Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives #Family – Retiring Guide Dogs: No One-Size-Fits-All Solution by Donna W. Hill


  1. Hi Patty, thanks so much for sharing this. It was the last post I wrote before Hunter passed and I took a 3-year hiatus.

    1. Donna, I enjoyed reading this very much.

      Today I went out onto our public transit for the first time as a cane traveler in 8 years.

      I kept thinking no one around me could possibly understand how alone I felt.

      Then, I came home and read this post and knew at least there were most certainly persons who did indeed understand.

      I find I have worries about bringing a new dog into the mix here.

      Today when I came home from the store, Campbell was waiting excitedly for me.

      He was ready for another walk as he’d slept the entire time I was gone.

      I keep asking myself if I’ve got the strength to do this getting a new dog while Campbell is still living.

      I keep worrying about Campbell’s reaction to a new dog.

      I keep worrying about how a new dog who has had me all to itself during training will feel about there suddenly being another dog who has always been “King” of his home.

      All these things are most likely things which will sort themselves, but worries just the same.

      I’m so glad you wrote openly and honestly about your experiences.

      While I suppose there are some Pie in the sky situations it just cannot be as easy as some make it out to be.

      You’re a dear friend to whom I’ve just been introduced but I feel I’ve known you a life time.

      Wonderfully refreshing to see someone who like me writes the grit along with the good.

      1. Patty, When I saw which post Sally had used today, I thought it might be just up your alley. This last time for me, between Hunter and Mo, I used the cane for a whole year, because of medical issues. It was an interesting experience, and I got over my initial fears and to the point that I could understand that it could be workable. But, I missed the companionship of a dog, and there were things I had trouble with like hanging branches and finding just the right path to take from our driveway to get down to the shelter Rich built by the pond.

        I think your new dog will accept the new living situation and may be happy to have another canine in the mix. If I were you, I’d be talking to Campbell all along about him getting a new brother and how you love him and want him to enjoy retirement and how you know he knows that you need the help of a guide dog. When you get the new dog, I’d talk to both of them and be as honest and raw as you can about the whole matter.

        1. You are a kindred spirit. I have decided that somehow we were separated at birth LOL. I think that Way too. I talk to Campbell daily. I tell him stories about a new dog. Him or her will need Campbells wisdom to help them settle into their job. I talk about how I will need him at the end of the day to snuggle with and talk to and work things out with. I talk about how he has already started doing a new thing for me. Campbell is training me. He is helping me go on walks, and get ready for training at The Seeing Eye. I thought about that today. As I help him rehab from his sickness he is training me.

    1. Hi Sally.

      You’re welcome.

      It was a post of great importance. Also was something I found helpful while going through this retirement process with Campbell.

      He seems to be enjoying it lots, me not so much. LOL.

  2. Patty, Excellent. They understand when you’re talking from your heart, and I think they pick up more than we give them credit for. What about home training? Does the Seeing Eye do that? I thought it might be less disruptive to Campbell, if you did it that way. If not, where will he stay while you’re gone?

    1. Hi.

      Seeing Eye does in some cases offer home training, and I’m going to ask about that.

      They may suggest I come to the school for a week or two and then do the remainder of my training at home.

      I would like to do the whole thing here but we’ll have to see.

      If I must be gone, I’ve a very good friend who Campbell adores who will keep him.

      Campbell loves this person so that if something should happen to me Campbell would be happy with him, but I really would like a home and away training option if I can get it.

      I’m going to contact them to talk about some of these things.

      Yes, I do believe Campbell understands me.

      When I sit on the floor with him and talk seriously to him, he raises his head and looks straight at me.

      He gives me all his attention and at times responds with a sound, or sigh.

      He’s got quite a dialect.

      He’s no trouble letting me know what he thinks.

      1. Sounds like you’re on top of everything. Glad to hear Campbell has a special friend. That should make all the difference when you’re away.

        1. Well, I was so busy today, I didn’t get around to writing or calling The Seeing Eye.

          I’m going to shoot them an email.

          Might sound like I’m on top of things, but it feels like I’m on top of a sand dune and it’s slipping.


          Retiring a guide dog is quite hard.

          1. Patty, better on top of shifting sand than below it. Yes, it’s hard no matter how you do it.


          2. Well I appreciate your post. It was helpful.

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