Let the Waiting Begin!

As of Wednesday 4th February, I’ve been officially on the waiting-list for my second guide dog.

It’s taken me a few days to really process that sentence properly. It’s funny when you know something is coming and you are expecting it, but when it happens, it still feels a bit unreal.

I had a detailed conversation with a member of the client services team in Irish Guide Dogs, making sure that they had as much information as possible about what I want in my successor dog. The trainer captured everything during the assessment last May, but there were a few things I wanted to make sure of. It’s a totally different process second time round, because I know what to expect from a dog, and I know what I want. Not that O.J wasn’t a perfect match for me, he definitely was, and I couldn’t have asked for a better dog. I hope my next dog will be very similar regarding work and temperament at least. The appearance and personality will be a nice surprise, that I’ll just have to wonder about until the dog comes. I’ve also started praying that it has a name I’ll like, because I have no control over that either.

When I hung up the phone on Wednesday evening, I knew there was no going back, and at the time, I felt bad, especially for O.J.
Thinking about this now, a few days later, I know I’m in a lucky situation. Although it will be difficult working two different dogs so close together, I don’t want to be without one, and going on the waiting-list now will hopefully mean that can happen. I won’t be waiting for a while without a dog. There are people who have to retire dogs suddenly and have no choice but to wait without one. O.J is still happy to be working and does his job very well. He’s healthy and playful and full of fun, which is the perfect way to retire a dog who has worked hard for seven and a half years, and hopefully still has a bit more to do. I don’t want to retire him yet. I still need time to find the best place for him to live, and I think that’s what’s making it difficult at the minute. When I have that organised I’ll be a lot happier, and can enjoy and make the most of our working time together. I want to take O.J to as many things as possible, and blog about these so that I can remember the things we did. I also want to organise a fundraising event for guide dogs. We did one when I got O.J, and I think it would be a small way of thanking the organisation for such a great dog if we did one again before he retires. It would also be a nice distraction, and a positive way of thinking about O.J’s retirement. I just have to come up with a good idea!

So now the waiting will start. I have no idea how long it will take to find a suitable dog. Ideally I’d like to train in August or September, but it doesn’t work like that, and there’s no guarantee that I’ll even get one this year. I’m fortunate that I’m in no major hurry, and although it needs to happen sometime, every month of waiting is another month with this funny, lively scamp of a dog that I have now.

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5 thoughts on “Let the Waiting Begin!

  1. Best of luck with your new dog! I hope OJ can have a great retirement. I adopted a retiree and she will turn 15 tomorrow! Looking forward to hearing how OJ and you both transition.

  2. A difficult decision, but you are wise (and practical) to get on the waiting list. in the meantime, your blog readers all look forward to more posts about life with that “funny, lively scamp of a dog} you have now.

    _____

  3. Oh wow that’s scary!!! Irish guide dogs seem to retire earlier than UK guide dogs as I’ll have Uma hopefully till 9/10 if there are no health issues and she wants to work. Are you still in contact with oj.s puppy walker? I’ve a few people that would love to have Uma but my puppy walker is desperate for Uma to be retired to her. it’s such a difficult decision to make but I’m sure your figure it out.

    • Terri Irish guide dogs have the same retirement policy as the UK. OJ will be nine in a few weeks. Doesn’t time fly?
      If I continued the same type of work that I’m doing now, provided he stays healthy, I think he could work until he is ten no problem, but I don’t want to take that chance and be stuck without a dog.
      I’m still in touch with his puppywalkers, and they’ve met us twice since he qualified in 2007.

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