Yellow Labrador Laila Smiles into the camera

Laila, Old Friend.

Blog, Poetry

Laila, now your fur shows flecks of grey

Your coat a little less shiny

Your walk a little less bouncy.

It’s time to take the harness from your back.

and send you on your next adventure,

It’s retirement day.

A dog of many names: Laila, Lails, Noodle, Pooch.

You were an extension of my arm.

A gentle presence to my left.

When I turned my cheek you’d be there to lick it on the other side.

While I held your paw on that last day I cried:

How can I say thank you? When thank you is not enough.

You shared my hospital bed after I fell apart.

You were with me behind airlocked doors.

You ran for help when I was in trouble.

You barked when I couldn’t respond.

You believed we would walk in fields together again.

And we did.

Laila, you have seen me grow from the age of fourteen.

You’ve witnessed me fall apart and helped to piece me back together.

Under tables you silently waited for me to finish exams.

Sofa surfed the country by my side.

Stayed a presence at every appointment and therapy session.

When I had nothing, you were there.

Our time together has been more eventful than we both would have liked.

But I couldn’t imagine a better companion to guide me through.

As you meet the new dog, the one that will guide me through my next phase,

I see you look your colleague in the eye and I hear you say:

“I’m passing you the baton,

Walk with your head held high.

I’ve got her this far, you do the next lap.

look after after for me.”

“Look after her for me” is what I say as I hand over your lead.

And on you go to your beautiful retirement.

Enjoy the next lap my friend.

Imogen jumping outside a hospital building

369 Days

Blog, My Story, Poetry

Two years ago I was in the back of an ambulance.
I waited in A&E for my turn.
I got out 369 days later.
It was a bloody long turn.

In the first six months I learned:
They could restrain me,
They could drug me,
They could detain me,
But I would survive.

I could survive:
Violent patients,
Being forced to eat,
24/7 surveillance,
and my heart would still beat.

After the tyranny freedom was elected.
I was no longer an animal- held down and injected.
I found that words made me lighter,
Each time I said or read them I shone a little brighter.
My talents lay in living and not dying
and every step forward is a person I’m defying.

Once it is broken the glass does not fear the floor.
Tell me I shan’t.
Tell me I can’t.
I’ve heard them all before.