I can’t explain how utterly upsetting it is to write this. Today, while I rubbed Freddie’s ear, we put him to sleep. I don’t think it’s really hit me yet. I wanted to write sooner rather than later because it’s very important to me that I say thank you. Thank you to everyone who commented on this post. Thank you to Freddie’s puppy walker. Thanks to Irish guide dogs for giving me a guide dog that is simply one of a kind. Thank you most of all to the family who took him during his retirement. I know it only lasted two years but wow he had an amazing two years. I seriously can’t express enough how grateful I am for the way they treated Freddie. It was actually my father who really confirmed it last week when he got to see Freddie for the first time in his new home. He said that the best decision I could have made was sending him to that particular family. It is simply amazing how much they cared for him. I could never have asked for anything more. The more I visited Freddie the more I noticed their attachment grow.

For me, and I know for everyone with a guide dog, one of the hardest things is that day when you hand over the dog. It’s not like turning off a light switch. You have taken care of the dog and equally, the dog has taken care of you. That bond isn’t one that’s easily broken. That was actually very evident tonight. Even though Freddie could hardly move, he still found the energy to look up at me for assurance when the vet was shaving his paw. When Mark told me, in a funny way I knew that I was meant to be there. Not being there for the end would have been simply wrong.

That’s really the only reason I wanted to write. I just wanted to thank everyone. I am finding it a great comfort to recognise that Freddie has been incredibly lucky. Just think about it. He had a brilliant puppy walker, Ok, he had to put up with me but still, he travelled a lot and experienced a lot more than any other dog I have encountered. Then to top it all off, he lived with a fantastic family in a lovely area. I couldn’t ask for any more. When it was his turn to move on, he did it just like he did everything else in life. With speed. Within a very short space of time he rapidly declined. I think that’s much better than a prolonged illness. It meant that up to two weeks ago, he still had his normal character.

The post I wrote on the day of Freddie’s retirement to say thanks is here.