Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Letter from Laurel & family

I thought I would update all those interested on the summer that has just gone. Laurel and the family have been on our travels unfortunately it has coincided with a rapid increase in the pain from Arthritis in my knee which has slowed me down a fair bit and meant we have not been to walk the dogs at Wiccs as much as I would have liked but I won't lie and my focus has been on Laurel as he's my buddy and makes me happy.

It's been a great year with him and we have been off travelling the UK, the year started badly with a big bout of depression (long term sufferer) knocking me for six but Loz was there for me, he forced me through it by motivating me to get out and about although sometimes in a daze. This was great and we did a lot of exploring locally (Northampton) and found some wonderful quiet little spots to let our hair down.

Then we visited the New Forest for the first time, what a place stunning for dog walking and as it was March not too busy and a lovely hotel that accepts dogs, after discovering the New Forest well we were to be there as often as we could, Easter we camped, July August we caravanned and late August we camped again. We just loved the walks and just the whol;e atmosphere (not too remote/ not too busy).

The walks were fantastic and Laurel loves water so he was happy in the sea in the morning and the rivers/ponds in the afternoon.

Another trip camping to Leicester and another wonderful night, Laurel becoming a big camping fan now that he has worked out that we are actually in something and not in the middle of a field as he did the first time when bouncing off the tent walls.

Then a trip down to Bath for another camping weekend and more water and walks, lovely camp site, plenty round about to see and do.

A stay in Weymouth with my parents allowed Laurel more time at the seaside.

Finally we have just got back from a hotel in the Cotswolds where again Laurel found a lovely stream to splash along  in the lovely village of Lower Slaughter.

So all in all a very busy summer (skint now) Laurel has been wonderful throughout, he's a very independent dog but does like to know where his flock is and keep us in order, if we are lucky we get a nice lean but if we step out of line he does get all upset and gruffy.

With the two kids finishing school and sixth form early it did mean that Laurel had a summer of company so he was not best pleased when the kids went off to college and university, fortunately they are both local so he's not alone for long and with my wife working on the estate he is only alone for a few hours at max but a Kong soon see's him happy when we leave and to be honest he doesn't notice whilst he is distracted. Like his owners he loves his food but is very polite with it although strange noises emminate from his throat out of a love of the food.

He has managed to stay well apart from one brief injury which typically occurred on the change over day of insurance so immediately we changed back to M&S just in case although that was £30 a month more than the new company (thanks Laurel).

Laurel has now settled with other dogs and actively seeks them out when he can, fortunately over the summer he really has improved his recall skills well I say recall I mean focus, he still has the occasional selective hearing when he is desperate to go seek another dog but as long as the dog is quiet we can sneak past sometimes without him knowing.

We are all still amazed at how he copes and it really is fascinating to watch him deal with things, to watch him map out a new place in a couple of minutes is stunning and how he copes with small bridges etc is just fantastic. People are always amazed at how he copes and watches with his ears, the amount of people that are shocked when we explain that he is blind is staggering, the only reason they ask is becuase of that infamous blue sheen across hs eyes, certainly nothing about his behaviour gives his disability away.

He is a natural at running by the side of the bike when  we go for a ride, not once have we had a problem with him running into the bike, I swear someone has already trained him on that as he stays the same distance away all the way (apart from stopping to sniff).

He has mastered catch with his rope and a few other toys and knows the rooms around the house by voice, which helps when he can't find a specific toy as we can tell him what room to go and look in.

Real credit goes to my daughter, Becky who has spent a lot of time with him this summer and has really helped him settle and learn things.

We have picked up a few tricks to try and stop this nipping of visitirs when they come round some of the information Paul shared with us on the Knowing Your Collie course has really helped us understand why Loz is behaving like he is  at times, for instance NEVER all stand up at the same time, panic sets in that his flock is out of control and that we need calming down, that's when the barking and nipping starts.

All in all what a wonderful summer and what a wonderful dog he is, he is doing really well and we are so pleased we got over our shallow humand view about his blindness and adopted him, he might not be the loving dog that people dream of and is mister independent but he gives you a stand up cuddle when invited and is my best friend.

All he asks for is routine, a river to swim in a good walk and most importantly food on time. It's such a great sight to see when he walks himself home 40 yards from home, past three houses and straight down the path past the cars and if it's morning his breakfast better be ready :-)

Thanks all for listening I hope it was of interest and really demonstrates to us the value of Wiccs, what would have happened to him 15 years ago I hate to think,


1 comment:

  1. Oh that is a fantastic update on Laurel- he was with us in our home in foster in EIRE for a few months with his (also blind) buddy Hardy- they were such a comical pair we had to give them those names!!! Its amazing to hear how well he is coping with a disability and gives us all something to think, and smile, about. It has to be said though that a few tears have been shed by us reading such a delightful account of his progress- what a little busy body- and my isnt he well travelled?!?!
    Thank you so much and well done for giving such a wonderful man the life he deserves,
    Georgina and Will