Exactly one year ago today, I made one of the hardest decisions of my life so far. in truth, the decision had been made months before, over a year before, in fact, yet as we all know, planning for something does not make it final. You know it will happen soon, but for just a little while longer, you can pretend. On Sunday, April 20th, 2014, I was forced to come to terms with the reality that a wonderful chapter in my life was coming to a close. I was retiring my beloved guide dog of almost nine years, and though I was totally at peace with the decision, it was heart-breaking. It was not until that moment when my parents drove away, taking my girl with them, that it hit me. This is it. She is not coming back. The next time I see her, it will be under very different circumstances. We would never again walk confidently together down our city streets, with her in the lead, keeping us safe, finding me that empty seat on the bus, carefully weaving through crowds and obstacles, locating any number of items she was trained to find, and making me proud every step of the way. We would see each other again, but the person she would be looking to for approval would be my mom, not me. As much as I knew in my head that this was just part of the process, my heart was having trouble catching up. I was so not ready! But, are we ever ready for drastic change, even when it is best?
In the same way that this day was the end of a chapter, it was also the beginning of the next one. How fitting that it was also Easter Sunday, a day of new beginnings. In exactly two weeks, I would embark on the journey that would lead me to my next four-legged companion. And here I am, exactly a year later, with Keats by my side, and together we are writing the next chapter. I think of my girl often, and I love her just as much, though our relationship is different now. We occasionally see each other, but I get to hear about her life almost every day. It makes my heart glad to know how much she is loved, and how much love she gives my parents. She is happy, and this is the next chapter in her life. Retiring a guide dog is never easy, but after the first one, it can’t get any harder, can it?
In honor of my girl and of our time together, I would like to share with all of you a post I wrote about her on an e-mail list a few years ago. Come join me down memory lane and reminisce with me.
Sent: Friday, January 15, 2010 3:37 PM
Ok, here are some Sachetisms. Great topic!!
I’m convinced Sachet is part cat because she:
1. Doesn’t like water
2. Likes her space and is kind of independent though still affectionate, and
3. Loves to weave between your legs–And boy does she weave! She will go in one direction, turn around and come back the other way. I guess she likes to feel rubbed all over. She also loves to burrow, sometimes burying her head in blankets or the side of the couch, or she’ll just put her head down on the carpet and her butt up in the air while she snorts and burrows some more. When she’s feeling playful, she roles around on her back and makes cute snorting noises!
When it’s dinner time, she will definitely let you know it. The dog has a darned internal clock! She will come and start milling around, occasionally nudging me as if to say, “Hey mom, it’s that time. You ready yet? Come on mom, hurry up!” She definitely knows the word “dinner,” and when I ask if she’s ready for it, she’ll get so excited and start doing loops. Most of the times the loops are around me, like she’s herding me into the kitchen. It’s so darn cute! Sometimes she’ll even get vocal if she’s particularly excited. Like most labs, she scarfs her food as though she hasn’t eaten in a week! When she’s done, she’ll sometimes let out a big satisfied burp. Andy does this too, although he scarfs even faster than she does.
Another cute thing Sachet does is that she likes to nest, and will arrange her rug just the way she wants it. God forbid anyone try to help, ’cause she’ll start all over again. Sometimes she’ll even flip it over with the rubber side up. Perhaps she is feeling warm on those particular times. 🙂 She also likes to drag her bed around the living room, placing it in just the right spot–the right spot for her anyway. What does she care if it’s right in the middle of the floor where we’re likely to trip over it. After all, this is all her space, right? We’ve gotten used to it and tread carefully. She’s not spoiled one bit of course.
If you sit on the floor and Sachet is up and about, you’re likely to get a sweet lil’ labbie girl sitting on your lap. She doesn’t usually lay, just sits there and lets you pet her. She loves to get her lower back scratched, right by her tail. She loves ear rubs too, and makes these funny noises in the back of her throat. She is sometimes allowed up on the bed, but only if her blanket is down, and she knows, because as soon as she sees the blanket she gets ready. She’ll just get on and lay right down in a comfy position.
One last funny thing she does is that if someone bumps her, or even gets what she considers too close when she’s lying in a comfy spot, she’ll grumble to let you know.. she isn’t aggressive about it and never snaps of course, but she makes her displeasure known for sure. It’s like she’s saying, “Hey, watch it, I’m here and ya better not step on me.” She’ll sometimes grumble, turn her back and leave in disgust because someone dared to invade her space. Oh, did I say she likes her space? LOL Early on she decided that the rug right in front of the sink was her spot, which of course makes it really convenient when we need to do dishes. She now knows we can share her space and she can continue to lie there, but in the beginning she would get all huffy when we would get into her space. Casey’s too funny. He talks a good game and tells her she better move or he’ll move her, which he has done before (not so much on the kitchen rug, but he’s literally picked up her bed with her in it and put it back in the corner). I won’t mention, though, how one day I found him doing dishes with his feet spread wide apart so as not to disturb her. Like I said, she’s not a bit spoiled around here. 🙂 She’s definitely a very cautious little girl too. She’ll get right out of your way if she even suspects she’s going to be bumped or stepped on. I really like that.
thanks for reading this looooong message. I Love my girl and enjoy sharing
her fun personality with others.
Judy and Sachet
I am smiling as I read this. Happy one year retirement anniversary, little Sashy, and keep enjoying your carefree life! I love you!