Wilma And Vinnie
13th May 1992 To 24th June 2005
Wilma is my Guide Dog, And my name is James Gallagher
When I first started on the Net all those many years ago my first internet account was with a ISP call Demon, and my account was called s55wilma.Demon.co.uk. This site was about Deafblindness but within this site I put a Page on it all about Wilma this was about 1994. This was a great many years before I bought Wilma her own Domain Name in 1999, That was one of my moments of madness. But if you where a Guide dog owner You would understand why I did it. It is with Thanks to the Instructor's of The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association that do a remarkable job with our Guide Dogs.
Why did I choose s55wilma as my email address at that time, well Wilma above, used to guide me wherever I wished to go before she retired. This Page is a homage to my Wilma Mac and Vinnie. All three have been such a help to me and in Vinnies case still doing so but Vinnie has just started. I have so much to thank Wilma for in her time with me. And this site was started for her, but now I also have Vinnie I had to add my boy on the page as well.
People always seem to forget the people who train Guide Dogs, such as puppy walkers who shape and develop a puppy into becoming a future Guide Dog. They can spend almost a year helping to train a young dog. After that period they have to hand the aspiring young Guide Dog back to the Association, after which the dog is trained with a fully qualified Guide Dog trainer who will work with the dog and judge if it is suitable to become a Guide Dog.
Many dogs are rejected from being a Guide because of one reason or another. The dogs, which Guide us about, have got to have something special within them to become a fully qualified guide. So it certainly takes a lot of work from puppy walkers and kennel staff who look after them 24 hours a day.
Last but not least, the person who prepares Wilma for working with a blind or Deafblind person; this person spends months and months gently teaching a prospective Guide Dog what will be asked from them in the future. These people have incredible patience and stamina to do this year after year. Without these people, and the devotion they give, we would never be able to have these remarkable partners as our companions when we are out and about. They give us our independence and mobility and much more. So thank you very much.
We ask so much from our guiding companions, but what do they ask for in return? Just to be cared for, and loved, not very much to ask for in life. Many other Guide Dog owners feel the same way as I do.
I cannot thank the Guide Dog Association enough for allowing me to have Wilma, Mac and Vinnie and I know all Guide Dog owners like myself get very attached to their guiding companions.
All those years ago I picked Wilma as my email address because I know she guided me wherever I went, so why not on the World Wide Web as well? That's why I had s55wilma as my e-mail address. The s55 part was my qualification number.
The picture above was taken a few days before we qualified from the centre. Usually it will take three to four weeks for a person to be trained with their new Guide Dog. There will be many home visits that will continue until our Guide Dog retires.
Wilma is a cross between a Golden Retriever and a Labrador. She was born on the 13th May 1992 and qualified as a guide dog on the 7th December 1993. She is white in colour.
When Wilma was off harness and at home she was just like any other dog who will get up to some tricky little tricks. One of them is that she loves apples, and if anyone is eating one God help them if she doesn't get the core of it! She gets a full apple every night and she doesn't let you forget about that, I can assure you of that.
My Wilma retired on the 30th June 2003 and is now a lady of Leisure having a great time at home with us as a family pet. Wilma has earned this with all the great work she has given me over the Years, so it's my turn to look after my girl, and it's a pleasure to do so.
Now as Wilma has hanged up her harness and is with us as a family Pet, I was again lucky to be asked by the Guide Dog Association to go for another Guide Dog.
I lost my Wilma on the 24 June 2005, Wilma took ill with a neurological problem the Vet tried to safe her for two days but on Friday the 24th my Wilma past away in my arms with her family around her. Wilma will always be missed..
The above is an Image of Mac.
His Name was Mac, He was a Golden Retriever x Labrador and his Date of Birth is the 1st November 2001. On the 14th July 2003 I qualified with my new Guide Dog Mac.
I had Mac for Three months but things did not work out for us. The Guide Dog Association thought it better that they took Mac Back; Mac was rejected by the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association after they took him back to the centre.
We tried and tried to fix out Mac's little problems at home but after months of trying the Guide Dog Association and I thought it was time to give up. So my Mac wasn't going to make the grade as a Guide Dog. After working with Mac at the centre again the Guide Dog Association's only option was to reject Mac, He was transferred to The Dogs for the Disabled.
It was one of the worst days in my life to have to hand Mac back. Sighted hearing people sometimes don't understand how close one can get to your Guide Dog. When out and about you become one.
I awaited The Guide Dog Association to get in touch with me to go for another try with another Guide Dog. I thought that Mac was going to be my last Guide.
The above is an Image of Vinnie.
But on August 2004 my mother got a Telephone call asking if the Guide Dog Association could come to visit us as they had found a Guide Dog that they thought was the right one this time. And on the 13th September 2004 I went to start training with my new Guide Dog. he was called Vinnie. And we Qualified on the 24th September 2004.
Vinnie is really a delightful Dog full of fun and the spirit of life, he is
Great at his work and I am over the moon with my Vinnie. Vincent is his Sunday
name. He is a cross between a Retriever and a Labrador. He was born on the
25th March 2003 and he is black in colour.
Vinnie as a tiny Puppy.
Vinnie as a Pup.
Image above of Vinnie as a pup
Vinnie a Little older Pup
Image above of Vinnie a little older.
Image of Vinnie a good bit older
Image above is of Vinnie a good bit older but is he any wiser, This is the Question. I believe Yes.
Image of Wilma.and Vinnie.
My Wilma and Vinnie resting at my feet.
My Wilma and Vinnie resting at my feet.
Wilma and Vinnie get on really well, no problems what so ever. He has his know personality, which is fun loving and happy and will do what ever is asked of him. The first thing he always does is lick your hands when he meet's you. He is really a very friendly Dog. I could not have asked for a better Guide for myself And I thank the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association for all their hard work training my Vinnie.
But there is one more Person I have to thank and that is Mrs Helen Low. Helen
was Vinnie's Puppy Walker for the first year of Vinnies life. I have been in
touch with Mrs Low through e-mails and she has told me all the little things
that Vinnie got up to as a pup. Thanks Mrs Low for all your hard work it really
shows as you have helped to make Vinnie the Guide Dog he is today. Hellen was
kind enough to send me photographs of Vinnie as a pup and as a very young
Dog. Thank you Helen for taken the time to send these images. Helen was the
only Puppy Walker to respond to my letters and e-mails.Wilma's and Mac's Puppy
Walkers never answered my letters.
THANK YOU Mrs Low for all your help and time.
A Deafblind Guide Dog owner May have a Red and White Harness on The Guide Dog as above on Mac and Vinnie.
Blind Guide Dog owner's will have a yellow harness for there Guide Dogs, So if you ever see a Person walking down the street with a Guide Dog with a Red and White harness you will know that he/she is a Deafblind person. The Red and White harness I believe is only for the United Kingdom, I am not aware what systems other country's use.
If you would like more information about The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association. Here is their web page address: Guide Dogs for the Blind Association: http://www.GuideDogs.org.uk
Also on the (GDBA) site you can download the Forward Magazine which has excellent articles about the Association and its members.
I am a deafblind person and if you would like to learn more about Deafblindness than Please Go to my Web Sites. I own and run these web sites my self they are at.
A-Z to Deafblindness http://www.Deafblind.com
A Deafblindness Web Resource http://www.Deafblind.co.uk
If you would like to send an E-mail letter to me then Please do so.
Please Feel Free to E-mail me.