Hi Friends and goodbye
By the time you read this I’ll be living in Brisbane. The boss is taking me up there so this is my last chance to get on his computer and write.
He doesn’t think I know. It’s amazing how humans under-rate our sense about these things. If I hadn’t understood him talking to other people about it, I would have picked it up from the extra cuddles and pats he has been giving me for the past few months since the decision was made. I can read him like a book.
I’m sad about going
I really enjoy working as a guide dog. I love working with the boss. I get to be a superior dog, going to lots of places where other dogs are just not allowed to go. I get to travel to new places all around Australia. And most importantly I get to meet all of you, and give you a quick sniff (and even the occasional lick when the boss is not paying attention).
But I am finding it tougher these days. I’m 10.5 years old now, that’s 75 in human years. The arthritis is painful when I’m in cold places, and my wheat allergy means that my ears are sore much of the time. I think I should take it a little bit easier.
Where I’m going will be great. It’s Brisbane so it’s warm. I will be with people who I have visited for Christmas for the last five or six years. There are two other dogs there who I really like. And humans who visit call it dog heaven — it’s a totally dog-friendly house, we get to go for walks every day, and it’s close to parks and the beach.
I visited there with Maureen and the boss last year, and really enjoyed the weekend. I’m going to be pretty happy there, and I’m sure that the boss will come to visit me regularly.
I’ve met the dog whose taking over my job
I tried to pass on some of the things I have learned. But she’s a typical teenager, and it seemed to me that much of it went over her puppy head. We’ll see how much she took in during the years to come, I guess.
She’s a golden Labrador, and she has been training with the boss for about four weeks. It’s hard work for both of them at present, but in time I think she’ll be almost as good a guide dog as I have been.
I don’t think her writing skills will match mine, but you wouldn’t be surprised by that. I did explain to her how she could access the boss’s computer at night when he wasn’t paying attention, but she just looked at me dismissively. She told me that computers were very “old school” and all the hip pooches are using “smart” devices. She tells me not to bother myself about techno stuff; she’s cool with all of that. We’ll see.
Think of me kicking back in Brissie
I’m sorry I won’t see you at the book launches. But just remember that he didn’t write it all — you have my permission to quietly remind him of that if he gets above himself.
So, to quote the great dog of the universe: “May the sun shine warmly where you lie, may the breeze bring you pleasant smells, and may you catch all those rabbits that you chase in your dreams.”
Arrow, the retiring guide dog
P.S. You are seeing some of my pictures from Facebook. I will try and update my old mate Jordie’s FB page (she was MY predecessor, may she rest in peace), so you can see what I’m up to.
Image credit: Top and centre, Tracey Markos. Bottom: Julie Tait. Featured image: Kim Welinski.