We have had some beautiful warm weather last month and in the final week Winter found us again. After hail, sleet and snows the sky is blue today.
We are traveling through the morning mist to the sound of traditional Scottish music. The gaelic voices blend with the landscape and tingle our spines.
Seamus is resting today. “It’s too cold for an old boy like me,” he said. “I will join you on the afternoon walk when the temperature has risen.”
We stop to stretch our legs by the loch. The water looks still and fills my heart with peace. Pearl watches over the loch in quiet contemplation. I am so grateful that I can enjoy the natural beauty here. Although we walk in the same forests and hills the light is always different and creates a special atmosphere that is unique to each moment.
Once we start our climb we see a silver-haired woman in purple trousers leaning on her walking poles. An old Labrador is lying at her feet and slightly wags her tail when she sees us coming.
“Oh isn’t this a blessed morning,” says the woman as a smile lights up her face. “It really is! It feels like heaven on earth,” says our companion. I sniff the Labrador’s fur and our noses briefly touch. Pearl greets her with a wagging tail.
“Honey and I were just saying to each other that we might not go all the way to the top,” says the woman. “She is a retired guide dog for the blind and unfortunately, her previous owner never walked much with her. I am trying to get all that weight off and improve her fitness before I gasp my last breath.”
“Oh what a wonderful thing you are doing for Honey,” says our companion. “I didn’t realise you could adopt retired guide dogs.”
Pearl and I wander off the path to have a few good sniffs.
“Oh yes,” says the woman. “I have been adopting them since I turned sixty and I am seventy four now. Honey will probably be my last because I cannot guarantee I will outlive the next one.”
I walk over to Honey and ask her what it was like to work as a guide dog.
“I had to be my companion’s eyes in the home and when we went out,” she says. He rarely went out and knew his way around his home so there wasn’t that much for me to do. He would stroke me and talk with me. He shared his food with me and gave me lots of treats. Nothing much ever happened. I had been trained to do a lot of things that I was never able to put into practice. The man was kind but always seemed down. I did what I could to cheer him up and sometimes the sun would touch his eyes and open his heart for a little while. He lost his sight after an accident and he needed a different kind of help from what I could give him. I was glad to be of service and hope I made a little bit of a positive difference. I love being out in nature now and wish my legs were younger.”
You have done a wonderful thing, sweet Honey. Now you deserve to do things that are just for you. When you do what you enjoy and what makes you happy you will make your new companion happy. That is all this lovely lady wants for you. For you to simply be a dog and be happy.
“I am still learning how to enjoy myself,” says Honey. “I think it is something I can get used to.”
Pearl and I both give Honey a few kisses and Pearl jumps up and licks the old lady’s face. The woman kneels down and strokes us both. “Oh you two are such sweet angels,” she says.
I put my paw on her knee and send love from my heart to hers. If there are any angels walking on this earth it will be Honey and you. I am so grateful to have met you and I wish you both a very happy and healthy life together.
What a special meeting that was. As we walk down the other side of the hill I am sending my love to all those dogs in service, to all the people they are helping and to the kind souls who adopt them after retirement and allow them to be dogs again.
I send you all so much love and include a video of traditional gaelic singer Julie Fowlis. I hope you enjoy it,