a change on day 6 and a tribue to Declan

This post is going to be a tough one to write. Thursday was a very hard day for me. A decision was reached after a lot of tears to make a switch to a new dog. Let me be very clear. Declan’s work was brilliant and for the person who will get him he will serve that person well. After a lot of discussion with GDB staff and my wife and very close friends it was determined to switch to a guide that would better fit within my family environment. I am not going to get into those specifics here as it isn’t the place really. Suffice it to say, it really affected me having to come to this conclusion and I want to sincerely think those that helped me make these tough decisions. I love you Declan and will miss you. I am so very sorry.

A new yellow lab named Harold is now a part of my life. In the morning Jim and I went out to do a route as part of the determining process. We came back for lunch. Kim (a GDB staff member who played a vital role in this day to help me) sat at our table. They brought her her piece of cake (it was the desert for lunch). A devilish character back in the kitchen put a candle in it and we all sang happy birthday to her. Well, it wasn’t her birthday. She turned bright red, it was pretty funny.

Jim and I left early to do another route with Harold. His pull is much stronger then Declan’s, and Declan’s was very strong as well. The route went fine. Harold and I spent time at the lounge as other students came back from their route work. We then made the announcement to the class that Harold was now a part of the class.

For dinner we had turkey and mashed potatoes. Yummy! After dinner we gave Harold a bath. That was a lot of fun but they wouldn’t let me use the sprayer. Now, that would have for sure added a different element too that bath for the RA on staff . I then got laundry started. Unfortunately, I didn’t finish that process until 10:30 so it was late getting to bed. I really didn’t want to compete on the weekend for the washing machines. The only day we have off is Sunday and that will be a day of catch up sleep for me and playing a mean game of Scrabble. Oh, they are expecting snow on Sunday. I am actually looking forward to it. I hope it sticks as I haven’t seen snow in a long tiime.

Wrapping this up, I again want to make it clear that Declan is a GREAT dog and will serve someone well very soon. For those that raised Declan and for those that trained him, I want to sincerely thank you for doing so. He will serve well and his work is impeccable.

I will get more specifics on height and weight on Harold later on Friday and will report those later today.

A picture of Harold is seen below.

Picture of Harold

10 thoughts on “a change on day 6 and a tribue to Declan”

  1. Aw I’m so sorry. I don’t know first-hand how tough it is, but one of the puppies I raised, Lawrence, was in the exact same situation as Harold. He was put in-class because of a change and it was so hard on his new partner. So I feel for you.

    Harold is a very gorgeous boy, though. He looks a bit like the first puppy I raised who was quite the looker. :)

  2. Wow Jeff, what an emotional roller coaster. It must be kind of exhausting dealing with that. Both Declan and Harold seem like incredible dogs.

    Thank you for sharing all of these experiences with us.

  3. I know how difficult yesterday was for you. I am sorry you had such a rough day but this is for the best. I am sure it was a difficult decision. We are always here to listen. It was better to adjust the match now in the first week then months from now. Declan is a great dog but not the right fit ,, for you. I am sure he will be in the next class and be a perfect match for another person. As I said dog guide training and anything in life is like a dance. We will succeed make two steps forward and take one back. There will be good days and some bad. If we never felt sorrow we would never appreciate the joyful times. There are always valleys and peaks,continue to climb that mountain.! You can do it! You and Harry will be the perfect team and everyone your family and friends will love him. Sounds like you had fun given him a bath with the instructor. This is another way for you to bond. I am sure you could use the rest on Sunday and I am actually surprised your looking forward to the snow,knowing how you feel. That is encouraging.:) lol. Have fun playing scrabble. I loved it as a kid but not now as a totally blind person. Perhaps because its difficult for me to read Braille. Take care and enjoy the rest of your training.

  4. Hi Jeff. I’m from the GDB list. I am sorry that this happened. It seems like switches are commonplace in Oregon which is somewhat concerning.

    Glad someone got to annoy Kim though! That’s always a good thing to do. LOL! As for the sprayer, I played with one of those once and ended up getting much wetter than I had intended. I prefer not using them since I can’t seemt o make them go where I want. Ha.

  5. Well, let’s see Jeff, I think I have three comments. First, they were smart not to trust you with that sprayer. lol Second, good you got some mashed potatoes, the best comfort food in the world, and third, I’m glad you found the strength to let yourself get a new dog. I know that is so tough during the process of already grieving for your last long-time guide dog partner. I know you are in good hands, and paws *grin* and I’m glad, if a switch needed to be made, that it happened there and then, and not later. I hope Harold is giving you lots of love, and I’m sure Declan and is great work will go to someone else who will also love him and perhaps be a match more suited to him. Not to worry Jeff, justwell, eat more potatoes and maybe one day you will get a hold of that sprayer! lol And now, get that damn tennis ball out of your mouth, and don’t blame it on Harold! lol
    Love you!

  6. Oh, dog switches hurt so much! I’ve never gone through one, but I can imagine it’s such a rollercoaster. Good luck with Harold. Man, there’s this TV show up in Canada called the Red Green show, and there’s a character on it called Harold, and every time I say Harold, I keep hearing that guy’s silly laugh and high voice.

  7. Hi Jeff,
    This is a BIG hello from Harolds raisers. We just found out that Harold was placed in class and we were very happy to read your blog. Harold is a GREAT dog – we miss him so much! We look forward to meeting you on graduation day. Let us know if we can answer any questions for you about Harold. Please give him a GREAT BIG HUG from all of us.
    Shari, Scott, Bryan, Robyn and Sam

  8. Hi Jeff,

    Oh sigh. A dog switch? I went through one too in Oregon. My first dog was a yellow lab name Drake, and the second one stuck. grin. I know the tears and hardship of it first-hand, but I hope the best for you and Herald, and let us know how things progress with him.
    take care,
    Rachel and Mattie, from the GDB list

  9. Hi Jeff,

    Had not had a chance to come back and reply to a couple of your posts. This was one of them.

    I am so sorry about the dog switch on Thursday. I can not imagine how hard that must have been. Hearing about this makes me sad for all involved, especially you though.

    The photo of Harold is very cute. I do love the yellow labs myself. Smile

    What a bummer that they would not let you use the sprayer while bathing Harold. That is one great way to bond with one’s dog.

    I wish the two of you the best.!

  10. Hey there Jeff,

    I wanted to write you when I finally got a chance to catch up reading your blog – grin.

    Now I understand more what you were im’ing me about. So sorry to hear but I’m glad they were able to find you another dog/companion who seems to be a better match for you.

    Take care of you leg! Cheryl

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