Tails of Lindy’s Comet

Rowing challenge & Sunshine Coast holiday

I am pleased to tell you that the new title “Tails of Lindy’s Comet” has received resound approval from my fan club. Oh! Not many Guide Dogs would be lucky enough to start with such a large fan club base. I will work hard (in between naps) to build on the wonderful work that Harper did.

Since the May Newsletter, I have been practicing my training with following (and not stopping for random snacks on the floor) travelators and escalators. My newest thing is learning how to go on the shorter walk around the neighbourhood and not the longer one which I enjoy more! In addition I have learned how to navigate through airports. I was able to make full use of the training lessons when I took Lindy up to the Sunshine Coast for the Australian Masters Rowing Championships at the beginning of June. Two weeks later, I took Lindy up north again, this time to Brisbane for the Australian Indoor Rowing Championships. Last Tuesday, I took Lindy up to Sydney to farewell the Sydney Paralympians to Rio.

In between all these trips, Lindy was learning to row in a rowing boat on the lake. As this newsletter is going to print (via the cyber printer), Lindy is preparing for the Half Marathon challenge on the Concept 2 Rowing machine. It is in conjunction with the HARTR8 FOR HARTLEY 2016 Fundraising Event. When Lindy first heard about this 6 hours bike challenge, she thought this may be a great time to attempt a Half Marathon on a rowing machine. I was at a loss when I heard Lindy explain to the gym manager why an adverts cyclist who is learning to row on the water would prefer to do a charity challenge on a rowing machine instead of a spin bike! Then again, human do often do things that are beyond the understanding of Guide Dogs, regardless of how smart we are.

Anyway, this challenge is to raise funds for Hartley Life Care: Hartley Life care is a Canberra-based organisation that has provided accommodation support and respite care for children, adults and their families in the ACT and region with physical and complex disabilities for 50 years. Funds raised through this challenge help Hartley to provide special, intensive and ongoing support to ensure people with physical and complex disabilities can lead fulfilling lives.

Lindy will do her Half Marathon Rowing Challenge on Saturday, 30 July starting at 12:30pm at the Fitness First Gym at Deakin. Kerry and Fiona are organising a relay team to row alongside Lindy during her Half Marathon Challenge.

Sunshine Coast Aussie Masters Rowing Champs

Strong wind and heavy rain marked the Australian Rowing Championships up in the Sunshine Coast. This did not in any way dampen my Sunshine Coast Holiday experience. I met Sarah and Grayson (Guide Dog puppies) at our host Graham and Coral’s house after taking Lindy through Canberra, Sydney and Maroochydore Airports. This ‘flying’ experience is just like Harry Potter going to places via the chimney. Once we got to Canberra Airport, we went through check-in, security and coffee shop, we then went into this long room that Lindy called an aeroplane. After a short time, we left the room and everything looked different to when we went in. While we were in Sydney, Lindy and an airline staff member took us outside the airport and found me a nice patch of grass. It was a great relief for me, and needless to say that took the worry out of Lindy as well.

We then went into another room. This time we stayed in it a bit longer. I took this opportunity to have a sleep. We came out of this room into a different airport called Maroochydore Airport. It was a lot warmer and had lots of nice smells. This aeroplane must be the modernised version of the chimney in the Harry Potter’s book!

The week in Sunshine Coast started quite nice but then got wetter and windier, to the point that they had to postpone and then cancel the Aussie Masters Rowing Championships during the last couple of days. Kerry, along with all the ACT rowers, did very well before they called the championships off winning lots of medals including golds.

The weather did not affect my holiday in any way. Grayson and I had many wonderful plays in the Toovey’s backyard, we chased, wrestled and just hung out in the backyard like two young puppies. As Grayson is due to start school a few weeks after my visit, I shared with him some of my Guide Dogs School experience. Coral prepared him well with his preschool learning, so I am sure he will go through Guide Dogs School with flying colours. Sarah, the black lab, was also a steady influence for all of us, especially when we got a bit too excited around the yard.

Brisbane Australian Indoor Rowing Championships

In mid-June, Kerry and I took Lindy back north again, this time to Brisbane for the Aussie Indoor Rowing Championships. I am now a very confidence chimney (aeroplane) traveller. We caught up with Janelle and her family on Friday in a coffee shop, where else would a bunch of cyclists and rowers meet! As some of you may recall, Janelle and Lindy won Gold in Athens in the Women Tandem Sprints. In fact, they can claim to being the current Paralympic Champions as that event was taken out of the Paralympic program after the 2004 Athens Games. I thought I will tell you this in case it comes up at a question at a Trivial Pursuit Night.

Back to the Indoor Rowing competition, I managed to sleep through most of the events. I lay comfortably on my mat with my harness off and got lots of pats. However, they all ignored me when the races were on! Lindy and Kerry managed to win all their events for their age group and each set an Australian record. The most exciting event was the mixed relay. Kerry and Lindy paired up with two male rowers. After each rowed 500m, they had to jump off and tag the next rower at the back of the machine. I held my breath as Lindy got off the machine and tried to tag the next rower. Just as well Kerry was there to guide her! Kerry did such a fantastic job coaching and guiding Lindy for the weekend that I was able to have lots of sleeps. Kerry took lots of my sleep photos!


“We came to this world with nothing and leave with empty hands.
We can make a different to the future generations by leaving a positive marks.”

A tribute to Helen, Harper’s puppyraising mum, who had made many positive impacts in her life.
I am sure Harper is looking after her up in the rainbow bridge.