The Whole Bite

A Blind Foundation Guide Dogs Bikkie Story

Everyone was chattering as they converged towards the door of the auditorium, endeavouring not to bump each other and spill their cups of tea and coffee, just like starlings towards a palm tree at dusk. No one wanted to be late for the All Staff meeting, especially as the Bikkie Day was at the top of the agenda.

Everyone took their place and Wendy started the meeting “ We all know how important Bikkie Day is to us, to make sure we are able to continue with the great work we do here, so today we will look at planning to make sure we meet our client’s needs”. She looked towards the Guide Dog Mobility Instructors as she talked. “Right” said Jess, “we have talked with our clients to find out their needs”. “We can’t have Bikkies that crumble at the first bite” said Sarah, “or ones that that are so hard that they crack teeth” said Kim, “I agree,” said Eve, “we need to keep our clients safe”. Vesna and Jade listened attentively as they knew they would be doing this important task next year. Su Young included “We have a number of clients allergic to Bikkie crumbs. We need to help them too!” “I have been collating the past bikkie data” interjected Penny, “and the rice and popcorn bikkies worked well last year for our clients with allergies, and the R&D team have been researching some great new recipes”.
“I have found different recipes using ingredients like lemon, cinnamon, paprika, orange, nutmeg and liquorice, which will provide different flavours besides vanilla and chocolate, to meet our client’s needs – and give us some lovely colours” said Jane. “That is great,” said Mel, “I have been thinking along genetic lines – but in this case, herbs and spices might just be the key we need”. Talking of biscuits made everyone’s ones mouth water and some rumbling tummies were heard. Hmm, I could use this as an example of conditioned responses in my lectures thought Rae.

Ankie took the floor “My team are here to support you along the way, and make sure you have the equipment you need”. “I will make sure the vehicles are ready to take you where you need, and I’ll get all the bikkie pup manuals printed and ready,” said Antoinette. “I’ll cover the phones at reception,” stated Susan, “we always get lots of calls around bikkie time”. “I’ll have the final packs ready to go out with the Bikkies as they go to our clients,” declared Erica.

The next day the team at the breeding centre assembled ready for action. Helen had made sure all the ingredients were fresh and of good quality. “Being fresh is so important at this stage of creating bikkies,” she stated.
Some of the team started to mix and knead the bikkie mixture. “I don’t think people realise how much this contributes to the final product,” said Aimee. “Yes,” agreed Trudy “the wrong handling now can make a hard biscuit “”or too little can make them crumble” stated Diane. “Your excellent work doesn’t go unnoticed” encouraged Sam to her team. Alex, Alysha, Eve and Ginger, gently moulded the dough into shape. “I can’t wait to have a bikkie all my own” enthused Alysha, and they all laughed together.

The bikkie placement and development team joined the breeding centre to watch the bikkies in the oven and find the best lunch boxes for them. They carefully iced their coats. “I have one pup determined to have a blueberry flavoured coat,” said Rochelle, “you can’t make blue into red very easily!” “I’m having a similar problem with two of the B bake,” said Aimee, “except they want orange coats”. “Well, we have had such successful bakes, we don’t have enough lunch box carriers for them all, perhaps the bikkie who wants the blue coat can be an assistance dog and the ones with orange coats could be bikkies in Australia” said Paula. “It is so important to support our lunch box carriers, as helping them makes such a difference developing these bikkies to become a Guide Dog Bikkie,” said Diana. “Especially early on, when there are a few lunch box messes,” said Fiona.

The next day, Lauren noticed a bikkie with a crack on one of its legs when helping her lunch box carriers, and she showed this to Briony, who suggested a butter icing to help reinforce the leg. “This will be good while its cool, but I can’t guarantee how it will be when the weathers starts getting hot though,” she advised. Fiona, on overhearing this conversation told them “I have a family who have the right requirements and would love to adopt a butter iced bikkie”

The next step was helping the bikkies get used to cake tins. “Cake tins are very different to lunch boxes”, Lara told her team as they sat down to discuss in which cake tin the bikkies would be placed. “We need to make sure we place them with other suitable bikkies in their tin”, stated Nadia. “We don’t want the stronger flavoured bikkies overpowering the ones with a more subtle flavour” included Kirsty. One thing they all agreed upon was that chocolate goes with everything! Brigit, Carla, Katja and Melissa all thought about ways to help the bikkies settle into their bikkie tins. Kelly Ann spoke with Alana, Leah and Hayley about the special care needed for the rice and popcorn pups, to keep them looking tidy.

The trainers sat down to set out a training plan for the bikkies. “They need to make a straight line from the plate to the mouth,” stated Ashleigh. “Yes but they need to make their way around any obstacle” said Michelle. Kerri also included the importance of the bikkies refusing to cross into the mouth at the same time as a mouthful of coffee, “that can result in a nasty situation,” she said.

After the GDMI’s and the trainers sat down to match each bikkie and client together, taking into account everyone’s needs, the bikkies made their way to the clients, ready for a well-deserved afternoon tea.

Everyone at Guide dogs was proud of the effort they all put in together, to make these bikkies the best in NZ.