The picture to the side of my blog of my guides is one of my favorites - It was the night before Pantera died (a little over a year ago.) Pantera was an amazing guide for 9 years (especially if there were no dogs around :>) and Cricket is such a great guide as well (especially if we can avoid textures :>). Guide Dogs for the Blind has done a wonderful job matching me to my dogs. At times I have wondered how I could be matched with two guides that were just what I needed - even though they have very different personalities. Pantera was my worker bee - she absolutely loved to work - she ran to the door to get out there and she thrived on working. As her puppy raiser would often tell me - she had a bounce in her step and such pride when she put on her puppy jacket. I saw that as a guide - very focused and driven. The same time Pantera was my guide - I was pushing through my master's program, a much longer commute, busy years as a mom and perhaps a 'worker bee' - focused and driven. She was just what I needed during that phase in my life.
Then, Cricket enters our life. She likes to cuddle while the harness is being put on her. She has tender feelings and needs a healthy balance in her life. She is happier when we are balanced with work and play and spending time with those she loves. She is stressed and not as an effective guide dog when she doesn't get her down time ... her time to run, play and get cuddles and even go to yoga. She is an easy traveller, enjoys variety and adaptable whether she is walking the busy streets of NYC or quiet in our area. She appreciates some kibble and praise to encourage her that she is doing good work (don't we all!) I realize once again it is a perfect match as I need the same thing at this point in my life ... a healthy balance with variety.