Sunday, July 27, 2008

Settling into retirement

As I wait for news of my next dog, I went up to visit my parents this weekend. This of course meant I would see Bastien. Retiring him was, without a doubt, one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make. Bastien, being a dog is incapable of lying to spare my feelings. Something I often wonder is if we humans do more to spare our own feelings than anyone else's. As soon as I walked in the door, Bastien showed me I had made the right decision sending him to proverbial Florida – aka my parents house. No sooner than I was in the door he laid claimed to me and would not let the other dogs even greet me. I knew I had made the right choice in sending him there. It would have been a total mystery and complete betrayal to our relationship for me to have begun to work a new dog. He also would have most likely interfered – just as he does with the other dogs greeting me -- in the new dog's ability to work.

Since I retired him, every time I come to visit he is given the option of sleeping with me. In this too he showed me he was happy in his situation. Each time I visited previously he had chosen to stay with me. This time he walked me to bed and as I got in he looked at me, wagged his tail, and turned to follow the others out. Earlier that evening he was happy to sit with me and even showed me that he still remembered those odd games we used to play. I dropped my cell phone and he immediately dove under my chair and retrieved it! I was so proud of him; I made quite the fuss over it. A little while later I needed a water bottle and his response was “I played the game once, I am done for now.”

While I do not know what my new partner with bring into my life or what I will bring to theirs; I know I will continue to partner with these dogs for as long as can provide them with the care hey need. Much of how my partnership with Bastien has changed my life has only revealed its true depth in the clarity that comes with hindsight.

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