Happy qualification anniversary my gorgeous girl! I can’t quite believe its a year since we qualified as Team Mable can you? So much has happened, we have done so many things together, there have been high and lows, good days and bad days, tears and laughter. But the one thing that has always been there and continues to grow every day is how much I love you.
Before you came into my life I thought I was quite happy, or at least content, with my life. I made the best of it but I had no idea just how exciting, rewarding and amazing life could be. I had always had the nagging feeling that my life wasn’t as good as it could be, something was holding me back and in hindsight I think I always felt slightly anxious and a bit resentful that I wasn’t able to be independent and needed to rely on friends or family or had to spend money on taxis for things like shopping, getting to work, visiting people, going anywhere new – I couldn’t even decide to just go and visit my mum and dad without asking them to come and pick me up. I use to spend a lot of time indoors just waiting for someone to come and get me. Now I know just has restricted and small my world really was before I met you.
Now, for the first time in my life I actually really do feel independent. I now have choices; I can go out when I want to , leave work when I’m ready and not have to wait for a taxi that is 45 minutes late, I even have a choice about the job I do; I no longer have to rule out opportunities that involve travelling. I can remember chatting to someone on one of our bus journeys and it suddenly dawned on me that I had never actually been on a bus on my own before. With you by my side I have faced my biggest challenge and achieved one of my goals; we went away for the weekend somewhere new on our own, we stayed in a hotel, went out for walks without knowing where we going and we nailed it! Fabes I couldn’t have done that without you my clever girl.
I don’t think words can really express how much you have changed my life; for the first time I actually feel that I am where I am suppose to be doing what I’m meant to be doing and I owe it all to you.
You are obviously the most awesome guide dog, and all things you are expert at (traffic work, avoiding overhanging branches and remembering routes we have done before) are the things I find hard, but on top of that you are my mate; we look after each other and I love that you need me as much as I need you – its a true partnership and thanks to Guide Dogs and their incredible matching process, its a perfect partnership. Neither of us is perfect; when I get stressed I know it affects you and for I’m sorry and I am working really hard at letting things go, I wish I could be more like you and just have a shake and move on. I think sometimes I expect to much of you and then I remember you are first and foremost a dog; a very clever, highly trained, beautiful, sensitive dog but at the end of the day still a dog. I love that when you’re on a free run or at home you haven’t forgotten that. Your obsessions with balls, food and water is both hilarious and exasperating. I love that whilst I know you need me, you are confident and sociable and love people (its one of the things I love about you the most but also one of the things I find frustrating when I’m trying to get your attention), but I wouldn’t change you. I love that your nickname is the hooligan; your excitement at life makes it hard for you to control yourself at times but in this way we are a perfect match – life is exciting and we both like to grab it and make every second as much fun as possible.
You have completely changed my perspective on life and taught me so much in just a year: I never thought I would let a dog lick my face and my feet (yes I do also love that you have a foot fetish – not everyone is so keen though, you need to remember that) 😉 You have helped me accept my disability in a way that I never thought possible; instead of hiding it until I have to tell people I am able to talk openly about my experiences which I hope might help others. You have shown me its ok to ask for and accept help, you have taught me to trust in you and in others and shown me that generally people want to help (although I often say that since becoming a guide dog owner I get to see the best and the worse in human nature on a daily basis).
You have brought so many inspiring, awesome people and dogs into my life and I am so grateful for all the opportunities we have had so far this year. You my girl are the inspiration and reason all our friends and family have helped raise over £3000 for Guide Dogs this year. I’m really proud of us and everyone who has helped and I’m excited to say that to celebrate our 1 year anniversary we are going to name our very own Guide Dog Puppy; Mable 🙂
I know you’ll agree with me too Fabes when I say thank you to everyone involved in Guide Dogs; staff (particularly our lovely GDMI and Mobility Instructor), volunteers of all kinds and fundraisers. I think you were very lucky to have such a good start in life; your mum Harvest and her human mum, and your amazing puppy walker obviously love you so much and are so very proud of you – we have a lot to thank then for too.
So Fabes what more can I say except THANK YOU; you really are my little life-changer and a Fable in your own right 🙂