Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Day in the Life of... A Retired Guide Dog

Retired guide Freida
Greetings!

My name is Freida and I used to be a Guide Dog. I graduated with my partner as her very first Guide Dog in June of 2000. She and I traveled EVERYWHERE together for almost eight years. Planes, trains and automobiles… and cruise ships and ferry boats too! We even went to Alaska one time with 20 other guide doggies and their partners - we had a blast. We have the good fortune of living in Hawaii! I really love it here. Since I was raised in Arizona, I love all the sun.

My partner and I truly are soul mates; when we were working together, we always know what the other was thinking - we could read each other’s minds! It was kind of spooky, but ours was a very special bond. I'm retired from guidework now, but I'm still finding loads of adventures to keep me busy.

You see, several years ago I got really sick and could have died. Doc, one of the veterinarians at GDB, operated on me and made me okay again. I love Doc. Still, I slowed down a bit. My partner and I had a good chat. She told me through her tears as she hugged me that she wanted me to have a good, quality retirement. She didn't want my retirement to mean that I'd sit around and do nothing - no sirree!

So, she thought of something that we could still do together, something that would get me out and about and help me stay active and fit, as well as something that would be a lot of fun. I am happy to say that I am now a Therapy Dog! My new job is to visit with patients in the hospital as well as patients in two different hospice facilities. They get to pet me and love me. It helps the people to forget their worries and smile a bit.

People always grin when they see me saunter in, tail a-wagging, grin on my whitening face. I give kisses and tail wags every time we go into a patient’s room. It is a really cool new job, because it is fun to see the wide, joyful smiles from the people I visit. I've been a therapy dog for going on three years, and have visited with about 2,000 patients.

I know that my visits make a difference in these people's lives. For example, I once visited with a patient who the nurses said was conscious, but that she had not talked or opened her eyes for at least a couple of weeks. When we went to visit with her and her family, the nurse told the lady my name, and I licked the underside of her hand that had gently been placed on my nose. She started to pet my head and scratch my ears. Then the most surprising thing happened: she opened her eyes and said “Freida, I love you.” WOW, how cool was that! She smiled and everyone else cried quietly. It was a happy moment I will never forget. I never saw her again, but it sure was wonderful to see that wide smile on her face and hear her say she loved me.

Love, licks and lots of wags,

Freida

2 comments:

  1. Freida what a great life you have and touching so many lives! Thanks for sharing and give Vickie a hug from me.

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  2. Freida is a class act and truly a gift to all who are fortunate to encounter her. Even though she's quite prolific in the GDB and hospice circles I've been fortunate enough to visit her and play "tunnel" with her as she literally snorts with excitement. Yep, she's a pro at what she can do to help people and yet she's also an elegant fun-loving force of nature!

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