some very exciting news!!!

I’ve been longing to tell you something!

I’ve been training really hard and preparing myself for the big event! So, I can at last reveal that…
I’m going to do another long distance walk!!!
It’s almost 20 years ago since I got my first guide dog, Vale.
Getting her was like finding the key to a door which had always been locked.
We had many adventures together.
She was quite renowned in the North Wales town where I lived.
I remember one day, a friend was walking behind me in a well-known food shop when he asked:
“Is Vale supposed to be carrying a pork pie round in her mouth?”
Ten years ago, Vale retired and I got Chelsea, a little black Labrador.
Chelsea was like a little black whirlwind, and I had to ask everyone to remove all plant pots/best china whenever Chelsea went to their house.

In 2007, I decided to do a long distance walk, from Port Vale football club to Chelsea football club.
190 miles and £11,500 later I’d raised enough to name two guide dogs.
In 2012, my Father, who I was very close to passed away after a short illness.
During the difficult times which followed, Chelsea was the silent friend who listened, but didn’t pretend to understand what I was going through.
I started training with my current guide dog, James last June.
He’s a delightful yellow Labrador. He hates walking through puddles when we’re working together, but happily paddles through them when he’s running free.
So, I’ve decided to do another walk.
I’m walking from Chelsea road, Bath to James street Cardiff.
It will be just as difficult as the last walk, although a little shorter. But this time, I have the added challenge of walking across the old Severn bridge!
I’m hoping to raise enough money to name a puppy John or Johnny, after my father.
I’m starting on the 4th Sep, Dad’s birthday.
What better way could I honour Dad’s memory, than by giving another person the freedom, independence and confidence my dogs have given me.
You can follow my progress and keep up-to-date with our adventures at:
http://www.twitter.com/nickiandchelly
and:
http://www.adogcalledchelsea.wordpress.com

A huge thank you from Nicki, James and Chelsea

Please donate as much or as little as you can, and spread the word about the Chelsea2James walk!
visit my justgiving page at:
http://www.justgiving.com/ChelseaTwoJames
I’m also looking for companies, shops and anyone in the Bath or Cardiff area to help in any way they can!

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A very frightening event

I’ve just broken the rules! I always have two biscuits at a time, *I hate odd numbers* but this morning’s events were so stressful I was forced to have three!
I was strolling into town to buy four things from one of our local supermarkets (clue, it’s also the name of a country, which if you haven’t visited I urge you to (
Things were going according to plan when I suddenly heard growling and barking. James leapt back and whined.
I don’t really remember what happened next, I remember asking a lady if James was OK and she said he was. We got to the shop and a lady asked if I was OK. She’d seen the events unfolding and told me Jimmey was fine.
I know things could have been worse, and I thank the Lord that James and I are OK.
The cause of the drama? A dog *I’ve found out it was a Staffy* lunged at a working guide dog.
I’ve had similar experiences but this one really shook me up, to the point that I was shaking and crying when the lady (and another lovely lady with her) were reassuring me.
They asked if they could call my Mum, which prompted further crying when I explained she lived the other end of the country.
She gave me some lovely juice to drink – I don’t think I’ll ever forget how kind they were.
Why, why do owners allow their dogs to get within a whisker of a working guide dog? I had a bright red dress on, Jimmey had his harness – and he’s a yellow dog!
This person I suspect was the cause of a similar incident with Chelsea and James outside a small supermarket by where I live.
I want them to be told how their dog’s lack of discipline impacts on guide dog owners lives!
James is quite a resilient soul, and dealt with this morning’s episode very well, better than I did.
But, as I kept explaining to the kind strangers who helped me, next time could be different, and as I’m totally blind there’s nothing I can do!
There’s no such thing as a bad dog, only bad owners!
If I could find that dog’s owner again, I’d tell them just how frightening it is! No, I’d go further; I’d blindfold them, and get them to walk through town by themselves, whilst mimicking a growling snapping dog!!!
OK, slightly weird I know, but James will always come first!
He’s my eyes, my independence, my life!
I made sure he didn’t see me too upset afterwards, and carried on walking confidently to the shop.
We walked straight home afterwards and he was fine.
I was lucky this time! Next time, we might not be!
Have you had any experience of nasty dogs?
You can follow our adventures at:
http://www.twitter.com/nickiandchelly