I wanted to take a moment and talk about Walker’s retirement this year. Walker is my Hearing Ear Dog guide from Lions Foundation of Canada Dogguides. He just retired earlier this year after 13 years of service!
When I first got walker in 2003, he was full of life, happy and eager to please. In September of 2003, I spent 2 weeks at the National Training School in Oakville, Ontario, bonding with him, learning how to make him work (he had already spent 6 months with a trainer there).
When I first got home, I had to stick to the original sounds he’d been trained for: Doorbell, door knocking, alarm clock, fire alarm, name calling before introducing new sounds. After a while, Walker would alert to most sounds in the home, including: babies crying (I had a daycare), microwave, kettle, sizzle (when stuff boils over on the stove) etc… I felt so safe knowing that when I went to sleep at night (and took out my hearing aids) that Walker would alert me to sounds I could not hear.
During these past 13 years Walker’s been on a several train rides, flown to Vancouver & Toronto, taken the bus to work with me, taken the Voyageur bus to Kingston (when Kristine was at Queens), attended a birth with @domesticdoula, been to the Blue Mountain Spa (the folks were real nice there, they even gave him his own bowl of water), been in the paper (a few times), met Spartacat, camping with family, volunteered for many activities.
Fast forward 13 years…he’s been an absolutely amazing worker and my bestest buddy! We’ve had a lot of fun times!! We’ve gone everywhere together but in the last few years, I chose to start leaving him at home as the cold Ottawa winters would take its toll on him. I have also seen a decline in his work but he still tried to kept at it. Today, his hearing is not so good and his cataracts really hinder his ability to see well (especially at night). I have since adopted him and am giving him a very comfortable retirement with me.
I am quite thankful for everything the Lions Foundation of Canada has done for us over the years! I sure hope you can join us in this years Ottawa Purina Walk for Dogguides on September 25th, 2016, if not would you consider making a donation?
Michèle & Walker & George