Walking back to happiness

James and I were settling into a nice routine.
He has two feeds a day and really enjoys them.
He does an endearing little burp after his meals!
I thought about Chelly a lot, but Mum kept me up-to-date with how she was getting on.
I allowed myself five minutes of tears on the Wednesday night, after which I wiped my eyes, walked back into the lounge and said to myself: “Pull yourself together love! James needs you! Chelsea’s fine, stop being so silly!”
However the tears came without warning on the Thursday morning.
I’d fed James and took him out to spend (relieve himself in the garden)
When the dogs arrive at a new place it can take them a while to settle into a spending routine.
I was sitting on the sofa and James put his head on me and whined!
I started crying and apologising to him.
I felt really down, as I had no idea how to make things better for him.
I suspect he was missing the lovely boarders who had been such a huge part of his life for the last ten weeks.
I’d thought about them a lot, especially on the day he came to my house. I prayed for them that morning and hoped it hadn’t been too difficult for them to let him come and live with me.
However, whereas it had been so easy to pull myself together the previous day I couldn’t do it this time.
That morning, our guide dog instructor said we were going to practise following our dogs and allowing them to find the way round a big department store which sells furniture (and delicious meatballs)!
This would show us how much we can trust our dogs to use their initiative.
James loved it. We’d already been to a supermarket to practise turns on the move!
He weaved his way through the store and was thoroughly enjoying himself.
He took me into some of the show-rooms. He showed me a cooker, lovely foot stool and a chest of drawers.
After having lunch we did it again.
He took me into the same lounge and bedroom he had found before.
He stood looking longingly at a sheepskin rug!
After telling him it was very nice, but I didn’t need one and neither did he he took me to the same foot-stool!
“He could stand on that like a plinth and pretend he’s a statue!” said my instructor.
As he guided me effortlessly around obstacles, including people and pillars, I started to giggle.
Then I couldn’t stop. It was like a volcano had been lying dormant within me – and the comical actions of my little yellow Labrador made it erupt!
I giggled uncontrollably and had to stand still as I couldn’t concentrate!
I realised I hadn’t felt this happy for a while.
Not since I was able to get out and about with Chelsea.
I’d laughed, a lot, but it hadn’t been the same as it was now!
I remembered reading a book by one of my favourite authors called Walking Back To Happiness.
It was about a lady who lost her husband, and took up dog walking.
She’d found it quite therapeutic and it had made her happy again, when she thought she could never get that feeling back!
This is how I felt!
I’d been happy having Chelsea with me, but had to rely on friends to take me to places which I’d been so used to going to by myself!
When we found the door (James found the toilet door I’d used twice, the café and then the front entrance) I gave him a big cwtch!
He really enjoys our “cuddle time!”
My instructor asked how I felt about what we’d done.
“I loved it!” I said.
“For the first time in a long time I felt free! I know James will keep me safe, and if we get lost, I know he’ll find his way!”
I feel we helped each other that day.
We both felt lost, but through tears, cuddles and a lot of hard work, we found a way through, and are really starting to bond!

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