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.


About Mel Griffiths

I live and work in Nottingham, England and am blind. This blog is often centred around things that happen to me because of being blind. This is my space to write and sometimes people will disagree with what I write, but its the one place I have in which to be frank and honest. I also like to reflect on the funnier side of life from time to time.
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5 Responses to Jade

  1. welshgeordie says:

    Wow Mel she sounds like an amazing dog judging by what you wrote there. It sounds also as though you made one hell of a team between the two of you. Not having ever had a guide, I can only draw comparisons from pets I have had and even then, the degree by which they become part of the family is incredible, so I can only imagine how much more that applies to Jade. The bond you two have, not to mention the bond she formed with your partner and work colleagues must be quite something. Here’s wishing her then many happy years of retirement at your parents’ place and that you guys get to meet up as often as possible. Here’s also wishing you every success with your new puppy. Good luck Mel, and take care.

  2. fleurette67 says:

    Sounds like you had an excellent dog
    Hi Mel! From your description of Jade’s life with you in this here entry, it sounds like you have gad a particularly excellent guide dog for the past seven years or so: from what you wrote here, she was not just a good worker, but she was also a nice friendly sociable dog who was very much liked and accepted by your partner and work colleagues. This gives you all the more reason to miss her now that she is retired, but I’m glad that she has been given a good home with your family. I wish you all the best for your future with your next guide dog!

  3. ezzie_j says:

    I have Jade – and yourself – to thank for opening my eyes to how great dogs can be. I’ve never been an “animal person” But Jade showed me how calm and peaceful animals can be, and to watch you both playing with her really made me smile.
    May she have a long and productive life as a pet for your parents, and may the next partnership you have with a dog be just as great as the last one was.
    Take care,
    Ezzie xxx.

    • i agree with ezzie! i used to have a horrid fear of dogs and it was when i came into contact with yourself and jade and steve and his dogs that i realised guide dogs weren’t so bad and i got more confident! i hope she has a happy retirement with your parents, will always remember her. good luck with your new one.

  4. Anonymous says:

    That’s so spooky. Jade is a couple of months older than my dog who was sent to stud on 14 Feb 2002. You can replace a dog but never the dog. Good luck with your new partnership L4808M.

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