Tales from the Tail Wagging Quinn here! Today, I thought I would update you on my retirement planning. Don’t worry though! I’m in absolutely no rush to collect the golden dog dish with retirement any time soon. I am, however, working on other career opportunities! I have a real modeling gig on October 19 for a fashion show, “Windows to the Wild” on NHPTV will carry on my TV star work, and here I am working on my writing career just in case post-Guide Work is necessary.
While many of you celebrate your eventual (or recent even) retirements, it’s often spoken in hushed terms around me – as if I didn’t have super keen hearing to catch all those details anyhow. While I’m still feeling reasonably young and spry despite the occasional creakiness when I rise after long naps, I am getting older in Guide work terms. The average Guide Dog retires between the ages of 8 – 10 and I will be turning 9 in December.
How does retirement work for a Guide Dog? Well for now I’m pretty enthusiastic about our general work. I admit that trudging Randy around inside meeting rooms isn’t always my cup of kibble. Out on the streets or better still up on the mountains I am entirely eager to be guiding still. When as a general rule I’m less interested in doing this work, I will slow down and stop frequently as a sign I’m getting tired of the work and thinking about retirement. I don’t recommend you try this at home, mind you, and in fact I’m not quite ready to show this yet either. When I am finally ready, that’s how it will happen.
At that point, Guiding Eyes for the Blind will likely come up and check me out just to make sure it’s not some other issue which could be addressed. If I make it clear I’m ready to retire, we make a big decision about where I will live for the rest of my leisurely Charlee-Bear ™ filled retirement. First option goes to a Guide’s blind handler and in my case Randy and Tracy have already told me I’m a part of the family forever! Sadly for many Guide Dog handlers, their situations don’t make this possible and while there might be some small differences between Guide Schools, the approach is very similar. In my case, the second option is given to the original puppy raiser and for most of those cases the puppy raiser welcomes the retiring Guide back with open arms for a very happy homecoming. In the rare instances when this isn’t an option, each school maintains a waiting list of new humans who are hopeful to adopt an older, exceptionally trained dog who deserves a great home for their retirement years. Ultimately every one of us can expect a retirement in a good home with caring humans around us to thank us for the years of service.
So hold off for now on the retirement party plans and on purchasing my silver Nylabone (ewww). Do take comfort in knowing that every Guide Dog has a plan to ensure they are well loved and rewarded all of their lives. While even I, the Mighty Quinn, may eventually come to the decision to stop Guiding the big guy, I do have my writing to fall back upon and I won’t be going too far away from my many friends! So unlike Randy, I’ll be seeing you around.
Signed your tail-waggin’ wonder, the Mighty Quinn!