We are approaching the anniversary I met my first guide dog, 13 years ago. I've been thinking about her.
Pantera represented Resilience to me. Pantera broke her leg as a puppy. Surgery and a metal plate were put in her leg and she continued on with her training. I received Pantera and they shared the story of the scar on her leg. I could run my fingers on her leg and feel the scar from her surgery. Ocassionally, I would get asked what had happened to her leg. It was on the inside of her back leg so it wasn't very noticeable unless she was lying down in a certain way. I had worked with Pantera for two years when on a wintery commute from work, I realized she had her leg tucked back in and was walking on three legs! Fortunately, I was right outside of a building and I was able to walk inside this building, massage her leg, and call for help. My heart hurts for her even now thinking of her pain and desire to keep on walking and helping me to the bus stop. She had such tenacity. After discussion with GDB, it was decided the cold weather in Utah combined with the metal plate in her leg most likely caused the pain. She was a young working guide with possibly many years left to work, so Steve and I flew her to Oregon where the same surgeon removed the plate. Again, I thought maybe Pantera would say enough and need to be retired. After four weeks off and the best care ever with foster care and now forever dear friends, Steve and Debi, she returned with a bounce in her step and a desire to continue to work. Pantera's puppy raiser tells me she was so proud of her puppy jacket and loved to go. She thrived and took such great pride in her time as a working guide dog for nine years. Then when she knew she couldn't do it anymore, she let me know it was time to retire. She gracefully stepped back formed a special bond with Steve and allowed Cricket to move in as my next guide dog. Then came, the difficult time of knowing that it was time to say good-bye. She was very sick (cancer) and needed to go. Again, Pantera did it with grace and resilience. The final hug and thank her for a life well lived of service is a moment I will always treasure. Love you, Pantera and thanks for teaching me much about Resiliency and Embracing and Accepting What Is every step of your journey. I love you and miss you.
Please share your story of Resilience. Your ability to bounce back and push through difficult times. Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org and I will share your story on a Resilient Monday.