Friday, May 8, 2009

Guide Dogs for Dummies יסודות אימוץ כלבי נחייה

I’m posting this even though it deviates from my usual content. Last night my retired guide dog Labrador, in an attempt to get at the wax vestiges on a borrowed aromatic oil burner, knocked it over and broke it. That did it: The time has come to expose to the world the paucity of information on adopting retired guide dogs.

Although this isn’t an issue that touches most people, if this reaches even one person who’s considering adopting a retired guide dog, it’s worth it. For the sake of fairness, this is not an Israel-specific problem: I’ve looked high and low all over the Web, fully expecting to find an e-group, forum, or site aimed at guide dog retiree owners. Not only could I find nothing, but the school through which I adopted (twice ― this is my second guide dog) not only gave me little guidance, but neither did the former owners.

The lack of guidance is no one’s fault: The circumstances of “retirement” render nearly all information applicable to the dog’s working life irrelevant, which is why retired guide dog adopters need each other. Through a friend, I finally did find another retired guide dog adopter who was helpful; but having now owned two retired Labradors, I have a wealth of information to share.

So hopefully the engines’ll pick this up, but in the meantime, please fire this off to anyone you know who might benefit. Anyone considering adoption of, or who has already adopted a retired guide dog is encouraged to contact me for advice.


  1. Yam,
    Can you provide some advice or description of what you're running into here? I'm trying to figure out what it is about retired guide dogs that make them unique. Actually, I didn't realize they were adopted out after retirement, always thought they remained with their owners in an "until death do us part" fashion. I'm a dog lover and am eager to learn more.
    Thank you. Very varied blog. I like it.

  2. Thanks for writing in, Sherry. There are so many things that the school through which I adopted my dogs didn't tell me, from how to walk a large, strong, strong-willed animal (incluidng suggesting the use of a Gentle Leader or similar harness) to the fact that a Lab's main interest in life is eating anything that isn't nailed down (and this interests always trumps everything else, including previous training and you, its owner), to what behaviors to expect during the transition period, to the fact that guide dogs' training is relevant to only one person: its blind owner; meaning that the moment it's not guiding, virtually all its training (though not its sweet temperament) goes out the window. You know, minor details like're welcome to e-mail me if you want to know more.