My shadow that I have, never lets me feel alone. Solitude is a far distant memory as my shadow is omnipresent and never leaves my side. Day and night, throughout the seasons my shadow comes with me to places that other shadows are rarely allowed to go. My shadow never goes unnoticed by others, as it refuses to blend in and demands to stand out. My funny little shadow knows how to work it for the crowds.The hair of my shadow never looks pristine but takes on a more natural untamed look. It likes to move freely without any restrictions as the free spirit moves merrily through life. The shadow side steps a mundane way of life to search out a more mischievous way of being.You will always find my shadow going a different way than others, as predictability shrivels up the passion that lies within.The thing is, my shadow has more legs than me and a tail whilst I have none. My shadow is a he whist I am a she. I am only bilingual whereas he is trilingual and understands both human and non-human speech. My shadow sleeps whilst I am awake, but we can both come together to have some fun. He craves the attention wherever he goes whereas I love to just people watch even though I cannot see.Munch, my favourite shadow is always by my side and it feels like we have been in each other’s lives forever and not just the three short years since we were paired together. Wherever I turn he is there and feels like my guiding shadow who is never far away. His infectious loving ways means that there is never a moment to feel alone even when we step into the sighted world where I sometimes feel like an outsider.Guide dogs are more than just practical help in life, as they guide us to places within ourselves that we never knew existed. He makes the unpredictable sighted world more predictable as he leads me safely to places that I never would have found without him.With only the requirement of food and non-stop fuss, my shadow gives back the pure unconditional love that would make anyone feel blessed.Wherever you find your guiding shadow, remember to tell it how amazing it really is as without it, you wouldn’t be the person that you are today.
It is the little things that we do in life that means the most. A sweet loving gaze given to a lonely old soul can make a person feel noticed in an isolated world. The universal language of smiling will always be welcomed wherever you are in the world so smile away to keep connected wherever you may be. A lively hello can lift the vibration of a person filled with sadness and help them to remember a different way of life. Whatever that little thing you do for someone else will always be the right thing if it comes from a place of love.
Munch always does his own little thing in his own little way whenever he can. The day that the above picture was taken, we had just had a heavy day in work. Working as a counsellor is an amazing and rewarding job but with it also brings a lot of sadness. Listening to children talk about the hardships that they are facing in life is never easy to hear as I just want to wave a magic wand for them to make it all better. Deep down I know that this will pass, and life will get better. but I feel the deep pain that they are carrying around with them which is the worst feeling ever.I may not have a magic wand for the clients to use but I do have a magic weapon that helps them escape from their sadness even if it is just momentarily.
My hairy secret weapon called Munch, gives them permission to feel secure pain in a non- judgemental way. Giving them his hairy body for them to cry into is only one of the ways he likes to help. As they snuggle their faces in him and soak him with tears, he becomes the rock that they need at that moment. He gives them his heart as freely as he gives them his paw to greet them into the world of friendship forever. He raises a laugh from a place long forgotten when he puts on an act that he known will help.
From chasing his tail to preforming the dying fly, he takes them out of their own world and into another where problems don’t exist. He gives them his toy to make them play fetch but makes them do all the fetching just to keep them on their toes. Whatever he can do to lift their spirits, he will do it with passion. The beauty of animal healing never fails to raise spirits as they come from a place of love where nothing, but perfection exists.
As we sat on the floor together that day, with him partly on my lap, it felt like we were both reflecting on a day that we made little differences to our client’s lives. It felt like Munch was born to help others in his quirky little ways that filled his heart with as much joy as the recipients. He would not suit every guide dog owner as his Drama King stubborn qualities do not suit everyone but to me, he is just perfect. His little things in life make up a whole package of perfection that I hope will never be forgotten.
Your little things in life make perfect memories so keep them flowing for a better world.
They say wishes don’t come true if you tell everyone about them, but I know I can trust you lot to keep my wishes to yourself. It’s not only humans that can have wishes in life. Fellow canine companions and other non- human species have wishes just as much as the two legged less hairy human race. Here is what I am hoping 2020 will bring into my life.
1. More rest
The maid still insists that I must accompany her to work. Some days I am in harness for over an hour in total which mean I am only harness free for 23 hours. I will work on the maid to decrease this and will request a chauffeur (a sighted one may I add) driven buggy to travel in to save my poor legs.
2. More play
For some strange reason, stealing socks and blankets from the humans in the house is not their version of play. They clearly need to rethink how they see play and incorporate more of my version of play. I will encourage Angus the cat to allow me to chase him, but he is not allowed under any circumstance to chase me back. A new play manifesto will be distributed to all to follow my new way of life.
3. More gourmet meals
When I first arrived in this home, I was only allowed the strict diet that guide dogs are meant to be on with only carrots for treats. Slowly but surely, I began to change this and began to use my handsome charm to share some of the food that the staff ate. I have broadened my palate now and am able to encourage the maid to share her meals with me by placing my head lovingly on her lap to let her know I am there and waiting. I have even encouraged the extended family to cook nutritious food especially for me when I visit so I will continue to do this. My boring diet will be a thing of the past.
4. Less shopping.
If there is no doggy aisle in a shop, I am not interested. I have learnt over the years which shops are for me and which are not. I have voiced my findings to the maid and she is well aware of where I will be accompanying her too and which ones she will have to take her long cane too. I can sniff out a clothes shop form miles away which I will not go to as I do not need clothes to make myself look handsome so I refuse to go in. Our shopping trips are getting shorter and I am getting happier so let this continue.
5. More attention
With looks like this how can anyone resists a stroke or 2? I know my harness says do not distract but with a face like this let’s be honest I am the one doing the distracting. I am sociable and so are humans, so it makes sense if we are sociable together. In return they can have a doggy kiss and I will leave them with some of my lush doggy hair attached to their clothing. I am aiming to spread more doggy hair to strangers this year.
6. More ball thieving.
Let’s be honest, why play a one-sided ball game when you can play in pairs. When I see a dog with a ball, it is my duty to run off with it to create a game of chase and keep their loneliness away. I sniff out a ball from quite an impressive distance away so if it is unattended, it is mine. I will give it back if I must, but I go by the finder’s keeper’s etiquette of ball play so be warned. I see more ball possession in 2020.
7. Less restrictions
I am aiming to have less restrictions this year placed on me. Apparently, I am not allowed to sit on the comfy chairs in work but as my previous posts have shown, I do anyway. I am intending to eat more of other people’s food if the fancy takes me (like the time a pupil’s panini ended up somehow in my mouth) as sharing is caring. I intend to leave my snug fitting harness at home more and go out for more free runs with my dog walking buddies and run like the free spirit I was born to be.
8. Give more healing
I know that the world is not all about me and if I see a sad soul, I am the first there to heal them. I lick away tears, snuggle into lonely arms and fill empty hearts with the love they are looking for. My goal this year is to spread the Munch affect on as many people as I can in whatever way I can. A happy world is a happy me, so I will create happiness in places of sadness and help to change as many lives as I possibly can.
9. More travel
I like to explore places with my ever-ready nose and eager eyes. I love to smell the lamp posts of new places to find out things in the local doggy newspaper. Last year we had to travel quite a bit for interviews about the book that I dictated to the maid to write and I hope we will travel more this year. Nothing beats a comfortable hotel pillow that I am not meant to be sleeping on but always do anyway.
10. More paw prints left on people’s hearts.
I hope to leave my paw prints in places I have yet to discover. Not only in physical places where I can leave my yeti like prints but also on the hearts of people that I will meet. We animals are the magic that is needed in people’s lives to help them discover another way of seeing the world. If humans could see the world through our eyes, then their tail ends would be wagging like ours. You too can leave your prints on people’s hearts in your own unique ways.
I know all of these will manifest for me as I put the work in so they cannot fail. I hope your hard work pays off this year for you to get your wishes too. Happy New Year from my heart to yours.
Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring not even a Munch.
Maybe it was the stolen ham sandwiches that had lay in his reach, that made his body resemble a peach.
All round and hairy he lay in the way and was too full to even attempt to play.
Until that was, his best friend came along and started to sing him an encouraging song.
His ears pricked up and he gazed at her face, wanting her to come and rest in his space.
A bond like this, warms even the coldest of hearts, especially when their mischievous adventure starts.
Mix the energy of a three-year-old child and a labradoodle together and there is one thing that you will never hear and that is peace and quiet. Their mischievous footsteps that fail to tiptoe through the house means that they are in pursuit of happiness. A thrown ball here and a shared pack of crisps there, makes two beautiful souls come together and fill each other with joy.
My beautiful granddaughter was only nine months old when our almost Shetland pony sized Munch became part of our family and I wondered how they would get on. I need not have worried as it is as if their silent glances to one another communicated that they saw the world in the same mesmerising way. They loved people, loved affection and were rather partial to food. Isn’t that the bases of any good friendship? To them, it was.
The old souls that lived within each of them felt like they have lived before alongside each other in a previous life as they knew each other so well. As Munch lay stretching his long body out on the floor, my granddaughter would crawl with maturely around him not wanting to disturb him. From the first stroke that she gave him with her cute dimpled hand, she was soft and lovingly gentle and never rough. Munch in return was the gentlest of giants with her.
He always greeted her with kisses and would follow her around like a shadow. If she cried, he ran to her to see how he could help and did not leave her side until she was better. He climbed onto the bottom of the bed where she slept when she was older and remained there with Angus the cat to be the pair of bodyguards that every girl needed. The sound of her voice on the phone would set his helicopter tail off wagging in excitement as he heard his best friend. This was just the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Fast forward three years on and their friendship is unbreakable. She calls him her baby boy and ensures that he has everything that he needs. On Christmas Eve she tucked him in and told him to go to sleep early ready for Santa to bring him his present. As she placed his heart pillow underneath his heavy head, she whispered “I love you so much Munch”, to which he gave her a doggy kiss in return. There may never be much peace and quiet with these two around when they are together but there is always peace and love in their own shared world. What else could I ever wish for on Earth?
However, you spent your holidays, I hope that you found your own version of peace somewhere. Love and blessings.
Being in the company of a sighted person can sometimes feel like I am in the company of a Superhero. They see things that I can only imagine exists, the describe things that are so vivid that it makes my eyes see what they are talking about, and they turn the blurry hazy world into a world of sharp clarity. On this day it was the eager eye of a teenage client that spotted that there was an intruder on Munch’s paw that nobody had noticed up until that point.
Mid-session, she noticed from over ten feet away that he had a lump on the top of his paw. This was a miracle to me as how anyone can see in that detail astonishes me and I was grateful that she picked it up. A thank you did not seem much to say for noticing something that I had failed to do. If it was on his body, I would have picked it up when he had his morning massage (as he obviously needs bless him) but failing to notice this lump on his paw left me feeling guilty. On a positive note it had been found and it reminded me that maybe I needed to include his paws in his daily massage too, so a win-win situation came out of it. A swift phone call to the vet later and we were booked in for later that day for a quick check up. A quick check up of the paw later and it was decided that he may have to have it removed depending on what The Guide Dogs charity decided as although he is whole heartedly a member of the family he still belongs to the charity. We heard three days later that he had the go ahead for the operation to remove the cyst and for investigation to see what this intruder thought it was doing on his paw.
His operation went well and a week later we found out that all was well, and it was just from an exotic sounding infected in-growing hair. The vet who had been practicing for several years had never heard of it before Munch trotted into her office but that day, she had learnt something new thanks to high maintenance Munch. After the operation, for ten days, we tried to rest him as much as possible so that his stiches wouldn’t burst, or an infection wouldn’t set in due to his licking as he wanted to heal it naturally. A cone of shame was giving to us by the vet, but it felt so cruel to put it on him as he kept walking into everything like a drunk dog. With his uncoordinated mobility we just had to keep him under constant supervision not to lick his wound, so I was ever vigilant in the hearing department whilst the sighted in my life were on look-out duty. It also meant that he had a blissful few days off work and I downgraded to my long cane to get around (which was a little less cute to look at).
We were due to be on Radio 4 Saturday Live the day that his stiches were being taken out but due to an infection that he picked up a few days earlier, we were unsure if he would be able to travel to London with me for the show. I prayed to the angels. The universe and any other source that would listen to me that the star of the show would make it with me as his appointment was only an hour and a half before the train was due. The angels, universe and other beauties in the world delivered the best news ever and he was fine to come with me to make his third radio appearance to promote his (sorry our) book What You See When You Can’t See. A two hour and forty-minute train journey later and we were in London ready to appear the following morning on the show with some amazing guests alongside his Lordship.
If it hadn’t been for the sweet client who told me that he had a lump on his paw as she knew I would not have been able to see it, he would not have had it removed and I will always be eternally grateful to her and all of the other sighted people that help us in the world. If it hadn’t been for my loving beautiful daughter Korisha coming to London with us, I would not have been able to appear on such a great show. If it hadn’t been for so many sighted people asking what it was I could see then I wouldn’t have written the book that gives one account of what sight loss is like. Thank you to the sighted world that make the sight loss world easier to live in, you truly are my Superheroes.
They say there is no rest for the wicked but there must also be no rest for angels such as I.
Over the last week and a half, it has been a little …. busy. I have had requests from different parts of the world to learn more about how awesome a guide dog I am. There have been mentions about hearing about the maid’s sight loss story, but I think that is a pretty insignificant part of our press coverage. I mean who would not want to know more about my handsome labradoodle face. Without me coming into her life there would be no story to tell.
During my guide dog training I learnt to guide and be the sight that the person at the end of my harness handle had lost. I was taught to look out for dangers and obstacles in the way whilst out walking to keep my human partner safe. One thing that I also picked up along the way was how to use my charm and magnetic personality to my advantage and I think this is the reason that I have had people flock to me especially since the release of the book.
After an article was released in The Daily Mail last week, things went a little off the scale in regards of people wanting to know more about the book and multiple media sources covered it. Within 12 hours of the release of the article, the maid and the PR at Hay House were answering queries from places as far away as Austrailia. We had two TV programmes interested in having us on to talk about the book. Unfortunately due to the elections that are taking priority everywhere, our appearance had to be cancelled last minute so the nation missed seeing my newly pampered hairdo on their screens. The article had been translated into Polish, German, Taiwanese and French within hours of being printed. The maid was a little shocked but I expect that they just fell in love with my face and wanted to write about me.
Emails have been sent and answered in a constant flow over the last week and a half in relation to the book and it is now available in stores that it previously was not stocked in. All of this was what I was put on earth for. Dogs (or Ascended Masters such as I) need to have their worth recognised in any way they can. I have changed the maid’s life forever and know that she will be forever grateful for it. Her love for me will never be anything but huge.
To all of you what have been supportive in helping us get to where we are in life, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. The maid never thought that anyone would ever be interested in her story and nobody would want to read the book, but she was wrong (as usual). Your own unique story is just waiting to be heard by eager ears including ours. Belief always believed in you so believe in it too.
Others come into our lives for a reason, season or a lifetime. When they arrive, they can ignite parts of us that have been long forgotten for a variety of different reasons. Having them enter your lives can also make your fears and worries disappear. Both things happened the day I met Munch, or as I knew him back then as Minster.
When the body of a warrior, the wisdom of a sage and the mischievousness of a child manifested before me three years ago in the form of this Labradoodle, I became a different version of me. Stroking his head gently for the first time helped me connect to his loving energy that he filled the room with. This feeling right here, was the feeling of unconditional love that I had always felt within. His strength was a strength that I knew and had used throughout life. His wisdom helped me to connect to the source within myself and everyone else in the world that always knew the answers to their own problems if they quietened the mind enough to hear them. His mischief was my mischief that had always lightened life where others chose to see darkness. Minster really was a soul match made in heaven.
The teeth that had clenched when asking for help in the form of a guide dog was now a distant memory as I wondered why I had not done it before. Keeping sight loss to myself seemed natural as I knew no other way. Being born with sight loss feels like normality as you learn to navigate throughout life in ways that may seem strange to the sighted, so why would you need to ask for help as your way seems to be working. That is until it stops working. I am so thankful for the injuries and mishaps I went through to get me to the place that made me realize that I could no longer live like I was in the sighted world without asking for help. The timing in asking for help was perfect as if I had asked any sooner or any later than I may not have ended up with the perfect match.
As time went one and the professional harness wearing guide dog Minster became charismatic off -duty Munch, I fell deeper and deeper in love with this “once met, never forgotten” hairy soul mate. Wherever we went, people fell in love. He brought isolated people back into this world by being the connection that they so desperately needed to feel. He was not put on this earth to be ignored but he was put on this earth to heal the ignored. Witnessing the effect he has on others makes me feel blessed that I get to see this daily and how much joy it brings to him. He goes into people’s lives for reasons, seasons or the lifetime that he will share with family and friends. He gains just as much as they do from these interactions that can melt anyone’s heart.
Here we are three years and one book later, reflecting on how life has changed for us both over time. For Munch, he has learnt to be the owner in this working partnership which suits me just fine. It feels like I just follow him through life as he leads to whatever adventure he wants to take us on next and I just live my life along the way which I love. He knows the healing power that he has over others which seems to energise him to continue being of service to others in his own unique way. His happiness and freedom to lead us wherever he wishes to go next is what makes life with him so great.
Thanks, Munch, for the most amazing three years of our lives as the family celebrate the universe pairing me with such a beautiful soul. Keep being you even if it is a little dramatically quirky at times, we wouldn’t have you any other way.
It’s over for another four months thankfully. One cannot stand to be in the same room as these screaming less hairy two-legged race any longer without developing a headache. They don’t get this excited when I chase after a ball and run off with it which is a little perplexing as I am the centre of their universe. The humans are such a weird race.
Since arriving at the maid’s house nearly three years ago, I have been subjected to hours upon hours of rugby with her and the rest of the staff screaming at the television and saying words that should apparently not be uttered around small two-legged less hairy race as they are “naughty”. They only seem to get excited by the Welsh team and only watch when they are playing. The ”Come on boys” and “don’t you do that to my boys” that come out of the maid’s mouth makes me wonder why I couldn’t have been placed with a less weird owner.
My mother Hetty was an English black Labrador and my father Pringle was a Canadian cream poodle so when I arrived in Wales where they spoke a funny language, I did not realize that they would expect me to support my new country. I learnt the Welsh commands that I followed whilst in the Welsh schools that we work in, I ate the tradition Welsh cawl that the maid often gave me on the sly and I even learnt to love running through the Welsh countryside that I now call home. When she asked me to wear this hat though, I think she may have been extracting the urine slightly.
Getting through to the semi-finals of the rugby world cup apparently was a big deal and she wanted us all to get in the spirit. Hmmmmm, Did she ask Angus the cat to dress up in Welsh gear or Faith the tortoise? Oh no. They would have probably told her where to go but me? I stayed as neutral as possible by not chucking off the hat in protest or showing her I was impressed. I was hoping my neutral face of being dressed up would show her my verdict on the stupidity of her request but nope she did not take the hint. I think she was playing the blind card again!
When the silence fell around the house as Wales lost to the better team of New Zealand, I thought it was best to humour her and let the hat stand tall. Her plan to make me the mascot for the day did not work but it was worth a try I suppose. Luckily my handsome face and alluring eyes filled the hearts of the staff after the game. I did not find it necessary to let on to them that I was finding the silence that fell around the house so satisfying. A Welsh loss meant a Munch win as I finally took the hat off and they turned their love and attention back to me instead of the Welsh team.
Let’s hope that when the Rugby International starts in February, she will have found something to put on Angus or Faith to make them the mascot and leave me out of it. Paws crossed, it will work.
Do you struggle with getting things that you really want to achieve in life? Are you looking for ways around this to be able to lead the life that you really want to live? Well here are some tips from me, a top-class dog and life coach extraordinaire. Follow these simple steps and you too will be living a life full of blissful comfort.
1. Make a commitment.
Be loud and stand proud in what you want to achieve in life. Half hearted asks get half hearted results so ensue that whatever you are asking for is what you really want to get. Speak your requests with authority. Let me give you an example that relates to the picture above. If I had not requested the chair to curl up on, I would not have got it, simple as that. Even if the answer is not yes the first time around, do not let this dishearten you and try, try again. This takes me nicely onto the next point.
2 Believe in yourself
If you find it hard to visualise yourself getting what you have asked for, then how do expect the universe to believe that is what you really want? Hesitate and you cancel out all the hard work that you have already put into your dream. For me, if I had listened to the maid saying no to me the first time when I tried getting up on the chair, I would have lost belief in myself. I visualised myself sitting in the maid’s chair in work and I believed that I had the required skills to get what I wanted. You will see how.
3. Use what your mamma gave you
Take time to look at all your natural talents that can help you get to what you want in life and use them to the max. You have all the ingredients you need in life to be able to create whatever concoction you want to make up. Each one of us has qualities that stands us apart from others and can help us achieve our goals so what is your quality? For me, my adorable face, single mindedness (or stubbornness as the maid calls it) and want for a more comfortable seating option got me to where I wanted to be.
4. Refuse to take no for an answer
Just because another person does not have the same goal as you, it does not mean that you cannot come to an agreement. One person’s no is another person’s yes so keep your thoughts positive and your eye on the end goal. As the maid walked away from her chair in work that day for the umpteenth time, I went over to the chair to assess its comfort and decided I was getting there one way or another. Even after jumping up to settle down in it and the miserable maid telling me to get off, I persevered and got up another twice. She was far too well trained by me to say no for the third time, so she did what she always did and gave in to me. Persevere, it is worth it.
5. Bask in your achievement
The hard work you have done to get to a certain place in life should be celebrated whichever way you want to do it. By acknowledging the hard work that you have done to get where you are, you are pre-empting further success as you realize how awesome you really are. I knew when I finally settled down on my chair for the rest of the working day that I could manifest anything in life despite the maid mumbling about “what people will think if they see you up there”. What others think of me is their business. What I think of myself is mine. I slept sound in the knowledge that I got what I wanted as I always did.
If you ever find yourself looking for inspiration to move forward and achieve what you want in life just follow the above steps and you too will sleep soundly in the knowledge that you have done everything that you can. Getting to the top dog position isn’t always easy but when you get there it is pure bliss. Keep posted for more tips on how to become the top dog in your own life.
What would the world be like with a lot of little Munch like Guide Dogs running around the place? Hmmmm. Let me think.
The 36 million blind and 217 million people with varying degrees of sight loss around the world would be able to live a different way of life. A life where there were less restrictions and limits on their everyday lives and allow them enter into a society that they would otherwise feel isolated from. This new way of life would allow them to replace their losses in life with gains when they would discover the strength within that they never knew they had. Would you like to see such a life change and know that you had been part of it?
A world full of Munch like Guide Dogs would give back independence to people who felt helpless and unsafe whilst out alone. People who would worry about not being able to get around in their own communities that they had lived in for years now that one of the most used senses no longer works. A Munch like Guide Dog would take them to new places not only in the physical world but also in the world that is created in the mind where they learn that trust alone can be the catalyst for change. Would you like be the reason that an individual with sight loss lives in a way that they have never lived before?
Helping an individual with sight loss escape a lonely world that they have been drowning in for years, will make you a superhero that will never be forgotten. In a world where sight loss can make you feel like an alien in a connected world of sighted people, a Guide Dog can feel like the lost half of their soul and help them re-enter a world that they can now feel safe in. The Guide Dog is the missing link to merge the world of the sighted and the sight loss community that do not always understand one another. Will you be the one that wears the superhero cape with pride to help join the two worlds and create unity?
Before Munch came into my world, I have felt all the above and much more. Guide Dogs change lives on so many different levels that the supporters never get to know about. During the month of October, Guide Dogs are setting themselves a very ambitious challenge of fundraising enough money to fund seven new Guide Dogs by October 31st through their Pups to Partnership campaign. If you are feeling generous enough to donate to this worthwhile charity, please visit their website at guidedogs.org.uk and be the difference that so many are waiting to see in the world.
I cannot promise that the guide dog that you help to fund will be the same regal thinking, food spillage rescuing. mischief making, other worldly. eccentric, adorable, Shetland pony sized, dramatic Labradoodle that I have been blessed to be paired with, but I can guarantee that they will be perfect for who they end up with. The love that I have for Munch will never fade and I will remain forever grateful for everyone who has been part of the funding and pairing up of our odd sock like qualities to make the perfect matching pair.
If you feel you can help in any way to help create more Munch like guide dogs, please do and may I say thanks in advance. The only question left to ask is, is the world ready for more Munch like guide dogs to be created? Well, at least the world will never be a dull place ever again.