celebrating the amazing work of guide dogs – part 2

In my previous post to celebrate national guide dog week, I told you all about my first guide dog Vale. In this post I’m going to tell you all about Chelsea – AKA Chelly, Chezza, cheesecake, and a string of other names. She knows she’s in trouble when I refer to her as: “Dog!” It’s enough to make her tail stops windmilling and really stops her in her tracks.h
Chelli’s totally different to Vale. Each dog is unique and brings us so much joy, fun and friendship.
Now, here’s a lesson for you. If a guide dog owner ever says: “My dogs never naughty/badly behaved,” they’re either lying, totally boring or not very observant at all!
Chelly’s naughty in a really quiet way.
She always looks like she’s either committed mischief, in the process of committing mischief, or thinking about it.
I got Chelly in the July of 2006. On Christmas day of that year she stole six pigs in blankets and two pears.
She also had a little Christmas dinner of her own; we always did that each year for the girls.
My Mum, sister and I went to the Boxing Day sales. When we got back, we saw Dad sweeping the kitchen floor.
“What’s happened in here?” asked Mum.
“Chelsea decided to help herself to the leftover turkey!” laughed Dad.
I couldn’t help smiling and giggling a bit.
Those of you who’ve read about Vale will totally agree with me that it was probably Vale who knocked it down, but Chelly certainly made sure she had her fair share.
I was really worried in case she had problems due to eating so many things that were bad for her.
The only side effects were an awful lot of wind!!
Vale tolerated Chelsea. I don’t think she’d ever go so far as to say she liked her, but they had a mutual respect for one another.
Chelly was totally devastated when Vale died. She sniffed all the places Vale would lie and put on a lot of weight.
Dogs really do grieve.
Chelly doesn’t like tears. She always runs up to me with a toy, pokes me with it like she’s saying: “Have my toy stoat Mum! It’ll make you feel better!”
However, if it’s general and raw emotion, as opposed to me crying because my favourite contestant in Masterchef has just been voted out, she really understands.
I’ve told this story in a previous post, but it really shows how in tune Chelly is to how I’m feeling.
On the day my Father passed away almost two years ago, I was sitting by his bed in floods of tears.
Chelly hadn’t come into the bedroom the whole time Dad was ill, but she crept in and sat next to me. I lay on the floor beside her, still really upset. She lay next to me, and put her paw round my shoulder, exactly the way humans hug one another.
She’s incredibly good at using her initiative.
The other day we were coming back from church and she pooed on the pavement. I picked it up, as I always do, and mentioned to her that we’d have to find a bin now on the way home.
About ten minutes later, after crossing several busy roads, she stopped, pointed her nose straight ahead and wagged her tail.
I followed her head and found a bin; she’d indicated it by stopping and pointing at it.
I didn’t teach her how to find bins; she has always associated putting her mess in one and now locates them if we need one.
She’s slowed down so much now.
I notice it on a daily basis.
I know we’ll have to part soon, and it really really upsets me to even think about it.
I’ll have to get used to a new pup, it’ll bounce its way into my affections I know, but Chelsea has been such an incredible girl, as was Vale.
The work of the guide dogs organisation, and especially the fundraisers, puppywalkers, brood bitch holders and boarders is really invaluable and makes a huge difference to the approximately 4500 guide dog partnerships throughout the UK.
Please consider sponsoring a puppy, holding a fundraising event or getting involved with helping guide dogs in any way you can.

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