do miss him when I don't have him.

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