I can’t say the last two years with Calvin have flown by, as I honestly feel like I’ve had him forever. It’s difficult to remember life without him. What on earth did my mornings used to be like? I have no idea! I don’t and can’t lie that Calvin is the world’s best Guide Dog, as he isn’t. I often wonder whether this is my fault, if I’m too soft with him, but I’m not. I find I’m constantly doing everything in my power to make him a better dog.
One of Calvin’s biggest problems has been his continuous desire to scavenge. This is something I just can’t correct. He wears a halty, which makes it slightly easier to correct him and pull him away from things, but he was immune to the spray collar and because I can’t see, he’s already picked up something before I know it. I have never given Calvin food off of my plate at home and don’t allow others to either and I always prevent him from clearing up crumbs in the kitchen. However, this doesn’t stop him when out and about, yet I get the feeling from Guide Dogs that somehow I am contributing to it. One of my friend’s Guide Dog’s gets very sick every time she eats something she shouldn’t, but because Calvin can stomach so much crap, the problem hasn’t been addressed more seriously in my opinion.
I sometimes tell myself that I don’t work or challenge Calvin enough and this is why he isn’t brilliant. I think it is important to teach your dog new routes, although I understand this isn’t always practical or easy. However, since I’ve had my sat nav and because I’ve lived in my local area all of my life, I can work out slightly different routes to take to go where I’m going or get home again. I hope this is more stimulating for Calvin. With regards to working him more, I don’t think Calvin is a city boy. He’s a fearless dog and has no trouble coping in crowds, but the amount of focus he needs wipes him out. When we go away with friends, I can tell that he is drained from the high work load.
Calvin often doesn’t get much credit from myself or others that meet him. People regularly tell me that he shouldn’t be a Guide Dog, which I laugh off and in fact find quite offensive. Ok so he’s a handful and I want to murder him much of the time when out, but at the end of the day, we get to places, he generally doesn’t walk me into things and he’s extremely good natured. Calvin has a very demanding job guiding someone who has no useful vision whatsoever. Most of my friends with Guide Dogs have not much, but at least some useful vision and I can always tell what a benefit that is. Just to see roughly where a doorway is or a set of steps are assists the dog, as you can cue them in more accurately and have an idea if they are going off course. I rely on Calvin 110%, especially in unfamiliar places. Calvin is a super intelligent dog like most Labradors and retrievers, it’s just a shame that he uses his cleverness for evil and not good!
I love Calvin to pieces and wouldn’t change him for the world! If he was a perfect Guide Dog, he wouldn’t be my Calvin, the one with the massive personality!
That’s it for Calvin week, thanks for reading and commenting and i’ll be back to boring you with my Paralympic dream soon.