My little red tether is my anchor in running with my friends. A beautiful guide dog has been my tether/anchor in mobility and independence for 17 years: 1. Pantera 2. Cricket, and now my beautiful 3. Georgina (Georgie). A life of family and friends is my joy and anchor in life.

The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it. CC Scott

Friday, December 13, 2013

A new phase of our journey

I wanted to share a part of the beautiful gift of a guide dog that isn't so easy. Retirement. After serving as my guide dog for almost seven years, Cricket has communicated recently she is ready to begin retirement planning. I recognized it clearly about a week ago, after a super busy day at the office, she just wasn't into going to an evening event. I felt the pain - I thought ... really? No - can you work for another couple years, I asked her? She seemed to be saying ...I am so loyal and devoted to you that I can keep on trying but ... Her love, service, and loyalty are inspiring. However, I recognize that it is my time to give her the gift of a beautiful retirement. Cricket has had an incredible career and has touched many, many lives.

I am so grateful for the incredible support of Guide Dogs for the Blind in helping us navigate this process. As you can imagine, this transition comes with many emotions - mostly deep gratitude for Cricket and everyone involved.

I am so grateful that Cricket and I have the gift to do some planning in this transition. She is very healthy and happy. She hopefully has many great years left to enjoy life and share her love. She has given 100+% as my guide dog.  She also has been a beautiful, compassionate companion loved by so many. She has had an incredible busy, active life as a guide dog.

We have the blessing of this being a transition over the next couple months. She will continue to work part-time - travel with me on a couple more trips, go to my office and other meetings, and also transition into more time off harness.  A retirement party both at our office ... home and on our blog :) will be planned. Cricket and I both love celebrations! I see her having an incredible second career as a therapy dog or perhaps another line of work :) or perhaps she will just enjoy being pampered at home. We shall see ... we are taking it a day at a time and listening to what her sweet heart says.  She will let me know. My job is to listen. I've done it for seven years as she's guided me safely throughout the country in so many beautiful, amazing experiences.

In the meantime, the picture below is a sweet memory of Cricket and Steve helping me get all the items from Costco for our Annual Grief and the Holidays Event two years ago.
Thank you for your support and following the journeys of Cruisin with Cricket. To be continued :). Hope you have a lovely weekend! We have dinner plans with friends both nights which Cricket will join.


Karen said...

I know you can tell how she feels about work and all. Sometimes it isn't that you don't love what you do but your mind and heart is just a little tired. I remember when I retired from USU and that is how I felt. We love Crickie and you.

pattib said...

Awwww, what a wonderful relationship you have with Cricket. As a puppy raiser for Leader Dogs for the Blind, people always ask me, "How can you give them up?" You know, after getting "so attached" to them for a year. Well, I often think of handler's like you, who are faced with retiring their hard is that! Best wishes to you and thank you for caring for her.

Becky Andrews said...

Karen - so true :).
Pattie - Thank you for your kind words and all you do as a puppy raiser ... truly incredible and so appreciated!!

pattib said...

It is my pleasure!

Brittany said...

I have loved hearing about your partnership. I admire you for taking notice of the changes in her attitude towards work. I can't imagine how hard it is for handlers to plan the retirement of their guides. You will be in my thoughts through this new phase!

Cricket, we love you!

Becky Andrews said...

Brittany - Thank you so much for your sweet comments! Yes, not easy but part of the journey, right! Hope your sweet family is doing well!!

S.DAY said...

Oh my first reaction is the same as yours! NO Cricker can't retire!!!! She's so amazing! But you're such a good mom to Cricket and you truly would know best for her. She's your companion as much as you are hers and it's so great that you know how to read her too. I just love both of you and I'd LOVE to help plan any retirement parties in the future for sweet Crick!!!!
Let me know :)

Lablove said...

You both always look out for each other, and these seven years have been a priceless expression of that beautiful love and respect. God bless you both.

Tammy Sexton said...

Hi Becky!

My name is Tammy. I hope you don't mind me commenting on your blog. I just wasn't sure how else to reach you. I sincerely apologize if this comes across as spam, that is not the intent. With Christmas just around the corner, I thought you might be interested in our latest infographic "Are You A Doggie for Christmas Kind of Mom?". You can view it at (Preview) . FYI (in case you're not familiar) is owned by Yahoo!. It's a very safe site and won't hurt your computer. To download the infographic right click on it and Flickr will show you some options.

If you like this infographic and want to share it with your readers, please feel free to do so. The only thing that we ask in return is that you link back to TheUncommonDog dot com in some way from your post.

As a way of showing our appreciation to those who choose to share the infographic, I'd be happy to spread the word about the blog post by linking to it from our Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ pages. Just let me know that you posted it and send me the link.

If you'd like to be removed from our contact list, please let me know.

Happy Holidays!
Tammy Sexton
Marketing Coordinator
Tammy at TheUncommonDog dot com

Becky Andrews said...

Thanks Shannon!! You can throw such an amazing party -we would love your help!! Xx

Lablove - your words mean so much. Love that message. Thank you!!

Elle J said...

Ohh, Becky ~ it is with mixed emotions for sure. It is so beautiful that you are fully recognizing her emotions. This is certainly a sign of a perfect team.

Max Mom said...

Oh shame Becky, I am sorry that this turning point has arrived. As some previous commentators have said - it's bitter-sweet for sure. You are an amazing person to recognise this stage in your beautiful doggie's life. I am sure that Cricket is saying 'thank you' for all you have done for her too. Sending lots of ((Hugs))and love to you all

L^2 said...

Sending big hugs to you and Cricket as you begin this transition. I will be thinking of you both.

Career Changed Provo said...

I just started reading your blog & have enjoyed hearing of your adventures with Cricket. I know it is a hard decision to make, but through your partnership you know what is best for her. I have seen 2 of the pups I have raised recently retire & the difficult decision it was for both of their handlers, even though they knew the dog was ready. I'm sure Cricket will enjoy her retirement to the fullest though!

Becky Andrews said...

Thank you all for your warm, kind words ... means the world to us!

Mimi and CC Cabana said...

Oh gosh, I've heard you mentioning Cricket's retirement before, but somehow, it still caught me by surprise! Time goes by much too quickly! You have Cricket's best interests at heart, and there's nothing more loving than that. She is so deserving, and I know you will make her retirement years wonderful. It's a happy time, although emotional, I'm sure.

Becky Andrews said...

Mimi - Yes it is a time of celebration for an amazing career of a beautiful guide!! Love this girl and we will be celebrating her :). Thanks for your friendship ... her and Cabana brought us together, right!

Raiser Erin said...

I am catching up on some reading since I have time over the break and boy did this post catch me off guard.

I can't imagine how hard it is to not just recognize the signs but listen to them. I hope that the transition goes smoothly for you both.