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They have been on my mind a lot lately.

At work, I am fortunate enough to be able to look down to the floor below, through the glass windows of a spiral staircase and see three of my favourite guide dogs as they lie peacefully at their mom’s feet. I know nearly all of the dogs and owners by name and chat to them quite often.

During the last two weeks, we have seen the exit of two guide dogs. One of them, very untimely, due to cancer at the tender age of six. Leonardo’s owner, Chris, is devastated and has sworn not to get another guide dog.

The other dog, Casey, has gracefully retired after slowing down in her old age. Her owner, Magda is unable to keep her and so at the beginning of this week, she was introduced to her new family. That same day, Magda started training with her new dog.

Two people who have had to say goodbye to their constant companions in two totally different circumstances. Does it make it any easier handing over the leash, knowing that your dog will be living with someone else? When you finally get that phone call to say your old dog passed away, is it any easier than having your dog put down?

All I know is that I dread the day that TJ and Pumba get too old. They are already five years old.

The other dog, that I most recently met, is Porcia’s little one. Keisha. She is a Yorkie mix and already twelve years old. She had not been well for a few days, so Porcia took her to the vet. As it turned out, she had an infection in her womb and needed a hysterectomy. Given her age and a slight heart murmur that plays up when she’s ill, we were all worried. I am pleased to say that she made it through the surgery and has started the road to recovery. However, she is not eating. We think it is because she is used to a special diet that Porcia cooks, so she will be visiting the vet a little later to try pursuade her to eat.

Let’s hold thumbs.