29 June 2009

Up the Dubs!

Guess where we were yesterday!! Yes, another sunny Sunday in Croke Park - watching the Dubs winning - it doesn't get any better than that!The 'Dubs on the Hill ' were brillant - the little man loves all the singing and chanting and we had lots to chant and cheer about!
Whose that cheering for Westmeath behind us??? Attendance was low yesterday - there were only 51,000 people there but it was still loud and then at half-time, we shouted even more when Ciara came onto the pitch with her pals from St Brigid's School in Cabinteely. The teams were sponsored by the Irish Daily Star that did the article on me a few weeks ago ....There were playing a short match against a school team from Westmeath! Ciara and five of the other girls on the St Brigid's team are also on the Foxrock-Cabinteely U-12 team that the little man's sister plays with and her Dad mentors - so there was lots of supporting shouts from us all ....

When the second half resumed - Dublin were back playing on top form again and the final score was Dublin 4-26 to Westmeath 11 points. Yes, that was four goals and 26 points!! The little man's dad had a bet on Dublin to win by more than 16 points so he easily won his bet and treated us all to a fish and chip supper! Yes, even me - fresh cod in batter!
As we were driving home we stopped by St Stephen's Green - there was a big Art Exhibition on - and lots of really interesting works of art for sale. We stopped by to say a quick hello to our friend Debbie Chapman, who painted me a few years ago.
Just before we left we quickly took a run around St Stephen's Green itself and stopped for a moment by the Irish Famine monument - the little man was told by his Mom how over 1 million Irish people died and another 1 million emigrated during the famine years in Ireland 1845-52. I wondered about all the dogs that must have suffered too ....
But we got up to great news this morning - Laska has been found and we were delighted!

We're looking forward to lots more good news in July - Dublin to win the Leinster Championship on 12 July for a start! The road to the All Ireland Final is getting nearer and nearer ....

27 June 2009

Roses, Dogs, Puppies and Icecream (and all in aid of Guide Dogs)

Today we were in Greystones, Co Wicklow at a sponsored walk in aid of Irish Guide Dogs. It was a lovely day, warm sunshine, lots of dogs - guide dogs, assistance dogs, pet dogs and puppies in training plus the highlight of the day for me - the Roses!
Every year the Rose of Tralee has Roses from all over the world come to Tralee in Co Kerry for the International Rose of Tralee Festival. This year is very special because they are celebrating 50 years! It is well worth checking out their website to learn a little more about the history of the Rose of Tralee and its appeal around the world!
The Cavan Rose - Tara Cunningham, the Wicklow Rose - Jane Deering and the Mayo Rose - Natasha Murphy all came along to lend their support to Irish Guide Dogs! It was difficult to concentrate with all those gorgerous Roses around me but I guess I had a soft spot for the Wicklow Rose!
Well, us 'Wicklow' blonds have to stick together!! Anyway, I also met Rosie, a great Assistance Dog from Delgany who works with a little girl called Roisin. Two R's working away together - isn't that a nice concidence! It was hot - hence the tongues!!
and then I met Faye - do you remember a few weeks ago, the little man's mum was down in Cork at the Training Centre and took a photo of the 'F' litter - well, look at one of them now! From this ..... just learning how to eat in an orderly manner ... to this at 11 weeks ....doesn't Faye look great! Then - her sister Fergie came along to join in all the fun and it was fun .......
while Faye and Fergie had lots of play time we met a Guide Dog ....
and he only lives down the road from us - it was Wiz with his Guide Dog Owner Bernard ... it was very hot now and well done to everyone who had walked the 6kms in aid of Guide Dogs and raised over €3,000 today! We took a group photo just before the end of the day ... and this is just those who were still there .... but when the photos were being taken - everyone said 'Cheese' which really upsets the little man - don't ask - just one of those autistic things - so he wanted a photo and to say 'Money' - again - too difficult to explain - but the Wicklow Rose immediately came to the rescue!
I was getting a bit overcome with excitment at this stage ... so to cool things down - we got ice-creams .......... After that, it was back home to see how the Lions got on in South Africa - okay, I think we'll not dwell on that, but we went out to the back garden to check on our sunflowers .... planted yesterday for Laska .....
and the little man and me are sleeping tonight in a tent in the back garden - thinking GOLDEN thoughts and hoping the news of Laska will be good!
but as we go to bed now we also want to say a great big 'thank you' to everyone who came out today in Greystones to support Irish Guide Dogs - for their huge generosity and great humour and most especially from me - thank you to the Roses!!

26 June 2009

Golf outing in aid of Irish Guide Dogs ....

Yesterday we were at the Glen of the Downs Golf Club in Co Wicklow to meet the golfers before they teed off. The golf outing in aid of Irish Guide Dogs was organised by the Irish Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association (IPHA).

I met the President of the Golf Club - Dr Gerald Farrell just before he teed off.

We saw some very nice golf clubs we wouldn't have minded using ....

There was another puppy in training along as well - Bree with her puppy walker Sally. Bree was a really lovely puppy - full of fun!

Bree posed for a lovely photo ....

Then we met with the Chief Executive of the IPHA - Ann Nolan - who was very nice to the little man - providing him with some of his favourite biscuits later! We were delighted to be at such a lovely Golf Club lending some support to the outing! The little man loves working for Irish Guide Dogs on these occasions and gets very excited! He loves to chat to everyone and pose for photos and his Mom was very proud of him yesterday.

Before we left I took a quiet moment to myself to remember Dakota and hope for some good news about Laska.
We hope the golfers had a very successful outing and raised lots of money for Irish Guide Dogs. Many thanks to Glen of the Downs Golf Club and the IPHA for their support. There will be more Assistance Dogs and Guide Dogs working and helping families with children with autism and the blind and visually impaired because of your support!

23 June 2009

Boys - you were brillant!

Yesterday morning, we went to visit St Mary's Boys National School in Booterstown, Co Dublin. Every year they collect money for Irish Guide Dogs and this year we were asked along to chat to the boys and collect a cheque!

It was a lovely sunny morning so we met all the boys outside in the yard.

Each class came out and sat in a circle around me while we told them a bit about the work I do and then we answered some questions!
We loved all the questions - and we hope the lads took home some important facts - like never throwing chewing gum on the pavements - why? in case it gets stuck in my paws!!

and we know they were very impressed with my grooming and hygiene checks every morning!

and don't forget about the natural yogurt lads!! It really is good for you!

Tom Gibson and Oisin Tong present the cheque to me!

At the end of our question and answer session - we were really delighted to be presented with a cheque for €384 from the boys. They had sold the SHADES pins in the school over the last few weeks and this was a great amount of money to collect! We want to thank all the pupils, teachers and the Principal, Robert O'Connor of St Mary's BNS for their generosity and support for Irish Guide Dogs!

You were really great and we had a fantastic time at your school yesterday!

21 June 2009

Out celebrating Father's Day, meeting a friend and thanks to the Big M!

Today we went for lunch in the Golf Club! As it was Father's Day we had all the Grandparents along too! While they all enjoyed a delicious lunch I quietly sat under the table waiting to see if the little man would remember I was there! The smell of roast beef was very tempting!! Anyway, no roast beef, just the little man and his sister posing with me outside the clubhouse - Big Sis is 12 now and becoming a real teenager (whatever that means - but that's what I heard her mum say!!)

It didn't help her mood that her team got beaten in the U-12 League Football Final last night! We were all along to support as well and I tried to console the team afterwards but they took their defeat hard!! Anyway, back to today - after all that food the gang decided to take a walk along the promenade in Bray .....

When we arrived there - we saw this sign - which I thought made the place seem a bit unwelcoming and that bird didn't help either!! But then I got a familiar scent and I ran onto the beach to meet .....
Buddy, my best friend from across the road - only this afternoon - he was on the beach in Bray too!! We had such fun - I got into a bit of a mess!! Well, you know the way I don't do wet every well!! Buddy looks good dry or wet ....

but the water just tangles my coat and doesn't do anything for me!The little man's mum having come from the golf club was wearing something silly on her feet - Jimmy Choos - sounds like it should be a doggy treat - so wouldn't go onto the actual beach to take the photos - and we had some great water shots - well, Buddy had - I just got a bit wet at the edge!

Anyway, after we managed to get back to the car without a heel getting damaged - honestly, just because someone is out to lunch doesn't mean they have to wear ridiculous footwear .... we got back home to a great message on the answer phone!

For the past few weeks the little man has been collecting the Night in the Museum 2 toys that come with the Happy Meals in McDonalds. We nearly had them all - just couldn't get the last toy and boy did the little man's mum try - we toured all our local McDonalds several times - reckoned asking face to face was better than just a phonecall!Anyway, no luck the toy was not available but the McDonalds nearest us in Blackrock had a promotional display of all the toys! Well, today Mischa in McDonalds rang us to say that the promotion was over and the whole display was waiting for us to collect! Thanks McDonalds - you have made the little man really happy! When a kid with autism gets hooked on something - they can find it hard if it doesn't work out exactly for them .... so we've had nights and nights of upset over this missing toy! Needless to say, supper was in McDonalds!

Kissing the little man's dad - June 2006

Finally, we tried to find a photo of me with the little man's dad - but he's kinda shy so its an old one - but just to wish a very Happy Father's Day to all the Dads and Grandads out there!

18 June 2009

Thoughtful Thursday!

First of all, we want to say a big thank you to everyone for all their supportive comments about visiting the Zoo. We're working on it, and we'll let you know what happens! Thank you to all our new visitors as well for your comments - and to our new followers - we're making our way around to visiting all your blogs ....

Assistance Dogs are becoming a more common sight around the country but here are a list of frequently asked questions that we get .....

1. Is that dog allowed in here?
- okay, we'll explain again nicely because you asked nicely!! For those who ask in a slightly less polite querying tone - we'll point to my working jacket, the little man's mum will go into automatic explanation mode and we'll show our official ID card (if you're still questioning!!)
Out working - wearing my blue working jacket!

2. What am I??
- not again, but we'll explain I'm a Goldendoodle - but then there are those who ask and don't believe us and tell us I'm a big Wheaten or a Labadoodle - yes, definitely a Labadoodle!! Like we don't know ourselves ... if we got a euro for every time we're asked what breed I am - we reckon we could be collecting €20 a day for Guide Dogs!

3. Am I well trained?
- okay, this question gets to us a bit! Of course, I'm well trained - if I'm working - walking through a shopping centre, standing in a lift, lying under a table in a restaurant, sitting on an aeroplane - doesn't it show how well trained I am!!In speech therapy class with the little man and his mum!

4. Am I vicious?
- okay, now really, I'm a working dog - a service animal - do you really think I would be allowed to work if I was vicious!!

5. What do I do exactly?
- okay, we're always happy to explain this question. Autism is still a mystery to many people and we're more than happy to talk about autism and how an assistance dog calms and comforts an autistic child and enables them to cope with loud, busy places and changes in routine.Keeping the little man happy at his sister's football match!

6. Do I like being a working dog??
- yes, people get very concerned sometimes that a working dog has a hard life - not much time to be a dog - to much work and no play! Okay, we'll explain that I love my life - I get to go everywhere (apart from Dublin ZOO). I've travelled to Belgium, to Spain, to France. I go to the cinema, the panto, to concerts. I get to go to every type of restaurant - from McDonalds to top eateries - okay, I can just inhale the smells and don't eat - but I'm there!
Ashford Castle, Cong, Co Mayo - one of the most welcoming hotels we've stayed in!
I go to church, to football stadiums, musuems, art galleries. I go to hotels on such a regular basis - that some even have 'Clive's Room' on their reservation system! What is not to like about being a working dog!! I get to take the little man to all the places and to do all the things that previously he found difficult - so NO its not a hard life at all! and yes, every day I do get time to be just a DOG!
On the beach - getting some downtime - just like any dog!

Well, now that we got all of that out of our system - we'll relax a bit! It was just sparked by being in Dundrum Town Centre this morning (yes, the summer sales have started - okay - its the little man's mum who is excited about that!) and being stopped six times before we even got into the first shop .... and we were in kind of a hurry!! and can we just finish this section by saying, please ASK to photograph us before you do so - especially when its not just me but the little man you're photographing!!

Okay, a joke from one of our regular blogger friends - its a bit 'Irish' so for our friends abroad -just to let you know that the Garda are our Irish police force and 'shite' means something useless or rubbish! Not that I'd ever use a word like that but obviously there was dogs around here who use a more 'local' lingo!

A guy was driving around Dublin when he saw a sign in front of a house,

'Talking Dog for Sale.'

He rang the bell and the owner told him the dog was in the backyard.

The guy went into the backyard and saw a Labrador sitting there..
'You talk?' he asked.
'Yes,' the Lab replied.
'So, what's the story?'

The Lab looked up and said, 'Well, I discovered that I could talk when I
was pretty young. I wanted to help the government, so I told the Garda
about my gift, and in no time at all they had me jetting from country to
country, sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders, because no one
figured a dog would be eavesdropping. I was one of their most valuable
spies for eight years running.'

'But the jetting around really tired me out, and I knew I wasn't getting
any younger so I decided to settle down. I signed up for a job at the airport
to do some undercover security wandering near suspicious
characters and listening in. I uncovered some incredible dealings and
was awarded a batch of medals. I got married, had a load of puppies, and
now I'm just retired.'

The guy was amazed. He goes back in and asked the owner what he wanted
for the dog.

'Ten euros.' the man said.
'Ten euros? This dog is amazing. Why on earth are you selling him so cheap?'
'Because he's a liar. He never did any of that shíte.

That's our thoughts on this Thursday ....
In Cannes, May 2009 - wonder what the little man's thoughts are?