So, the time I had been dreading had arrived. I had one week left with Chelsea in Cardiff before packed her bags (or, as it turned out a huge suitcase) and prepared to send her to North Wales to retire disgracefully with my Mum.
I thought I was doing rather well emotionally – until we sang a song in church – and the feeling of loss hit me like a river bursting its banks.
“I can’t do this,” I sobbed to my friend
“How am I going to cope without Chelsea?”
We went out to the foyer, and three friends joined us.
I was very upset and couldn’t stop the tears which had been so close all week, but which I’d managed to control, until then.
All five of us were crying, as I said how much Chelsea had helped me, how I knew she’d be fine with Mum but I couldn’t imagine how I’d cope not being able to see her every day.
Seeing my friends almost as upset as I was really made me realise just how many lives Chelsea has touched.
She’s been my silent partner for the last 9 years, especially in the last three years when I experienced some of the most stressful events life can throw at you.
Chelsea wasn’t sure how to act during the torrent of tears, so she lay down quietly by my feet.
She then went from person to person, as if she was saying her own goodbyes to people who mean so much to us both!
When you have a dog, it’s not only what you do for them that truly matters, it’s the unspoken kindness they show us every day which makes them so special!
The rest of the week was full of visits from several friends saying goodbye to Chelsea.
I also finished working in a place I’d been at for almost a year.
She’ll be popping down to Cardiff with Mum a lot, but when she does, our time together will be extremely precious.
On Friday, Chelsea and I went out for breakfast with a very special friend.
She’s formed a firm friendship with Chelsea and I – and I knew the farewell would be difficult.
As I said goodbye to my friend, I managed not to cry:
“But only ‘cos I don’t have a tissue,” I said wobbly.
The train journey back was long, and Chelsea slept on my feet as she usually does.
Mum and I had a lovely weekend and I did “the speech” to Chelsea.
This is really when I say thank you to her, tell her to be good for Mum and say I hope the new dog is as good as she is – although I said \I don’t think he’ll be better.
Well, James already knows he has extremely big paws to fill!
I’ve owned guide dogs for 16 years. They’ve been my eyes, although I have never seen them.
I know I’ve tried to do the right things for them, but they’ll never know that they gave me so much more than my independence and freedom.
Thank you Chelsea for being a truly, genuine, fabulously wonderful friend!
Oh, by the way! Don’t think you can get away with things when I’m away – Mum will keep me updated!
James arrives, and Chelsea makes herself at home!
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