On 19 March I wrote about the tragic and totally unexpected death of my guide dog, Drew (see https://kevinmorris101.wordpress.com/2011/03/19/the-death-of-a-much-loved-friend/
). Over the last few days I’ve had to develop a totally new routine. On Sunday morning I went for a walk. As usual I put my hand out to take Drew’s harness from the hook where it hangs, in the cupboard in the hall. It hit me then that I’d be walking my old friend Drew no more and I burst into tears.
On several occasions I’ve heard a sound very like the noise made when a dog shakes itself while wearing its lead. Just for a fleeting moment I thought it was Drew and a lump came into my throat. I don’t know what made the sound, perhaps someone’s keys jangling but, whatever it was it brought Drew painfully into focus.
Several days ago my wife remarked “I thought I heard Drew’s taile” and promptly began to cry.
People have been incredibly kind. I was moved to tears by the many kind words and e-mails from friends and colleagues. One of the most moving was one from a colleague who said that he didn’t like dogs until he met Drew.
I’ve been deliberately going to places where Drew and I went together. It is painful but the more I do it the more I get used to being without my Drew. Walking in the park, near my home I was struck by the beauty of the birdsong. It brought to mind the many times I’d walked with Drew in that self same spot listening to the birds. Sometimes I’d stand for a while or sit on a log with Drew close by, just listening to the birds and the sounds of the other small animals scurrying around while Drew nosed among the leaves.
Walking under the trees I felt acutely the transitoriness of our lives. Drew lived some nine years and although we humans live, on average much longer some of those trees are hundreds of years old. It made me sad to think of such things but, at the same time it put my sorrow into perspective. Doubtless some at least of the trees which spread their branches above my head will be there long after I am dead and gone. As I strolled through the remains of the Great North Wood (of which the park is a small part) I thought on how nature continues on, in her own heedless way unaware of human sorrows. Drew was dead but the birds still sang their hearts out and why, after all shouldn’t they?
Thinking of Drew brings to mind thoughts of my previous guide dogs. I remember my second dog, Zeff who would, when friends visited greet them, tail wagging furiously with his blanket firmly clamped between his jaws. Again I recall a friend of mine riding my exercise bike which would make Zeff go wild with excitement as he attempted to jump up onto my friend’s knee. All my dogs have been special in their own unique way and I’m sure that my future guide dogs will have their own unique personalities!