The below was taken from JudysDogBlog. Please comment there so she will see it.
Can it possibly be that seven years have passed since Keats and I started our guide dog journey together? Where has the time gone?!! May 6, 2014 does not seem so far away, but how far we’ve come as a team! I also can’t believe he is already nine years old! His birthday, as some of you know, is on May the fourth, hence the Star Wars reference.
This past year has brought all kinds of challenges and change to our little family. At the beginning of 2020, who could’ve even imagined that there would be a pandemic that would change our lives and the entire world in such far-reaching ways. In March, we started working remotely, and Keats started getting a lot less work. I did my best to keep up his training and think of creative ways to engage him. I also made sure to go on walks, usually in the morning, and tried to incorporate destinations as much as possible. Those who know me will not be surprised that most of the time, the destinations involved coffee. My boy was a trooper and continued to do excellent work, even though it wasn’t happening as often.
A few months later, I accepted a job in Colorado Springs. The Lord provided in amazing ways when it was clear that a change was in order. He guided us and worked everything out in ways that only He could do. A move across the country was certainly an unexpected decision, but I know in my heart it was undoubtedly the right one. Casey had decided to leave Lighthouse even before the Colorado job came up, in order to devote more time to his business. The time was right for us both, and I think he was even more excited about moving to Colorado than I was. In late September, we left what had been our home for 16 plus years in Orlando, and the state we’d lived in most of our lives, to pursue our next adventure. The house we found was in the perfect location, walking distance from my office, several bus stops, shopping, dining, and yes, even a Starbucks!
Having Keats by my side while learning a new city has been such a Godsend! This won’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows him, but he has been such a Rockstar through this transition. He is an amazingly quick learner, and walking with him to new places has been such a confidence booster. I remember the first time we walked to the office on our own. We had only gone there once before, and I had notes, so I felt fairly confident about the route. However, once we got to the driveway, we had to traverse a pretty big parking lot, and that’s where I wasn’t so sure. I needn’t have worried though, because my boy had it under control. He of course remembered exactly where to go and targeted the building and the entrance flawlessly. That is just one of many examples of our amazing teamwork. Navigating with him is such a joy. His memory is awesome! He remembers places he’s only been to once or twice. We regularly have to cross 6/8 lane intersections, and doing it together gives me so much confidence. He has even learned to slow down some when he sees black ice. I could write all day about just how wonderful this boy is, but I will close this post for now, with a message my Aunt Yacky sent me a couple of days ago on Keats’s birthday. I asked her if I could share it, because it really touched my heart. I can only hope that I do as much for Keats as he does for me. Loving him well and taking great care of him is one of my top priorities!
Tata yacky: “You both were born to be together and it’s both ways. ♥️ No doubt you both are the best !!! When I see the way you treat him with so much love and respect and he does the same to you it’s something that I don’t have the words to express. It’s unusual. God bless you both always. ”
I am including two pictures in this post. One was taken while we were in class at Guiding Eyes in 2014. Keats is wearing his little boots. The other is from just a couple of days ago. He is sitting in our living room with a long tug toy, one of the latest additions to his ever-growing collection. It was a gift from his grandparents who very much enjoy spoiling him. He deserves it though!
keats sitting with birthday tug toy in his mouth 5 4 2021
keats with booties with judy in red shirt 5 14 2014 8.48.59