Me guide dog Fletcher indoors lying on a blanket with pink, blue, yellow, orange squares. I'm out of harness and my head in under another blanker. This blank is purple. There is a black kong to the bottom of the photo. @pawsatthekerb

Sad times

Woof, I’m back! Yes, it’s me guide dog Fletcher. First a big woofy apology for the pause in my blog posts. When you read this blog post, I hope you’ll understand why.

It’s been a tough few months this end. Definitely sad times. My human, the pawtastic Fiona, says “we’re juggling a lot of curve balls still”. I’m not sure what she means because they sound fun and it hasn’t been. Two people very close to us got ill earlier this year and then died within twenty-four hours of each other. I saw each of them just hours before they died. I’m in mourning.

Me guide dog Fletcher indoors lying on a blanket with pink, blue, yellow, orange squares. I'm out of harness and my head in under another blanker. This blank is purple. There is a black kong to the bottom of the photo. @pawsatthekerb

I got to guide Fiona around a lot of new places and had to concentrate hard. Some of this was during the “Beast from the East” and “Mini Beast from the East” snow storms. Remember them?! Lots of paws in the snow. And when we got to our destination, sometimes I didn’t get a chance to get in my usual snoozing. For often we were visiting hospital wards which were quite noisy with people coming and going. There were also people ill in beds shouting out unexpectedly. I had to keep one eye open just in case Fiona needed me.

Fast-forward in time and I guided Fiona to the double funeral. Now they certainly didn’t cover this in the Guide Dogs for the Blind training manual. Human no. 2, Andy, was also on paw to lend support. Thankfully no snow this time. Just the start of soaring temperatures. The closed funeral took place at Golders Green Crematorium, London.

Me guide dog Fletcher in guiding mode. You just see my golden head. I'm looking to the side and in the background is bright green grass. In the distance is the brick building that is Golders Green Crematorium. It is a long building with arches and a central tower. @pawsatthekerb

I was very good during the service even though Fiona was upset.

Me guide dog Fletcher lying down looking up at you. I'm in my guide dog harness and have a red lead. I'm a golden fur Labrador Golden Retriever cross. I'm lying down on marble floor with marble steps behind me. You can just see the corner of my human's dress as she sits on the pew. @pawsatthekerb

I liked the way the sunshine rays touched the coffins.

Two raised wooden coffins side by side with roses on top. The rays of the sun are catching the coffins and the stain glass window behind them.

And in case you’re wondering about the photos. The funeral was very private and the photos were taken to help Fiona later figure out what was going on; her eyesight is very bad and she barely gets an impression of her surroundings. That’s why she needs me. I also provide impawtant emotional support.

Me guide dog Fletcher and my human from the back. I'm guiding her in harness. And what you can't tell from the photo is that I'm providing her with emotional support too. We're walking down a brick corridor which has arches to the left. The sun is shining on the memorial stones of the dearly departed. @pawsatthekerb

Now the two people who died were great travellers and loved visiting places. And Golders Green Crematorium is steeped in history. I don’t know how it came about but we ended-up getting an informal private tour with Eric Willis, Head of Maintenance, who also shared some of his pawsome poetry with us.

Me guide dog Fletcher looking reflective with Eric Willis from Golders Green Crematorium. I'm in my guide dog harness and have golden fur. Eric has grey hair, white skin and is wearing a black short sleeved shirt with black trousers. In the distance are roses which smelled lovely and the brickwork of the crematorium. @pawsatthekerb

It makes me feel a little less sad that the two people close to us had their funeral at the same place as the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, the ballerina Anna Pavlova, the musician Marc Bolan and the writer Bram Stoker amongst others.

Collage of memorials and ashes containers of Sigmund Freud. He has a brown marble column with his name and an urn on top and is behind glass. Anna Pavlova's oval urn with a ballerina and swan to either side. Marc Bolan's memorial plates on a brick wall. One plate is cream and circular the other is black with gold writing. At the bottom of the photo is a coffin shaped urn for Bram Stoker and family. @pawsatthekerb

The informal tour was a beautiful way to reflect on the dearly departed. I think the spirits of the two people who died somehow made it happen…

Paws in sadness,

Guide dog Fletcher

P.S. Given that the two people close to us died within a day of each other, I’ll also blog tomorrow in remembrance of them.

P.P.S. Our sympathies also go out to our four-pawed friends at the Bunnington Post on the loss of dear Haas.

(c) pawsatthekerb, August 2018; updated September 2018.


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Guide dog (Retired) Fletcher here, sniffing out the best news from the streets and grass in the UK and beyond. Keeping my human, Fiona, safe with paws at the kerb. Qualified with #GuideDogs in August 2015. Retired 2021. Can be found at the kerb or snoozing...

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