The first inaugural trip to the UK countryside kicked off last Saturday! Part of the reason we have been so delayed in exploring outside London is because there are just so many things to do in London. However, the second reason, which is no longer an obstacle, was that neither the Budman nor Hachie Gal was licensed to drive on the UK roads. Not anymore! With a little role reversal (Hachie Gal as pilot as the licensed driver to date; Budman as co-pilot and navigator), we set off for the West Midlands of the UK, namely Coventry and Warwick.
We just scratched the surface on this little weekend trip as we only had about a day in half. Our destination: Coventry and Warwick. First item on the agenda: the 10K Fun Run for Guide Dogs for the Blind. This charity is the one that offered me a secured spot in last April's London Marathon, and the one I will be running for again in next’s year London marathon (yes…I am warning you all now that the fundraising will kick off soon, so get prepared!). A great charity that does fabulous work!
The fun run was only one of many events throughout the day at the Guide Dog Experience. After the race, we explored the Guide Dogs’ facilities, watched Guide Dog training demonstrations, attended a whole host of other canine events, and just enjoyed “being with the dogs”. Dogs were definitely the center of attention, and the ratio of dogs to people must have been 1 dog for every 3 people!
The race course was in the Stoneleigh Abbey grounds, with the weather being picture perfect; sunny, cool and breezy, 65-70 degrees, and not a drop of rain. We both finished the course in reasonably good times.
In addition to the actual service dogs doing their bit on the day, a big part of the training is the socialization training. Invitations apparently had gone out to all in-training, current and retired guide dogs....come one, come all. What a great sight! One of many guide dogs in service on the day.
A few sights from the Guide Dog Experience! Besides the Guide Dog demonstrations, there were exhibits on every Guide Dog branch, as well as lots of other dog service and charity organizations...service dogs for police, fire, security...assist dogs for the blind, deaf, physically disabled, therapy, and children...agility and herding demonstrations...and of course, dog rescue charities. All dogs welcome at the Guide Dog Experience.
In the famous words of Dr. Seuss, "Go dog, go!" and GBP 20,000 raised on the day!