Farewell, Old Friend

Today is a big one in my life and in the life of my guide dog Vidal. This is "Mr. V’s" official retirement day. After working alongside me for 8 years (and after visiting over 30 of the U.S. states and four foreign countries) Vidal will now get to be a house pet.

When my first guide dog "Corky" retired I was able to keep her in our home. But that was a different era when my wife Connie was working at home and Corky had lots of companionship.

Now I’m taking what I believe is the "right step" for Vidal and I’m sending him to live with my friend Barbara and her daughter Zoe. They live about two miles away from me in Iowa City. They are excited about having a handsome yellow Labrador in their midst. I think that Vidal will be excited as well, because Barbara and Zoe have two cats. Vidal loves cats.

If for some reason Barbara and Zoe find that having a nearly 80 pound Labrador is too much to handle I will of course take Vidal back into my home. But I think it would be hard for him to watch me going out every day with a new guide dog. I think Vidal needs to be the "star" of the house.

Just a couple of weeks ago Vidal performed what’s called a "traffic check" by pushing me back from a car that was cutting the curb. He’s always going to be my special friend.

Goodbye, Buddy! I’m proud of you. Now make me proud over there at Barbara and Zoe’s house. Keep your nose out of the cat box!


Author: skuusisto

Poet, Essayist, Blogger, Journalist, Memoirist, Disability Rights Advocate, Public Speaker, Professor, Syracuse University

0 thoughts on “Farewell, Old Friend”

  1. One of my favorite pieces of literature in the whole world is the chapter in Plant of the Blind when you meet Corky. I can’t read it without crying. I can’t even THINK about it without crying. I know whoever the new dog is, she’ll be one lucky pup. My thoughts are with you all. — GW


  2. Hi Georgia: I will be leaving tomorrow for a twelve day training session at Guiding Eyes for the Blind in Yorktown Heights,New York. They have a new dog all picked out for me but I don’t know anything about “her” at this point except that the dog is a Labrador.I will most certainly keepthe blog “posted” on my exciting adventures at GEB.


  3. Mr. V!!!
    I’ll miss you, and I haven’t known you nearly as long as Steve and Connie have. I’ll never forget the glorious times we had at Pacific Lutheran University. Perhaps my favorite was one night when Steve went to get dinner and left you in my care. You sprawled your 80 lbs right next to me as I lay on the floor and we had a wonderful cuddle. Of course I also remember another dinner time when — seemingly — out of the blue Steve bellowed at you to stop eating crumbs off the floor. Me, I had no clue anything was amiss, but Steve heard your collar jingling.
    Vidal, you’re my boy. And if you ever get tired of Iowa, there’s a wonderful Rochester, NY family who’d love to have you visit. I still say you’re the World’s Greatest Guide Dog.
    Love, and a face full of puppy kisses,
    Aunt Georgia
    PS — Steve, we know he’s irreplaceable, but will you be getting another dog soon?


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