Puppy Walkers

The weekend just gone I spent with 2 wonderful Puppy Walkers who I’m very proud to call my friends and it has prompted me to write a blog post about the work and effort they put in to a puppy for up to 16 months! After this post will lead me on to Brood bitch and stud dog holders before going onto boarders, volunteer fundraisers and guide dog staff.

I know many Puppy Walkers and I’m always in awe of the amazing work they do. Their lives revolve around the pup and those I know put their heart and soul into it to make sure the pup has the foundations which are so very important to becoming calm, confident guide dogs.

Puppy Walkers have to go out in the rain, hail, snow and sun so the pup is used to all weathers which they are likely to encounter when they begin guiding.

The pups go everywhere to get them used to the smells, sights and sounds of different environments and the distractions that come from entering these environments.

Just a few months ago I spent some time with one of these PWs and her pup and he was a sensitive boy with some things scaring him and the reassurance he got and the watching of my Peter working meant now going back to the same place he was more confident.

On the weekend both pups were absolutely incredible dealing with crowds, settling in cafes/restaurants and church not batting an eyelid even during worship, it was emotional to watch and both pups are a credit to Maria and Karen and their families.

They are volunteers giving up their time year after year to nurture a pup until it’s ready to further it’s career as a guide dog and they say a heartfelt goodbye and start again why people ask and I’ve been told because seeing a GDO with their GD out and about far outweighs the painful goodbye and no one can put a price on a person’s independence. I know myself how much my 3 dogs have done for me and I thank all 3 of them for the upbringing my boys had and the friends I’ve made through guide dogs I now know the full picture from tiny 2 week old pups to retirement and beyond and I can’t thank those of you PWs enough for letting me be a part of you and your pups journeys to becoming life changing guide dogs. I am glad to be part of the guide dog family 🙂



Why do I have faith?

Why? I have been asked several times and people may be wondering so I am going to explain.

First of all I don’t see my faith as a religion because it’s far from it, my faith is a relationship with God, a relationship like I have with my family and animals but there’s something extra which is difficult to explain but God is someone who is with me every second of every day.

People often ask me do I want a boyfriend and yes I do but it’s not something I need because I have everything I need and I don’t ever feel lonely.

As a lot of you already know I was brought up by mum and dad who are Christians and that has a big part to play but I had to come to a point where I made my own decision to give my life to God and that came when I was 15. At that time I was in a wheelchair and I remember asking mum why God was testing me, and she said it isn’t God but he won’t let you be tested beyond what you can bear, and he will always provide a way out. Since then I knew he existed and that I wanted to give my life to him, and that was the year I got baptised.

Then a few years later my eyesight deteriorated as it had slowly over the years but I didn’t realise it was that bad until the hospital told me I could be registered blind so it was difficult to hear but I knew with God I could deal with this.

It became even more apparent that God was there when I was asked to go with the charity through the roof to Moldova to tell my story about living with a disability and believing in God. I remember clearly on New Year’s Day at midnight 2012 I was lying in bed and I totally began to panic because I was going on my own with people I hadn’t met yet even though I would get the chance to meet them I was scared, I was shaking and getting really upset and I was alone in my bed with no one to talk to so all I could do was pray and I prayed “God I really don’t want to do this but if you want me to do this, please give me peace and reassurance” and since the moment my prayer ended everything stopped and fear left me, I stopped shaking and I knew I was meant to go. People also asked me in church what difference will you make in a week, I said I don’t know but I will find out. I went in the February of 2012 and met some amazing people and shared my story and when I got back home I received an email which had been received by one of the Team who came with us to Moldova and it said:

“I want to tell you something important as a result of the seminar from 15 February. Last week 2 young with visual disabilities who attended the training told me the following:

They were very delighted of the testimony made by Lina about her personal experience living in love with the God and this was an encouragement to change things in their own life. They also told me that they want very much to become as Lina. I think through this testimony the God worked at the hearts of these young.

I think brothers that just for the testimonies of these 2 young people, the visit of the team from England was not vain. I pray to the God to help me talk them how much God loves them as He loves Lina and that He can change things in the most wonderful way.”

God had worked through me to inspire 2 young people’s lives and that was his reason for sending me and I’m so glad I went.

The answer to why is I know he’s there and I know to him I am special, also because Jesus died for my sins and the sins of the world, he suffered so much more than any of us ever do or will and he understands the pain, the emotions, the feeling of loneliness and he gives me hope that one day I will be free and there will be no more pain, sadness, suffering, tears because of Jesus and the ultimate sacrifice he endured because of his love for us.

Of course life is sometimes a struggle but in the bible it does say the path won’t always be straight and their will be tough times, I’ve had them and without my faith I don’t know how I would have coped or dealt with the situations I have been through.

Like my friend says he knit us together in our mother’s womb, babies are total miracles and he had a plan and knew everything about us before we were even born. Yes hospitals with me anyway made a mistake but God knew that was going to happen and why didn’t he stop it, I don’t know but if we were all the same wouldn’t it be boring? We are all different, unique but we all have a purpose on this earth, things happen, people cross paths and all for a reason, for God’s plan for our lives and for his glory.

Before I moved to Devon I wanted to stay in Milton Keynes because I had lived there a long time, I had made friends who I knew would take care of me, I had a job and was comfortable. People would ask me why would you move to where you have nothing and I didn’t know at the time and was really torn. I went for countless job interviews always getting a no and the frustration got to me and I continued to pray for him to make it clear what he wanted me to do and I remember saying if you want me to move I need a job and I began to trust him that he would provide, so however heartbreaking it was I thought I can always return if I don’t like it.

I went on my holiday and on the day I returned in the car I received an email from my current employer inviting me for interview on 20th April 2016. I went to the interview, did my best but because I didn’t have experience in that field I didn’t think there was any hope of getting it and I had no idea whether it had gone well or not but that afternoon I had an unknown number ring which I didn’t answer so they rang again the next morning to tell me I got the job and I burst into tears, I suddenly knew that this was meant to be and God had shown me that I’d made the right decision and it has made me trust God more, he made that happen for me I have no doubt. Everything else like making friends, volunteer work etc has all fallen into place since then and I’m so glad I listened because I’m living in a beautiful location with a totally different life feeling fortunate to be so close to the sea, having made some more close and lifelong friends and having a job where the people are so accepting, open minded and friendly and in wonderful grounds which is perfect for Pete.

We all have a choice and I have made the decision to believe because I know he exists and my life has been so much easier knowing I’ve been made for a purpose and that there is hope for the future.

My friend said she wouldn’t be healed if she had the opportunity because she knows God created her just as he had planned and I don’t think I’d want it either unless it is what God wants for me, I believe it has made me a better person and I wouldn’t be me without my disabilities.

I’ve seen a miracle of a friend making a miraculous recovery after a stroke and all these things have proven to me God exists.

We must always think of the positives in life and that there is always someone worse off, if we can make the world a better a place by helping others and if we can inspire just one person to do whatever they have been inspired to do by us then that should be celebrated.

And lastly life changes, people change, situations change but God never changes and he never fails and that gives me comfort that when everything else around you leave or changes, God is always there and never changing.

That is why 🙂

Sponsor a child 

Have you ever thought about sponsoring a child? 

In church this morning we had a talk and a video shown to us about sponsoring a child for compassion and there was a guy on the video who when he was younger he had a sponsor and he was sharing the difference it made to him and how he would look forward to receiving letters from his sponsor and he says his life would be totally different had he not had a sponsor, he was able to have an education, the community was helped and he was able to go to uni and get a business degree and it’s all thanks to his sponsor.

I’m not quite sure what made me sponsor a child but I think it was after I had my job interview with world vision, I certainly remember the evening I did it and remember asking God as I was on the world vision website which child he wanted me to sponsor! I was going through all the children who needed sponsorship and suddenly I got a strong feeling inside as I flicked over to a little 4 year old girl called Milena, at first I thought is this the one but somehow God made it clear so I sponsored her and still do today, Milena is now 6 and I’m proud to sponsor and support her and her community in Armenia, for £25 a month I can make a difference to not just Milena but the whole community giving them a future they wouldn’t otherwise have. It is certainly a worthwhile thing to do and I enjoy sending her birthday and Christmas cards and letters in between. I enjoy following her progress, continuing to see her grow and flourish. 

So if you are thinking of sponsoring a child and you are in a position to do so I would definitely recommend, these children and communities need our help and it’s thanks to charities like world vision and compassion uk that these children have any hope at all. 

The sunset in Swaziland and king of the jungle 

The sunset in Swaziland is the most beautiful I have yet seen! And with the trees stripped bare thanks to the elephants rubbing themselves on them it is the perfect picture! One of my favourite pics of the holiday. It is so tranquil at that time of night driving through the game reserve at Hlane and hearing the sounds of the lions call as they happily eat their dinner, the elephants walking through the bushes and to watch as the sun goes down on a clear night it is something spectacular! We sat by the watering hole in our jeeps listening to the Hippos splashing and making a racket before heading off to see if we could find some lions. We successfully did find a mother and her grown up cubs, absolutely fascinating, they were so close to us, prob only about 2 metres away! What incredible creatures, so curious. We didn’t find any elephants that evening I don’t think. An amazing safari experience with no other car in sight! 

Pics shows the lion family walking through the bush and a cub standing on a branch looking at the camera frontways and sideways and I got a close up of a sideshot of a cub’s head. The other pic is the dead tree so all you have is branches silhouettes against a sunset sky. 

Naturally Supernatural 

Saturday 22nd July was to be the beginning of a new Christian festival run by Soul Survivor, it was called Naturally Supernatural, a festival for people of all ages. Amy and Ben’s parents took us which was very kind of them. We arrived sometime after 11, we unpacked our things and then they went on to their final destination after saying our goodbyes. It was my first time at anything like this so I was rather worried as to how I was going to cope with camping for 6 nights, the lively and noisy worship sessions with flashing lights and how Pete would deal with it all too and whether there was going to be enough to keep us occupied. We started by putting up the tents which went up fairly quickly, we then got our chairs out and sat down to have our lunch and chat. There wasn’t much to do on the first day as nothing opened till after the evening meeting so we just played with Pete, sorted out our things and then went to get pizza and garlic bread for dinner which we had back at the tent before getting ready for the worship meeeting. The first meeting I didn’t enjoy very much due to there being not many songs I knew and the flashing lights, noise etc really affected me, I also didn’t feel quite right so I wasn’t in it really, Pete was also quite restless so we went out for a break, had a walk around, went to the loo and then Amy came to find us to tell me it was time for the sermon so we went back in and Pete settled down and we left again shortly before the worship was due to end as Pete and I had had enough. We had a look in the toolshed after before heading to bed and as I relaxed in bed my muscles began to spasm and I have had short sessions of this when I’ve been exceptionally tired or done too much but it went on and it got worse and worse and I was laid in bed for ages shaking from head to toe not able to sleep or do anything so in the end I woke up pooe Amy and I told her the situation and she said let’s go for a walk and let’s see how you feel, I was walking ok when I was up but my arms and hands were just literally shaking so much so we went to find someone to ask and they just basically said try and get some sleep so back we went and again when I was laying down so I figured it must be muscular spasms of the worst kind so I tried to ignore them as I had done but it didn’t work so I just lay there for hours literally until I just drifted off briefly until like 5 in the morning when it became light and I woke up shaking but it wasn’t so bad so we got up, had a shower, talked and then went to the field with Pete to play with his ball before heading back in the tent for a bit of a lay down as I felt rubbish, we went to get some breakfast at a cafe on site and I just kept thinking am I gonna last, can I do this and if I don’t sleep this isn’t going to work but I thought I just need to get through the day and hopefully things will get better. We came back to the tent woke Ben up and got ready to go to the 2nd meeting. This time Ben and Amy wanted to sit on the floor, I wasn’t so keen knowing I couldn’t get up again and how uncomfortable the floor is after a few minutes but I was persuaded to try it out them saying Pete will prefer it if I’m on same level etc so I tried it out and Of course Pete loved it, I not so much lol! The songs they sung I didn’t know many either and not being able to see the words made it harder and frustrating so I was again disappointed and Amy bless her knew I wasn’t enjoying it but I said to her it will get better, I will survive, I’m just tired and need a better nights sleep. The rest of the day was a bit of a blur really until the evening meeting when things began to get better. I got myself ready to sit on the floor and a lady tapped me on the shoulder and said “I’ve found a seat do you want this to make sitting on the floor much more comfortable for you as I’ve seen you struggle” so I said “are you sure?” And she said “yes” so I thanked her and off she went no idea of name or anything but it certainly made sitting on floor much more pleasant and less painful and I was able to enjoy the service more, they sung all songs I knew which was wonderful and Pete was beginning to settle more so it was more me that needed to go out because my eyes didn’t cope great with the flashing lights but I definitely became more positive because of that meeting. We then went to the bar I got a glass of Rose and we went to Cafe Uno for a while before heading to bed. 

Monday we met tent neighbours Laura and Rachael properly and we had such laughs with them throughout the festival. 

Instalment two will continue sometime lol! It’s taken this long to write about 2 days lol! 

One very helpful man 

Yesterday the morning and half of the afternoon was rather stressful but when I finally managed to sort out what I needed to I was able to go and have some lunch with friends which was much needed by this point! My friend didn’t enjoy her wrap so after lunch we went to McDonald’s so she could get something to eat. We were chatting away when my friend suddenly realised it was ten minutes before her train so she quickly waved goodbye and shot off to try and catch her train which I didn’t think she’d catch but thankfully it had been delayed so she fortunately just got there in time! 

My other friend and I went out and walked towards M&S because she needed the ladies and to get some food which was all successful looking back on it and the lady was very helpful who helped us get what my friend needed. 

Once finished the lady took us to the stairs and we went on our way, we had just exited M&S when a man came from behind I think and asked us where we were going as there was a very aggressive dog by Tesco if we went left so we said we wanted to go left after crossing the road, so he said he rather we didn’t do that and I asked if there is another way round, so he said I’ll come with you and show you as I would rather know your safe or something along those lines. So he offered his arm to my friend who took it gratefully whilst Pete and I followed behind. He went very much out of his way to help us and make sure we didn’t have to come across this dog and that maybe there was a way of the public somehow via phone or something alerting us to dangers like this if were out in Exeter on a Saturday and him realising that we would be rather stuck if our dogs were attacked and how he wants to help. He was going to report the dog and homeless person and asked if we would speak to guide dogs as well as he will email them so I said of course we will. He took us all the way to GAP where my friend needed to catch the bus from and we couldn’t thank him enough. Such a wonderful, kind and caring man who definitely ended my day on a high. 

Just goes to show there are kind people in the world who will go the extra mile to help those in need 🙂 he saved us from what could have been a disastrous experience! God was definitely on our side 🙂 

Mother’s Day 

Today was a wonderful, sunny day just for Mother’s Day here in Devon. We went on a rather long walk near dunsford which included right at the very end when we were all tired and my legs were beginning to become like jelly a set of stepping stones to get across a rather fast flowing river! 

We were contemplating whether to do this or not but in the end we all decided to go for it so first go mum and dad and it took them quite a while as the stones were rather uneven, some further apart than others so they required you to do the splits lol and some wobbly ones which didn’t help as well as the fast flowing river! They had an audience who cheered when they made it across. Then it was the dogs turns to go, Joey did it like a pro, Pete thought the river may be the easier way but then decided to follow Joey on the stones and those two made it but pip and Texan found it much more difficult bless them but after Joey again showing them the way and us encouraging them they both did it! Then it was to be mine and my sister’s turn but dad wasn’t convinced I would make it and wanted to take me via Road but my sister said I could do it after checking so we decided to go for it even though she did say we were gonna fall in so that filled me with hope lol! Anyway I had my sister in front and my dad behind both supporting and holding me and giving me instructions and slowly but surely we made it 🙂 what a relief and a major obstacle overcome. Thank goodness the walk was nearly finished after those! We had a lovely day and went on to teignmouth afterwards to have our picnic before heading back home. 

The first two pics show a blue sky and waves at shaldon cove with and one without Peter playing in them. Then we have the stepping stones and pics of Pete and the boys in the river and one of me and Pete saton a wall