90 Years of Guide Dogs

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90 years ago, the lives of people with sight loss was very different. Support was sometimes  non existent or at the very best limited. Children’s futures were restricted by what society thought a child or young person was capable of in relation to their sight. Society in general was more discriminative than inclusive as education around sight loss was still very patchy. In short, life plateaued for the majority of people with sight loss at a certain age and stage in life as potential remained a secret treasure that was rarely found. 90 years ago, life was very different for us all but  thanks to many movements to support people with sight loss, positive changes were essential in helping us live the enhanced lives we do today.

Arguably, Louis Braille started the ball rolling in 1824 as he developed Braille as a way to help himself enter into the sighted world of reading and communicating which has gone on to help an enormous amount of people with sight loss have equal access to the written word. The Blind Person’s Act in 1920  deepened the rights and welfare  of people with sight loss to be  protected    which was a huge step forward. It was the introduction of Guide Dogs in October 1931 however that really created change in the lives of individuals with sight loss the most.

Since the first partnership  90 years ago between the canine and human world, things have developed massively. 90 years on, the charity is now also helping children with sight loss as well as adults and does more than just train dogs for partnership. They educate, raise public awareness about sight loss, campaign and do so much more to help the lives of people with sight loss become enriched and limit free. The  Guide Dogs charity allows hope where there once was none and help bridge the gap between the sighted and sight loss world which is huge. They help nurture and train  these beautiful dogs that become our true best friends.

Life before Munch was tough. Living 39 years of my life with secret sight loss I learnt ways of keeping it hidden from people but it took a lot of time and energy. When you have never seen a face , just a blur and have never seen what is across the room from you, that is just life. How can you miss a picture on a wall that you do not know is there?   When that life became a little dangerous from all the falls, breaks, dislocations and many other injuries, it was time to admit I needed help. The help that I got was Minster who affectionately became known as Munch.

It has been nearly five years since I was partnered up with my hairy soul mate Minster Munch and there has never been a dull moment. Munch has been more than just practical help, he has become my matching odd sock. The Drama King that he is,  has almost made me forget I have sight loss as that part of me  now has a bouncer. I can stand down from my past  relentless reliance on memory that got me from a to b as I remembered each route in my head with a combination of muscle memory, counting and taking information from overloaded senses. He does all that now and more. Admittedly, on a rare occasion a passing squirrel may make his attention go elsewhere for a nanosecond but in general, he is now my lighthouse keeper to steer me away from danger.

Munch is my hairy little (ok more Shetland Pony sized ) soul mate who just happens to be a Guide Dog on the side. He deserves the best in life as he has changed my life and the life of my family forever. Guide Dogs are never just dogs, they are the special beings that complete us. Training more Minster Munch like heroes is costly and that is why around the country, there are numerous fundraising events during this month. If you would like to make a different, please visit http://www.guidedogs.org.uk to see how you can help. Thanks from the hairy and not so hairy partners across the land

Two Year Bookaversary

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It’s been a blink of an eye kind of two years since our book was published. Luckily, it was published in Sept 2019 well before life changed for everyone during the Pandemic. It was much easier to publish and promote a book back in the ‘Old Pre-Covid World’ where travel, interviews, signings and everything else that comes with publishing was far easier and more natural. Munch was a far happier dog when he could sashay freely in the world meeting, greeting and making people fall in love with him.

Since then, life has been a little busy with other adventures but I still love to write when I get a spare moment. An increase in working hours, completing a course plus becoming a supervisor in work has meant that these spare moments are few and far between. Adding into the mix a gorgeous new grandson has meant an ever increasing family which has been so amazing, yet my writing is feeling a little neglected.

My writing fits into the category of hobby  rather than a profession but who knows maybe one day that will change. With spontaneity more appealing than discipline, I may need to quite down my search for new adventures long enough to create an opportunity to write as an author instead of a Literature Dabbler. As a young child, it did cross my mind that I would love to be an author due to the  love and escapism books bring to their readers. I did however want to be a Firefighter, a Pilot and a Detective although maybe none of those were the easiest of choices for a blind person but it’s always important to reach for the stars and keep your dreams alive!

Munch has however telepathically dictated a self help book that I….sorry we…. have finished writing and are  nearing the end of a light hearted novel which has been so fun to write. We have a rough draft of a more academically geared book that is threatening to be released into the Laptop very soon after being approached by someone to write one, so there is no rest for the wicked. Whether we choose to publish these or just keep writing for fun, who knows. As long as we keep having fun writing,  that is all that matters.

Fear not, Munch’s addiction to showing his face in photos is still being fed as he has been asked if Guide Dogs can use his face for some learning resources in schools which I think is fab idea. Raising awareness about how these magical beings help the lives of people with sight loss is crucial so we are always up for that. I am glad Minster (Munch’s professional Guide Dog name) and his antics will have a chance to always be remembered in our book and beyond. I whole heartedly wish that for the next two years and beyond, we can keep spreading Minster Munch’s antics far and wide. Thanks Munch for being the best co-author ever.

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We were asked by one of the schools that we work in to do a quick spot of filming for a brief chat with Dr Alex George on the importance of raising Mental Health awareness for young people.  We weren’t told many details like who it was for and whether it would be live. So, we rocked up to work to be told it was going to be on the Lorraine show in an hour’s time. With me who tends to put her size 8 foot in things ALL the time and Munch who has a little tendency to draw attention to himself for all the wrong reasons whilst being in such situations, I was waiting for our usual calamities to begin. Bearing in mind that an interview had to be previous  halted due to the laughter and search for clean air after Munch left out one of his noxious anal exhales whilst being interviewed a couple of years ago for our book, and when he showed his ‘physical excitement’ proudly in a Newspaper article, I wasn’t too hopeful that he would behave but I was totally surprised when he did.   Despite Munch showing a less than enthusiastic approach to filming as he turned his back to the camera and slouched to the floor for a sulk after they made him wait far too long for filming, all went smoothly.

Dr Alex George is doing an amazing job at raising awareness of the impact of Mental Health on young people and what help is available after sadly losing his own brother to battles with Mental Health.  Having worked in many areas of Mental Health over the last 26 years, I have seen many things change and many things that have stayed stationary in the field but luckily one thing to change is the attitude people have towards it. Stigma has been replaced by compassionate awareness and people feel more able to support their own version of their Mental Health stories that strike a chord with multiple others who would feel alone without this connection. Having worked so long in  Mental Health services, it is very rare to find a unique case that does not have shared roots in so many other people’s stories but to that person, their relationship with their own Mental Health is unique. Validating their thoughts and feelings is crucial and means the difference between healing or fading away into a very lonely existence. When we were asked how important counselling services are by Dr George, I gave a brief answer that they are an essential safe space for young people but on reflection, they are so much more than that. Here are a few  ways in which I think counselling services help to boost Mental Health in general..

A space like no other

We are not family; we are not friends. We are not prescriptive; we are not authoritative. We are this blank canvas space that  people can come to throw all the messes, struggles and strains from the last week over.

A place to be yourself

When you come through the door, we don’t expect you to be anyone apart from yourself. We want you to get to know the parts of you that you hide to the rest of the world from fear of being judged. There is no wrong way to be in the counselling room if you are being yourself and telling us your real thoughts and feelings.

A place for growth

If you come in wanting change in your life, that is what you will get if you find a way that works for you. If you come in wanting a space to feel at peace with your current situation, then that is what we will work on. Your growth will be whatever you want it to be in a safe environment with your counsellor as your cheerleader.

A Place to be heard

Your opinions won’t be shot down or your feelings silenced, we will listen to the passion and hurt in your voice as you tell us the words that have never been voiced until now. We listen not because we must, but because we want to. We hear the breaks in your voice and when you skirt around subjects that you really want to feel confident enough to speak about. We hear you even when you aren’t speaking.

A place to discard fiction

We like real, we are not the biggest fans of a fictional reality of your world that you have been forced to believe in. We will help you discover your version of a happy life that suits you and makes you happy. We can help take away the ‘Should’ and ‘ Cannot’ and help you find your own ‘wants’ and ‘cans’.

A place to unlock levels

You may have a friendly challenge to help you get rid of faulty thinking if that is what you want but you should never have hostility. You will find parts of yourself that you never knew existed and these are the parts that hold all your answers to a better Mentally Healthy life.

A place where your new life begins

When you begin to bring your hidden truths to the surface, you are committing to a new way of life. Some sessions may feel more draining than a marathon , whilst others will give you a new lease of life, but all will change you in one way or another.

I am not saying that counselling is a miracle cure for all, and you must find the right counsellor that works for you, but I am saying it is always worth a try. Wales has led the way in the UK in counselling in all secondary schools and increasingly more in primary schools so watching the impact  that this has on the lives of children and young people has been amazing. We are here to stay for all the young people that will need us for whatever reason.

The Hairy PT

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Looking to start a new fitness regime or enhance the one you are current following? Look no further than Munch, the hairy Personal Trainer. Here is a testimonial from one of his previous clients.

” I started working out with Munch around 5 years ago and since then I have never been the same. My fitness regime had become a little stale so I thought I would take the lead from an expert squirrel chaser, ball retriever, Doglympian swimmer and earth moving sprinter. My experience with him has been a little…… interesting.

We began with some routines at the gym as he could enter any gym wearing his Guide Dog Harness (his part time  job on the side). I began on the bike and he avoided chasing the non existent wheels which was a positive. His appalled expression on his face at my attempt on the cross trainer shamed me into working more on my form and his sighs motivated me to splutter on to carry on as his eye rolls told me I shouldn’t really have been such a sticky mess only 2 minutes in.

It was the classes however that he helped me the most. One of his favourite ones was the kettlebell class. As the instructor blew his whistle to tell us it was time to switch exercises, he would shoot up to attention next to me from his laying down position which meant I had to take a few extra steps to go over to settle him back down. In yoga , he drew attention to himself by showing everyone how a Downward Facing Dog was REALLY done. It was only boxfit however that he didn’t want me to partake in. Each time I would punch a pad or boxing bag in front of me, he would try and stop me with a bark and a paw. He is a lover not a fighter. Admittedly, I decided to go to the classes from then on with my white cane instead of Munch to avoid upsetting him. Sorry Munch only now you are finding out where I used to sneak too on a Friday night whilst I left you with a babysitter.

Due to constant knee injuries and the sight I have left deteriorating, I gave up the gym and began working out at home. After a successful knee operation 2 years ago and slowely building up a home gym, my workouts now are done at home. The bonus of this is that as I have a live in hairy PT who can slump out of bed and  straight onto the floor to  help me, my PT is never far way. Well, I say bonus but it may not always feel like this. Munch can sometimes be a little ……distracting in the home environment.

When I am on the exercise bike he runs off to the garden to get one of his toys for me to throw for him. When I am on the boxing bag he jumps up to lick me all over  to prevent me hurting the bag. He runs off with my skipping rope although this may  be his way to help me practice my sprints. As soon as I get my mat out for yoga he lays either on part or all of it but thinking of it, maybe it is his way of helping me develop a more contortionist approach to yoga. Bless him.

If you are looking for an alternative PT for your exercise regime, look no further. His unique approach has done wonders for my negotiating techniques,  patience levels and all around resilience although maybe not so much for my fitness but surely a more holistic approach to exercise is okay”,

Munch’s going rate for his expertise is a) a handful of treats, the bigger the better b) a fun off lead run c) a swim in the sea or lake d) a full body and ego massage. What are you waiting for? Book today.

School Is Out For Summer.

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School holidays have officially begun! Time for some fun.

After the most bizarre year in education ever  where we have been in and out of school numerous times as schools have closed and reopened, we finally get to spend the summer at home. Munch will be completely off, whilst I will be providing emergency cover for phone counselling but from the comfort of our own home. Munch has many plans he has requested for our break and they go a little like this.

  1. Sleep . Nothing better than a summer snooze.
  2. Play. Play may be a little slower in the heat of summer when you are such a hairy bear, but he will no doubt be matching Faith the tortoise’s pace in the garden.
  3. Cause mischief wherever possible. There may be no pupils around to steal paninis out of their hands (still a cringe worthy memory when Panini Gate happened) but there will always be an option to create chaos in Munch’s eyes. Two days after end of term and he has only managed to devour some unattended party food and smash a plate and attempt to chase a  squirrel up a tree, but the holidays are still young. Plenty more time for the opportunist to strike.
  4. Swim in the sea, river, and lakes. This may not be possible to do all at the same time only due to the boring limitations of time and space (unless we enter the realms of co-existing multi universes), Munch has plans to tackle as much of these as possible. The Loch Ness Minster has been sighted in many local areas and has made many a friend with the water dwelling kind. He may even be able to succeed in his ultimate goal of  blending in with a family of ducks that he has attempted to do many a time. Public health alerts have already gone out to the surfing community  to warn them of the dangers of leaving unattended surf boards in the sea after the slight mishap a few years ago when Munch tried to jump aboard and surf off into the sunset.
  5. Meet up with friends. Meeting up with both hairy and not so hairy friends is on the to do list. Even though Munch does love to share a saliva sodden ball with another canine, he is more than willing to preform the same exchange with a human. If the thought of sloppy seconds smeared across a ball is not your idea of summer bliss, Munch will be quite happy to take you to the nearest lamppost to show you how to leave your scent. Failing that a good old cwtch (a warm cuddle for the non-Welsh) will more than do.
  6. Sleep some more. Coming a close second to his favourite past time of eating, sleeping recharges his battery of brilliance.
  7. Demand attention 24/7 to keep his Drama King title alive. He is royalty. He will be always treated as such. Anything short of utter worshiping will not be tolerated. Trust me, having the cold shoulders from Munch is NOT pleasant.
  8. Continuing his plan to be the biggest local ball thief for any unattended balls whilst out walking, whilst also avoiding a doggy ASBO.  Munch has quite a rep in the area for stealing  balls or as he sees in, helping any dog turn their game of solitary play into a game for two. Returning the balls can take a little persuasion but they are always returned almost always undamaged. I have had many a sit-down chat with the cheeky chappy that theft is a serious crime, but his eye rolls tell me that despite nearly five years together, he still does not care about my opinions. Thankfully, his angelic face has still not appeared on Crimewatch after the theft of a ball a few years ago in a city centre from one of four sports shops. In his defence, he may have picked it up from the floor outside as the balls in shops are usually sold in packs. Well, that is what he has tried to convince me is true and I do not have evidence to prove otherwise. If he does get an antisocial behaviour order due to being a ball thief, he  may have to change his name to protect his identity. I will let you know if this happens though if you promise to keep it a secret.
  9. Visit new places for new adventures. He loves sniffing out new places to visit. Many places are kind of off limits though due to his inability to walk past any body of water without whining to go in ( please see point 4 above). Walking past an unexplored inviting lake for example would be like a chocoholic working in a chocolate factory. Temptation is sometimes best avoided for all involved.
  10. Continuing to attempt to look angelic to get everything he wants whatever he wants whenever he wants. Looks are so deceiving and this summer will be no different. Who knows what he has planned for me this summer, but I know it won’t be boring.

 Munch will be turning seven this year so soon he will be plodding his way slowly to possible retirement in a couple of years where life will be a constant holiday. Until then, I will ensure that his time off from hoovering up dropped bacon rolls from school corridors across the county is always well spent. If you hear of a mayhem driven Labradoodle causing havoc in Carmarthenshire you know who it is. Sorry in advance.

Buddying Up

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Some decisions in life feel simple to make, whilst others are portals into a labyrinth of never-ending questions that can occur as new possibilities become open to you. Choosing to apply for a Guide Dog is no exception to this.

We have been recently counselling a client who is at this exact decision- making point in their lives. As Guide Dogs have recently extended their  services to include children and young people to offer the service of Buddy Dogs along with other fantastic services that they provide, young people now have an opportunity to experience what it is like to have a Buddy Dog that will expose them to what life would be like with a furry friend. These Buddy Dogs are not mobility aids as such as Guide Dogs are, but it is such an amazing way to have insight into what it is like to have someone by your side each and everyday who is there for you.

Working with my adolescent client brought back lots of feeling of what the application process brought up and questions that seem to be universal in the lead up to being gifted a dog. Guide Dogs and Buddy Dogs are not pets so applying for one goes beyond the ‘it will be amazing to have  a cute dog in the house’ train of thought. With such dogs coming already trained to a high standard, there will be no need for a puppy training class as they would have already been trained by dedicated individuals who work and volunteer for Guide Dogs. This life changing best friends that enter our lives are never just a dog.

On a personal level admitting that I needed a Guide Dog felt in a way, revoking the empowerment that I had felt throughout life when I was able to navigate the world alone without people knowing the severity of my sight loss. By admitting I needed help felt like going from independence to dependence on another to be able to get around. Non-Guide Dog users often think of Guide Dogs as allowing independence (which they certainly do), but initially the feelings can be quite the opposite. This is something that I talked to my client at great lengths about which seemed to help as he knew someone had been through the same thing that nobody else seemed to understand.

The magnetic draw of Munch’s pleading eyes and serene presence in the room helped for my client to experience what a real-life Guide Dog was like and he had  space to ask as many questions as possible. In these conversations we established that Guide Dogs and Buddy Dogs are all as unique as us humans, can be both mischievous and perfectly well behaved, can be ball thieves and avoid distractions and a million other things in-between. They will almost definitely deserve a birthday celebration to thank them for their service to us and gifts from family members will always appear each year under the Christmas tree. You will no longer be a sole entity but part of a partnership and expect people to greet your dog before they greet you.

These hairy soul mates of ours that appear in our lives can only arrive after the loving dedications of the people who have turned them into the characters that they are today. From people who donate to this fab charity, the puppy walkers who must have patience of saints and the Guide Dog staff who  deserve more praise than they ever get. We are matched with the dogs that the staff feel match us perfectly and work with us if there are teething problems. Guide Dogs and Buddy Dogs are only possible because of the beautiful creations of the bond between the animal and the human world.

When my client asked, ‘do you think I will have  a dog like Munch?’, I responded ‘you will have your own version of Munch’. I am crossing my fingers that his perfect Buddy Dog is getting ready to imprint their paws on the heart of their new best friend soon now that children and young people can feel the true power of these special souls

The Healer Returns

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Sorry I have been a bit absent recently. It is just that my furry presence has been needed elsewhere over the last few months, so I have not had time to instruct my maid to write any posts.

Seven weeks ago, my two-legged grandmother was taken to hospital and has been there ever since. She is doing okay but will be in for a few more weeks. I have only got to see her once, so I am missing her like mad. The beauty of my Guide Dog harness means that I can go into almost any place,  so I get to sashay my way into hospital and such. My two-legged grandmother was on a ward with three other patients, and I managed to sneak around to the other patients to give them some much needed pet therapy too. A quick lick of a hand here, and a snuggle into a lap there and the Munch Magic had been spread as wide as their growing smiles. A quick picture taken by a staff member or two and we had to leave. Healing through joy and pure unconditional love will reach places that no medicine ever can.

Three months ago, my two-legged brother also lost a loved one, so we have been helping to sort out their house. As the two-legged humans have been busy sorting through things, I have been laying down peacefully on the couch where the loved one once lay. I have walked around the garden that they enjoyed to be in. I have sniffed each piece of furniture that they had put together with patience and pride. Their feet may no longer walk around the place they were proud to call home, but my paws still feel the footprints that they have left in their home and in the hearts of many.

My fur has been washed with tears from the children in schools, as they have had nowhere else to leave them flow freely. My nose has been kissed by lips that used to kiss their own dogs’ noses whilst they still lived on this earth. A loving ear scratch from a passing teacher gives a blast of oxytocin which will help them get through the rest of the day in peace and love in their hearts. Our work in schools gives me much happiness, as my maids words and my tranquil way gives holistic healing to both clients and us equally.

I may not have been dictating my doggy thoughts much recently for my maid to write due to the chaos of life, but I have been thinking about you all. The maid and I wish you are all well and if not, we are sending you masses of hairy doggy and less hairy human hugs. As our summer break from schools comes closer, we will aim to blog more as catch up with what you have all been doing. Much love from me and the maid.

The Tour Guide Dog

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No matter how much I try to convince myself it will be a good idea, trying to sight see with little sight and blurry blobs surrounding me has not always been my idea of heaven. Going new places is far more about sensory overload and less about embracing the apparent sights that are supposedly around me. Munch on the other hand, would love to explore  a new place each day, possibly five. Finding the middle ground for a happy him and a happy me can sometimes be a battle of wills.

Some guide dogs take a while to learn a route whereas Munch knows the route inside out and back to front as soon as he has finished walking it for the first time. Munch loves exploring and sniffing a urine-soaked lamp post or two as his paws hit unchartered territory. His huge angel winged tail attached to his sashaying derriere that thuds against my leg, tells me that he is one happy chappy in the unknown. He wears his harness as a suit of armour as he sightsees with his not so sighted maid trailing behind him. He is the reason my unsteady feet become steady.

New places to me are like entering a rotating assault course whilst blindfolded and hoping for the best. Where are the steps? Where are the doors? Which are the female toilets? Which is the right route, and which leads to a dead end? Guide dogs are amazing, but they need instructions on where to take us too and unfortunately cannot read so there are limits to their capabilities. Without the strong partnership that we have that is built on trust, such outings would not be possible as Munch could not go where non guide dogs could go and I would not trust my white cane as much as I trust my hairy soul mate.

In the weird labyrinth of memories in my mind, I know  how many steps are on familiar routes and when to take bends. I can dance around my house without bumping into things as I know each space deeply.  I can hear when a wall by the side of me ends and the open space expands. I know the potholes and cracks that lead up to a flight of steps and where  the parked cars that are always obstructing the pavements live. The intensity of aromas wafting from air vents lets me know how close we are to Munch’s favourite food shops. It is through these sensory cues that my memory assures me that these assault courses are more stationary and more inviting than the rotating ones.

I love the inspiring blind individuals that climb mountains and travel the world with just their trusty cane. I am in awe of the sightless heroes that forget they are blind as they take on challenges that  many sighted would fear. The blind chefs who use their senses alone to create perfectly presented masterpieces could teach the most experiences in the field a thing or two. Vision Loss alone does not create barriers, but limited belief does.

Munch is the gap that links my belief that turns into trust. Together, he can see the sights and I can embrace the senses of the sights safe in the knowledge that I am safe. Having my own excited tour guide, taking me to new places has made sightseeing far more exciting that it used to be. Most of the time I havn’t got a clue what he is seeing in the distance to make him so happy but a happy Munch is a happy me. The gift of a guide dog changes us in ways we never thought possible. Let’s keep exploring as much as we can in whatever way possible ❤

The Windowsill Dwellers

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Windowsill dwellers are the keepers of secrets across the land.

Their paws and derrieres rest easy as the rest of them stays alert.

From cornea to retina, images to the sighted ready the brain for what will come next.

Their responses tell us with lost vision, about the unseen world.

The enlivened bark that emerges from slumber means only one thing.

 A loved one has pulled up outside to come and give a belly rub to the Lord of the house.

His helicopter tail tells of euphoria of the expected guest, not the invasion of a blowing plastic bag.

These security guards are never off duty from their five-foot glass view from their castle that they live in.

The raise of a twitching ear from your feline friend, may mean a less friendly welcome to the observed.

The swish of their aggravated tail sweeping across your arm could be avian related.

Keeping their bird free paws on the windowsill safely inside is probably best for all involved.

A chin rub to distract may leave you gift free from the cat, but that bird will fly safely home that day.

These lighthouse keepers of hearth and home, give insight for us who cannot see.

As beautiful gargoyles keep us safe and happy, we fall in love with them more and more.

These bridges of unconditional love between the sighted and sight loss world always support us.

Thank you, windowsill dwellers, for showing us a world that we cannot see.

Finding Your Floppy Tongued BFF’s

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This is Shadow. Shadow is my BFF. Shadow loves life. Be more like Shadow.

Shadow (slight name change to prevent friend request overload), has been my hairy best friend since I bumped into him on my regular patch for free running. The bumping into each other was literal as we jumped mid-air to retrieve a ball that belonged to neither of us. The fifth-hand saliva that lay coating the recently found ball was just too irresistible for us both to leave and thus cementing our friendship. As our own tennis balls lay unloved at our owner’s (sorry staff member’s)  feet, I knew that Shadow belonged to my mischief making tribe.

I cannot remember him in my litter when I was born but I am sure he is one of my lot. I hear the two legged less hairy people say we look totally different, but I cannot see how. Those humans are just so judgemental. We have the same number of legs, two eyes, two floppy ears, one nose and a mouth so how they can say we are different I do not know. Admittedly I may be a mm or two bigger than Shadow but other than that we are almost identical.

We both love to chase balls, retrieve abandoned balls,  chew sticks, chase each other, play fight in the most non play fighting ways, run alongside each other with no agenda, sniff anything we can find and pee on everything to stamp our existence on anything and everything. Ok there are some differences between us such as the fact the Shadow always listens to his two legged less hairy human, is fussy with food and has yet to get his human grandmother caught on his back as he goes between her legs to give a doggy cuddle, but apart from these, we kind of are the same. Oh yes and he is not a harness wearing  guide dog but apart from that we could be twins.

Our happy , tongue floppy smiles match the joy in our hearts when we get to play with each other. Our Lady and the Tramp daily re-enactment scene with a stick instead of a piece of spaghetti, shows the love of the same things as we munch away until we meet in the middle. Shadow and I dance the dance of play in our own unique way and I never want this to change. We live carefree in the moment which is always enough and more. We chose to love life and create our own bubble of happiness that nobody can ever burst.    

I hope you have your own version of Shadow in your life to chase balls and chew sticks with to make you happy. If not, I hope you find one soon to help find your floppy tongued smiling twin.