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I left my friend’s house with leftovers from a birthday dinner. Opening his front door to leave, I was stunned, greeted by a dog, he was struggling to stay still. He was charged by adrenaline, he was in fight or flight mode; he was trying to work out how to survive.
I wandered the streets for a while, asking passers-by if they knew of his owner. I had made a make-shift lead from my scarf, wrapping this around his long neck to protect him from the road. The passers-by shook their heads…. ‘no idea’… ‘sorry love’

So I claimed him. He came home, strapped on to my friend Clare’s lap with the seatbelt.

It was the 8th February, 2017, and it was this moment I found my best friend, or rather that he found me.

I wasn’t looking for a dog, more likely I was considering a cat. I wanted something to care for and something to help to slow me down. Clementine I named him. The night I found him we had been listening to a Benjamin Clementine vinyl. I am a fan of fruit, it’s good for you and Clementine was going to be good for me too. It suited him.

I followed all the legalities of rightfully claiming this lost soul, the soul that now felt like a part of me and I adopted him. Whoever had him before never showed up.

Clementine was two years old (they discover the age of dogs by their teeth). Those canines, premolars and molars have been with him from the beginning, they have seen it all.

We both learnt about one another in those early days. I couldn’t stop starring into his amber coloured eyes. How did you end up in my life? But thank god you did.
I had gotten trapped on life’s treadmill, I was just pressing the uphill button and the speed all at the same time. I felt guilty relaxing or not planning to do things when i was not at work. Say YES was my philosophy, but actual at this time I forgot how to use the word ‘no’.

Clementine needed me as much as I needed him.

We walked together, him learning to be attached to a lead and me learning to not let go. Committed to one another. Having Clementine gave me a reason to stay home more. To get up early and to see the sunrise rather than hit the snooze button. To realise that words mean less than feelings.

I think, or at least I hope Clementine feels at home now, I hope he feels safe.
He makes me feel at peace, we shut the world out and he tucks his head into my armpit whilst I read a good book. We play hide and seek, we sing together, we love being outdoors.

Clementine has taught me to decelerate; he’s taught me about being, feeling and finding your soul mate at the side of a road.

Written by

Rachael Ward is currently based in the north east of England. By day Rachael is a therapist and by night Rachael dreams of being wild and free.

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