James and I have a close call!

James and I have been qualified for almost 6 weeks. My guide dog trainer has officially signed us off on certain routes. However, I’ve never been out by myself on one particular route. I put James’s harness on and we confidently walk to the crossing.
I’m feeling excited, I’ve done this route numerous times with my trainer, what can possibly go wrong?
I line myself up with the box by the crossing and launch myself into the unknown…
I’m in the middle of the road!
I have no idea where I am!
A car drives really close to us, another breaks in front of us!
I’m terrified!
I ask James to find the pavement, but there isn’t one!
I’m shaking and panicking, but also know I have to maintain my composure!
I put my hand up and shout: “Stop! I’m lost!”
A man winds his window down and asks where I need to be!
I try to explain and he gets out, crosses me over a road, but I’m still hideously lost!
I have three options!
A: stand there and give way to the panic and tears bubbling up inside me like an overfilled kettle!
B: try and work out where I am, hoping that’ll work!
Or C: try and ring someone and ask them to find me!
I opt for C, but the first person I try isn’t there!
I frantically flick through my contacts and find a lady from church. She’s really really lovely, but I hate having to ring someone.
After all, if I have no idea where I am, how will they?
My friend is wonderful; she listens as I shakily and hurriedly explain my predicament!
“Stay where you are! I’ll come and find you!” she says!
I have reassured James a lot after our drama!
“It’s all right! It’s going to be fine!” I soothe.
As I murmur calming words I wonder who I’m really trying to convince, James or myself!
Finally my friend arrives, it’s only minutes but it feels like a long time.
She takes me back to her house and we have coffee and biscuits.
She’s like a warm beacon of hope in a sea of anxiety!
So, what’s next?
I’m getting back on the old proverbial horse!
My friend, who’s a guide dog owner, is going to help me nail that route!
She’s helped me so much since I moved to Cardiff!
I’m certainly not going to let a stupid road crossing put me off!
James and I have come so far, this is only a dip in the road!!!
You can follow my adventures with James, and retired guide dog Chelsea at:

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