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As Cricket and I walked one of our ‘usual’ routes today, I reflected on how we were enjoying the stage of being settled in as a team. She is healthy, happy, loves her job as a guide dog, we rarely have any behavioral issues, she knows my mannerisms and often can anticipate my moves — all some of the joys of a team a few years in.
Cricket is four (five in June) and has been as a working guide for three plus years. As my second guide dog, Cricket and I settled into our routine fairly quickly – although I recall about six months into our work as a team walking along and it just felt natural like we were in synch. Cricket can walk as far as I want to go, she races to the door each time she sees me get ready to leave, she settles in at my office, she is calm but still perky and full of energy.
I also realize as we are settled in that I know Cricket’s little likes and dislikes so much more. She likes to eat and then have a nice drink of CLEAN water .. the bowl needs to be rinsed out then she drinks lots in the morning. Knowing her routine of likes and dislikes and a pretty consistent routine of business duties is another joy of a mid-career dog!
At this stage we are as one … it feels like we glide and it is such a joy. I love this time as a team – I have experienced retirement and the passing of my first guide so I know those are difficult days ahead but for now I cherish and embrace each day with my Cricket Girl as she is in the prime of her career as a guide dog!