Catch up with Kate: ReflectionBy Kate Bosley -
I am going away without my guide dog Phoenix as it’s not suitable for her to come with me. It's too hot! I feel strange leaving her behind but it isn't ideal for her - I would be selfish taking her.
The separation makes me look back and think about the 5 months I have had with her and how life has changed.
I guess a lot of things actually have negative aspects attached. Having a guide dog means you never have to clean the kitchen floor for dropped crumbs but you have to constantly clean up dog hair which goes everywhere!
But it’s not just the kitchen. Why is it that car carpets make it impossible for dog hair to be hoovered up? The hair seems to weave into the carpet and you can't lift it up easily… Even good eyesight doesn't help, my husband tells me.
This aspect of having a guide dog is a bit of a nightmare… However, Phoenix makes up for it in other ways. She is so lovely and has made such a difference.
She has increased the amount of walking I do. We walk 11km a day. I am fitter. She is loving. You know she is pleased to see you. She wags her whole body.
I feel happier when I walk with her because I know she is checking it's safe as we go. I walk at a normal pace now and don't have to worry.
We have only had one accident. She didn't see a plank which was protruding onto a path. I walked into it and hurt myself. She was distressed and I had to reassure her that I was alright.
I am never alone, and whenever I am with Phoenix she attracts attention from other people – I have lots of conversations when I’m out and about!
There is one problem though (apart from the dog hairs!) which is a long term one. Guide dogs often guide for 7 years before they want to retire. I am not looking forward to that! Saying good bye will be very hard.
Having an ex-guide dog as a pet and a new guide dog would be a challenge. Still, it's a good few years away so I can worry about it when the time comes.
We are going to be apart for a while next week and I will miss her in so many ways.