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

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Retirement Questions

Just ordered Cricket a new Nylabone - five senses and another combo ring/bone that she loves.  This is Cricket: no present on Christmas morning so she ran to her toy basket and excitedly brought in her old red bone.  She was so happy with what she already had.  I love the life lessons Cricket reminds me.

I have had some questions about Cricket's retirement.   

Is she guiding me safely now?  Most definitely! I still feel very safe with Cricket as my guide.  We have a couple more flights scheduled that she plans to accompany me on.  She will continue to accompany me to work where her guiding is minimal.  We are just leaving to run some errands - She will join us and do some minimal guide work. As long as she agrees, she will continue to work part-time until the end of February.

Will she stay with you?  Yes, we plan to have Cricket stay in our home and will be our beloved pet.  We will transition her bonding to Steve as we did with Pantera.  He will begin to feed Cricket, take her for walks and such.  She is an amazing therapy dog and we would love to see her have the opportunity to continue to share her love as a therapy dog, help in a school with a reading program, etc.  We are exploring those options.   I am gradually transitioning her to adjusting to more time at home - not accompanying me everywhere.  

How did you know Cricket was getting ready to retire?  It is hard to put into words - her cues that she has let me know she is ready to hand over the harness.  I can tell in the harness - in her pull.  She has slowed down and feels torn - her loyalty is there and so she goes but there is also a sense of not quite so eager to go.  The communication that the two of us have is quite incredible. 

Will you be getting a new guide dog?  Absolutely.  I am in the application process.  I received the paperwork back from my physical exam.  I felt both excitement and also a tinge of sadness knowing that this meant I was a step closer to Cricket's retirement.  For me, it works best to have some time to make this transition.  We plan to have a celebration - retirement party near the 7-year mark of when we became a team which was the end of February.  If all goes well, this will be a nice time for Cricket to be fully retired.  It is also a great time of year when she can enjoy further outdoor activities with our family as our beloved retired guide dog. 

I have been very fortunate with both my guides that I have been able to plan their retirements.  They have let me know and I have had time to make it be a time of transition for us both. It really is a time of celebration and gratitude.  

Cricket -- part of the Christmas Eve Traditions!  
 Next ... going to share my songs for Cricket and Pantera :).  


KB Bear said...

It sounds as if you are handling Cricket's retirement with love and thoughtfulness. I'm sure it's bittersweet but you are doing what Cricket is telling you she wants.

Becky Andrews said...

Thank you KB Bear :). That is indeed what I hope to do.

Mary Deeter said...

Sad to hear that Cricket is retiring, but I know she will have a wonderful retirement. Do you know if you will be going to Oregon or San Rafael? I if you go to Oregon, give Keith a big hug for me! I really miss working for GDB, but happy my husband is retired!