I hate endings, but even more, I hate farewells! But I love to learn life’s lessons.
Tomorrow, my immediate and extended family will say goodbye to Jeff. After many years of being integral to our family, Jeff ends his official role as my sister’s guide dog. It’s hard to believe so many years had passed since Jeff became a part of our family, which began when they returned home from the Israel Guide Dog Center. They matched perfectly. Jeff, a cross between a Golden Retriever and a Labrador – is an intelligent and well-trained dog.
Luckily for Jeff, and to my sister’s delight (if you can call it that), Jeff will return to the couple that raised him as a puppy and prepared him for my sister. These puppy raisers were students at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev a few years ago. They were part of a project to foster guide dog puppies in training and prepare them to assist the people who needed them so much. After eight years, this couple has become a family with children. Jeff will retire to this wonderful family that will pamper and love him for the rest of his life.
There is not enough time to describe all the effort, energy, and love poured into each dog and the significance of this dog to the person who receives it. Jeff was my sister’s eyes, but more than that, he was her heart, soul, and ultimate partner. I learned an important life lesson from Jeff. My children learned to live with Jeff and to love him. Jeff was a significant part of our lives.
“To our dear Jeffy, thank you for who you are and what you have taught us. Enjoy your retirement, and go wild, running to your heart’s content. Now you can!”
Next time you see a guide dog, don’t just think about how cute the dog is; think about how significant this dog is in the life of its blind partner. This is not just any dog!