Saying Goodbye to Nestle

Hello again, PHC friends! This post is really difficult for me to write, but I want to keep you updated on my adventures with Nestle, my guide dog for the past seven years.

As much as I wish otherwise, the time has come for Nestle to officially retire from service and live as a ridiculously spoiled pet. I love her more than I can adequately express, but Nestle has no interest in being a guide dog as she ages, which is not uncommon. She’ll do it for me because she’s a good girl, but she doesn’t enjoy working any longer. I mean…she couldn’t be any clearer about that if she told me in words. As a dog trainer, I could probably force her to keep working if I really wanted to. Except she’s given me seven years of excellent service, and I think it would be incredibly selfish of me to do that to her.

So tomorrow, Nestle will go live with her new retirement family. She’ll be an only dog, and her new humans absolutely adore her. As a retiree, she’ll get to do things she couldn’t when working. She’ll get to sleep on the couch, flirt outrageously with everyone and, best of all for a Labrador, enjoy way too many treats. She’ll be an only dog, which is just perfect for her—nobody else to share the love with, and she’ll even have little kids to play with once in a while! Best of all for me, she’ll still be in my family, so I’ll get to see her from time to time. Not too often at first because it’s too hard for me, but I’ll still be able to get my Nestle snuggles in now and then.

More good news for me is that, later this month, I’ll be starting with a new, young dog. It will be an adjustment, but I’m looking forward to the challenge. She’s a German Shepherd from a very prominent breeder on the East Coast. She’s still fairly young, but she tries hard, has a very lovely temperament and wants a job, so I think we’ll get along nicely.

Because I’m just that sadistic, I think I’ll wait to officially introduce her to you until I pick her up from the breeder. That happens in about two weeks, so I’ll give you all the details about her when I have her. So please be sure to check in on the PHC blog!

Meanwhile, I’ll have a bit of time to process Nestle’s retirement, which – trust me – is better for everybody. I have a quick trip planned, and oh yeah, I’m moving, so I need to get more familiar with my new neighborhood before I introduce a new dog into the equation.

Nestle will probably make the transition better than I will. I hope she does. She’s been the best guide dog ever, and she deserves to retire while she has time to enjoy it.

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