During my times as a listener in prison, I’d like to think I approached the role in the right way with empathy at the core of my listens. I have mentioned before how on occasions I was asked if I believed everything I was told by those I was listening to, and my answer to that was always it isn’t for me to believe it, if the other person believes it that is what you work with.
The above doesn’t mean my thoughts always matched my actions. One of my favourite parts of the training facilitated by the Samaritans to become a listener was when four of the Samaritans trainers would recreate a listen through role-play. One took the role of the listener and one took the role as the caller. Behind both of them stood the remaining two who took on the roles of the thoughts of the two sitting. Thoughts they gave a voice to. It isn’t easy to switch off your own mind when listening to someone.
Not an uncommon reason I would be called out as a listener was because of the individual being worried about their pet for whatever reason. I would treat the call as serious as any other but in my mind I’d be thinking, “a pet, really??”. I should point out other than a family cat we had when I was growing up, I’ve never owned a pet. However, to anyone I listened to and who spoke to me about missing their pet, I owe you my sincerest of apologies. I now get it!
On Tuesday, July 6, 2021, our beautiful 5-year-old Westie, Bonnie, passed away suddenly and not only was my heart ripped out but the heart of the house had gone. The only comparison I can make the last time a death affected me this much was in 1990, when my mum passed away aged 59. I would have loved to have shared a few pictures of Bonnie with this blog, however, I’m still unable to go through the many, many photos we have of our Bonnie.
So as not to finish this blog on a downer I thought I would share what I did to help me with my feelings and emotions over losing Bonnie. I’d like to think people reading this blog will know how much I avidly advocate about creative writing being an outlet and a coping mechanism. Well, I took my own advice and tried my hand at writing a children’s story. One to be read with/to children. I’ve not been sure what I was going to do with it when it was finished, but I have finished it and there’s no time like the present. So, ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to welcome you to what may be the first in a series of stories about the adventures of ‘wee Bonnie’.
The adventures of wee Bonnie.
Lost in London.
Three-year-old Bonnie, whose full name is Bonnie Fifi Fluffy BonBon, lives on a farm with her owners Bill and Bren (Brenda).
Bill and Bren’s farm is for the stuff we need for our breakfasts. Wheat to make bread so we can have toast, oats for porridge and corn for our corn flakes.
The sun was shining down on the farm as Bill told Bonnie about some exciting news. Bill and Bren’s son, Bob, who lives in London, will look after Bonnie for a few days.
It surprised Bonnie at how many buildings there were as she stepped out of the underground station with Bob. Bonnie didn’t like the underground. There were too many people. It made loud, horrible noises, and it smelt funny. POOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHH!!!!
As they walked to Bob’s house, they passed some shops. Bonnie’s nose was twitching as she could smell her favourite food, cheese burgers, without onions. YUK!!!! Bonnie hates onions.
One shop had a television in the window, which showed a game of football being played. One team is a team Bob supports, ‘Indagoal Ugo FC’. Bob got excited when his team nearly scored and without realising he had let go of Bonnie’s lead.
Bonnie was in a world of her own daydreaming of eating the cheese burger she could smell. Before Bonnie, and Bob, knew it, her nose had taken her to the source of where the smell had come from. When she looked up and realised she was on her own in the big city, Bonnie was frightened.
When Bob looked down and saw Bonnie was missing he shrieked, “Bonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnniiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!” Bob was running here and there looking for Bonnie. He ran back to the underground station and asked the station assistant if they had seen Bonnie. They hadn’t.
Bob then asked a taxi driver if he had seen Bonnie. By this time, Bob was really worried and scared. What would he tell Bren and Bill, his mum and dad? The taxi driver told him he saw a dog like Bob was describing outside a café, just around the corner.
Bob ran to where the taxi driver had told him he saw the dog. He turned the corner and, sitting in the doorway of a shop, he saw Bonnie.
“BONNNNNNNNNNNNIIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEE” shouted Bob. As Bonnie looked up, she could see Bob coming towards her and took off running to him. Bob swooped Bonnie up into his arms and gave her lots of kisses. Bonnie excitedly licked Bob’s face.
Bob asked Bonnie if she wanted a cheeseburger. Bonnie had chicken nuggets. Cheese burgers, without onions, YUK!!, are no longer her favourite.