Having two dogs can cause a problem. When I only had Moss it was easy, well, easier to find someone to look after him when we went abroad on holiday. Now with Renton, it's a lot harder to find someone to take him for a couple of weeks while we head for the sun.
It’s mainly because that few people want - or are able to look after such a large dog. Plus, it is vital that anyone looking after him, keep to Renton's strict training regime. It's true, that consistency is important for all guide dogs, but it is particularly important for German shepherds. So if anyone was able to take him for a fortnight I would have to be confident that they would stick to his training plan.
Now the hunt was on to find that illusive person with nerves and muscles of steel.
However, my hunt has been much easier than I anticipated. My guide dog instructor suggested that I should contact Renton’s puppy walker. These are an essential group of volunteers without whom the whole guide dog system would collapse. They take the puppy from six weeks old until they are about one and give them all their basic obedience and social training. They take them into town, on buses, into shops. Then the dogs go back to be trained as guide dogs at the centre before coming to someone like me.
|Sheila with Renton and April|
I was nervous about making the call - I was really expecting to hear... "are you mad take Renton, we've still got the mental scars from the first time" But no! Instead I got the response "YES! YES! YES! OF COURSE WE WILL." It was a big relief all round.
|Renton in the river|
To make sure everyone would be happy, it was agreed to give the puppy walkers Peter and Sheila a two day trial. I had no doubts they would cope, they are very laid back, and have a good balance of discipline and fun. After a fabulous lunch with lots of puppy stories and lists of commands for Renton. We all went for a walk down by the river and Renton seemed to remember some old favourite paths down to the river bank from when he was a puppy and was very happy to show us which way to go.
|Renton showing April how to paddle in the river|
I'm pleased to say everyone was happy. In fact. Renton had a little play mate in the name of April a 11 month old German Shepherd (guide dog in training)who kept Renton in his place by nipping at his ears and trying to jump on his back.
|April and Renton in the back of the car|
Ah at last the tables were turned on Mr R. he had tried this with Moss, but the old guy was having none of it...
Now where should we go on holiday... UM…