These are a few of my favourite things

Hello to all of my human readers, and a big WOOF to all my fellow guide dogs.

Well, it’s only taken just over 3 years, but I’ve finally gotten the keyboard away from Dad, and now have the chance to write my very own post.  Seems only fair.  After all, the blog is called Craig and Commando, although Commando and Craig might sound even better.

So, as the dog of the blog, I thought I’d tell you all about some of my favourite things.  Dad says that since these are posts for Guide Dogs Week, I have to mention nine things.  So here we go…

Them bones, them bones, them Nylobones…

I’m a big strong doggy folks, and that power extends to my chewing.  They say I’m a power chewer, and so only the toughest toys will do.  Some of my most favourite toys are, what Dad says are called, Nylobones.  They’re really great fun.  They come in all kinds of different shapes and sizes, flavours and some have ridges and bobbly bits too. 

I remember, on my first day with Dad, he gave me one of these magnificent bones just before he left me in our hotel room, to go and have something to eat.  I wasted no time at all getting stuck into this new play thing, and it quickly became one of my top toys.  Since Dad spotted this pretty quickly he always makes sure that I have a good supply to play with.

I tell you friends, there’s nothing like relaxing in front of the fire after a long day, a Nylobone clutched between my paws, and having myself a good old chew.

Boys and their squeak toys…

Squeaking toys are just great.  You get to chew them, and they make a noise.  I mean, what could be better? 

I remember hearing one of my guide dog friends playing with a squeaking toy when I was given Dad on our first day.  I thought to myself ‘oh that sounds fun’.  I was sure that any minute now Dad was going to reveal a squeaking toy for me.  But it never came.  I even went over to him when I heard the squeaking through the wall in hopes that he’d work out that I’d like to play with one.  Sometimes, we really have to spoon feed these humans of ours.

But it seems Dad did get the message, and a few days later he brought me a squeaking toy, in the shape of a bone!  I guess he really did care, and want to make me happy, and for a time there, with my new squeaking toy firmly in my mouth, I really was having a blast.  But unfortunately it didn’t stay squeaking for long…  There I was, chewing away at it, clearly doing my part.  But  wasn’t getting a squeak in return.  Sickening…  I think Dad wasn’t best pleased either, but I think he thought I’d broken it by eating the squeak!  But I was completely innocent friends.  It wasn’t my fault, it was the toy…  Eventually Dad figured that out for himself, and got me a new squeaking toy, this time in the shape of a ring.  That one lasted far longer, and over the years I’ve had many more squeaking toys.

I tell you friends, there’s nothing like putting a new toy into ones mouth, giving it a preliminary chew and hearing a lovely squeak burst forth from it.  I’ll regularly take off running around the house in celebration when I gets me a new squeaking toy.

But these toys too have to be really tough.  Once or twice I’ve, completely by accident, broken some of my pal Lester’s squeak toys, just because they aren’t strong enough.  But, how was I supposed to know that?!

Indestructible you say…  challenge accepted…

Lately Dad’s been bringing me a new type of toy.  I think some of the humans call them indestructible. 

They really are fun.  They come in different animal shapes, have fir of their own.  But best of all friends, they squeak too.  Not only that, but they have many squeaky bits, and I’m sure the squeaks sound different.

Now I don’t know about indestructible.  Everything has a week spot, I know, I spend a lot of time looking for them.  But the toys Dad’s gotten me so far do all still squeak.  Although I have relieved Mr Snake of some of his fir.  Funny that, now I think about it, I haven’t actually seen Mr Snake around for some time!  Think I’ll have to have a word with Dad about that.

But Mr Fish and his friend are still doing great.  Every now and then I’ll take it over to Dad, just to show him what I’ve got.  But that crafty human of mine has found a way to make a game of it.  There I am minding my own business, happily squeaking away with Mr Fish, when Dad sneakily starts to squeak some of the other squeakers!  It’s great fun though, as sometimes he’ll also sneakily make it look like Mr Fish is moving and squeaking on his own, and before I realize that it’s just Dad messing with me, I’ve jumped on Mr fish and given him a good shake around, just to remind him who’s boss.

The tireless tyre…

My tyre toy is great fun.  I think it’s actually one of my longest lasting toys!  I had one before.  I found it among Lester’s stuff.  Dad said that Lester had never really bothered with it so I thought I’d show it a good time.  After all, what’s the point of having toys if you’re not going to play with them?  It’s not fair on the toys.  This one lasted for a while, and was fun to chase and chew, but in the end it gave up.  Between you and me, I think Lester softened it up a bit.

But Dad realized that I had enjoyed playing with it, he’s good like that, and so he found me another even more durable one.  It’s such fun.  It’s good for chewing, carrying, even chasing, if I throw it around a bit or get Dad to throw it for me.  But the best thing about the tyre is that its brilliant for a game of tuggy.

Friends there’s nothing quite like a good round or five of tuggy.  It’s the greatest test of strength, will and dogged, pun intended, determination.  Dad can never resist the challenge when I bring the tyre over and plonk it down on his knee.  He knows exactly what I want him to do with it, and he seems happy to oblige, and they say humans can be tough to train…  We really go for it when we play, and so he doesn’t lose interest, every now and then, I actually let him think he’s won.  But I always get my fair share of victories, and love to take my victory lap with the tyre.  After all, to the victor go the spoils.

Comfy cushions…

It’s always nice to be comfortable friends.  Sometimes Dad will wonder off into another room for a while and, not wanting him to get into trouble without me, I often follow him in there.  Fortunately he has taken that into account, and in any room where I’m likely to spend time I have something very comfortable to rest on.

Not only does this let me keep an eye on Dad, but it also means that I can just wonder off on my own if I need to, for example to do some sun bathing or to get out of the sun.  It’s really nice, not only to be allowed to go where I please, but also to know that I’ve got beds to choose from during the day.

I must tell you all, that I really do like my newest bed.  It’s the one where I do my overnight sleeping, and it’s just great.  It’s like a huge basket, made of a lovely soft material and, get this, it even has a lovely big soft cushion inside it.

Peer pleasure…

One thing which we do that seems to mystify the humans is know other guide dogs even without anything visible to say they’re guide dogs. .  Now, I’m not going to tell you how we know this, we do have to have some secrets after all.  But I love nothing better than spotting one of my fellow guide dogs, and having some fun with them.

I’m what you might call a dogs dog.  I love any chance to play with my fellow canines, and if they’re guide dogs, the best of the best, then so much the better.  After all, who knows best how to mix it up with a guide dog, than a fellow guide dog.

I’ve had great fun in the past playing with my pal Whinny who I met in Edinburgh, and I really really like the chance to play with Berry, a lovely lady I met a couple of years ago through Dads volunteering efforts.

Although I don’t get the chance to have much of a play with my friend Annie, we do get the chance to work together, when Dad meets up with Annie’s Mum.  Although we do have ourselves a little bit of a race, or at least I do, even though Dad points out, as he slows me down, that more often than not Annie knows where we’re going, and I don’t.

I remember when Dad organised a guide dogs event at that College place.  It was great, I came into the main hall, and there were guide dogs!!  Every time we went past that hall, I’d turn my head towards it hopefully, but there were never dogs in there again…

Good morning, and good night…

Me and Dad always start and end the day in the same way.  As soon as I realise he’s awake I’ll go over to say hello, and of course get me some fuss and cuddles.  Without fail, Dad comes up with the goods, gives me a cheery ‘good morning Mr guide dog’ and asks if I’m doing ok.  I should think that the furious wagging of my tale should answer that question for him.  It’s always good to know that he’s awake and ok, and ready to start another of our days together.

He gets himself up, and dressed.  A bit of a chore really from my point of view, since I’m always dressed in some extremely fine fir.  Then we go down stairs for spending, breakfast and so on.  Sometimes I’ll wait at the top of the stairs long enough for Dad to open every door between me and my spending area, then I’ll come charging down the stairs and through the house, only stopping once I’m in my pen…  Always good fun.  Dad, bless him always tries to make that possible for me, but sometimes I’m just too keen to get moving.

Once our day is done and it’s time for bed, I go upstairs, with Dad close behind.  I get into my bed, and without fail Dad always comes over to give me a nice stroke and cuddle.  Wishes me a good night and sweet dreams, and tells me how great I am and how lucky he is to have me.  He’s quite right of course, but it’s always lovely to hear.  After all, who doesn’t like to be appreciated.

Go and play, you say…  Don’t mind if I do…

Doing what I do is hard work, and it’s great to get the chance to unwind.  To leave most of the rules behind and just do what dogs do.  The humans call this Free Running.  I call it fantastic. 

We live very near a nice big patch of open ground, even featuring a nice big hill for running up and down.  As an added bonus I usually have Lester with me too.

I know, as soon as Dad breaks out my other collar, the one with the noisy bell on, that I’m about to go out on a free run.

I’m always so keen, but good lad that I am, I wait until Dad says those magic words before I go tearing off to have me some fun.

Dad says that I put the run in free run.  I am fast on my feet and I love moving at speed, so when I’m just pleasing myself I think why not push the envelope and go as fast as I can for as long as I can.

Every now and then, I even get to go to the beach.  That’s even more fun, as I get to run around on the sand and even have a cheeky little dip in the sea.  Fortunately Dad didn’t hold my little mutiny against me.  After all, I was still young, and there was such a nice beach only moments from where we were.  Plus, I did abandon the attempt on Dad’s say so.  The things we give up for our humans…

Guiding star…

Without doubt, one of my most favourite things is my job.  I’m a guide dog.  I made the grade.  I did all of my training as well as I could, and the nice people at Guide Dogs decided that I was worthy to where the harness and be known as a guide dog.  Not every guide dog wanna be makes it you know.

I’m sure Dad’s told you all just how much I love doing what I do, and he’s right.  I love going out with Dad, getting him around safely, no matter what’s in our way.  He always gives me encouragement and praises me, which is always nice.  Plus if I do something really exceptional, as if keeping him safe each and every walk isn’t exceptional enough, I gets me a nice little treat.

Some days, very rarely, I have to give Dad that little extra push to take me out somewhere, so I can demonstrate my pawsum skills to him once again.  After all, I didn’t spend 20 months in training just to sit around at home.  I know he has a lot of other things to do sometimes, but I know that a walk will do him good, and to be honest he never takes much persuading.

Of course, some days, if the weather is particularly unpleasant and Dad hasn’t indicated that we really need to go out, then I’m happy enough just to relax by the fire with a toy or two.  Knowing that if the weather picks up we’ll be out and about once more.  I mean, I don’t mind the weather at all, and neither does Dad, but I think sometimes he’s of the opinion that if there’s nothing important we have to do then there’s no real point to getting us both soaked through. 

But if we have somewhere we need to be then it doesn’t matter at all what the weather’s like because we’ll be out there doing what we do, and I’ll be looking after him, keeping him safe from the moment we leave the house to the moment we return to it, because I’m his guide dog.  That’s my job…  It’s what I do…


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