This is an entry purely about Jade, my fourth and without doubt the best guide dog I have owned.
Born 2nd June 2000, qualified on 14th February 2002 and retired on 14th november 2009. Jade is a very small almost white labrador. Unlike most Labradors her features are finer, convincing some of us that way back when, a whippet got into the wrong kennel!
Jade settled down with me quickly I seem to remember, establishing a good level of work very early on. Although she was a bit cheeky in the early days her main characteristic was willingness which made it very easy to teach her new routes and for her to settle into my lifestyle.
Throughout the years with her I have had some serious changes in my life. A period of illness, a marriage break up and a move to a new area. In all that time Jade has worked well although i’m sure that at times I didn’t give her all the support I should have.
Once we moved to Nottingham, jade and I had to learn a lot of new routes and her work level increased dramatically at around the age of six. Far from being a problem, she took it in her stride and seemed to relish the challenge. The standard of her work increased tremendously. Since then she has had to work very hard as we don’t have any sighted backup at home so wherever we go, Jade had to work.
For about the last year I have noticed an element of caution creeping into jade’s work and on occasions this has been quite marked. For this reason i asked to go back onto the waiting list in march of this year. I felt that for a dog as willing as jade to show that she wasn’t enjoying things so much was surely a sign that she was getting tired and needed to retire.
jade’s social behaviour was also excellent and she stayed looking youthful until the end of her working life. Almost every week someone would approach me and ask if it was a young dog I was working with!
so now jade has gone to Bristol to live with my parents, or my sister and her family when my parents are away. She is happy and healthy and I hope she has a lot of fun.
I’ll miss her. Yes, she of course made mistakes whilst working, but I can honestly say that she never once compromised my safety. My partner will miss his little playmate and my work colleagues will miss the dog who one Christmas was given a rubber rope toy as an award for team member of the year by them!
I consider myself very privileged to have owned and worked with a dog like Jade for the last seven years and nine months.