the lows and highs of retiring a guide dog – part 1

I’ve made the decision! I’m shocked by the reaction of the person I spoke to, but more than that, I’m shocked by my reaction to what I’ve just done.
I stand up and shakily walk the one minute it takes to get from my desk to one of the meeting rooms.
I’m struggling to keep the emotion which is threatening to erupt like a volcano! I’m scared of what could happen if it does.
Chelly knows something is wrong.
She sits next to me as I slowly begin to realise what’s happened.
It’s then the tears fall. They’re quick, frustrating tears, the sort of tears you know could overwhelm you.
I say a few things to her, I can’t remember what.
Then the door opens and one of my friends from work comes in.
I called her just after I made the decision.
“What am I going to do?” I ask her – as she gives me a hug.
“I can’t believe how clinical they were when I told them!”
Chelsea licks my hand.
Slowly I begin to feel calmer.
My friend is cross on my behalf, but I understand why my decision wasn’t handled the way I think it should have been.

I’m OK the rest of the afternoon.
However, it’s the next day that I realise just how difficult the next six months will be.
There’s a feature on an Australian radio station about guide dogs.
I can’t control the tears of grief that flow.
“This is ridiculous,” I say to Mum during our first phone call of the day.
“I can’t keep dissolving into tears any time someone mentions guide dogs!”
Then Mum says the words nobody – not even I have thought of.
“Why don’t you keep Chelsea yourself, until the new dog comes!”
It’s like a bolt of lightning – more than that, it’s like finding an oasis in the desert, it’s like winning the lottery!
It’s the hope I didn’t have before.
I wasn’t given the choice of keeping her, and I was so emotionally drained and upset at losing the companion I’d worked with for 8 years that the thought of keeping her with me in Cardiff never entered my mind!
“Do you reckon I could?” I ask excitedly.
“I don’t see any reason why not!” says Mum.
I talk it over with two really close friends and they’re pretty sure I can keep her!
I just have to make another phone call on the Monday! I hope it goes better than the last two!

You can keep up with my adventures at:
http://www.twitter.com/nickiandchelly
or:
http://www.facebook.com/adogcalledchelsea

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