Hello Everyone ! Hope you are all doing well !
Last week my family and I decided to take a last minute family holiday. We all piled in the car and went to Edmonton, Alberta Canada to West Edmonton Mall for 3 days. It is a 9 hour drive from where we live so Wednesday at 4pm when we got there, we were all very happy. The kids travel pretty well so that helps.
Once we were in Edmonton we had lots of fun, we were very busy. We did the water park, amusement park, 2 mini golf courses, bowling, a Sea Lion show, and aquarium. As well as lots of shopping.
I have been to West Edmonton Mall before, but when I was there last time I had more vision. This time I found it to be very overwhelming. The amount of people and the noise and just vast amount of space that the mall covers. I am very glad that I had Rick, I would never have been able to navigate the mall without sighted guide if it were not for Rick. Now Rick did amazing but it was also very stressful for him as well, for the same reasons I found it overwhelming. He had to follow my husband for most of our travels through the crowds of people and all the distractions. He did amazing at one point we were in the amusement park and there were roller coasters going over our heads and trans running in front of us, kids screaming, music and the other rides going on around us and Rick was able to guide me through the maze following my husband and never missing a beat. I sat down for a while when the kids were playing in a play structure and gave him the biggest hug ever. I can not even put into words my gratitude for this amazing dog at that time. We found a pet store in the mall later that day and he got a little treat ! He deserved it that is for sure.
I personally find crowds to be hard, I get quite anxious almost especially when I have my kids with me, and they are not toddlers anymore but I can’t seem to help it. I am asking every 5 minutes where they are and if we have everyone I am sure my husband and kids think “ok woman where do you think we are going to go ?” .
In the end the holiday was stressful for me but the kids had lots of fun and it is always nice to be able to get away with the family and un wind.
Until Next time
Ashley and Rick
Hello Everyone Welcome to the new Blog location ! Hope you are all doing well and having a great summer.
Rick and I have been busy busy this summer there seems to be no time for anything. But I prefer it that way so it is nice. Over the last 11 months that Rick has been with me, we have been doing some travelling. So I thought I would let you in on the logistics of travelling with a Guide Dog.
If you have ever travelled with a toddler it is very similar. He has his own bag full of food, water, bowl, blanket or bed, jackets, boots, toys, zantac (he has a sensitive tummy) and some high value treats, an extra collar just in case and his high nylon collar depending where we are going. Oh and don’t forget the poop bags, those very important.
When travelling on a plane we have to fast for a few hours before the flight so that we don’t have a puking dog on the plane, and or a dog that needs to “do his business” mid flight. I then carry a kibble pouch in my purse to give him a few kibble on take off and landing. As well I give him a pepto bismol tablet a few minutes before we load onto the plane, again he has a sensitive tummy. When we land we by pass the luggage carousel and head strait for the nearest potty area, then we can go get our bags and head to our final destination.
When travelling by car we don’t have to give Rick the pepto or fast him but we do need to make sure that there are scheduled potty breaks especially when travelling for a long time. He is a really good traveller in the car we have done a few long trips where we are in the car for about 9 hours and he is a super star. As long as he gets his kibble and potty breaks he is great !! He usually travels better than our three kids *smile*.
At the hotel, I usually make sure to call ahead to tell them I am bringing a Guid Dog. This makes it so that I can answer any questions or argue our case about what they can and cannot do if necessary. I have found it much better to do this than do it when you have travelled a long time and have three very grouchy kids that just want to get to the room. Once we find the room I give Rick some kibble at the door and then when we need to go our and relieve he is very good at being able to take me back to the room. I find it funny when we are in the hall and Rick finds the room people are confused and trying to figure out if I am really blind or if Rick can read the numbers on the door. I will usually put them out of their misery and let them know that no he can’t read the numbers but he got kibble at the door earlier so he would know that as the place he is supposed to go.
Travelling with a Guide Dog is kind of like travelling with a toddler but I would not change in for anything. Rick has given me the confidence and freedom to be able to travel alone and enjoy our trips as a family even more. I love being able to go to a busy place and not having to hang on to my husband as my sighted guide, I can get Rick to follow my husband and we can navigate the busy place like super stars. Being able to travel alone is also very empowering. I love having that freedom and that freedom for me has come through the form of Rick !