4 Year Partnershipversary.

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There are certain dates of our life events that will forever stick in our minds. We will always remember what we were doing, who we were with, what we were wearing or a certain heightened sense that lays dormant in our memory when a key moment in time happened. For me, when I have just finished playing peek-a-boo (which I don’t do enough of) wearing a dress covered in yoghurt and Wotsit crisp crumbs curtesy of my gorgeous granddaughter, in the house full of my noisy family chattering away loudly, I remember the time the phone rang. Here was the change that I had been dreading and eagerly awaiting in equal measures. Guide Dogs had matched a suitable dog for me and wanted to arrange to meet up. Seventeen months of waiting was over. My “unusual” guide dog was ready to change my life forever.

I still remember that uneasy feeling in my stomach after putting the phone down. We had arranged to meet sweet Minster a few days later but I was unsure if I was ready to let the world know that I had a sight problem. When you keep the severity of your disability hidden away from loved ones for so long, the reaction from others is always a fear. What if they do not believe you? Worse still, what if they pity you? What if I did not connect with the dog? What if the dog did not like me? All these fears were just imagined problems that never cropped up anywhere in life, only in my head. The truth was, life was going to change forever, but in the most positively magical way possible.

When Minster (or Munch as he has become affectionately known as) came bounding through the door on November 17th, 2016, he had decided that this partnership was going to work. He would be the boss from day 1 (apart for in Angus the cat’s world, where Angus remains King) and our training together would go fine. He would make himself at home on whichever soft furniture took his fancy (shhh, don’t tell his trainers), he would command affection by the Royal wave of his paw, create hilarious drama at every opportunity and project his adorable personality to loved ones and strangers alike. He was here to stay and be the neon sign to the hidden disability that I had kept to myself for 38 years. Subtlety has never been his strong point, but authenticity has.

This 100mph couch-potato is the gift that keeps on giving. Giving me immense independence to carry on working and living a full life, seems just a tiny part of this gift. The partnership we have developed has allowed us to go places I would never have gone alone. He enabled me to win Bronze for Wales in VI Bowls, which was only possible after he gave me the confidence to admit that I had a VI in the first place. His extroverted charm enabled us to meet people who I never would have met without this secret weapon to everyone’s soul. He helped me write an award-winning book that would never have been written had my disability remained hidden. To sum up what mind-blowing ways Guide Dogs help their owners (or their maids like in our relationship), is not an easy task but what I would say is this. They are portals into lives that we never would have lived without them.

4 years on and Munch still bounds though life in his puppy like ways, causing mischief and mayhem wherever he goes. Whilst on harness however, he is the perfect poster boy for Guide Dogs, taking his work life serious as he sashays with pride in harness. He has prevented my previous frequent falls and injuries, stayed by my side in hospital after surgery and healed many a broken heart in work and not once has he stopped being a natural born healer. The beauty in his sweet nature is that his loyalty belongs to whoever needs it at that moment in time. It seems that his Guide Dog duties are just one of his life purposes as he glides through life being of services whatever way he can. He is the best teacher that anyone can be blessed to live with in everyday life.

So, thank you Munch for deciding that our partnership would work from day one. You have given so much to me, family, friends, our clients, and strangers alike by never being anything but unconditional love. We still have a few years left of a working partnership and I promise when you do retire you will be even more spoilt than you are today. The doggy kisses and love that you dish out freely will return to you in abundance as your Karmic bank account grows day by day. I promise to up my daily worshipping rituals to you each day and keep telling the world about the superpowers of you and your hero Guide Dog colleagues. Thank you for the eternal gift of being you.

Christmas Has Come Early

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Our Christmas celebration for 2020 has begun on 26th October.

My gorgeous Grandson Corey-Taylor was born at 5.32pm on 26.10.20, a shocking 9 weeks early. Waiting until the 23rd December didn’t suit him, so he decided to arrive in his perfect 3lbs 4oz cute body via C-Section after his beautiful mother Rasheena developed preeclampsia. Thankfully, his tiny cry alerted all in Theatre that he was fine and ready to put his stamp on the world.

Both mother and baby are doing amazing. Despite being on oxygen for the first 24 hours to prevent lung collapse, he has needed no help at all. Obviously he has needed to keep them on their toes in SCBU, so he has pulled out his feeding tube on occasion but apart from that, there have been no problems. He is one tough little cookie who is getting stronger each day.

Being born during a Pandemic and National Lockdown in Wales, may not have been the ideal time for us to welcome this handsome soul into the world but it will all turn out fine. Having clothes shops and supermarkets banned from selling clothes and certain baby equipment, has made shopping for a premature baby less than ideal but online shops have been a blessing. With his big sister nor family members not being able to visit him in SCBU due to covid restrictions, it has been tough but Facetime and pictures have come to the rescue. These inconveniences are only today’s hiccups and will not really matter as he strengthens day by day.

Corey’s arrival has overwhelmed me with love and happiness and hope for the rest of the year. I cannot wait until the end of 2020 so that he will be strong enough to be home with the family. 2020 has not been ideal for anyone, but it is times like this that important things are put into perspective. This perfect precious little soul has come at exactly the right time for everyone.

Babies born during this year may not see their extended family but I hope they can feel their presence. They may not get to see facemask covered smiles, but I hope they can feel the happiness that they bring. Cwtches (or cuddles to the non-Welsh) may not be felt in person by these special babies but I hope they can feel the love wrapped all around them. These special babies are here to remind us what is really essential in life. Thank you babies of 2020, you are pure love.

P.s. Corey-Taylor. Munch, your big sister Arna-Rae and myself have all been planning on lots of adventures and mischief we can get up to in the future so keep getting stronger each day so the fun times can begin ❤

The Power Of Pausing

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Reaching out to someone or something is second nature to Munch even when he is asleep.

Give him a broken heart and he will give you the glue to fix it back together. Show him your hatred and he will show you what it is like to experience love again. Let your sadness seep out and he will perform his magic for you to absorb pure joy again. Animals have a way of reminding us that we are all in this world together and nobody is ever truly alone.

When wounded souls pass through our counselling room, Munch acts like a prompt to remind them about life outside of their own world. Connecting and grounding them to the present moment as he sits by their feet and gives them his paw, he puts pause to their pain and love and acceptance back into their soul. What a simple act to do.

To be there for another need not take a lot. We do not need degrees, money, witnesses or masses of time to make a difference in our own special way to a life. When two souls pause themselves long enough to notice life outside themselves, they begin to play a different role in life which leaves the “me” and enters tte “we”.

“We” are stronger as a collective than a lonely “me” can ever be. People need people, animals and hope to live a life outside of ourselves and experience other possibilities. Reaching out to others who reach back out to us is where healing really begins to happen. Do you do enough of that in life?

Are you the first to help or do you wait to be helped first? Do you help set up connections or do you shy away from others in case you get hurt again? Does your pause button get paused enough in life to look outside yourself, or does your life play button play non stop just to torture you? Do you normalise your own problems in life as just being hiccups in humanity, or do you personalise everything in life? How much “we” do you really see?

Life is better when we reach out to others and realized that we are never truly alone. It is far more healthy to chose to connect to another, than to retreat into a world that accepts no visitors. We are the author in our own book of life that either contains us as the sole character, or a mass of colourful characters that have yet to be met. There are many hairy paws that are eagerly awaiting to meet you so pause yourself long enough to reach out to meet and greet your new best friends.

Enjoy Your Smiles

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In a world where smiles are covered, and hidden from all to see,

Take the lead and become the smile that you really want to be.

Find your fun, your sparkle and joy in places long forgotten,

To escape the places in life that make you feel rotten.

Blow some bubbles, hula hoop or even build a sandcastle,

To break the dark mood that you can 100%, totally dismantle.

Surround yourself with those who make you bear your gnashers,

And hide from those who want to be your happiness gate crashers.

Choosing to show up in the world, the way you were born to be,

Give the world the gift that is unique to the ‘World of Me’.

Find the strength to shine your crazy, your weirdness and your charm,

As by doing this you will never cause yourself or another any harm.

Your smile will become infectious in a world where misery has become rampant,

So, take the plunge and smile away and help their frowns become redundant.

Be yourself, a unicorn, a dragon, a yeti, or choose from many more,

Do not shy away, smile, smile, smile, smile away and make happiness hardcore.

Be like Munch and smile away after sneaking some forbidden food,

That smile will melt any heart and cannot fail to lighten the mood.

We make mistakes, we fail at things, we all go through troubled times,

His smile he gives makes me forgive, even when he is being a little swine.

Be like Munch and find your smile each and every time.

When things go wrong, act away and give them your best mime.

It’s free, it heals. It gets you drunk on a happy cocktail of hormones.

Failing that, chase a ball, pee on things and settle down to chew some bones.

Enjoy your smiles 😁

One Year Bookaversary

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Was it really a year ago that our book was released?

Due to the rather ‘eventful’ last six months of living through this Pandemic together, I think it is fair to say that time has become an illusion to many. It has morphed into an unexplained phenomenon that nobody quite knows how to handle. New changes to law and restrictions in relation to the virus seems to occur impulsively, whilst sanity in the world seems to be a reality that only belongs on a star millions of lightyears away. Separation from loved ones seems like a slow painful disintegration of the soul to some, whilst many feel like the weeks that they have spent with their families alone have felt a little too much. Our hearts interpret time in totally different ways now more than ever.

It wasn’t until we had finished a busy day at work and celebration my son’s 17th Birthday at home that one of my children reminded me that it was a year ago to that day that our book was released (despite having typed the date over a dozen time in work that day) . It was hard to believe that a year ago our lives had been full of radio, newspaper and magazine interviews that had to be fitted tightly into the working week. From Magazine interviews as far away as Australia, to local, national, and international radio interviews having to be coordinated into suitable time zones, life was a little chaotic to say the least. Time management took on a whole new meaning for us as we figured out how the publishing world worked.

With the first print of the book selling low in the first seven weeks of publishing, a second print was done, Life revolved around family, work and publicity and not much else as Munch soaked up the limelight and I secretly prayed for a little time away from the bedlam. Life was like this for a good five months until things begun to quiet down which was a blessing. It was only two days after we had done an event to promote the book that the local Lockdown began to take hold. When that pause button in life is pressed, there are so many blessings that we will only appreciate on reflection. The main blessing for me was that at last we could stop and breath.

We had time to stop. We had time to listen to my own audiobook which was good as if I am honest, I had forgotten a lot of what I had written. We had time to play and have fun with no time constraints. We had time to hang up Munch’s harness for a few weeks and both de-role from work and enter a far more free way of living. We had time to be fully present for those we needed more of our time.

The storm before the calm like year that we have had since releasing the book has been full of magic and perfection in so many ways. We have had opportunities that we would never have had, had we not decided to write about life with sight loss and an adorably unique guide dog. I say we as without this furry soul mate, this book would never have existed. The best things in life are the unseen if we only learn to trust them.

Thanks to everyone that has supported us and helped this year to be such a beautiful surprise full of unknown treasures.

Masked in Kindness

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If looks could kill, I think my maid may have been a new arrival in the morgue in this sterile smelling building. I may be the only dog in this waiting room, but all menacing eyes are all on her as she sits there without a mask on. It seems rather pointless though as she cannot even see them looking at her and if it were not for the friend that we brought with us telling her that she is under surveillance, she would not have known. Being exempt from wearing a mask on medical and disability grounds obviously means only one thing to these not so friendly bunch. Unapologetic judgment has clearly replaced the kindness movement from only a few months ago. Humans eh? Go figure.

My rather fragrant anal exhale which only seems to rile them up even more in hindsight may not have helped matters. The puffing out of their masked mouths alerts me that I have now entered their bad books too. I am not sure if this hospital visit can get any worse. Sitting in the corner away from everyone, I think the plan of the maid and our masked friend we had with us was that we would not be in anyone’s way. I think however that this Feng Shui faux pas meant that we were in the direct line of sighted people’s vision. From the tutting sounds around, this may not have been the Feng Shui love corner. The maskless maid however was totally oblivious of this as she chatted away to me and our third Musketeer.

As I sashayed my curvaceous body towards the nurses’ room with the maid in tow, I crossed my padded paws that things would get a little friendlier in there. Escorting the maid to her chair, we sat together and waited for the nurse to begin the consultation. She was far less frosty and even complemented me on my good looks and melting puppy dog eyes. One of the perks of being a guide dog is that you never really go long without someone falling in love with you at the most random of places. All was going well until a face shield wearing, masked plastic covered less hairy two-legged race (a.k.a human) came in. That is where I lost my bottle and went to cower behind the maid’s battered chair.

You see, I have not mentioned up until now that masks really scare me. Not just me but many of my canine colleagues. We know you all must wear them due to Government guidelines but that does not make it any less scary. We are getting used to it slowly but please be patient with us. The thing is, we love looking at your fascinating faces. We learn to read your cues and emotions as much as you learn to read ours. Eye to eye contact alone can be scary for us. Most dogs may only see their owners or people on their walks in masks but us working dogs go into ever imaginable public place and it is taking us a little time to adjust.

I wish I could have communicated this to the slightly stroppy newly arrived nurse in the room who barked at me that “I will have to get used to the look” when she queried why I had gone to cower behind my maid. I was surprised that the maid only rolled her eyes and managed to bite her tongue and not reply to her. We need voices to speak on our behalf, but I trust the maid to fight the battles that need to be fought and leave others go unchallenged. The slammng of the door behind her was a welcomed sound as we carried on the consultation with the nice one.

It is not just us dogs that are having a hard time with this new mask wearing community that we find ourselves in. We have a family friend with an Autistic child who is petrified of going out at present due to fearing all these new changes they are encountering. I think I may currently be this child’s safety blanket as I am still the same maskless dog as I have always been which is helping the transition process of helping the child get used to the new normal. A deaf friend of my maid’s is also having a hard time of things as lip reading others is impossible now due to being in a world that she can no longer communicate in. Not all people not wearing masks are doing it to cause conflict.

If I could give you less hairy two-legged race humans some advice at this moment in time it would be…

Be kind.

The person you see Infront of you without a mask is still a person with feelings. Barking out insults to them says far more about you than it does about them.

Be sociable.

 I know social distancing rules don’t at the moment allow you all to go and sniff each other’s body parts to find out where you have been (you really don’t know what you are missing), but you can still talk to one another and communicate safely.

Be compassionate.

You only know your own life story, do not let your ego trick you into thinking that you know theirs. Meet each new person with a waggy tail regardless of if they have a face covering or not.

Be thankful.

Give gratitude that despite not wanting to really wear a mask, that you can. Not everyone is blessed with the level of health and physical ability that you have. We as dogs see you all as equal so try and do the same to each other.

Be Autonomous.

You do you and let others do themselves. What Missy the Labrador or Eric the Terrier does is their business, what I do as the best Labradoodle I can be is my own business. We can still be friends and respect each other even if we act differently.

Just a quick heads up, if I see you with a mask or face shield on and cower away from you, I am not doing it to offend you, I am just adjusting to all the changes that we are all going through  at this tough time. We are all the same people that we were before the pandemic and after all of this is over we will fall out less, love more and have more compassionate get togethers to pick up where we left off and pee on lamp posts in unity. Okay maybe you less hairy two-legged race want to skip the last part, but we are all in this together.

I cannot wait to see the whole of those beautiful faces again soon to cover with my doggy kisses.

The Unidentified Floating Object

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Investigations are under way following local sightings of an unspecified creature.

A local resident was able to swiftly capture a photo of the unidentified being as it was frolicking around in a local lake. Mr Nutter said “I was walking back from the local pub when I thought I would go the scenic route. It was here where I came across this strange being. Look, I know I had a few pints, but I couldn’t quite make out what I was seeing”. When asked what he thought it could be he was reluctant to guess. “This being just appeared to be floating on water and rotating at the same time. It was strange to say the least”.

Many experts have attempted to put this mystery to bed. An online film critic Mr Ticket offered that maybe Hollywood had been at the Llyn Lech Owain lake secretly filming a new Star Wars film. “There is definitely a Chewbacca look to this picture. There is no denying that that is Chewbacca mid shake of his luscious locks. This Wookiee is owning this picture and posing for the camera. A professional at his best” offered the critic. Not everyone however agreed with Mr Ticket.

Offering a more logical explanation to this photograph, Mr Brains Head of Psychology at the University of Life announced that this was just a case of Pareidolia. Pareidolia is a psychological phenomenon that caused the human brain to see things especially human faces in objects. “After studying hundreds of pictures on Wikipedia and other reliable sources, I can say that this is nothing but some debris floating in that filthy lake water giving the impression that it is a face”.

Mr Deep, a Marine Biologist from somewhere in the Pacific Ocean excitedly told us his take on what this was. “It’s incredible, who knew that these still existed? The long-haired ocean dwelling giant eel up until recent years was thought to only exist in Fairy tales but sightings such as these prove different. This clearly shows the creature emerging from the depth of the lake. The mystery is however how it got into a lake in Wales”.

Mr Click a photography expert of Fresh Air for almost 30 years described how he thought that he held the answer to the mystery. “You see, when you have an inebriated person who is three sheets to the wind, they lose all control of the camera. If that were me taking that photo, I would be focussing more on the fresh air above the lake than looking down at the mucky mess that lay beneath. This is the danger of putting a camera in the hands of non-fresh air lovers” scowled Mr Click.

When our reporter went back to the scene of the incident, they could not find any signs of this controversial being. Our reporter stopped to ask a local what they thought about all the Global attention that had been brought to this place of tranquillity. The woman who was standing right by the lake with a Guide Dog Harness slung over her shoulder whilst holding a long white cane listened intently to the reporter. Looking uneasy she refused to comment. As the reporter headed off in the direction of the car park, the woman was heard in a hushed tone saying “Munch, you are confusing people again”. It is unclear what or who this Munch is.

If you have any suggestions to what this water dwelling creature is do not hesitate to get in touch.

Why Fear Should Never Win

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If I had stayed in fear, I may never have a chance to kiss this gorgeous velvety nose.

Dogs were never really my thing. I never really ‘oohed and aahed’ over cute little puppies running around. This was partly because I could not really see them but also partly because I never really trusted them. I did not have full blown Cynophobia, but they were not my favourite animals to be honest. I was never bitten by a dog growing up or was scared in anyway by any, but I always had a healthy respect for the fact that they could turn if they felt threatened.

We had a cross Collie whilst growing up called Cindy who was with us for ten years until she passed when I was around fourteen. She was more human than dog so I kind of forgot that she belonged to the canine kind as she would come with my brothers, friends and I as we played Fox and Hounds and football. I was surprised that she was never scouted for a top team as she scored more goals than any of us put together. Cindy was one of us, other dogs were not.

I had a healthy respect for the ability of dogs to turn if they were threatened and therefore kept away from them.  This was one of the stumbling blocks that I was hanging onto when I decided to apply for a guide dog. The  main excuse I gave myself from applying for a guide dog was that maybe people I knew would question why I suddenly turned up with a guide dog when the majority of them never knew I had been registered as severely sight impaired (previously known as registered blind)  for a number of years. The other main reason was however that I was not sure if life with a dog was really for me.

What would happen if I did not learn to read the dog’s signs of distress or if they were too hot and frustrated? What if I could not pick up on the cues that they needed something that I did not know about? What if the dog did not like me? What if the dog did not like coming into schools with me for me to carry out my job? The negative ‘what if’s’ snowballed more than the positive ‘what if’s’ until I got over myself and started turning the scenarios on their head and saw love instead of fear.

What if I tuned into the dog’s happiness as soon as I met him/her? What if I used my knowledge of their dislikes to arrange our lives to avoid them? What if our intuition synched so that we naturally picked up on each other’s needs? What if the unconditional love between our both species had no limit? What if the dog became part of the staff at the schools that we worked in and had his/her own fan club? My natural positivity trait began to chase away this alien negative frame of mind that had invaded my life. How would I know what life would be like with a guide dog if I was not going to try?

Three and a half years on, it is easy to look back and laugh at the imagined fear that nearly kept us apart. This face that lights up the life of many may have rested upon another sofa if I had not opened my mind beyond the sticky pit of fear. His strands of hair that lay across the house may have had to be vacuumed up by another hoover and his muddy paw prints would have to be mopped up into another bucket. Most devastating however may have been that his big squishy velvety nose may have been kissed by another pair of lips.

Facing you fears and doing it anyway will always bring about the unexpected and for me, it was magical. This mischief maker was worth the gamble. Turning fear into love may not be that hard after all.

Ever Increasing Family Love

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So, our much-awaited Christmas present for 2020 is going to be a new baby in the family. What a perfect way to end a less than perfect year.

My second grandchild is due on 23rd December which is something the whole family is excited for. How do I think Munch will react? Well if his relationship with Arna-Rae (my first born granddaughter) is anything to go by, I think they will be best friends.

Munch came into our lives when Arna-Rae was just nine months old and they hit it off straight away. He went to sniff her when they first met and the fact that she had some crumbs on her tights meant that this was going to be a match made in heaven. A new playmate and a food dropper all rolled into one was Munch’s idea of heaven. She was as gentle with him as he was with her as they played alongside one another stealing each other’s toys.

Arna-Rae started taking her sweet first steps as Munch walked alongside her and when out and about, she would hold onto his Guide Dog harness whilst out on their adventures. He was there for some of her firsts and is still there alongside her as she grows into the beautiful little girl that she has become. As she tries to dodge his sloppy morning kisses, she cradles his head so sweetly in her loving arms that have held him a multitude of times.

She says Mam (shortened version of Mamgu which is Welsh for grandmother) and Munch and not just Mam as she knows we come as a pair. She has only really known me with Munch as my Guide Dog and never on my own so to her, we are one. His happy helicopter tail rotates with delight as she comes crashing through the door as he knows his food dropping playmate has arrived for some fun. They know and love each other deeply.

When Arna-Rae’s brother or sister arrives and grows with the family, the only problems that I can see occurring are as follows-

  • Who will be the first to snuggle up to him?
  • Who will have the most fun toys to play with?
  • Who will be most generous with food?
  • Who can throw the ball the furthest?
  • Who will be most likely to go on mischievous adventures with him?
  • Who will be most likely to find his stinky anal exhales funny and not run away from him?
  • Who will be most likely to run the fastest with him whilst out on free runs?
  • Who will take up less room on the couch with him as he stretches out?
  • Who will give the best belly rubs and nose kisses?
  • Who will love him even when he is being a monster?

The truth is they will both be there each of these times as he will be there for them. The beauty of animals is that they are only capable of unconditional love. One may give him the most food or throw the ball the furthest, but he will love them both equally as will I.

The last four years as a grandmother has been the best. Getting to witness Arna-Rae grow form a tiny 4lb 12oz newborn into a beautiful, loving, kind four year old who has a wonderful sense of self  has been magical and I am so excited to see what her enchanting sibling will also bring into life. This Christmas will certainly be a perfect ending to a less than perfect year.  

Return to Happiness

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Just like that, we were back.

Fifteen weeks on and we were back in the shop like nothing had happened. To us, not much had changed. Blurs (or people, as the sighted like to call them), sauntered around on their own missions to get out of this supposedly germ infested place as we were guided by our friend’s  voice to watch out for people and objects.  Having been blessed to have friends, family and online shopping services do our shopping for us over the last fifteen weeks, we had not stepped foot into a shop, so I was unsure what to expect. Munch had not been in full work mode for a while, only slipping on his harness for short walks around our home area. I was a little apprehensive of how he would feel going back into full work mode, but he amazed me on how eager he was to get back.

Practically yanking me into the place that he once resisted going, I guessed this shopping trip would be easier than I had thought. The history of Munch and shopping has not always been a positive one but clearly this break has made him re -evaluate his acceptance of the place that fills his belly with love from all the edible goodies all around. As we swiftly passed the clothes section that he has never been a fan of, his prancing pace quickened, avoiding the two-legged race with perfection. A quick sniff out of his favourite vegan cheese that he is rather partial too and we were well on the way to the second aisle. All the fears I had of not being able to see to social distance was gone as my harness wearing hero worked in partnership with my vocal coaching friend as they helped avoid upsetting anyone by walking into them. Munch was back on top form.

I swallowed the guilt of the questioning thoughts that I had been having of Munch becoming deskilled with his time off from proper work as he proved me wrong. With ever prancing paws he placed on the shiny supermarket floor, he was obviously on a mission. As we glided through the scent of  celery, cotton fresh candles and freshly baked products from the bakery that alerted my olfactory gland to where we were in the supermarket, I knew that Munch had this all in hand (or his yeti like paws more like). The calling of the third aisle became too much for Munch as he quickened his Olympian worthy pace as we rounded the corner resembling a pair of pivoting ice skaters. It was only when the stench of dried meaty canine bliss and cat nip covered treats intruded my nostrils that I realized what Munch’s hurry had been all along. He had finally come home to the aisle where his heart was. The pet food aisle.

His longing to return to this sense filled sanctuary was plain for all to see. His excited panting echoed along the tins and boxes that lined the shelves of his favourite thirty plus foot space EVER. The smell of new tennis balls wafting from their net packaging alerted me that we had reached his favourite toy section. For some strange reason, he took his time to put his best paw forward in this part of the shop and was in no hurry to leave. It was only after a pack of treats and new toy later, that I knew he would be ready to sashay through the rest of the shop. We remained here for some time for him to savour the moment and reconnect to what his food driven soul had been missing. His return to normality had begun.

If there is one thing that Munch has taught me during our time together is that appreciating the simple things in life is all that matters. Following this helicopter tailed happy chappie throughout the rest of shop I realized that witnessing his happiness and the happiness in others is what life is all about. The simplicity of the effects of a smell, the feeling of returning to contentment and focussing on the basics in life is all that is needed to return to happiness. I knew that when his sloppy kisses covered my face when he leapt into the car after the shopping trip, he was thanking me for taking him back into bliss. The return to happiness is sometimes simpler than we think.