Thursday, January 7, 2016

Thriving After Retirement

We often celebrate our career change dogs — those puppies who don’t quite meet the requirements to become a guide dog that go on to excel in a range of other service areas. But often, our guide dogs retire from service and experience a career change of their own. Here’s a wonderful story about Rosellen, a retired guide dog that found a new way to help people.

Rosellen was Walter Oi’s guide dog — she was actually his fifth, as he had been an active and influential part of the GDB community for over 40 years. When Walter passed away in 2013, his wife Marjorie gained ownership of Rosellen, and helped her find a new purpose.

Today, Rosellen and Marjorie team up to serve people with cognitive disabilities. Marjorie recently wrote to us telling us about their experience:

“Rosellen and I are now certified as a therapy dog team and she continues to use her excellent training from Guide Dogs in an innovative program working with cognitively disabled individuals at the Ontario County, NY ARC facility in the Pet Connections program. The Pet Connections program was developed by Gail Furst and uses dogs and dog training with adults with a variety of developmental disabilities. Rosellen and I volunteer primarily at the Eberhardt Center where Rosellen is a motivator in the occupational therapy program with severely disabled adults.”


Marjorie and Golden Lab Rosellen (wearing a blue vest) position themselves for James to brush Rosellen.
ARC’s fundraising calendar showcases Rosellen as “Miss March.”


We’re so grateful to Marjorie for sharing her story. It’s a great reminder that a guide dog can, even after retirement, continue on using their talents to do more great work throughout life. And it’s another brilliant example of how the power of partnership extends beyond guide dogs and graduates to their entire community.

1 comment:

  1. Way to go! Thank You, Rosellen and your human partner.
    I have just been diagnosed with Macular degeneration, fortunately, the dry type. I am wondering when I would need a guide dog. I am 73 years old. Is that a problem? I love animals. Dogs, cats and horses to name a few. Diana.

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