Without sounding too big for my boots, I’ve always felt confident in my relationship with my dog. The trust has been there practically implicitly. Only once, due to my bad hearing during an ear infection did I doubt Bailey’s choices. But that was my own issue and he just ignored me and carried on in his confident way.
Saturday was new for me. We frequent Manchester, a busy city regularly to meet friends or shop or if I need to go there for anything else, I.E., volunteering. Bailey’s always loved this and embraced the crowds with no problem whatsoever. His attitude has always seemed to me to be, “oi! Guide dog coming through, move!” That was until last Saturday when I’d gone to meet my friend to go to the cinema. I’d got off of the bus and called to see where she was and arranged to walk down Market Street which is the main shopping area to meet her. This route was very familiar to us both and I didn’t think it would be an issue for either of us. Bailey gets worked on a daily basis, granted, not always in the city but he’s familiar with this route and knows it well. Even to the point knowing where I let him spend. But saturday he lacked his zeal and confidence. I was constantly encouraging him and when we got near the metro line, I was fearful of him walking too close as he just didn’t seem to be sure of what he was doing. The metro station is outside Starbucks and we regularly meet one of his guide dog friends there so I usually get a really excited walk out of him to Startbucks but Saturday felt wrong. He didn’t feel like he was confident. My sister asked if it was busy but that has never usually bothered him. Even in the Christmas rushes, he’s been into the city and worked lovely and it wasn’t as busy as then.
My GDMI told me last year, when I asked her about his fear of the football on the TV, that when they get older, things can upset them more and they become more sensitive to things such as sound and I’m guessing crowds and things too. I’m hoping this is not a downward turn for us and the signal of an end of a partnership coming.
I truly hoped we’d have another year at least together before he had to hang up his harness. He’s worked fine yesterday and today in my local, quiet town so I’m not at the point for reaching for a phone yet to talk to my GDMI. It’s just something I’ll have to keep an eye on. If the city environment is going to start proving an issue for the boy, I will have to talk to my GDMI. Without the pup, I wouldn’t have the confidence to head into the city alone. I might go in one day this week, grab a coffee at Starbucks when it’s a bit quieter to see how he goes. If he’s better, I’ll put it down to an off day. But never known my boy to have an off day like that. Sure, some days, he’s sniffy or stubborn because he wants the toilet but he didn’t need the loo and didn’t indicate either which he does do if he really needs it. We’ll see. Just wanted to share with you guys. I’ll keep you updated.