People often say "I don't know how you give them up" as if we puppy walkers are heartless! My answer is "It breaks my heart, of course, but she was never my dog and she has a very special job to do when she's old enough"
Here is Claire's story of one short morning -
"Yesterday was a busy but uneventful, after pick my daughter up from school we took her and my GD to the park to play and run. Minnie GD literally found the only puddle remaining in the whole park! She became a hippo and was ditched she looked like a chocolate lab! So we got home I took her from the boot and straight into the garden to begin the big clean up, nothing out of the ordinary.
I had to get her clean as we always have the school run in the morning.
Morning comes I get my daughter ready as usual, feed and spend Minnie no issues, I put her work collar on and lead and then reached up to find her Harness....,
It wasn't there ahhhh no, it was still in the car, the car my husband has now gone to work in, the car he was supposed to clear out for me after we got back as I had my hands full cleaning ditch dog....
Not only this, my back up Long Cane was also in the car from a previous occasion!
So for the first time in 3 years I had NO Mobility aid, I panicked but I had to get my daughter to school! Thankfully my neighbour (Kirsty's)boy goes to the same school she knocked for me, she offered to take my daughter so I didn't have to go but, I knew my girl would get upset and I didn't want to let her down. Kirsty has run with me before so she is used to guiding me, but the school run is full of children everywhere, noises(I'm partially deaf) and its Bin day! My 5 year old daughter said mummy I'll guide you .... That broke me but I had no option so she took me to the end of the street for abit then to Kirsty so I took her arm and she guided me to school it felt so weird nothing pulling my left arm, a few command words slipped out I'm so used to talking to my dog en route and although I know she avoids bins and sits at curbs etc I didn't realise how much she navigates around all the Children and pushchairs etc, it was a slow walk but we got there just as doors opened at school. Phew!
Only our children don't go into the same classroom so I take my daughters hand and she leads me through to her cloak room she then comes back to me and takes me to her class room, the teachers noticed I was dogless and showed concern and asked it i was ok, I explained briefly and carried on saying bye to my Daughter, I just had to get out, that area is very narrow with small tables and chairs and lots of children around as well as all the parents, I hugged the door to her class room and the felt along the wall out where I froze as realised I couldn't see where to go or a way out it was too congested, thankfully another mum spotted me and came over and said take my arm I'll get you out... I was so thankful she thought the harness was broke or something so explained and said thank you just leave me at outside door and my neighbour will take me home, I then heard claire I'm coming from behind you don't worry, it was Kirsty she gave me her arm and took me home, mentioning path unevenness and curbs etc all the way home bless her!
This is the first time I've felt so near a panic attack since Minnie came into my life, it was awful I'd lost my left arm I'd lost my protection and my confidence and gained a whole load of eye ache and stress! Although I am extremely grateful to have my neighbour as a good friend and to the parent who helped me, I didn't want my 5 year old to guide me, she's good at it but it's not her job or her worry.
I got her to school that was my aim, but it's was far too much stress pre 9am! But after getting home to a very confused dog she was happy to see me but I can tell she's upset she didn't get her normal school fuss and walk, it made me realise I literally walk to school every day without even thinking anymore, it's so routine and she does her job spot on, yes she pulls left at times yes she will beeline for a parent she knows has a dog to give them a sniff but all of that is part of her, part of me! Although inside the school is noisy and busy at drop off, it never bothers her, she just gets me and my daughter in to her class room without me having to think or 'look'.
This is a thing most parents do daily without a care, for me this isn't possible without my GD I don't know how I'd cope without her, she is me, she's is a pain in the bum sometimes, she rolls in mud and Waggs her tail too much it knocks things over... But she is ME and I love her for all her little quirks."