The lows and highs of retiring a guide dog- part 2

I can’t believe how five minutes can completely change my mood.
“Really? I say.
“That’s fantastic! Thank you!”
I put the phone down – but this time, instead of crying I’m grinning.
“Chelly! You can stay with me!”
Chelly wags her tail before emptying the bin.
I’ve just been told I can keep Chelly in retirement before a new dog is found.
It could take up to five months to find a potential match but at least Chelly will be with me.
I’ve given Chelly’s harness to a friend to hand in for me.
Before that though, it’s time for Chelly’s last harness walk in Cardiff.
The walk to the bus-stop is not as emotional as I thought.
I don’t actually think it has occurred to me what I’m doing.
I’m so happy about the fact she can stay that I don’t really think about her not working for me anymore.
I went to visit Mum and Chelly did her last ever harness walk.
She’s fantastic, finds a bin wen I need one and Mum takes a video of her working in the library. She always takes the lift up, but the steps down.
The journey back to Cardiff is awful!
I have two bags, Chelsea and my cane.
At one point I have to stand for almost three quarters of an hour on a packed train which rocks and reels like a ship in a storm.
I stoically grin and bear it, thinking that at least by standing I’m adding minutes on to my life, while the rest of the carriage loses minutes by sitting!
I drop my bags off at my house and get the taxi to my friends.
It’s then that it hits me, the last time I did this journey it was by bus, and Chelly guided me from the bus-stop to my friends house. Chelly will never do that again!
My friend comes to walk me from the taxi and when we get to her house I start crying.
“How am I going to cope without Chelsea Kate?” I ask.
She gives me a hug and reassures me she’ll get me through the difficult times.
I thank the Lord, not for the first time for such lovely, kind friends.
It’s been almost three weeks now since Chelly retired.
She adores retirement; she’s acting like a puppy!
She’s 10 on Monday, where has the time gone!
I know one day she’ll have to go to Mum’s house.
Until then though, I’m enjoying every minute we have together.
She bounces around like a small kangaroo and her infectious attitude to life rubs off on me.
I feel positive about the next chapter of my life.
I know with Chelsea and the new dog by my side, I can do anything!!

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