The Great Escape

It was a Sunday afternoon and we’d had a lovely walk in some woods a short drive from home. We’d almost reached the gate to leave the woods when we were surprised to hear voices. We turned the corner in the path and could see a group of people and large dogs by the gate.

As we drew closer, my male biped asked, “What’s happening?”

The Great Dane’s biped replied, “The gate is locked, it shouldn’t be locked till dusk. None of us can get a signal on our mobile phones and we’re trying to figure out what to do. Do you know another way out?”

My biped replied, “The only other gate I know of is right at the other end of the woods and opens onto the main road. It’s a loop of about six miles to get back here – there’s no footpath along the road and it would be dark by the time we got there.”

The Great Dane’s biped asked, “Do you think we can lift them over?”

My biped looked at the gate, which was high with barbed wire along the top. Then he looked at the stile which was very high and narrow with barbed wire next to it.

Ladder stile

The stile was similar to this one but higher with more barbed wire next to it

My biped said, “I think it will be very awkward. Have you seen any gaps or joins in the mesh of the fence?”

The Great Dane’s biped said, “Yes, I found a join, but no one else was strong enough to help me with it. I think we could probably hold a gap open together. Do you think we’ll be able to persuade all the dogs through a gap?”

My other biped chipped in, “Hopefully we’ll only need to persuade one and then the others will get the idea.”

One of the other bipeds took the Great Dane’s lead so that his biped had his hands free. Then he and my biped pulled at the mesh. When they had an opening, no one wanted to try to get their dog through first.

My female biped said, “I’ll go round and get Clowie to come through the gap to me.”

She climbed over the stile and made her way to the gap. They passed my lead through to her and she called me. I stood there, uncertain what to do. I wanted to please her, but I was still quite young and the gap looked rather small. I decided to stay where I was.

My biped said, “I’m coming back, I have another idea.”

She passed my lead back through and a moment later she’d climbed back over the stile and was beside me again. She explained to the male biped and the Great Dane’s biped that she thought she could climb through the gap and then she thought I would have the confidence to follow her.

They held the gap open again. It was rather awkward for her as it was a roughly oval gap starting about eighteen inches off the ground. She put one leg through and then bent right over and wriggled through and then she had to hop a bit to be able stand up and get the other leg through. She did look funny! But, I suddenly realised that it was really easy to get through the gap after all and I had no idea why I’d been worried. I popped through to join her!

Australian Shepherd jumping through a gap at agility

It was as easy as this!

She patted me and told me how clever I was. While she was still leaning over me, the Great Dane decided to follow me. The person holding him was taken by surprise and couldn’t hold onto his lead. The Great Dane took advantage of the fact that my biped was still leaning over, meaning her face was on a level with his, to give her a big sloppy kiss! My biped told him he was clever as well and took hold of his lead.

After that it was fairly easy to persuade the Old English Sheepdog and the Newfoundland through the gap. The two Labradors were then happy to jump through! The Great Dane’s biped and mine allowed the gap to close and pushed the mesh back into position. Then they climbed over the stile to join the rest of us to stroll along to our cars.

All the bipeds were very happy and thanked the Great Dane’s biped and mine for their help. They also told me I was very clever!

See you next Wednesday!

More about Milo

Do you all remember that cheeky young pup called Milo? His ambition is to be a Guide Dog and he was kind enough to visit for an interview which you can read here: Spotlight on Milo – Trainee guide Dog.



He’s been doing some growing up since then and he’s about to finish his 16 weeks of basic training. He will soon move on to his advanced training – this takes 10 weeks and during this time he will be matched with a biped who needs his help.

Milo’s 12-week report, part 1: Milo is a bright, happy, affectionate dog. He has settled well and loves learning! He is working in harness.

Milo’s 12-week report, part 2: Milo is a lovely boy, good on public transport and loves his toys. He will soon move to advanced training.

Congratulations Milo!

I’d also like to mention Milo’s puppy walker, Allie. She is the person that socialised Milo and ensured that he had all the experiences he needed to be ready to do his training to become a Guide Dog.

Congratulations Allie!

I have mentioned before how important socialisation is. The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association (UK) do everything they can to ensure that socialisation of their puppies begins early. And Guide Dogs for the Blind (USA) also stress the importance of socialisation.

Milo, when he was much younger, dreaming about being a Guide Dog when he's grown up

Milo, when he was much younger, dreaming about being a Guide Dog when he’s grown up

Good luck in the advanced training, Milo!

See you next Wednesday!

Spotlight on Milo – Trainee Guide Dog

I’m really excited that Milo has agreed to be my guest today. He is a puppy who is training to be a guide dog. I’m sure you’ll enjoy hearing about him. Put your paws together and give him a warm Clowie’s Corner welcome!



Clowie: Thank you for being my guest today. Would you like to tell us about yourself?

Milo: I’m Milo, I’m ten months old and I’m training to be a Guide Dog. My puppy walker, Allie, and I have a blog on the Guide Dogs website. [There have been changes on the website and this is no longer available.] I like food, playing in the garden, chewing stuff, going to the park, gravy bones, ice cubes, being brushed, getting muddy, having baths, my cuddly panda (the other toys all exploded after I chewed them), and learning new things.

C: It’s a mystery to me why they make exploding toys! What else do you do?

Milo: I get bored walking around the shops (seriously, I would rather hang out with the other dogs outside) but I know I have a job to do and I try to be good. I’m not allowed to pull on the lead but it’s hard for me not to do that.

C: I struggled with learning not to pull, but it seems important to bipeds!

Milo: I don’t really like pigeons and squirrels and I like to chase them.

C: Good luck with that, they always cheat – pigeons fly at the last moment and squirrels disappear up a tree! What happens next with your training?

Milo: When I am older – after my first birthday – I will have to leave my current uprights and go to Big Dog School to learn how to be a Guide Dog. If I get everything right, I will be sent to live with a new upright who can’t see and I’ll help them to get around (in exchange for treats and hugs, hopefully).

C: I’m sure you’ll get lots of hugs and treats, it’s very important work! Tell me about your family.

Milo: My mum is Lucy, a lab, and my dad is Parker, a golden retriever. I’m told that I have more than 200 siblings and half-siblings!

Proud parents - Lucy (left) and Parker (right)

Proud parents – Lucy (left) and Parker (right)

C: Wow, that’s a lot of brothers and sisters! Where do you live now?

Milo: I live in Chester with my uprights – The Lady (whose name is Allie) The Man (Jez), The Boy (Reece) and The One Who Stays In His Room And Plays Video Games (Jake).
We have a nice garden with a special corner for me to go to the toilet because I’m not allowed to go on the grass or in the house. I have a big bed with a cushion and a blanket in the kitchen. I have lots of toys to play with.

C: That sounds like fun. Do you have a favourite game?

Milo: I like the one where I stand on the stairs and the uprights try and tell me to come down and I stare at them. I once made The Lady say, “Milo, COME” in a really stern voice 27 times before she got bored and made me come down.

C: Ha, ha, bipeds don’t have the stamina that we do!

Milo: I like digging holes in the garden, but The Man doesn’t like it very much and he fills them in again.

C: I know what that feels like!

Milo: I also like the one where they throw a big squeaky stick for me, then I run off and pretend I’m going to get it. Seriously – if you pick it up and give it back to them, they only throw it again. What’s the point in that?

C: I’m with you on that! I can’t see the point of “fetch“. Do you have a favourite book?

Milo: I don’t read that much, but I do like watching television. My favourite programme is Springwatch, unless they are talking about squirrels. They’re too fast for me to chase. I also like chasing my tail, sleeping and eating.

C: How have you been coping with the hot weather?

Milo: I don’t like the hot weather very much, but I’ve been eating lots of doggie ice pops to keep cool. The Lady makes them by dissolving 1 teaspoon of Marmite in 500ml of hot water. She lets it cool and then pours it into disposable plastic cups and freezes it, but you could use whatever moulds you have.

C: I like the sound of those! Thank you for being my guest today, it’s been fun chatting with you, Milo. I would like to wish you all the best in your future career.

Milo - Guide Dog puppy in training

Milo – Guide Dog puppy in training

You can follow Milo’s progress here:

• Twitter – @MiloGDP

• Guide Dog website – 2013 Diary of a puppy walker [There have been changes on the website and this is no longer available.]

See you next Wednesday!


18 March 2014: Milo has almost finished his basic training and will move to advanced training and be matched with a person soon.