Having gone from great health to developing a chronic back problem in very short space of time, life pulled me up short and as a consequence I had to leave my lovely part time job in a small plant nursery where we grew lots og gorgeous colourful bedding plants and I spent my days making beautiful hanging baskets and planted arrangements. This way of spending some of my days was immensely fulfilling, very satisfying and very creative. Key components to support a contented happy life I think.
So from lots of creativity, friendly colleagues and hard physical work I lost my connection to the outside world as I was unable to drive or walk very far due to severe and at times unbearable pain. During this time I spent a lot of time reading anything and everything, gazing to much at social media, endless trips to the doctors and NHS physio (big shout out to all the NHS team who have been amazing) and all the while trying to fend off a growing sense of boredom and frustration and a sinking heart and spirit whilst refusing to believe the possibility of not making a full recovery.
Waking up one morning I had a vivid 30 year old memory of an old friend and I walking a dog for a lovely lady who could no longer manage walks with him due to her declining health and advancing years. The dog walking was organised by the Cinnamon Trust which my friend volunteered with and still does to this day. I decided to contact them to enquire about fostering senior dogs on a short term basis thinking this could fit into my current life situation and it would be a helpful fulfilling thing to do. No sooner had I posted off the application forms my daughter in law contacted me through Facebook to show me a photo of a 12 year old dog who had been placed in an animal sanctuary after her 90 year old owner had to go into residential care on a permanent basis and sadly was not allowed to take his dog with him.
My heart told me straight away she would be coming home with me to live out the rest of her days where she would be cared for and loved by myself and my partner who himself is recovering from a shock operation to remove a section of his lung due to cancer. So Jude, myself and my partner are truly matched in our combined physical abilities and need for community and connection. She loves her short brisk walks with myself and her slow meanders with my partner. I can’t get around the village now without having a conversation with one or more persons and they all love the story of Jude the Staffy. She settled into her new life with us almost instantly and has brought us renewed joy, purpose and fulfilment. I have a sneaky feeling if dogs could talk she may say the same.
We don’t know what life is going to bring as we lay our head on the pillow each night or wake up each morning but the one thing I have learnt over the years is to expect the unexpected.
Perhaps I will become a Doggy Doula along with my Human Doula Vocation.