When my first guide, Pantera, retired she was 11. She loved being a guide dog and took such pride in her work. It seemed when she couldn't be a guide any longer she was content to be home. She seemed to say - You go girl, Cricket! You take over now. The transition was easy.
The transition has been a little different with Cricket. She is younger - almost 9 and still very much wants to go - just not as a guide :). She comes to the door when we leave. We have experimented with different fun treats, activities to entice her while we are away. Whenever we leave her, it generally ends up with me gently moving her to the side -- telling her I love her so much - giving her a treat and reminding her we will be back. She loves to go for walks, car rides and be a part of any adventure. As much as possible, she joins in. Last week she joined me and Georgie at the office for staff meeting. After staff meeting, we took her to the Legacy House to see how she would do as a therapy dog in the Memory Care Center. It was her first time and to be honest she wasn't super engaged. It may not be the best fit or she may just need a little more time. I am going to take her back. We are also looking into some other options as well. She has much lab love she wants to share. I am fortunate that Steve and Kendall both take her for walks and she gets lots of interaction with comings and goings.
Overall, it is going fantastic and I keep reminding myself to just love and reassure her that she is very much loved. I also think what a blessed transition to have ... two loving labs that are having so much fun together on their down time.
I am grateful that Georgie is taking this little dynamic all in stride - happy and confident as can be. Love these girls and the love, freedom and joy they bring into our lives.
Came home from work and Cricket had had a nice long walk today thanks to Kendall. She is loved.