November 6, 2012


I recently met Bliss and thought she would be interesting to intermew. And I was right! Please welcome my new furend...@GuideDogBliss

How old were you when you moved in with your family? Were you a rescue?
I am a retired guide dog, so I moved in with my family when I started to train with mum. At that time I was 19 months.

What breed are you?
I am a Labrador cross Golden Retriever.

What inspired your hoomans to name you?
Guide dogs are named when born, so your eventual owner does not name you. Each litter born at a breeding centre has a name beginning with the same letter of the alphabet. So all my brothers and sisters have names beginning with B. The next litter born at the breeding centre would all have names beginning with C and so on.

Do you have siblings? Do you get along?
I am the only animal in the house. All my brothers and sisters were also bred to be guide dogs, but I don’t know how many of them qualified successfully.

How would you describe your personality?
Sensitive, playful, clever and a bit daft.

Do you have a mischief incident that is still talked about?
When I first came to live with mum, I dug a hole in the garden three times in the same place. Once mum caught me, and I ran into the house, bringing all the muck and grass in with me!

Tell me about an Awww moment.
I don’t really do awe moments. When the guide dog trainer first brought me to stay with mum, I got into bed almost straight away and started to chew the bone I had brought with me from the training centre. She said this meant I felt at home already!

Complete this sentence: If I had opposable thumbs, I would…
Get a big stick and beat all the bad people in the world with it!

Who are 3 famous animals you’d most like to sniff?
Firstly, I would of course like to meet my BF and handsome gentleman hero, Alf (@alfms. I have so many dear pals on Twitter, I could not single two out I would like to meet more than the others.

To bite?
Oh I would not bite any other animals, that would be very naughty and I would be scolded and put to bed for doing it.

What is the most interesting place in your home and why?
Well of course it is my bed for obvious reasons! Oh but there is also the toy and treat cupboard…

Have you ever caught something edible? Did you eat it?
Certainly not!

Do you have any health issues?
No, I am in pawfect health (touch wood). *taps desk with paw*

Do you like to be brushed, have your nails trimmed?
I don’t mind being groomed because I get a biscuit afterwards and a game of ball in the garden.
Bliss at 8 weeks

What is your relationship like with your veterinarian?
I am scared of the vets and always cry and tremble when I have to go, but all the vets in the surgery are very nice.

Do you like certain hoomans outside of your family?
I like all humans who don’t make lots of noise. I’m not all that keen on little people who squeal a lot, so usually hide in bed when they visit.

What are your favorite foods and toys?
My favourite foods are pigs ears and carrots. I love soft toys with squeaks in them. My current favourite is my Union Jack bone bought to celebrate the Olympics and Paralympics.

Have you ever eaten anything that your hooman thought strange?
No. I only eat food I am given, I don’t really scavenge.

Have you ever chewed or destroyed something that upset your hooman?
When I first came to live with mum, I had a habit of carrying a tea-towel around in my mouth. I liked to chew it and shake it and play games of tug with it. I grew out of it eventually, or maybe granny ran out of tea-towels!

What is your birth date, or Gotcha Day date?
I was born on 21 January 2005. I qualified as a guide dog on 01 September 2006.

Do you celebrate your special date?
Of course I do. I get a present, usually a new toy and a nice treat to eat.

When did you join Twitter and what clubs do you belong to?
I can’t remember when I joined Twitter. I don’t really belong to clubs. I join in events if I like the sound of them, and I like to help out with making tea and food if we are on a porch for a pal who is pawly.

What are you known for on Twitter by your Anipal furends?
Mostly making tea and food, all my pals love sausages! I like to think I am known for always being cheerful. I am also in training for the Olympics in Rio 2016, where I will be taking part in the ear boxing event. I like to practice on my Twitter pals, though I only box the ears of boys, and only naughty boys. Fortunately there are plenty of them around. Oh and all my Twitter pals know I am scared of big noises!

Well, we will all be very quiet so you can enjoy your Union Jack bone while we chat wif your mom, Barbara Wilson.

Barbara & Bliss
Tell me about yourself, outside of your passion for animals, such as your family, hobbies and interests.
My name is Barbara. I am 41 and live with Bliss and my parents in Northern Ireland. In my spare time I like to read, surf the Internet, listen to the radio and chat to friends among other things.

What type of work do you do?
I deliver training, mostly, though not restricted to the area of disability. Some of the training I deliver includes awareness, equality, diversity, advocacy, empowerment, self confidence and development of social skills.

Are you an outdoor person, or an indoor person, and why?
I prefer the indoors. I suppose a lot of that has to do with being blind and feeling more comfortable in familiar and controlled surroundings. Sight-seeing is not important for me for obvious reasons, so I’m not into holidays. Also, many outdoor activities are less accessible or enjoyable when you can’t see. Plus I am not fond of the hot weather.

Do you blog or Facebook? Tell me about it and give addresses.
I do have a blog, . I am terrible about updating it. I start with good intentions, but lose interest. I guess I just assume no one will be interested in anything I have to say, or there is always the fear of expressing or disclosing too much of yourself in a blog.

What genre of books do you favor? What is your favorite book, favorite author?
My favourite genre has to be thrillers and detective novels. I like horror, but only the ghosty sort, nothing like vampires or anything too supernatural or sci-fi. Some of my favourite authors ar Brad Meltzer, Tess Jerritsen, Laurie R King and P D James. My favourite book of all time has to be Wuthering Heights.

What TV shows do you enjoy?
I watch very little TV. If I do, it is mostly a documentary. I do however have a guilty secret – I like the programmes about antiques!

Do you have a favorite movie?
I don’t watch films often as they have to have a really good story to keep my interest and too many today are just action with no good plots. I like films that make me think long after I have watched them, or that force me to examine my opinions on things. Two I’ve watched in recent years which have affected me deeply were The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas and A Short Stay In Switzerland. The utter dismay and horror at the end of The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas was something I felt acutely for a long time after watching the film. A Short Stay In Switzerland was about the right to end one’s life, and the story really made me think about how I felt about this. I am still against the whole idea, but watching the film made me ask myself serious questions about how I could justify my opinion.

What type of music do you enjoy?
Oh all sorts! My favourite is country. I also like classical, jazz and opera, but just to listen to, I know nothing about composers and so on. The only sort of music I can’t tolerate is heavy metal and stuff like house, base and the likes. I like traditional Irish folk music as well.
Barbara's first guide dog, Hester

Do you travel? What is the most memorable vacation you’ve ever taken?
I hate travelling! I am a home bird and enjoy my home comforts. I would only travel if it were for work, and hate staying in hotels no matter how good the service is.

Tell me about your town and what makes it special to you.
My town is called Moy, in County Tyrone. It is actually a village, though quite a large one. I’ve lived here since I was one, so have never known living anywhere else. Most of my extended family live in or around the village. I like Moy because it is small enough that when you go out you always meet someone you know who will say hello or stop for a chat. Also, I always feel if I get myself lost, the place isn’t big enough for me to go too far out of my way, or I’ll always bump into someone who can set me right again. Being a small place also means I can remember routes to places better and have a clear map in my head of the layout of the streets, roads and shops.

Who are the 3 famous people you’d most like to have dinner with, and why?
For conversation, I’d like Neil MacGregor from Radio 4 and the British Museum. He would be fascinating to talk to as I am very interested in history, and comes across as a really nice man. Also, he’s got a lovely voice, one I could listen to all day long. While eating, I’d like Dolly Parton to sing to us. She’s my favourite country singer and has the most amazing voice. I like that many of her songs tell a story. After dinner, I’d like to relax and have someone funny perform for us. I like so many comics, it’s really difficult to pick just one. Could I be cheeky and ask for Victoria Wood and Julie Walters to perform sketches?

Do you believe in ghosts? Have you ever experienced a ghost?
I do believe in ghosts, but I have never had any experiences of any.

Have you ever traveled with your pet? If so, please give me an adventure story.
I have travelled with Bliss, but I don’t have any adventures that spring to mind. Well there was the time we almost got out of a train on the wrong side where we would have stepped down onto the tracks. Only a kind and rather panicked member of the public stopped me! I wrongly assumed the doors only opened on the platform side.

Tell me about your first pet, and how many have you had in your lifetime?
I never had a pet when I was growing up, and the first time I had an animal in the house was when I got my first guide dog. Hester was my first, a Golden Retriever cross Labrador. She worked until she was 10, then she retired and lived with us until she went to sleep just a couple of months before her 15th birthday. My second guide dog I got when Hester retired, was Cyder. She sadly was put to sleep just a couple of days after her seventh birthday as she had a large tumour in her stomach. Then of course I got Bliss three months after I lost Cyder. Bliss retired in January 2012, so I am waiting for guide dog number four.
Barbara's second guide dog, Cyder

Do you have other Twitter accounts?
My personal Twitter account is @barkingbabs1971

What is a typical day for you, starting when Bliss wants breakfast?
I get up at 7.30. I feed Bliss and let her out to “Busy.” Then I make myself a hot drink and sit down to check Emails and tweets. By nine I am usually washed and dressed and ready for the day. My typical day depends what I have to do. I might pop into the village for any messages I need. I’m not a great one for going for a walk without a purpose, but I know I need to keep fit for when I train with a new dog. So at least every other day I like to get out for a walk, usually once a day, but sometimes twice. I will do any work I need to do on the computer, and some jobs around the house. We all share the housework. If I am lucky, I will have some work on, so will go away to do that. I have my own car, so am able to pay someone to drive me and support me if I need any support doing whatever job I am doing. I get help to do this from the Access To Work scheme, which gives disabled people a contribution towards paying someone to support them in parts of their job they have difficulty with because of their disability.

If at home, I will sit down with a nice cup of milky coffee between 10.00 and 10.30, it is my treat! Lunch is usually between 12.30 and 1.00, and I like to keep it light. My afternoon will depend on again what work I have on or if I take myself out for a walk. Very occasionally I am persuaded to go shopping, I hate shopping! Afternoon tea is very important and usually around 3.00 if I am at home. I feed Bliss again at 5.30 and then get my own dinner. The evenings are usually spent watching telly, listening to the radio, chatting, reading, or something more exciting if it happens. I will go to bed any time from 9.00 to way into the wee small hours!

Thankew Bliss and Barbara for sharing your lives with me and my readers. You’re both wonderpurr and I’m happy we are furends! Yay!

Don't Mess Wif Me!