It’s amazing to think that its just over a year since I had my matching visit with Jasmine and met her for the first time. I remember thinking that her work was very raw, but there was something about her. The fact that she was prepared to give me a steady gaze when I spoke to her suggested to me that she had something about her and wouldn’t be completely submissive which was something I was very keen to avoid.
Training with Jasmine was harder than I could have ever anticipated. I was told fairly early on that Jasmine found change distressing and had almost been withdrawn on a couple of occasions because of it. For the first time in my 23 years of guide dog ownership I was faced with a Labrador that really didn’t want to know me. She wouldn’t sit near me, preferred to be at the far end of her lead whenever possible and wouldn’t interact with me at any real level.
The first few weeks after qualification were very trying. We had severe weather which was a hazard, but also a god-send I think as we were restricted to just walking to work and back which must have helped Jasmine realise what a working routine would be like. Jasmine has tried it on a fair bit in the last year and at times got nasty with me when I got cross with her.
However, she has settled a lot now and, despite wanting to hand her back once or twice in the early weeks, she’s here to stay and very much part of our little family now. She’s got bags of attitude, but that makes for a feisty worker who is afraid of very little.