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Friday, 31 July 2015

Visitors, and MORE shopping.....

Woohoo! Another visitor! Ryan came! Yayyyy! Apparently he has come to stay for the night before taking Debbi away tomorrow.
That was after another day of guiding Mum around the shops. We went into Wilko's where I got loads of fuss and admiration, then on to that Marks n Sparks place again. This thing of going into one of those tiny rooms to remove her fur-substitutes and try on new ones seems to be becoming a habit! She says it is for something called a wedding. I guess all will become clear.......
After that, we carried on around to the other side of town - that meant my favourite! Pets at Home! And I did get to take Mum in there this time.....but not to the yummy hoovering department! frown emoticon instead, we went into a room where lots of doggy pals were up on tables being stroked with whiskersticks and fufffffed with noisy fuffing machines. Another one was howling in a back room. He sounded like he was being tortured! I didn't go any further than the front bit. I had to sit and wait while Mum did a load of yacketying to a lady. Maybe I had a lucky escape?
A quick trip around Lidl's and then we were heading back to the boat. However, we didn't go back to where we left it. We went a different way. Dad and Debbi had moved it! So we now have a new garden again!
I took Dad out for a walk this evening and I managed to escape from the boat when somebody forgot to close the front zippy door! Heehee! Well, I couldn't ignore that other black Labrador that walked past could I?

Big Fusses

We've had visitors! Yayyyy! I like having visitors! Especially ones that make big fusses of me! Mark and Catherine made BIG fusses of me. They can visit again! I also like it when Mum does extra choppy-slicey-peely stuff in the kitchen for guests. It means I get extra carrot trimmings and cucumber ends! Yummy!

This was all after several trips out today. The first was to take Dad to get some things for the big rumbler, then I took Mum and Debbi to the market. This was torture because we went to two yummy stalls and I didn't get anything. One had a huge pile of big juicy carrots, the other had loads of meat of all kinds. It all made my mouth drip. I did try to persuade Mum to let me carry the bag of meat for her but she told me to get my shnozzle away from it! Huff! I was only trying to help!

The next walk was a nice gentle stroll with just Debbi. She needed a break and some fresh air. I was delighted to help with that! She did make a very peculiar face though when I did what a dog has to do! She was clearly not impressed with bagging my offering!

We then rounded off the day with another stroll this evening, including a little bit of a freerun, to show our guests around the area. I was most miffed to discover that the magic door at Pets at Home didn't open! I couldn't go in! Humph!

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Shopping and More Shopping!

I don't know. Dad drags me round the shops first thing this morning. We come back, they have their breakfast (I had mine before we went out, although I think I should have had extra for all this exercise!). Then, Mum takes me out around the shops again. I will tell you more about my day later.

Dad says something about getting some bits to service the engine. He found a shop called Motorist Discount Centre, where he got lots of filters and oil. He seems to be happy. Apparently they were cheap.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Shopping, Stripping and Snoozing

I've had to work today - guiding Mum all by myself around town, with nobody else to tag along. Dad and Debbi stayed on the boat while I took Mum to town. We went into a place called 'the bank'. There were two lovely ladies just inside the door who greeted us and made a lovely fuss of me (after asking Mum's permission first). One of them asked Mum if she could help her and Mum handed her a few floppy rectangles and some other flat things. This lady went off and did whatever it was she needed to do with those things. This left me in charge of getting some super fuss and admiration from the other lady. I think I like that bank place!

After that, I guided Mum all the way across town to Sainsbury's. We did get a few edibles on the way out but first, we went upstairs to where there were loads of human fur-substitutes everywhere. I had to stand and wait loads while Mum scanned around to find things she liked. Then she took a load of items and we had to find something called a fitting room. We were shown into a tiny room (apparently it was the big cubicle especially for disabled people). It was just big enough for me to curl up in the corner while Mum stripped off her own fur-substitutes and put the new ones on and off again. I realy didn't understand what that was all about. I did manage though, with one swift whap of my tail, to swipe Mum's own fur-substitutes onto the floor. That gave me a much more comfortable bed to snuggle down onto!

I must have done a good job of working today. Mum said, as we set out this morning, that she was going to work on my discipline and get in some good working practice. I proved to her that we needed no extra discipline or practice. I just got on with my job! Well......maybe she did need to remind me a couple of times that I am not supposed to sniff while I'm working - but there was some very important news on some lampposts and corners that just HAD to be checked out! I have to make sure there are no enemies around!

When we returned to the boat, I was glad to snooze for the afternoon before taking Dad out for a much needed walkies. He needs to be dragged away from his clicketyfingers toy for what he calls a screen break. I am always very happy to oblige!

Sponsored Walk Update

Although we have passed our original target, we are still continuing to raise money for Guide Dogs. We have chosen to name our puppy "Raymond", in memory of Tim's dad, who passed away during the sponsored walk. By continuing our fund raising, we will be able to contribute more towards the overall costs of Guide Dog Raymond.

The costs of a Guide Dog do not just stop with training. The overall lifetime cost of providing a Guide Dog are estimated to be around £50,000. Please continue to spread the word, and help us to raise even more.


Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Bras, Bouncers & Nutshells

Yaaaayyyyy!!!! Daddy is back again! And, it seems, he is staying now. There seems to be some talk about us all going away in a few days though.....I shall wait and see......
I celebrated Dad's return by walking him off his paws this afternoon! Heehee! I took him for a lovely long walk all around this Newbury place. That was after walking Mum and Debbi into town this morning. I had to take them to a shop called Marks and Sparks to do something called 'bra-shopping' for Debbi. She bought a white thing but it didn't look much like my bra! No yellow handle or front strap for a start! After that, we continued on through the town to Lidl's - that meant we had to go past Pets At Home.....welllll....I couldn't possibly walk straight past could I? I took Debbi in to show her the fluffy bouncers that she loves! We went into another  section of the shop too where there were hissing furballs! Ugghhh! Thankfully, we didn't hang around there for long! I didn't manage to drag Mum and Debbi to the area that always needs a good hoovering! Huff! I had to content myself with the nutshells on the floor in Lidl's instead.
We walked back via the towpath and Victoria Park but I didn't get a freerun. Mum said something about me doing way too much scavenging in Victoria Park. I don't know what she can possibly mean. There is surely no such thing as too much hoovering!

Monday, 27 July 2015

Black Fur and Sugar Flowers

A somewhat more sedate day today. Dad left us this morning to go back to Bournemouth again. So I had to look after Mum and Debbi. (Ryan had to leave yesterday later afternoon, then Rosie left a while afterwards, taking my pal Pilot with her.)
This morning, I took Mum and Debbi into town and they did loads of that wandering-around-looking-at-things-in-the-shops stuff. They bought a few things too. I just did my duty, keeping Mum from bumping into things and guiding her to kerbs and crossings etc. I really don't understand this human behaviour of shopping. They don't even sniff things! They just look at them and occasionally pick them up and put them back down again! Most odd! Never mind, I do get to enjoy the attentions of some admirers while Mum does this weird stuff.
Back on the boat this afternoon, and after human lunch and my carrot, Debbi went zzzzzz so I snuck out again with Mum to go to Tesco's to get something she needed for dinner. I tried to steer her to the carrots but she said we don't need any more! Well, I strongly dispute that! We always need lots of carrots! She just got a round white thing with green outsides. She says I can't have any because it will make me parp! Huff!
After we had all had our respective dinners, I took Debbi and Mum for a nice long walk along the towpath, through some backstreets, into town, then around Victoria Park, before returning along the towpath again. I have then spent the evening snuggling with Mum whilst she and Debbi have been playing with some squishy stuff they call sugar paste. They said something about making flowers for a wedding cake. I have no idea what that means, but it seems that Debbi didn't appreciate my contribution: a few generously donated black hairs! Huff! I think my fur adds a beautiful extra touch to anything!

Weekend Update, Monday 26 July

Cor! What a whirlwind couple of days!
On Friday, after Mum and I got totally saturated in the leakysky stuff (not once, not twice but THREE times!), I had to share my bedroom! That's because our third trip out in the soggies was to meet Debbi and Ryan. They came to stay! Yayy! We were all very soggy again when we got back to the boat, so Mum attacked me with the towel!
On Saturday, Daddy came back again and we all went to find the car (he says it is called a higher car - I thought it was no higher than any other car!). In the front seat of the car was a big surprise for Mum (and me!). A big surprise in the form of a little person - Granny!
We all went off in the car to a place called Reading. There, Dad disappeared off and came back with a wheelieseat for Granny. Then we all set off into town and found LOOOOAADDDSSS of Guide Dogs and Puppies and GuideDogs humans too! It was a great day of kanoodling! Apparently all the shiny disks and floppy rectangles that were being put into buckets are all going to be added to our fundraising total, so I had to do my best to be appealling! That, of course, meant lots of fusses and admiration, but the kanoodling was the best bit! Right at the end though, there was another super good bit: Rosie arrived with Pilot! My bestest pal!
After all of that, we went back to the boat so I could have my dinner (a most essential mission!) before going off to a human yummies place. Poor Pilot had to stay on the boat on his own, but I think he made good use of my bed. That shows one big advantage of being a Guide Dog: I go EVERYWHERE with Mum! I NEVER get left on my own!
Once all the noshing was finished, it was back into the car and back to the boat. We said goodbyes to Granny (with a few leaky eyes around!). Dad took Granny back home to Bournemouth, while I looked after Mum and took her, with Debbi, Ryan and Rosie - plus Pilot (of course!) for a fabulous freerun in the park! Pilot and I had a wonderful time running around and playing tug with various sticks and other things we found. Debbi, Ryan and Rosie did some strange things on a long dangly thing that they sat on and it went whizzing off along a wire! Humans! So peculiar!
When we got back, all the beds were assembled in the boat (the table goes down to make one bed and the sofa unfolds to make another). That meant that Pilot and I had to share the sofabed with Rosie! Yippeeee! We all snuggled down for cuddles for quite some time before Dad came home again. It was a lovely snuggly time. I got most of the bed! Heehee! Mum and Rosie were nicely squished into the corner and Pilot was on top of them for a while before he moved down to the bottom end. Mum says I was snoring! I don't know what she means! I would never do such a thing! How very undignified!
This morning, none of us woke up until megalate! Even my tummy didn't rumble me awake until Rosie says the numbers on the tickydisk said 10.30. I think we must have been a tad tired!
Photo shows me on 'My bed' - making sure I had my fair share of room. I am stretched out full spread with Rosie squished in the corner and Pilot on the bottom end.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Guide Dogs Day, Broad Street Reading.

Don't forget, I will be in Broad Street, Reading, tomorrow - Saturday 25 July from noon.

There is a big Guide Dogs event starting at 10:00am, and there will be lots going on. Please come along and meet up with me - it would be lovely to see you. Bring your friends too!


Huff! Not impressed! Walked miles, sky leaked badly ALL the way, got soaked, went into Pets at Home but didn't get to hoover, then come back and get dressed in this! Sulking under the table! 

Photo of me lying on my mat under the table, wearing my blue microfibre towelling bathrobe.


Mum's eyes are all leaky and she seems to be all gushy all over me! She says it is something to do with our fundraising. She says we've smashed our target. I didn't hear anything break!

Ahem! Mum....... You're gonna squeeze me to bits!

Thursday, 23 July 2015


Errrmmmm.......well......I made Mum laugh........but her face went very pink at the same time........and.....errrr.....I'm not too sure she was entirely impressed! Actually, I made lots of people smile, laugh, giggle, point and comment. All I did was a bit of street cleaning!

Mum harnessed me up and we set off into a bit of town we've never visited before. She had been given directions to something called The Bank, so I did my bit; steering her around obstacles, finding crossings etc, and Mum tried to remember the directions to give me the right commands - 'find left', 'find the crossing' etc etc. this worked well, we got into the right bit of town. We walked up and down the same bit of street three times - past this Bank building, before Mum realised it was there, right beside us! It is a huge building! But she apparently couldn't find it! She muttered something about 'can't see the wood for the trees'. There were no trees! I think the heat was getting to her!!!

Anyway, we did the Bank thing and came back out, then wandered around the market. Mum bought some things from a stall that had carrots in it. She didn't get carrots though! Huff!

Then came the bit that made Mum go pink: We were wandering around, me doing my job and Mum doing her best to look around at the town while I took care of her. There were a few very important smells that I simply had to investigate on lampposts and corners etc, but Mum got a bit miffed with me for doing that, telling me 'No! Do your job!' Well, I WAS doing my job! I just included an extra duty on my job description! Huff! Anyway, I kind of gave up that role after a bit as Mum was being mean about it. However, there was one bit of street cleaning that I simply had to do so I did it very swiftly and deftly! Afterwards, people started pointing at me, smiling, giggling and gasping! Mum was becoming aware of this but just thought it was the usual oohs and aahs that we often get as we work together. Then a lady stopped us and said to Mum that she thought it was really cute to see a professional working dog doing his duty but carrying a toy! That made Mum look at me, because she knows that I don't generally carry a toy!
And so she rumbled me! My street cleaning supremacy was dashed. It seems that my 'toy' that I had so nimbly lifted from the ground, such that Mum barely detected that I had dipped my head, was actually something called a pigeon!

Of course, I had to 'drop it' - with some extra persuasion by way of Mum's paw-pointers clamped firmly around my muzzle! Harrrruuummmppphh!

Wednesday, 22 July 2015


Mum says that good boys get yummies.

Today I took Mum to Pets at Home and she bought lots of big yummies.

Does that mean I have been a VERY good boy?

I must have done alright because, when we got back, I did get one of the big yummies - a big bone-shaped carrot biscuit! It didn't last long!

Mum is having a bad-eyes-day so I have had to strut my stuff for her. I took her into town and we found the talkybone shop. It seems that, because she is having a bad-eyes-day, she tried to to something to her talkybone to make it talk to her but, instead, she somehow managed to make it go poorly! Doh! The nice man in the shop tried to fix it for her while I greeted some admirers! Mum says he hasn't fixed it as well as he thought he had so it still keeps dinging and she can't read the messages that come with the dings! She says she really wants an eyephone now as it is much better for blind people. I've only ever seen anyone hold a talkybone to their ear - not their eye! I fail to fathom this one! Another human oddity I suspect!

After that, we continued our walk around the town area and then found the most important shop of all - Pets at Home! I sniffed that out long before we got there! It made my paws work much faster!
Inside, I met a chocolate Labrador named Hartley. He taught me how to rummage among the bags of yummies on the shelf to find the spilled treats! We worked hard between us to hoover all the mess left by the careless humans! It is our duty to clean up after them isn't it? We can't possibly commit the crime of letting good food go to waste!

Tuesday, 21 July 2015


Please note that following a family bereavement, the rest of the walk has been postponed. We will post further details as soon as possible.

HOWEVER, we still plan to attend the event in Broad Street, Reading, on Saturday 25 July. Please come along and see us if you can!

Day 17 - Monday 20 July

Daddy left again! :(

Mum and Dad are both very sad. Mum says it is because Grandpa has passed away. That is why Dad has gone back to Bournemouth again. So that means I have to look after Mum again.

I have taken her shopping today and then for a walk up through the park and back around the streets and home along the towpath. I shall have to stay close, including snuggles on the sofa! It is my duty! My chin belongs on Mum's leg at times like this.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Day 16 - Sunday 19 July

Not a lot to report today.

It has been another strange day with Dad missing. Mum has been talkyboning a lot and I get the impression she is a bit sad, so I am sticking close by for when she needs my loving.

I took her for a bit if a walk by the river this morning and, when we came back, we could hear human howling from nearby. We wandered over to investigate and discovered a church service going on in the park, so we joined in. Well, Mum did. I had a lie down and watched the world go by.

After a brief time back on the boat, we set off along tge towpath and up through the shoppystreet to a pub. We had yo do some meeting and greeting there as there was a Guide Dogs fundraising thing going on. Two minihumans looked after us, showed us round and got Mum some orange water and a yummy. It smelled seriously yummy too. It made my mouth drip! Mum said it was a hog roast. We didn't stay very long because Mum needed to do more talkyboning.

On the way back, I took Mum into Tesco's for a couple of bits, then back to the boat. Apart from a wander around the park thus evening, we have had a quiet time. I'm not complaining though. It has been really hot and I think I am still a bit pooped after yesterday!

Day 15 - Saturday 18 July

Today has been the bestest day for ages!
I shall do my best to stay awake long enough to to tell you about it:

It started off a bit odd. Well, it us odd not having Dad around fir a start! I took Mum for a bit of a walk up the road, but then her talkybone howled, and we turned back. When we got yo the boat we found a friend there; John, it seems, was today's Dad-replacement for driving the boat. So, off we set, but Mum and I were still aboard! Not walking! Mum says that we will ve going back at some point yo do that stretch of the MegaWalk. She says that with Dad away, we have had to change plans a bit.

Anyway, as we were going along, John called down from the back deck and, all if a sudden, it seemed Mum was gathering my harness and lead and we were rushing to get off the boat. John carried on without us and we met some very special people on the towpath. Well, errmmmm.... I may gave been a bit carried away at first with meeting and greeting Andy, a 10 month old golden Labrador guide dog puppy. I did then notice the humans.....oops! Ahem! The humans were Sue and Mike; my puppy-parents! Rowley, the Springer Spaniel was there too! Ohhhh! Happy Oakley!

We set off for a wonderful freerun along the towpath and Andy and I had an absolute blast! Rowley just bumbled along being a Spaniel, minding his own business, doing his own thing. He fund join in a bit of the fun though. Rowley found a deliciously stinky rotten dead duck and rolled in it to get himself perfumed up! Andy and I didn't get chance to indulge as the humans stopped us before we even started! Huff! However, it did lead to some super fun, because Mike sent Rowley into the canal for a swim to freshen up. Well, Andy and I weren't going to miss out on that bit of fun, so we went in too and had a fab swim about! A little further down the towpath, we found a lovely sloping bit down the other side and into the river. Well, we simply had to sample the delights of that water too! That wasn't so deep, so we couldn't swim, but playing chase in water up to our shoulders was fab fun!

We both got the humans with a few good shakes. That was a bonus! It seems they weren't too keen on having three soggy doggies in their car, so, when we got back to our starting point, we went into the garden of a pub calked the Dundas Arms. The humans sat and drank hot stuff whilst we dogs continued the important work of some serious kanoodling. That apparently dried us off well enough that we were ok to get in the car. Andy and Rowley went in the boot and I rode in the front between Mum's paws. That gave me a comfy knee to rest my snoozy head on.

When we stopped and got out, I recognized where we were. It was Victoria Park in Newbury. Mum harnessed me up and we walked along tge park, with Sue and Andy (Mike drive off to find somewhere to park the car and came later, along with Rowley to find us again.) we met up with another Guide Dog. A black Labrador retriever named Bracken with his blind lady, Janice. We then all set off across the park. I led Mum because I remembered the park from when we were here before. Sue and Janice, with Andy and Bracken followed on behind. Across the other side if the park, near the canal, we found a Guide Dogs flappy-roof thing with loads of other guide dogs there! It was paradise! Sooooooo many pals to kanoodle with! Apparently, at one point, there were twelve of us! It was fabbidabbydoo!

It was a special day for Sue and Andy because they had Andy, their current puppy, plus Bracken who was their last puppy, and me who was their first guide dog puppy. Andy and I really hit it off and we spent most of the day playing and mouthing each other! We did join in and play or at least meet and greet the others too of course! I did get a bit of a chance to be myself when Mum let go of my lead. I managed to catch a funny disk that some humans were throwing to and fro. I ......errr.....don't think that was entirely the right thing for me to have done! I had to give it back! Oops! Andy got into a little bit if bother too when he went for a swim in the giant puddle with the little pedalboats on it! Heehee! He thought it was great fun!

After a while John arrived with our boat and Mum helped him to fasten the boats leads onto the rings on the ground. Then ?Mum disappeared, leaving me with Sue. I didn't mind of course! When Mum came back, she was wearing different fur substitutes. It seems she didn't appreciate my big-shake-river-water-and-mud decorations!

After an exhausting afternoon of sooooo much kanoodling, I had a little snoozelet while Mum helped Rob to pack away the stuff and collapse the flappy roof thing. Sue and Mike disappeared to take Janice and Bracken home. Mum and I went back to the boat, and, a few minutes later, Sue, Mike, Andy and Rowley came back! They came aboard and, while the humans were yacketying, we dogs had another good play. Then we all got our dinners together too! I gobbled mine extra quick! I didn't want to risk any competition!

After that, we al, set off along the towpath and into town, where we went into a human yummies place. We went into the outside bit where Andy and I got yo do a bit more kanoodling while the humans had their dinners. Then we went back to the park for a bit more freerun fun! I don't think Mum was too pleased with me when I cleared up some rubbish that had been left on the ground. It was yummy though! A tad chewy and difficult to get through but worth the effort. Mum said something about plastic wrappers not being edible. I don't know what she was burbling about.

I think I redeemed myself a little when I nuzzled at something on the ground. Mum was going to tell me if again for hoovering, but then realized that it was a talkybone I had found and I was showing her! She picked it up and later used it to yackety to someone. Shortly afterwards, a lady came to get it and gave Mum a floppy rectangle to say thank you. Mum has put that in the MegaWalk fund!

Of course, all good things have to end. Today's fantastic fun is no exception, but it really has been absolutely superb! I am one VERY tired, but VERY happy Oakley!

Saturday, 18 July 2015


This is 'Mum' hijacking Oakley's page for a quick notice to anyone planning of joining us today; Saturday 18 July.

WE WILL NOT BE WALKING from Kintbury to Newbury, but we WILL BE in Victoria Park, Newbury from 12noon until around 3pm, hopefully with a few other guide dogs and puppies to meet and greet.

This change of plan is because of a family emergency. We WILL return to walk this section later on. We really hope to meet up with as many supporters as possible in the park. We are very sorry for having to change this at such short notice.

Day 14 - Friday 17 July

3 miles, 4 locks, 0 swingbridges to Kintbury
Total so far 52.5 miles. 70 locks. 14 swingbridges

Today has been very strange. First of all, Dad was yacketying on his talkybone in the middle of the night, then, this morning, he left us! Mum says he has gone to Bournemouth because Grandpa is very poorly. So I am here to look after Mum.

Some friends, that we met yesterday, came and drove the boat while Mum and I did our walk. This was all very perturbing! I kept looking at the boat thinking 'But....but.....but.....that's not my Dad driving!' We made it OK though. The friends had cups of hot brown water and a chunk of yummyness, then left us to go back to their own boat.

A bit later, after Mum had been in the warm rain box, Lorraine from Guide Dogs came, along with her husband, Kevin. He brought me a new big sack of my food. I like him!

Now I have a chance for a bit of a snooze while Mum is busy clicketyfingersing and talkyboning loads! It seems, we are going out again soon to something called a Pub Quiz. I shall report back later on that.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Day 13 - Thursday 16 July

5 miles, 9 locks, 2 swingbridges to Hungerford
Total so far 49.5 miles. 66 locks. 14 swingbridges
The day started off with a bit of a play with Monty and Basil, before we set off. The day ended with a bit of a play with Saffy, my new friend; a two-year-old red Working Cocker Spaniel. (I didn't see her doing any work though!). Oh....and I may just have had a few plays with Saffy at the locks along the way too! Heehee! I do like it when we share locks with another doggy boat!
In between times, I have had to work really hard for Mum. Today has been the most difficult of all so far on this MegaWalk. The towpath was REALLY narrow most of the way and it was REALLY REALLY overgrown with all sorts of beasty bushes. So, most of the way Mum has had my lead looped through my harness handle and we have been working in our 'Go Ahead' mode. Mum has found it much harder than I have because the ground was quite rough and difficult for two paws. But we did it! I kept Mum safe and we made it. We met some nice humans on the way too, who put shiny disks in the slot on the head of the doggy box.

Photo shows Me and Saffy sitting in front of Saffy's boat with Mum behind us
trying to get us both to pose for the one-eyed-clickybox.

Day 12 - Wednesday 15 July

1.5 miles, 4 locks, 0 swingbridges to Great Bedwyn - Bruce Trust moorings (with kind permission)
Total so far 44.5 miles. 57 locks. 12 swingbridges
A very easy day today. Only a short walk with just 4 locks. Those locks were reeeeeaaalllly slow though. We had to wait aaaaages for them to fill and empty again. The walking was good though and I got to meet a couple of doggy pals. Two of them have been rescued from nasty humans and are now with loving humans. I like these loving humans. Max was the first one - a Belgian Shepherd crossed with a nobody-knows-what. He had been found by his human man all neglected and starved and sad. Max is now really fit and healthy and is totally devoted to his human dad. He never has to wear a collar or lead because he always does exactly as he is told. Just like me! Ahem......moving on.....
The second one was Basil - a Rottie x Staffie who was rescued from nasty people who wanted him to fight. He too was in a bad way but is now strong and healthy and very very happy.
I tried to play with Max's ball but he wasn't keen and Mum told me off because I was on harness. Huff! Basil is apparently very nervous of other dogs but he and I got on well and had a good sniff.
This evening, a German Shepherd puppy (1 year old) came for a walk beside our boat. He tried to jump up on the roof! I got to have a brief play with him. Mum said he was absolutely gorgeous. She said she has a serious soft spot for GSDs......excuse me? Ahem! Loyalty! Please......surely you have to have an even bigger soft spot for THE best dog in the world........
Ooohhhh - yeah......that belly rub and ear scratch makes me forgive you......keep going.....don't stop........
Mum yacketyyacking with two men on the towpath. They are wearing strange collars and have some very noisy toys that they had been using to chop all the green stuff down! I just watched the quacking featherballs!

Me sitting on the towpath by Mum. Basil the Rottie x Staffie standing by his Dad

A sneaky playtime with Monty the Border Collie before we set off this morning.
Mum is waiting to put my bra on me!

Towpath snooze.
Me zonked out lying on my side on the gravel towpath.

Photo taken looking down the length of our boat roof, showing all the flappy triangles hanging along the length. Boat is heading into a lock. Mum is standing yacketying to a man while I lie down by her paws

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Up Coming Events on the Mega Walk

(aka -chances to meet me!)
Friday 17th - The Blue Ball, High St Kintbury - from 3pm Guide Dogs and Puppies meet and greet then 7pm Pub Quiz. Pizza oven on the go throughout
Saturday 18th - Victoria Park, Newbury - noon to 4pm - Guide Dogs and Puppies Meet n Greet
Saturday 25th - Broad Street, Reading - Grand Finale 10am to 4pm

Day 11 - Tuesday 14 July

4 miles, 8 locks, 0 swingbridges to Crofton Visitor Moorings
Total so far 40 miles. 51 locks. 12 swingbridges
We have passed the halfway mark - in terms of both miles and locks! Wooooohoooooo!
It has been a FAB day! Some lovely human friends, Richard and Linda, came to join us on the walk and with the locks. They are lovely doggy-loving friends. More importantly though, because they were with us and Linda helped Mum, that meant I got to enjoy a bit of time off. I got to freerun a lot of the way along the towpath today! Yipppeeeee!
I even managed to sneak in a quick swim when Mum wasn't quite close enough to stop me. Heehee!
There was one bit where I did have to work to help Mum - not only by guiding her but also by pulling her up the steep steps. It did mean we escaped the dark tube though. Dad and Richard disappeared into the dark tube with the boat while Linda and I guided Mum over the top of the hill. That meant climbing up steep steps and then back down a slippy slope on the other side. Mum was panting when we got to the top of the steep steps. She didn't do that properly though, she didn't hang her tongue out!
When we arrived at our moorings at a place Mum says is called Crofton, I had a great play with a Border Collied from the boat in front of us. I went to inspect the inside of his boat and discovered a container with a little step thing on the front of it. I also discovered that pressing my paw down on that little step thing made the top open! That was a valuable bit of learning! There were yummies inside! The man told Mum that I had got a fish skin out of the bin. Well, if that is what it is called then I now know that I like fish skin! Mmmmmm....

Day 10 - Monday 13 July

3.5 miles, 1 lock, 0 swingbridges to Wootton Rivers
Total so far 36 miles. 43 locks. 12 swingbridges
Quite an easy day today in terms of distance and locks, but the towpath has been a bit of a challenge in places. Some bits were good for Mum's paws - fairly even crunchy stuff on a reasonably wide path), but again, quite a lot was rough and narrow so we had to do lots of 'Go ahead' stuff. The sky was leaky again too, so some bits were slippy for Mum. I did guide her carefully around the muddy puddles though. I do try to be a gentleman! (or, more accurately, a gentledog!)
Today's walk ended at the one lock for the day and it was a wonderful ending: a superb playtime (Mum did remove my bra and lead first so I was off duty) with an 8-month-old girlie puppy Airedale called Reno. We were a good match for each other and had a fab game of chase with a bit of boxing too! Lovely fun!
Mum says I am a poo factory today - something to do with having eaten far more than I should have done yesterday! I don't know what she means! There is no such thing as eating too much......

Day 9 - Sunday 12 July

5.5 miles, 0 locks, 0 swingbridges
Total so far 32.5 miles. 42 locks. 12 swingbridges
Today's walk was mostly wet and wild! The sky leaked very lightly almost all the way - not enough to really make us soggy, but enough that Mum said she was glad of it to cool her down! It didn't bother me at all. The wild bit was the towpath! Almost all of it was really narrow and overgrown with beastie bushes on both sides of us, and the ground was very bumpy. Lots of practice of our 'Go Ahead' technique.
Mum called me a smarta**e at one point. What she really meant, of course, was that I am truly awesome! Each time I spotted a bin along the way, I steered Mum towards it and stopped to check whether or not she needed to feed it. You see, she so often asks me to 'find a bin' that I thought I would just do it anyway! Only once today though did she actually feed a bin. That was shortly after she called me 'Stinky'!
The other example of my awesomeness today was when we came to a bridge across the canal. I tried to steer Mum up the towpath and onto the bridge, but she insisted on 'Under the bridge'. I gave in and did as she asked. We went under the bridge only to find that the towpath ended there! I gave Mum my best 'told you so' sideways look and led her back to where I was trying to take her in the first place: Up at the bridge! We got to the top of the slope and I waited while she fumbled around finding the latch, then we went through the gate, over the bridge and down the to where the towpath continued on the other side of the canal. This was the bit that really impressed Mum: Beside the bridge there was a fence and one of those big wide gates that farmers use to get their giant sit-n-ride toys through. This was chained up. Mum was standing looking to try to work out how to get through (it takes her a long time to scan round and survey a scene). Before she had finished scanning round, I had led her off to the left where there was a little gate for people to get through. This wasn't chained, but just had a latch like the one on the other side.
Mum got her little talkybox thing and asked Dad if he had brought me walkies here before. He said 'No - never been here before at all'. Mum was a bit amazed at how I did that! She should know by now that I am simply awesome!
Today's walk finished at a pub that we visited on our way to the start fo the Megawalk. After mooring up, and after Mum had done her wierd thing in the warm-rain box (I don't get it! We had been out in rain all morning!) We went into the pub garden, where a nice man greeted us. Another man was cooking sausages on a big hot sizzly thing. That smelt fantastic! Of course, I didn't get any! Well....not offcially anyway! I think I left the grass cleaner than I found it!
We spent the afternoon there, Mum, Dad and two nice Guide Dogs people had funny water to drink and ate some of those sausages, I jsut snoozed under the table. There were some men stroking the whiskers of noise-boxes and doing that human howling stuff into lollipops on sticks and a few people made a fuss of me. Some people put some of those shiny disks and/or floppy rectangles into the dog-with-a-hole-in-its-head box. Apparently that was the important bit!
Mum and Dad seemed a little disappointed that there weren't many people there. I'm sure I heard Mum say that she had hoped that a few Guide Dog puppies would come but none did. Perhaps the leaky sky had something to do with this. I did get to say hello to a pair of twiggy dogs. Their human said that they are labrador x whippet sisters. One of them was very bouncy. I would have loved to play but I was wearing my bra so I wasn't allowed! Huff!
When we left the pub garden, I did get to have a good play with a group of doggy pals from a boat near ours. There was a little scruffy terrier, a couple of mixtures about my size, and a white fluffy Alaskan Husky. We had a great game of chase and I went aboard their boat too. Somebody had been very careless and forgotten to eat their doggy-dinner. There was a big bowlful of nuggets that I dutifully cleared up for them. I don't think Mum was too impressed with my devotion to my hoovering duty! I only got a tiny bit of dinner tonight! Harrumph!

Mum and me walking under a bridge on the towpath. I have to make sure I keep Mum safe here between going splash one side and bumping her head on the low bridge on the other.

Mum and me sitting down for a welcome few minutes beside a swingbridges. We have opened the bridge and are waiting for Dad to bring the host through.

A close up shot of us beside the swingbridges. Mum is making a fuss of me.
I am watching out for Dad.

Day 8 - Saturday 11 July

5 miles, 0 locks and 2 swingbridges
Total so far 27 miles. 42 locks. 12 swingbridges
Today's hike completed. A fairly easy day for me; just a steady wander along the towpath with no waiting around for locks today. It hasn't been so easy for Mum though. She finds the rugged towpath surface quite a challenge to walk on. This, of course, is further proof that four paws beats two paws! A lot of the route today has been through very narrow stretches with lots of beasty bushes either side, so we have had lots of practice at our adapted technique of 'Go Ahead' working. I have posted two short videos demonstrating this.
We are now moored in a place Mum says is called All Cannings. It seems to be in the middle of nowhere - all we can hear is dozens of different featherballs twittering away all around us. Nice an peaceful for a good snooze to dream away of the day's working!

Well! I may as well be comfy while I watch all the action at the sanitary station!

Photo of me sitting on steps - bum on top step with paws nonchalantly out sideways, front paws on next step down - in full harness, watching the world go by.
Me and my girlfriend, Molly!

Day 7 - Friday 10 July

0 miles. 0 locks. 0 swingbridges today but LOOOOOOOOAAADDDDSSSS of meeting and greeting and kanoodling and fun!
We started with a bit of a lie-in, then, after breakfast, Dan, the one-eyed-whirrybox Man arrived, followed by another Dan, who had ear covers and all sorts of techystuff. After a bit of yacketying and hot brown liquid, we all set off down the towpath. As usual when Dan is around, we had to keep stopping and starting while he pointed his whiirrybox at us, but not as much today as sometimes. We went to a human yummies place part way down the locks. We passed it yesterday. Mum says it is called the Caen Hill Locks café.
Mum and Dad did some yacketying stuff while Dan pointed his whiirrybox at them and the other Dan wore his ear covers and twiddled with some toys with buttons and knobs on. Dan got down on the ground and pointed his whiirrybox at me sometimes too! I did my best to look handsome! He also attached a tiny whiirrybox to my harness while we were walking. I guess the back of my head must be good looking!
After a little while, the bestest bit happened: Three humans turned up wearing that familiar blue fur substitute top, like Mum's. They were nice enough humans but, more importantly, they came with friends! Oakley-friends! One of them was a big red Labrador named Norman (he is a bit oldish and needs a new home as his old human family put him up for something called adoption when he started having something called fits). Norman was with a nice man who was doing something called fostering him. I don't know what this is but Norman seemed to like him so I guess fostering must be nice. The other two were little puppies! Barney and Maisie, both about three months old. Barney is a yellow lab x retriever Guide Dog Puppy in Training and Maisie is a yellow lab pet who is being trained to know Guide Dogs commands so she can be a friend and helper with future Pups in Training.
Barney is a bit shy and very quiet. He played a little bit with me, but he preferred to just snooze. Maisie, on the other paw, was my kinda gal! We had a fab couple of hours rolling about on the ground enjoying a blissful load of kanoodling, ear-chewing, boxing and just generally loving each other's company!
Oh! Errrr! Apparently we were supposed to there to meet and greet lots of humans! Oops! Well..... They all enjoyed watching us having fun! Mum says that lots of people came to talk with her and the other humans (Maisie and I kinda missed all this - we were enjoying our own conversations!). Lots and lots of shiny disks and floppy rectangles were put into the little Guide Dog statue thing!
After everybody else had left, Mum and Dad packed up their stuff and we set off home back along the towpath. I was treated to a freerun most of the way! Yippee! That gave me the opportunity to greet a few more doggy pals and to seek out a tasty bone from the bushes! I enjoyed gnawing on that for quite a good while. I am puzzled though......it disappeared while I was eating my dinner......I left it carefully on the floor to go back to for afters.......it only takes me 30 seconds to gallumph my dinner.......in that short time my bone vanished........Daaaaaad??????

Me greeting a Bull Terrier who Mum rather admired! (How dare she!?) we are both being fussed by Alice, the nice lady who let us be here today. 
In the background are two minihumans with their Mum waiting to admire me.

On the towpath outside the café. The puppies arrived! 
Dan, the whirrybox Man is crouching down with his big whirrybox pointing at us all. Four humans wearing blue Guide Dogs blue fur substitute tops. Four waggy rails belonging to me, Barney and Maisie, the puppies, and Norman the rescued red Labrador.

Shy sleepy Barney. Yellow lab x retriever puppy lying down on the gravel ground, between the paws of his human.

Norman getting a fuss from Dan the whiirrybox man

What a gorgeous line-up! The humans don't look bad either!
From left to right; me, BArney, Maisie and Norman. Ssitting on a bench behind us are our respective humans, all wearing blue Guide Dogs fur substitutes tops.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Day 6 - Thursday 9 July

2 miles, 29 locks and 0 swingbridges
Total so far 22 miles. 42 locks. 10 swingbridges

Mum's Birthday!

Sooooo many locks = sooooo much sitting and waiting! It did include a fair bit if fuss and admiration though, so not a bad day. It also involved lots of extra humans around who came to help with all the locks. Best of all though, it involved a whole day if being with Molly! Her human is very generous with the treats in his pocket too! I like Maffi! I love Molly!

Yep! A good day methinks!

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Day 5 - Wednesday 8 July

3 miles, 5 locks and 3 swingbridges

Total so far 20 miles. 13 locks. 10 swingbridges

The air was fufffing at us a lot today and the sky leaked all over us! It was OK though; the fireball appeared later to dry us and warm us up. Even better than that, I got to kanoodle with a girlfriend! Molly, the Staffie x Jack Russell was at the last lock with her human man Maffi. I like Maffi but I REALLY like Molly. She smelt extra delectable today because she had found some lovely fox poo to roll in!

After working that lock, Mum and I set off to walk to do the first swingbridge. It was then that I noticed that Molly and Maffi weren't coming with us. When Dad caught up with us on the boat and went through the open swingbridge, I discovered why: Maffi and Molly were on the boat! Flippin cheek! Heehee!

We carried on walking and doing the last couple of swingbridges (Maffi and Molly helped with the last one), then we found our mooring for today/tonight. Mum and I hopped aboard the boat once it was moored up and then I found Molly in my bed! That was fine by me. It meant I didn't have to lie down in it, I could choose where to snooze instead. I chose the back deck where I could keep a check on passers-by. Mum and Dad and Maffi did loads of the inevitable yacketyyacking and drinking hot brown water while Molly and I dozed away the exertions of the day. Eventually though Maffi had to go and Molly reluctantly got off my bed to follow him. I may just have had a bit of a squeak as they walked away! Mum said I sounded pathetic! Huff!

The rest of the day has been spent snoozing while Mum and Dad have been clicketyfingersing and talkyboning. Apparently I need to preserve my strength for tomorrow, which is going to be a big day for locks. Well.....if I need extra strength and energy then surely I should have extra food?......It would seem not! Harrumph!

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Day 4 - Tuesday 7 July

4 miles, 2 locks and 4 swingbridges.
Total so far 17 miles. 8 locks. 7 swingbridges.

We did set off earlier this morning. The sky leaked and then the big hot football appeared and made us hot. I got to greet a few doggy pals on the way - including a black labrador like me (well almost like me - but a girlie so she had one bit missing!) called Molly and a snorting bulldog whose name I didn't bother to find out! I just wanted to play! Of course, I wasn't allowed because I was in harness. Huff!

It was a good walk though and Mum was pleased with me. A couple of the swingbridges were a bit unnerving - they bounced and boinged and clanged as we walked on them! Four paws, of course, are good though and I just spread out my legs into a kind of starshape and we kept on going!

We did have to stop and wait for Dad to catch us up with the boat at one point. We waited under a big bridge to shelter from the leaky sky. Mum just popped aboard the boat while I waited with Dad. Apparently Mum needed a wee! I don't know why she can't just cock her leg and water the bushes or trees like I do!

Another strange bit of human behaviour came at the end of today's walk. We got back aboard the boat, once Dad had moored it up, and, despite having been out walking under a leaky sky all morning, Mum went straight into the warm rain box! We had only just got dried off! I stayed well away - enjoying a leisurely snooze on the back deck!

Now - Dad is doing some peely-choppy-slicy-stuff and I smell carrots.......I shall take up my dutiful place beside him to supervise and make sure the trimmings go in the right bowl.......

Monday, 6 July 2015

Day 3 - Monday 6 July

Only a littlish walk today and no locks. Mum says this is because we ended up going further than planned yesterday, including doing the one lock that was scheduled for today. This was all because we couldn't find the mooring that somebody called CaRT had said they would reserve for us. Dad says that it seems that somebody else pinched it! That meant we had to moor alongside another boat (something called 'breasting up') and going to and fro across their deck to get ashore. It was OK though. Not a problem. I almost got to nip inside their boat to explore, but Mum was too quick! Huff! 

So, today, we have just walked along the towpath about 3 miles, bringing our total so far to 13 miles and 6 locks. The sky was a bit leaky today so there weren't many people around to stop and admire me. This meant that we reached today's destination quite quickly, but it also meant that we didn't get many shiny disks or flappy rectangles.

Mum has been on her talkybone quite a lot though and it sounds like we are heading towards some exciting stuff.

One bit of excitement today was when I spotted a hissing furball ahead on the towpath. I almost managed to pull Mum onto the moored boat that it ran to. Only almost though! Maybe next time......

Here is a couple of photos from today.

One of Mum and me in action, walking along the towpath. Mum is wearing her black and yellow Guide Dogs fur substitute top, her dark eyecovers and a hat that has a sticky-out flat front.

Mum and me with the nice man at Hilperton ABC Boathire, who have given us a nice mooring for tonight. There are lots of boats in a big pond here. Mum says it is called a marina. There are also lots of quacking featherballs around. I would love to play but they seem to be scared of me!

Day 2 - Sunday 5 July

Today must be Sunday. We went to a church service! It was great; I got masses of tummytickles!
We got a lift there in a nice man's car, then, after all the human howling etc, we got a lift back in another car. That was after a nice walk through town and along the riverbank too. Back at the boat, the nice humans who drove us back came aboard for lunch and the inevitable oodles of yacketying. I do like it when we have extra eaters aboard. I get extra carrot trimmings! Yummy

After this, it was time for Mum and me to set off on today's walk. Thankfully, most of the skyleakies had stopped by then, but we did get a few damping on our way. I had to work a bit extra hard to steer Mum around the puddles but they had dried up as we came further along the way.

Not too long after setting off I met up with a very tall Doberman called Nikita. She was really lovely and she wanted to play. Meanie Mum wouldn't let me play though! She said that playing when I'm in harness is not allowed! Well....she could've taken my bra off couldn't she?!! Huff! 'We have to walk on' she said. 'You have work to do' she said. 'Huff'! Said I

We walked just 4.3 miles today and did one lock. This lock shouldn't have been done until tomorrow but we ended up going up it to find our mooring. We stopped many times for Mum to yackety-yack, and for me to get a good supply of fuss and admiration! Some humans put shiny disks into a little pouch that Mum had attached to my harness. It seems these disks are very important and all add to something called 'our fundraising total'. I think it would be much more valuable if people just put edible contributions into my mouth!

I do love guests!

Our overnight mooring last night.

Meeting and posing with my public!

Day 1 - Saturday 4 July

Pheewwwyyyy! I am kn..... Very tired! Mum says I can't go sleep til I've updated you though. So.......
It has been a FAB day! There! Will that do? Can I go night night now? No! Oooooh..... All right then......

Well, actually, it really has been a fab day. It started with a trip to Sainsbury's, then a quiet time back aboard. Mum and Dad were flitting about doing what they called 'getting ready'. They put a big flappy thing on the roof of the boat, and some strings of little triangular flappy things along each side. Next, we set off for a brief cruise. We didn't get far though. Dad soon realized that tge big flappy thing on the roof wouldn't fit under the bridge! Oops! So we pulled over to the side of the river and Mum kept it still by holding onto a chain against the wall. Dad then climbed up into the roof and took down this flappy thing called a banner. The cruise resumed. We didn't go far - just around the corner and back. We turned around when we came to a huge V-shaped noisy frothy tumbly sploshy place. I don't think the boat could have gone up those steps

Upon return to our mooring, more of that 'getting ready' stuff went on. The flappy banner was fastened onto the side of tge boat and the flappy triangles fiddled, twiddled and adjusted. A bit of clicketyfingersing went on and a few other bits and bobs. Then we set off to Green Park. Well! That was good enough for me in itself, but, when we got there, I found a fabulous friend: A German Shepherd x Rottie named Harley. His humans were snoozing in the park with blankets and bags. Mum got yacketying with them while Harley and I had a great game of chase. Then another bonus! A fellow Guide Dog appeared! Now that really was a treat! Her name is Dusty and she us a German Shepherd x Golden Retriever and she is gorgeous! She is also very fast and great fun! So, we ended up with a three-way massive fun game of chase

After an exhausting time of exuberant freerun fun, a lady called Sarah came along too. She was wearing familiar fur-substitute; Guide Dogs uniform! I thought she might be one of those Obey-Me-Or-Else humans. I was wrong (phew!). She is something called a Fundraiser. That meant that Dusty and I could carry on being loonies! Heehee

All good things come to an end and this was no exception! Our humans put our harnesses on us and we were back into work mode. We walked along the towpath to our boat, stopped for some one-eyed-clickybox stuff, then we were off! The MEGAWALK began! Dusty came with us (as well as the humans) to the first lock, then it was just Mum and me - and Dad driving the boat

It has been a superb day! 5 miles, 6 locks and 3 twirly-roundly-bridges. Along the way, I have had ooooooodles of fusses and admiration. (Quite rightly, especially after Mum gave me a super grooming session this morning, including a shammy-gleam and teeth-tickling with a yummy minty whiskerstick). We did a lot of stopping while Mum yacketyyacked with looooooaads of other humans. It seems that lots of people knew about our MegaWalk. Lots of people gave Mum those shiny disks and/or the flat rectangles that seem to be so very important in the human world

When we were working the locks, Dad gave us both drinks if water. It was very hot, so we were glad of those. As we passed one boat, a man came out and called us back. He insisted on giving Mum and Dad a yummy each. They were those pointy bottomed crunchy things with the white cold stuff on top. By this time, it was getting way past my dinner time. My tumbly was rumblying. Mummy loves me though! She gave me the pointy end bit of her yummy, and it had a bit of the cold white stuff in it! Shhhhhh! Don't tell anyone! Guide a Dogs are not supposed to have naughties like that! I wuv you, Mummy

As soon as we got to a place where Dad could get the boat in close to the bank, we stopped for a few moments so I could have my proper dinner! I felt better after that and we finished our walk for the day at a slightly brighter pace

I still found the energy for a bit of a play with a couple of passing doggy pals while Dad was mooring up, but I have to admit that I am struggling to keep my head up this evening!
Now pleeeeease may I go slee......zzzzzzzzz

The water steps in Bath that the boat couldn't climb.

Photo shows Pulteny Weir in Bath, taken, looking down the length of the boat. The flower boxes on the boat roof are visible. The weir is a huge V-shape of white water cascDing down three big steps. There are lots of white featherballs that Dad says are called gulls all standing along the top of the weir. There are huge sandy coloured buildings all around.

One-eyed-clickybox session before we set off. This is Dusty.

Photo shows Mum and me bedside the boat along with Dusty (GSD x GR) and her human man. Both dogs in harness. Dusty looking at camera, me looking lovingly at Dusty. The boat is all draped up with flappy banner and little flappy triangles.

Checking up on Dad in the lock.

Photo of my head, peering over the lock wall, taken from below.

Meeting my admiring fans along the way. Mum in her blue Guide Dogs fur-substitute top, holding my lead. My harness handle is lying along my back. I am greeting a Rottweiler lurcher while Mum is yacketying to his two humans, by a lock beam.
Mum with her yummy.
Photo of Mum, taken across the top of the boat called the Dawdling Dairy. Mum is holding her crunchy thing with cold white stuff on it. There is a big sign on top of the boat telling humans to moor and eat. I am standing beside Mum gazing along the towpath.
Taking a break after my (late) dinner.

Photo shows me lying in the cool grass while Mum is drinking a glass of water and yacketying to a man on a wheeliewizzer. He didn't wizz very fast though!

Greeting another admirer at a swing bridge.