I had the initial meeting with a guide dogs representative about five weeks ago in which how the system works was carefully explained and Mrs The Millbrooker and I could ask any questions we wanted to.
Did you know, for example, that guide dogs poo to order? No, I thought you didn't. And neither did I until that meeting. They're not quite in this dog's league for such matters, but apparently they're not far off it.
Today I've been for a special walk around Millbrook in the company of Jenna who is a guide dog mobility assessor. We'd had a good old chat beforehand and I did a quick vision test as well.
It was quite strange walking a route with which I'm very familiar whilst explaining how I orient myself which is something I do without even thinking. Jenna also got me to walk a short section that I don't ever do on my own, around the sharp unpavemented corner from the Tanyard to the old bank.
And the upshot is that I now go forward to the next stage which might not be for a couple of months or so. Jenna thinks I'd definitely benefit from a guide dog which almost certainly means I'll get one, subject to stage three...
Stage three is a visit from a guide dog assessor who will take me for a walk with a dual control dog (yes, really) and we'll get to work out which sort of dog might suit me best - they generally use labradors, retrievers, labradoodles or German shepherds; I wonder what will be deemed best suited to a Millbrooker?
Unless it's decided that I don't get on with dogs at all (not an impossibility) I'll then join the waiting list and a dog of my own should arrive about a year later. Watch this space.
photos shamelessly nicked from