International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD)
This is the day to celebrate the contributions and achievements of people with disability. A great opportunity to promote inclusion in all aspects of our life.
Each and every one of us has an ability to contribute to our society. This may be in sports, medicine, music, art and all forms of humanity. We just have to work out what each person can contribute and go about facilitating the inclusion.
Even among my 4-legged friends, we all have the ability to contribute to our world. I am good at guiding Lindy around. Tim, who is being looked after by my puppy family, is good at fathering future guide dog puppies. (You can read about his visit below)
Sunny, who has a damaged tail caused by an accident when he was a little puppy, has a very good sense of smell. He is aiming to get a job as a tracker dog when he grows up.
We can’t easily change the world alone, but collectively we can each do a little bit to make this world a better place for all. It is very simple: all we have to do is to look beyond the disability of those we meet and find a way to include their ability.
Lindy and I celebrated this day with a visit to the National Botanic Gardens, then Lindy spoke on a panel for the Austrade Diversity Network. I took this opportunity to have a nap under the table while Lindy, along with other panellists, spoke to participants from Austrade offices around the World. The main message shared during the session was that people with disability can be just as productive in the workplace. All it takes is understanding and willingness to include them.
In this issue I will tell you about:
- National Botanic Gardens Descriptive Tour to celebrate the IDPwD;
- Balloon ride over Canberra;
- My puppy mum and Tim’s visit;
- Getting the Mara-bone on the rowing machine.
National Botanic Gardens Descriptive Tour
I met up with four other guide dogs at the National Botanic Gardens for the descriptive tour on Friday, 3 December. The Canberra Blind Society (CBS) organised this tour to celebrate the International Day of People with Disability. The volunteers from The Friends of the Garden took us around and gave the humans a descriptive tour. We, the four-legged, took the opportunity to sniff out the garden at the same time. We all know that sight is just one of the many senses that we can use to appreciate plants and flowers around us. Careful touching, smelling and hearing the description from the Friends of the Garden certainly gave all the Vision impaired participants a very fulfilling day. Then they all experienced the sense of taste at the Pollen Cafe. Unfortunately, my Guide Dog friends and I only got a bit of treats from our handlers. They don’t have a menu for us at the cafe!
All the volunteers, CBS and the Friends of the Gardens made this a fun and enjoyable day. Many are looking forward to future outings.
Balloon ride over Canberra
Harper, Lindy’s previous Guide Dog, saw her jump out of an aeroplane and come down with a huge tablecloth (also known as parachute) many years ago.
Last month, Lindy went up into the sky in a basket with her niece Amanda and nephew-in-law Stephen. A huge balloon assisted with the uplift. According to Lindy, the balloon ride was a lot smoother than the sky diving. Lindy was surprised that it wasn’t too cold up in the sky and in fact the temperature was a few degrees warmer than the ground temperature. They didn’t notice the wind as the balloon was travelling with the wind. As the pilot can only control up and down, he just let the wind take them wherever. Although Lindy couldn’t see the scenery, Stephen described to Lindy the scenery in between the burner blowing the hot air. I didn’t go up with Lindy as I couldn’t see over the edge of the basket. The choice between staying in bed or getting up at 4am wasn’t too hard for a Labrador Guide Dog to decide!
My puppy mum and Tim’s visit
My puppy family is now looking after Tim, a breeding Guide Dog. I was very excited to see my puppy mum and this young dog. After Tim and I got acquainted at my new home, we all went for a walk around the reserve. Tim then stayed over for a few hours while my puppy mum went out for dinner to celebrate her sister’s birthday. Tim and I played and chased until we both got exhausted. Then we settled down and slept!
Mara-bone on the Rowing Machine
Some of you may have read how Lindy got the Half Mara-bone in May last year when she set the PR3 record and took 1:40:26.4 to cover the 21,097 meters. Just for another challenge, Lindy decided to record a marathon row as well.
On Sunday 10 October, ten years after she ran the Melbourne Marathon, Lindy did the marathon row. Once again, I slept through most of the session on the mat in the garage.
This time, I got to have a much longer sleep as she took 3 hours 32 minutes 4.5 seconds. This row established the World PR3 record for her age group.
I still didn’t get my Mara-bone, just lots of pats from her friends who dropped in during the row. She was able to achieve her goal of rowing faster than her Melbourne marathon.
“Let’s Enable our Ability”
This is the tail of Lindy’s Comet