In Memoriam

I posted the following to our FaceBook friends on January 8, 2018. Elwood died on January 17th. His retirement family knew it was time. He spent the final afternoon of his life between them on the futon, eating treats and enjoying their petting and attention When a Labrador Retriever stops eating his regular food, you know it is time.

I am feeling both grateful and sad. Today is Elwood’s thirteenth birthday. Elwood and I were partners from November 27, 2006 until June 12, 2016. Last week I learned Elwood has an abdominal tumor. He is taking pain medicine which is working and receiving much love and attention from his retirement family. Here is the text from my first post about him: “Here’s the news you’ve all been waiting for. Elwood is a male yellow Labrador Retriever. He’s not a big dog. At the moment he is laying quietly under the computer desk. He hasn’t decided to like me yet. I’m okay when I bring food. He will be quite affectionate. When he forgets he doesn’t like me, he jumps in my lap and kisses me. Then he remembers he doesn’t like me, gets down and watches the door, hoping our instructor will come.”
Happy birthday, Elwood, with much love and appreciation.ˆˆ

25th Anniversary of Caitlin’s Birth

My first Seeing Eye dog, Caitlin, was born in Chester, New Jersey twenty-five years ago today. She was a chocolate Labrador Retriever. We were matched in January, 1994. Caitlin died July 10, 2006.

In August, 2016 I returned to The Seeing Eyeffor my third dog. I went to the Memory Garden where there is a plaque commemorating all the late dog guides. I sat down alone with my new dog, Nick and began to cry. I sobbed and sobbed.

Caitlin has been gone over eleven years. I still choke up remembering her. She taught me so much:

  • * To handle a dog guide with confidence
  • * What a dog’s sense of humor looks like

* To ask for help when I am lost (We worked before cell phones and GPS were ubiquitous.)

* To trust a dog implicitly.

She guided me competently and loyally through many difficult times. I will never forget her.

This is the poem I wrote on her first birthday after her death.

.   I Miss Her

In the daily tasks,
in the ordinary doing of things,
I miss her.

25 minutes to an appointment–
I will take her out. There is time for that.
And then, I miss her.

I will sit in my chair.
She will come to be petted, to ask for a biscuit.
And then, I miss her.

I lay down in bed at night and listen
for her breathing by the foot of the bed.
And then, I miss her.

I awake in the morning and check the time.
I will dress and take her out.
And then, I miss her.

Her water bowl is no longer on the floor
under the dishwasher door when I load and unload.
And then, I miss her.