Thelma and I have been teammates since May 1, 2018. She’s my trusty service dog. There have been some major transitions since then, and family, friends and Thelma have been right there with me. We’ve walked many miles together, and ventured into unknown territory. Thelma has faithfully been by my side.
At the St. Louis Society for the Blind and Visually Impaired, one of my responsibilities is to deliver presentations about vision loss at Independent Senior Living Centers throughout our metro area. Thelma especially enjoys being a part of these presentations to show off her many skills. She also loves going to KSIV Radio Station with me, where she quietly waits while I’m recording interviews in the studio. My family and friends are hers, too.
But now it’s time for us to say “goodbye” to each other. Early in May she was diagnosed with Stargardt disease, a rare eye condition in dogs resulting in progressive loss of vision. It’s like having juvenile macular degeneration. Since her diagnosis, we’ve been praying and following up leads for a new “forever home.” She and I have one more precious week together before she goes to Columbus, Ohio to meet with her new family. I can’t wait to see what new purpose she will fulfill in their lives and others she meets. But my heart is breaking as I think about how I’ll miss hearing her patter around, coming when I call, and wagging her tail as she shares her friendly greetings. Most of all, I’ll miss her “get up and go-ness” in guiding me wherever I needed to go.
Yes, I will be getting a new teammate, as soon as the Seeing Eye finds a new dog match for me.
Will keep you posted.