Notes on Leaving from Grace

Tanvir Naomi BushDisability, Guide Dogs, Writing 11 Comments

The Leaving

A rugged coastal path on the South West Coast with a grey boulder on the right of the frame and a white fence post on a bank to the left. A black dog is running down the path towards the camera, ears flapping and dust flying. Big frin on her face!

The Leaving is Arriving!

Hey TanviLove, I should be blogging about ‘re-tyre-ing’ but I don’t really smell that concept.

Me: Okay, what do you want to talk about?

Can I explain the Leaving instead,  as we Guide Dogs go through and past and through it a few times a life-long.

Me: That sounds great. Go ahead and I’ll type.

Should we eat something first?

Me: You just had breakfast.

Did I? But I am faint with hunger.

Me: Hmmmm, look here is a treat. Now come on.  The Leaving…?

Right,  the Leaving.

See,  I was born on a Chuckle Moon, one of eleven pups.  We all smelt different but also of each other, like notes on a scale. Mama made up the final bass note of our song/smell.  It was my first song/smell and what I learnt from my first Leaving, having to leave Mama that bad day,  is that the song remains in the dog body, always, like my heart beat. My family song began moons and moons before even my Mama was a pup, before her Mama was. It came through her and into us and will go on. Even when we go into dark earth,  we sing, Mama told us.

Me: Does having the smelly song help?

Help with what?

Me: Does that mean you don’t miss your family when you have to leave?

Daft, TanviLove. Of course I miss family, especially Mama because she was the bass note but I am also free to sing other songs and so I don’t miss them. I do miss but also I don’t.

Me: Do you miss your human friends?

You mean…?

Me: Yes, the Talking Monkeys that fed you and taught you as a pup?

I do and I don’t miss my Talking Monkeys. I have collected their song/smells to add to my own so each of the Leavings means my songs are more …how do you say this… ? (Grace rolls over and rubs her back on the carpet, legs in the air.)

Me: Ohh, I think you mean multi-layered..?

Yes, my song/smells are many more ‘multi’ layered. They are in my body to take with me on the journey after each sad Leaving.

Me: Dear one, you will be Leaving me. That is the ‘retiring’ thing.

A black and tan retriever/ lab cross sits i the middle of the frame, head cocked to one side and sad expression on her face.

Why? I love you.

Why though?  Why need I ‘Re-Tyre’? We are best friends. Our song/smell is very ornate. It is loud too. You will be sore and sad without me. I should stay to look after.

Me: I want you to be free to just enjoy your life, Grace. To have limitless love and limitless sky and smells.

You should have this too.

Me: I am not a dog. I must travel on buses and in cars and trains. I must work in concrete buildings and sit on a chair looking at a computer. You would be so bored and fed up.

You are right that the concrete and the walking straight, nose up and forward makes me tired now. But I don’t mind a’waiting for you. I love you with everything.

Me: And I love you, my dearest, dearest friend. But why, while I am in concrete and on computer, can you not be running and sleeping and smelling? It will make me so happy to know you are collecting more smells for your song.

Then why you leaking?

Me: (wipes eyes, blows nose) You can smell if I lie can’t you


Me: So smell me and tell me is the truth that you will be very happy?

You believe this. You want to believe this. But you are scared. It smells rusty.

Me: Talking Monkeys are often scared for no reason. They worry ahead even though they don’t know what is coming. I know you will be loved because you are made of love. And sometimes your ears smell of honey.

They do not!

Me: Shall we go for a …

Yes! A walk, awalkawalkawalkawalk!!!! I thought you would never ask! Come, come, come,come..!

(Later)  Hey you know what I could do?

Me: What’s that?

I could be the teacher for your next guide.

Me: My next guide dog?

A black retriever/lab cross stands in the middle of the frame, head lowered and eyes looking up at camera with a red toy heart hanging from her mouth, another pink toy on the floor.

I have your heart!

Yes. I could answer the dog questions here, on this blog thing Dogtor Grace Will Smell You Now… or something. You like?

Me: I love that idea! 

Good. I will be your blog pup advisor… Ow!

Me: what’s up?

My belly is empty! Surely, it’s supper time now? I am desperate… Stop hugging me and ‘gis us a treat!

End note: for anyone thinking of taking on a retiring or withdrawn Guide Dog in UK, the information is here.








Comments 11

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  1. I love it when you translate Dog. That picture of Grace, captioned ‘Why? I love you.’ Is the saddest, most bittersweet ever.

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      Thank you Lynne! And yep, that picture gets me every time too! This dog…! Hope you are well? T xx

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  2. Dear dear dears – keep on singing your multi-layering singing songs when re-tyred and loving –

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