On 1 September 2020, my old friend and guide dog Trigger was put to sleep due to having developed cancer. The months following his death were difficult. Not only had I lost a mobility aid but (far more importantly) I had lost a companion who had accompanied me almost everywhere since 4 July 2011. Of course as time passes the sadness becomes intermixed with happier recollections of one’s time together. One never forgets but life goes on and, in time one smiles again.
I have, since Trigger’s death, been using a long white cane. Whilst I am a competent cane user, it is far easier when walking with a guide dog (in my experience) than when utilising a white cane. I was therefore delighted when on Monday 1 November I received a call from the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association informing me that I had been matched with guide dog Apollo.
My training begins on 8 November and will run for a period of 5 weeks. I shall be trained at home which is in accordance with my preference. I have undergone training in a hotel previously and whilst access to a swimming pool was wonderful (I swam most days, minus the dog of course)! Hotel food became somewhat tedious after a time and I longed for home comforts.
It is an irony that I shall be sharing my home with the god of poetry, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo. I wonder what impact he will have on my poetry …!
I shall write more about Apollo over the coming weeks. In the meantime, for anyone who is interested in learning about the work of Guide Dogs please follow this link, https://www.guidedogs.org.uk/