No Dog Yoga For This Diva Thanks

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Munch and I had spent the day doing what he wanted to do. He had been for 2 walks, received lots of fuss, had a free run and a mad half hour in the garden throwing his toys around and making me chase them and retrieve them which I could only do by feel as I could not see them. I thought he would be okay when I broke the news to him that I fancied going to the gym that night to yoga class. I thought it may give him a little incentive to keep trying the new Dog Yoga that has become popular. I realized that one of the many stumbling blocks that may put a halt on our new imagined joint hobby was that Munch had the grace of an ice skating clown and coordination of an octopus on a tightrope, so I wasn’t sure if he was cut out for it. Also trying to keep a yoga pose whilst having a 35kg clumsy dog balancing on me sounded like a trip to A & E may have to be pre-booked. Ever the optimist, I listened to YouTube videos and continued attempting some home tuition. We had been practicing in the house for the last few days. I though we might as well, as he constantly invaded my yoga mat whilst I was practising. It was usually only to compete for attention though, as Angus the cat was on there with me, weaving in and out of my outstretched arms and legs. It really wasn’t going as planned.

We hadn’t been to Human Yoga for a few months due to a reoccurring protruding disc and a dislocated knee for the seventh time. Now they were both back where they should be, I fancied going back to the yoga that I loved. Munch on the other hand was a little less enthusiastic although I knew he would love it when he got there. After spending the day doing dog happy stuff, I thought this exchange of an hour of yoga was reasonable. A brewing Diva strop that was emitting from him reasoned otherwise. Gliding through the gym with his Poodle like presence parading his mere maid behind him, he located the dance studio doors. We took up our usual spot in the back corner of the room, where his ample body and my clumsiness would not get in the way of anyone. After some of the regulars had come to greet him and say how much they had missed him, he got comfy and took up his usual regal pose where he could keep a watch over his two-legged fans. It was a relief to be back in the class and all was going well until I was inhaling and exhaling blissfully in downward facing dog. As my inhale tunred into an exhale, I caught the tail end of a familiar smell. As I inhaled deeply on the next breath, it was obvious that Munch had let out an anal exhale. The stench that was enticing bile up for a vomit party, was the after effects of the stolen cat food from Angus and the sneaked vegan cheese and spinach sweet potato wrap from the kitchen counter that had mysteriously gone missing earlier on. I wondered if I would ever breath fresh air again, whilst he blissfully lay in the corner seemingly proud of what he had produced.

He began settling in and relaxing more just as my body was being stretched to its limits. As I stretched I heard his claws on the floor behind me stretching out and he let out a large sigh as he got comfortable. As I did Cobra pose, I felt his paw being placed gently on my ankle and I knew that his Diva strop had passed, and he was beginning to enjoy the music and energy in the room. As the instructor talked though some new poses that I didn’t know and could not see to copy anyone, I just did my own random things in the back that resembled a mix between yoga and the dying fly. Munch was obviously worried about my odd behaviour, as he edged closer to me and nuzzled into my shoulder. As his sloppy kisses drenched my face, I knew that I had been forgiven for bringing him.

The most difficult part of the evening was trying to remove his paw, head and at one-point half of his body from laying across me. I don’t think he will ever be a Dog yoga enthusiast as it probably seemed like too much hard work for him. He seems quite happy just to watch me. He obviously was not put on this earth to join the Dog Yoga movement. He was eager to join in the relaxing meditation in the end and excelled at the Shavasana pose (the corpse pose) where he snored away loudly in the darkened room. He had mastered that pose some time ago. I think we may have to find an alternative joint hobby to keep him happy. Ah well, at least I tried.

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Sorry. Why would I have a Bucket?

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There are times that I sit and wonder what planet I am from, as I really don’t understand some humans. One of these times of contemplation happened a few days ago whilst I was day dreaming, standing inside a shop doorway waiting for my friend to get served. An older sounding lady come up to me and said “Oh what a sweet dog, here you are love. Where is your bucket?”. “Sorry“ I replied. Had she mistaken me for a blind cleaner with a Guide Dog as part of a job share? “I thought you lot were always in blue?” the lovely lady continued. I racked my brains to what “us lot” she meant. I have always been rather partial to dressing up for nights out with the girls, but I could not recall dressing as a Smurf ever, so I was a little mystified to what lot she meant. “Guide dog staff usually wear blue, don’t they? I want to donate as they are such an amazing charity”. My meandering mind caught up with her words and I realized that she thought I was fundraising. “Oh no sorry, he is my Guide Dog” I politely explained. “Oh. Why do you need a Guide Dog if you are not blind though as you don’t look blind”? Boom there it was, another judgemental remark to add to my collection.

It wasn’t the first time that I had been mistaken for not looking blind. A few months previously, on duty Minster and I were working in a school when we passed a group of boys around 15-16 years old. One of them thought he was a police dog and asked why we were in school. Not one to miss out on an opportunity to wind someone up, I told him that we were there to ensure nothing dodgy was brought into the school. A sudden hesitant silence engulfed the group of boys. After a few seconds of silence, I helped them out of their panic pit and said he was my Guide Dog and was greeted with a dozen questions. These ranged from “what, do you mean you can’t see” to “how can you work here if you can’t read anything”. To be fair they were genuinely intrigued and not being insulting so I spent a while with them answering questions whilst they fed Minster some of their lunch whilst he was in his Please Do Not Feed Me harness. They soon became his favourite group of treat giving friends over the next few months.

I have been told I look too young to be blind as one person thought only older people turned blind. Instead of loosing faith in humanity at that point, I kindly explained to them that babies can be born blind. When out with another person, I sometimes get ignored when people ask my friend/family member about my Guide Dog as obviously blind people can’t answer for themselves can they! I often get asked why I don’t wear dark glasses as apparently that is the official sign of Blindness. I have been asked why I have a television if I cannot see it. I get asked a lot of questions yet only rarely do they come from the right place of compassionate intrigue.

I could have answered the woman’s question of where my bucket was with a multitude of alternative answers, some of which would not be printable. I choose however, to see it as a compliment as my “not looking blind” matches my “not feeling blind” attitude. Ever the rebel, a label does not define me, so I will not allow an uneducated judgement to offend me. I believe that we are a true reflection of the way we perceive the world so when I am mistaken for being a trainer, volunteer or a fundraiser for Guide Dogs I feel blessed that I am perceived as fully sighted. The world exists beyond our immediate visual field, so I feel I see more than a fully functioning set of eyes would ever allow me to see. Being form such an imaginary planet can be the most blissful place ever.

Different Sized Packages, Same Size of Love.

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It is true what they say, good things do come in small packages. Our good small package came in the form of my granddaughter. It was this adorable small package that was an instant calming measure on my high-speed hurtling heavy goods canine that had joined our household. Swirling like a tornado through the house, off duty Munch stopped in his tracks when he met my nine-month old granddaughter for the first time. He engaged the new sight of this small two-legged friend by sniffing, licking and nuzzling into her, whilst she looked on bemused. She must have wondered why one of her soft toys had come alive and started acting bizarrely. This puzzled look still reappears 17 months on when he is in full acting mode.

At first, I was a little bad minded and thought his total love towards her was because she was the best food dropper ever as he became a permanent fixture next to her highchair. As soon as I mention her name, his ears prick up and he waggles his body with sheer delight. Apart from the cupboard love he gets from her, he loves her toys more than his own and often runs off with them expecting a good game of chase from her. It soon became obvious that his total adoration and utter devotion to her goes way beyond her dropped Wotsits and stolen Peppa Pigs. He loves her for the tranquil, blissful energy that she brings to him. This tiny level headed, authoritative granddaughter of mine can calm the little mischief maker with a look and command which is more than I can usually do.

She has a sagacious way about her that goes way beyond her tender age of two. She nurtures her family, friends, Munch and toys like a true earth mother. She emphasis her thoughts and feelings like an Oscar winning actress as she wears her heart on her sleeve. Whenever she is in the room with Munch they merge into this beautiful blissful bubble that transcends the animal and human divide. She treats him with respect and with great softness when they are together. When one of them sleeps, the other watches over their sleeping soul mate protectively. She sees past his wild haired body and his doggy breath and treats him as an equal in her love filled world. She is the pure love that he thrives on and vice versa.

As like attracts like, these two beautiful souls are a perfect match. When off duty Munch becomes on duty Minister, he guides not only myself but my granddaughter too. He steers her away from debris on the pavements or obstacles that she may miss. He stops at pavement edges and she models his behaviour. He stalls at a hazard and she, rests by his side. They work as a team. When out working, he may have gently removed a sausage roll from her hand and placed it into his stomach once or twice, but she never seems to care. They love each other unconditionally. If we all got along like these two special souls, then our lives would be far more harmonious. Regardless of what size package we come in, goodness is the only choice that creates the loving unity that we all deserve. Choose your packages wisely.

Dog attacks on Guide Dogs

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Imagine going to work everyday not knowing if you will be safe from a violent attack or threatening behaviour. Everyday you put your uniform on knowing that whilst walking along minding your own business, you are likely to get confronted by an aggressor and there is absolutely nothing you can do to defend yourself. Work becomes a thing of dread instead of a thing of love that you once felt. Nobody intervenes when you are attacked and no apologise are ever given as the person with the aggressor sees this as normal behaviour and does not see your shrinking confidence as anything to worry about. The aggressor knows no different so will not change his/her ways, so walks away oblivious to the hurt that they have caused.

There are laws and advertising campaigns in place to try and prevent this appalling behaviour from happening to Emergency Service Workers and others who work with the public, after suffering years of unprovoked abuse from aggressors. Did you know that the there is law in place to protect working dogs from such attacks also? It is estimated that there are on average 11 dog attacks per months on Guide Dogs with around 55% of these occurring whilst the dog is in Harness. Some dogs are withdrawn from service after such traumatic attacks. Current UK law states that if your dog attacks a Guide Dog, then the owner has committed an offence and can be liable for prosecution and up to three years in prison. The impact on a working Guide Dog from a dog attack is immense and can change the outlook on life for both the Guide Dog and his/her owner.

Whilst out working in his harness, Minster Munch got attacked last year by a loose dog. He was left needing veterinary treatment and was left feeling anxious whilst out working. We were lucky that he was able to ease back into work gently after his injuries had healed and he felt more confident in himself. Whilst out working we have had issues with dogs both on and off lead. There have been numerous occasions where dogs on leads have gone to lunge at him, nip him, snarl and act aggressively in a totally unprovoked manner. Some owners are great and control their dogs and apologise, whist others carry on regardless. Some find it amusing that their little dogs go for such a big dog and laugh it off whilst others are kind enough to tell us they are there with their dog and wait for us to pass safely. Regardless if you have Cookie the Chihuahua or Goliath the Great Dane, your dog’s aggression towards any dog especially a Guide Dog has a much greater implication on the dog and its owner than you may think. As you boldly walk off and continue with your day, your dog’s aggression could have chipped away at the already fragile confidence of the innocent dog and its owner.

Any responsible dog owner would never want their dog to cause harm to another dog or person. Sighted people can see Guide Dogs approaching, yet visually impaired people do not have the same ability. There are some things that you can do to help a Guide Dog carry on doing their job peacefully if you are out walking with your dog whilst on or off lead.

  • If you see a Guide Dog walking with its owner, if possible stop where you are and bring your dog close to you if they are known to be dog aggressive.
  • Tell the Guide Dog owner that you have a dog with you and tell them you will wait there until they pass.
  • If you know your dog is dog aggressive or will distract the Guide Dog, if possible and applicable, maybe cross the road or somehow create the space the situation needs.
  • If it is a new behaviour of your dog becoming aggressive, get it checked out. It could be due to an undiagnosed illness, stress or something that needs investigating.
  • Teach by example. Shouting and being aggressive to your dog to stop being aggressive may not be as effective as remaining calm and dealing with the situation calmly.
  • You know your own dog and know what works best for him /her. Do whatever you can to avoid dog to dog aggression. Allowing you dog to show aggression or attack a Guide Dog can lead to prosecution and even a prison sentence so do whatever you can to keep on the right side of the prison wall.

Any loving and responsible dog owner wants to give their dog the best life possible. True dog lovers will also want this quality of life for other dogs. Don’t let your dog be the reason that a Guide Dog puts on its harness for the last time and has to stop working. With thanks and much doggy love from Minster Munch and his fellow four legged heroes.

Sleeping Beauty

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Some dogs sleep outside, some sleep in cages indoors, some curled up in their doggy beds and then there are others that sleep wherever they fancy. Munch certainly belongs to the latter type. Before I applied for a Guide Dog I was a little concerned that maybe the dog would feel that he/she was being exploited and may work too hard. I obviously then did not know much about Munch and his type of dog. If I had, I would have reassured myself that all would be fine, and he would soon dictate the working conditions he would be desiring. His understanding of the working conditions goes a little like this…

  • For every hour On Duty, I require 6 hours Off Duty.
  • I will not get out of bed without a morning massage and a 20-minute Munch appreciation session where you must repeatedly confirm that I am the best boy in the whole world and I get more and more handsome every day.
  • As I am part Poodle, it is a legal requirement for me to obey your commands only when I feel ready.
  • I require at least an hour warning before I am to go On Duty and grace the public with my appearance.
  • I will go to the toilet whenever I feel fit and not go on your “Busy, Busy” command that we Guide Dogs are trained to do. A Gentleman’s toileting needs shall not be scheduled in to suit you. An alluring looking lamp post that needs to be marked with one’s scent can crop up at any moment.
  • Holidays are a must for such a hard-working dog as myself so when booking Hotel rooms, please ensure that they adequately equipped for me as well as yourself. It is also advantageous if you could ensure that the hotel and waiting staff must fuss over me at every available opportunity. Failure to do so may result in me using my sad puppy dog eyes to bestow a feeling of guilt upon them.
  • You must play with me and my toys with undivided attention whilst Off Duty. If I choose on the rare occasion to run off with your slipper, you will be required to allow me and feel honoured that I have chosen to leave my doggy DNA from my slobbers on your said item.
  • When I choose to go to sleep multiple times a day, please note I must be allowed access to the sofa, cuddle chair or any of the beds at the property. If on the rare occasion I choose to sleep in one of my designated dog’s beds around the property, then consider it as a thoughtful gift.
  • Any changes to this contract will be changed whenever I see fit. Please note, when you signed the contract to have me as your Guide Dog, you signed to love me just as I am. Who could not love perfection?

Since having Munch, many dog owners have told me that they would never let their dogs on furniture and that they need to know their place. I understand their views, but each owner and animal have their own unique relationship. The bond you form with a Guide Dog is such a deep trusting relationship as they become your connection to the world that you cannot see so for me a happy dog means a happy life. Changing beds, a couple of times a week to sleep hair free is a tiny price to pay for living with such a majestic soul trapped in a dog’s body. This sleeping beauty can rest his head wherever he wishes for his reward for just being him.

The Royal Labradoodle Disturbed in his Palace

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At approximately 3.45am on 30th March 2018, a serial rodent and Aves killer (Angus) entered the Palace of King Minster Munch. After a thorough investigation of the Royal Labradoodles Kingdom, it was discovered that the cruel criminal had entered through the bedroom window that had been left open by the lowly staff at the property. The serial small mammal killer, had brought a deceased mouse into the property as a gift to the King. This gift was immediately condemned by the Royal and left him in fear for his own life.

As the Blind maid got out of bed to investigate what the feline hunter had brought in, she halted in her tracks as she heard something being batted from paw to paw. From past experiences, she realized that it would either be a dead rodent or a bird and went to get the tools to swiftly deal with the incident. After feeling her way down the stairs and fumbling around in the cleaning cupboard for a dustpan, brush, bag and cleaning fluid she returned to the scene of the crime. As she could not see where the poor deceased victim was, she had to listen out for the ongoing batting that the feline of the Palace who was continuing the act and grab the chance to intervene. After gently searching for the body by feeling with the dustpan, she located the recently deceased.

King Minster Munch whimpered and whined the whole time as his heart broke at this devastating scene. His fear tears fell both for the innocent victim and for the fact that this feisty feline remained at his Palace, even after months of sending him to Coventry after numerous acts of treason towards such a regal being. Did Angus not know that King Minster Munch should be treated with respect? The staff in his Palace all knew that the Poodle Blood Line in him meant that his sense of entitlement that he portrayed was well and truly earned. His main maid (what non-Royals may call their owner) was originally under the impression that he was there as a Guide Dog to help her get around, but she soon learnt that she was there to serve him on his Royal Duties.

This incident has left the King both shaken and shocked on how brutal Angus can be. Since the incident, he has been even more weary of Angus and now sleeps with one eye open. As soon as Angus enters a room, the King freezes in his tracks and becomes a statue like feature of the room. If Angus approaches too close, he will run and hide behind his maid or other staff members to ensure that he is not next on this brute’s hit list. His reaction when Angus killed a spider in front of him a few months ago was much the same with whimpering yet this new act of brutality has taken it to another level. It is fair to say that Angus’s gift of a successful hunt was rejected by King MInster Munch on an epic scale. He would have much preferred a stolen tennis ball to add to his collection.

My Face Recognition Device

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Faces have always been a mystery to me as I have never been able to see them unless close up in pictures. This is only possible if I can inspect the detail in the picture at a nose length away. Recognising people has always come from other clues. From hearing their distinct voice to hearing their unique footsteps and every imaginable sensory subtlety in between, seeing people has always been possible through ingrained memory as apposed to ease. When my four children were babies, I could see their general appearance when I held them in my arms but as soon as they became to big to hold, they became too far away to see. This is the only time that it ever really mattered to me.

Having four children under the age of six meant that at various times they all became similar heights so recognising them became harder as time went on and I had to be vigilant in the clothes that they wore to help distinguish them from one another. As my eyesight deteriorated even more, I began wondering how I was going to use my methods of deductions to distinguish between masses of similar looking blurs. My solution came in the form of a nosey, fan seeking, intelligent face recognising device a.k.a. my Guide Dog, Minster Munch. He only needs to see a face once to be able to memorize, categorize and prioritize that face into his elephant like memory system.

The memorizing is probably the easiest part of the process for him. He has this ability to leave an impression on the people he meets and therefore he memorizes the reactions that he initially receives. He memorizes the exact location that these people can usually be found, whether it be in certain shops or houses. Next comes the categorization of these new found faces. Categories include the easily manipulated ones, the dog treat carriers, the eager doggy kiss receivers, the chin stokers, the non-fussed and his fun time walkers. The prioritizing of these faces then depends on the mood that he is in on that day. If he is after a free run with one of the fun time walkers then he may bypass an easily manipulated one to meet his need on that given day. This Face Recognition talent works wonders for both him and I.

As he begins to quicken his pace towards an oncoming blur, I know that it is someone we know. The pace of his quicken strides gives me an indication of how well known they are to us. If it is someone that is close family or a friend, he may also begin to get a little bit excited, whining to alert me that the loved one is near. I love this about him as although he may be more interested in what he can gain from his oncoming friend, he is linking me to the sighted world which has always been impossible for me to do alone. Without him, the faceless blurs I love living amongst, remain a mystery to me. He has now become my eyes that I have never properly seen through. This Face Recognizing Device will always be one of my favourite gifts that I have been given, and he only requires treats, fuss and love to run on. How amazing is that?

Excuse Me, I Think You Are Sitting On My Throne.

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There are some people who seem to fill up a room with charisma as soon as they step foot inside. You must have met the type. You know, the ones with a booming voice, a radiant smile or just a magnetic energy about them. Well, Munch has that effect on a lot of people he meets but I often wonder if it is for the right reason. From having a random Selfie with a group of young girls in a lift, to causing a trolley traffic jam in a local supermarket from his admirers, he rarely enters a place discreetly. His ingrained sense of entitlement comes from not only his Poodle like traits, but I am sure he has a past life memory of being a king and therefore requires everyone to be upstanding for him upon entering a place. I, just a mere maid to his regal ways just hang my head in shame.

As we got on a bus a few days ago, he began gliding down the aisle with the grace of a model. As the “Ooohs” and the “Aaahs” began coming from all directions from the eager spectators, he slowed down for the odd pat from all directions whilst being in model harness clad Guide Dog mode. A new-found fan offered to give up a seat in the front for us to sit down but as he is so big it is easier for us to go in the back, so he can trip up less people. As I thanked the kind lady for the offer but declined, I was about to set off to the back when I realized Munch had sat down in front of this lady and was cuddling in for some fuss. After some persuasion I managed to move him on from this heartbroken fan to find a more spacious seat for us. The same thing happened a few rows back when a lovely man offered to move seats as there was more leg room in his. As the man patted the seat he was on when offering to move, Munch took this as a sign to jump up on the seat to sit next to the man and dive in for a sloppy kiss. As some laughter erupted from some passengers, Munch span his head around to look at his audience and played along even more as I stood holding his harness and lead. Just to clarify, normal Guide Dogs don’t do that as they know they are meant to remain on the floor, but Munch was in full acting mode that day.

After finally getting the Pampered Pooch to get off the mans seat, we made it to the back of the bus and found a suitable place for his to be able to lie down and stretch out. Despite me spending quite a few minutes gently explaining to him he is not allowed on seats and why we needed to come up the back, it was obvious he was still not going to pardon me for not letting him choose his own throne. In the end, when I removed his harness he ended up stretching out on the floor from our seat, across the aisle and onto the feet of a generous man who had given him a bit of chicken so was now his best friend. Such a regal being should have the pick of his thrones, I will have to learn to treat him better.

The Beauty of Writing Whilst Blind

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Falling into the world of the written word, is one of my favourite pastimes. It is a place that imagination thrives, and worries evaporate. This world of written thoughts, offers a sneaky peak into the mind of another. This is a place that should be accessible to all, yet this is not always the case. I love words so much as they hold so much intrinsic insights into the life of our sociable tribes, yet not only do I not have a clue about grammar and how it works but I cannot physically see the written word anymore. This however makes it even more alluring.

In childhood, I was never able to see blackboards or the old Over Head Projectors shining on a wall, so I never really knew what words looked like apart from as a double vision blur on a page, that I had to hold just in front of my nose to see. It was more guess work than precision that helped me to ‘read’ what these words said. This never stopped me from entering the world of The Famous Five and imagining escaping to a Mystery Moor with them. It took me ages to try and work out what the blurry words said, but words became so addictive to my inquisitive mind that I never got put off. Spelling Tests in school were memorized from auditory memory of the teacher spelling them out the first time they were introduced to us and not from the piece of paper that they were written on for us to learn for Homework. I may have never had full marks, but I loved these new words that were presented to us. This inability to see, never put me off education and in fact gave me motivation to study up until Masters level. I have always loved a good challenge in life.

What about those that have trouble with the written language for varying reasons though? Other individuals with Visual Impairment, Dyslexia, Reading Disorders, Communication Disorders, Learning Disabilities, or those who that have never had a chance to access education may not have this privilege. Individuals who try to communicate in another language than their native tongue, Auditory Processing Disorders and Executive Functioning Issues could all lead to many barriers being present between an individual and the world of words. These are the ones that the Grammar Police always seem to be out to get. If only they could stop in their ranting tracks to be able to compassionately care about the person writing the misspelt words, they could learn a thing or two about the beauty beyond words.

As my appalling spelling and grammar annoy the narky narrator on my laptop yet again, as the auditory form is how I read and write now, I feel blessed to have the opportunity to still be able to enter the world of words despite not being able to see. Transitioning form Partial Sight into Blindness has been humbling. I value words more now than I ever have and appreciate their power. We are not all blessed with the ability to express ourselves with perfect grammar, but for those of us who are, keep those words positive. Spare a thought for those who would love to write with perfection yet for whatever reason can find it an impossible task. Everybody should have a right to fall in love with the world of words, so if you know anyone who needs a little help entering this magical place, do whatever you can to help. Your belief in them could change their life for ever.

Forgiveness

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It took a day and a half before I was let out of the Doghouse. I knew that Angus my cat pouted if he was left with someone when I was away, but I didn’t realize that Munch’s reaction would outdo this in the most theatrical manner. Munch was left with his favourite dog walking, free running, treat giving person in his doggy world who he saw nearly everyday so its not as if I left him abandoned in a Dogs Kennel with other lonely souls. He was left for 2 days with a person who he loved dearly yet by his sulking reaction when I returned, you could swear I had left him for another dog. I went to a concert, so I did not take him with me as it would be too loud, so I took my white cane and a pair of 2-legged Guide Dogs instead. Munch obviously did not get that I was protecting his poor eardrums, so forgiveness was not an easy thing for him but then again it never was.

It wasn’t the first time that he had taken a while to forgive me or someone else. The previous week, he had taken a while for him to grant me acquittal to the sentence of silence, after I selfishly stopped him picking up some food from the floor whilst out walking. I fell in style tripping over fresh air that always seems to be out to get me and landed in a unique position. It was a mixture between a very impressive yoga child’s pose with my nose squished against my knee and my upper body resembling a scene from a game of Twister with my arms somehow crossed over each other stretching out to imaginary coloured spots. I really felt sorry for the poor man who walking behind me with his dog as it can’t have been a nice sight. As Munch sniffed around me and gave me a loving lick, I knew he wanted me to get up quick so that we could go back and retrieve the food that was tempting his ever-ready stomach. He was not impressed as I walked my mud caked clothes in the opposite direction. He remained quiet the rest of the walk. I knew he was secretly cursing me.

This judgemental attitude is not kept for me alone as he is eager to share this with anyone who dares to deviate from treating him like the king he thinks he is. It is the same non-forgiving attitude that he has given the vet ever since his first visit there when he had digestion problems. As soon as he hears the snap of the rubber glove on the vet’s hand, his head bows and he tries to shrink behind me to escape any impending intrusions on his delicate derriere. This has happened only once, yet he has never forgiven the vet for popping his pride. The same look of disdain swept across Munch’s face when a man accidentally stood on his tail on the train a while ago. Despite the poor man feeling so terrible, apologising and stroking him to show his regret, Munch simply got up turned around and showed his back in protest to this apology. This regal sense of entitlement also showed through when on 2 separate occasions a friend of mine ignored Munch when we bumped into her whilst out. As my friend gave her attention to my gorgeous granddaughter and did the rightful thing of ignoring a Guide Dog whilst on duty, Munch tried prancing in front of her to get his usual fuss from his fans. When my friend came over to the house a few weeks later, the Diva totally ignored her which he never does. Forgiveness is not an easy act for Munch to do.

We all have a different relationship with forgiveness. For me, forgiveness is easy. People make mistakes and bad behaviour always has a root cause. Perfection is an ideal not a reality a lot of the time. So why therefore spend time and energy on feeling bitter and hatred towards a person who is carrying on with their lives regardless of how you feel. I would rather address a problem as it arises, sort it out and then move on as life is far too precious to waste on carrying heavy grudges around. I have tried explaining this to Munch but talking to a cold shoulder has made me realize that he just needs time to come around. When he does though, he returns to the most loving soul that is his true self. The cuddles he gives afterwards are certainly worth the wait.